For as LONG as I can remember, shopping for a wedding dress seemed like a total #squadgoals scenario. You get engaged, you pick the girls who’ll stand by you on that special day, and you bring that group to every pre-wedding event you’ve got penciled into your planner. When it comes to the dress, they probably already have an idea of what you’re digging, because besties ESP, and they’ve likely even paged through your magazines and bookmarked a few that they think you’ll ❤️ along with a few they want for themselves.
Well, as picture perfect as it sounds, I did it for my own wedding, and recently accompanied my sister for her dress, too, there are some handicaps to having a huge crew present when you’re hoping to ‘SAY YES TO THE DRESS.’ Say it with us, there should be NO STRESS when it comes to the dress. This is one of the most important articles of clothing you’ll ever slip into, get ready in, walk down the aisle in, say ‘I Do’ to your partner in, and dance all night in, and what you choose should be your decision and your decision alone.
If having your entourage there will confuse or cloud your judgment, make you reconsider a dress you’ve been dying to try since getting engaged (and even before, c’mon, our imaginations run wild even thinking about taking that next big step), or have you feeling self-conscious in any way, then think about a solo shopping trip - at least one to orient yourself.
Here are a few reasons why you might want to eliminate the extras from your wedding dress shopping expedition:
you can peruse at your own pace
When you want to go out shopping for your gown, it shouldn’t take 6 weeks to get everyone on board. Hell, if you want to go out shopping the day after you get a ring on your finger, then by all means go out and do it. You’ll want to make your appointments at all the bridal shops, boutiques and department stores and not have to worry about scheduling with ‘your escorts.’ And it gets tricky when you have to vet all of your shopping venues ahead of time to make sure they can accommodate the number of people going with you. Just thinking of having to cross a place off my list because they couldn’t handle a group like mine makes me anxious AF. So, think about YOUR schedule, your availability and what works for the places you want to shop. Maybe they have wide open windows on weeknights, and you can pop over after work. If you work in the city and can spare a long lunch one day, you can run out for the hour and get a quick shopping siesta in without having the consult the crew. And then, when you’re there, alone and untethered, shop at your pace (and as long as the store will let you ;)
you can keep laser focus
The objectives for wedding dress shopping are simple - find a dress, fall in love, buy it and brag about it afterwards (not necessary, but always allowed). If anything gets in your way or diffuses your attention while trying to accomplish these, then take back control! If you can go dress shopping by yourself and keep your eye on the prize, you’ll likely leave with your sanity intact. Your opinion is truly the only one that counts for this particular trip (yes, of course, mom, sis, soulmates, all matter too) so keep all of the other influences in check. If your mom knows you hate bling, but can’t keep herself from saying ‘what about this one, I think it’ll look amazing on you’ while she holds up an endlessly-embellished dress, then give her guidelines or tell her you’re going out for some recon first. If your grandma can’t even fathom the thought of you wearing something that isn’t white on your wedding day, and you’re riding the other-color train, then maybe make her hang back (even if your something blue makes her blue). If your sister-in-law, who you usually love, is currently dieting and making sure with every dress you try on, she’s telling you how much better it’d look after you lost some weight, then lose her. You just concentrate on finding a look you love. Don’t worry about flattering everyone else’s feelings.
you can keep yourself from getting catty
Back to the basics of why you’re out shopping - to get a dress and look forward to rocking it on your wedding day. You don’t need to be dragged into other things, like watching other brides while you’re waiting to start your appointment and either judging them or competing with them. Sorry to say it, but when you’re rolling with a big group, you can get caught up in ‘mean girl’ behavior. While you would have minded your own business and stuck to the mission at hand if you were at it alone, now that you’re with your girls, you run the risk of getting caught up in the politics. Maybe two of your girls don’t get along, and you have to play mediator. Maybe one of your girls is eavesdropping on another bride making her dress decisions and drags you into her own judging juggernaut. Any way you look at it, you’re losing that focus again. So, you need to cut those ties (at least for this) and shop as a singleton this time.
you can surrender yourself to the stylists and consultants
Anyone who has ever watched “Say Yes to the Dress” thinks they have the chops of one of those knowledgeable consultants. But let’s just call a spade a spade, if you didn’t go to school for fashion or spend some time in the retail world, you can’t say you have a stylist’s know-how. So, the opinions of your rating-card-toting tribe (you know, when your panel of judges holds up a 6, 7, 8, 9, rarely ever a perfect 10 to rate the dress you’re trying on) can stay at home. Celebrities trust their stylists and handlers to curate the most perfect looks for them for their award shows, premieres, red carpet events, etc. and shopping for a wedding dress isn’t unlike that experience. Leave it up to the experts to help you find something that’s in-all-ways perfect for you. They know their designers, they know their inventory, they’re current on trends, they’ve worked with brides of every body profile, they’ll help a girl out - and they won’t have ulterior motives! ESPECIALLY true if you’re looking to stay on budget and you bring along people who won’t shy away from pushing you into a budget-busting ensem. Your consultants are there to keep you on target!
you can surprise even more people at the wedding
Keeping the dress a secret from your fiance until the wedding is still a thing. And if you’re shopping by yourself, you can keep this huge surprise from everyone now. Imagine that look your mom will have when she sees her baby girl in her dress for the first time. Consider the magic that can happen for amazing first look photo opps with your bridesmaids. Finding your dress on your own can allow you to bask in total bridal bliss from now till your wedding day. It’s like the Oscars. Fashion mavens everywhere make wages and predictions about what celebrities will wear on the red carpet, and are absolutely shocked and shook when they see what these leading ladies actually wear. The anticipation of your family, friends, guests all seeing your aisle style is out of control, and you’re the gatekeeper :) It’s kind of a super cool thing!
you don't need to get lost in all the 'she said yes' sillyness
This is by far my favorite. While some brides absolutely LOVE the fanfare involved in saying yes to their dream dress (and they should, of course!), some just don’t like it. They don’t want to hold up a sign that says ‘I said yes!’ They want to buy their dress and share the news with the people who mean the most to them. If you do things autonomously, you can embrace the cheesiness or swear it off entirely.
The good news is almost everyyyy bridal shopping spree that ends well also ends with a celebratory glass of bubbly. Whether you’re doing it with friends or sipping the champs solo, you’re still commemorating the occasion with a best case scenario.What do you think, chicks, are you coming around to the idea of shopping by yourself - or are you still inclined to include your ride or dies? And while you’re pondering that, make sure to check out some of the most amazing dresses out there right now for some pre-shopping inspo! Free of charge ;)