We need to lay the cards out on the table. You’ve never been engaged before and we see brides on a daily basis, so please trust us when we tell you we know a thing or two about wedding dresses. It’s not just the dresses we know about, but the psychology of shopping, too.

Sure, you think you know how to shop and, indeed, in the changing room of Zara you probably do. But wedding dress shopping is not like the High Street and the way that you make decisions about which wedding dress to buy is exceptionally different to how you decide which pair of jeans will make your calves look loveliest.

So, listen to us when we say: bring as few people as possible with you when wedding dress shopping.

0f32f6a39740ae146fb96620705e0c68We get it. No really, we do. You’re only intending to get married once so you want to make this shopping trip super extra special. You don’t want anyone to miss out on this super extra special shopping experience, because if you invite one sister and not the other then that’s a political minefield and you’ve got six bridesmaids who have a right to be part of the super extra special shopping experience and of course your Mum has to come but you don’t want his Mum to feel left out so you’ve invited her as well but if you don’t invite Aunty Sue she’ll never talk to you again…and besides, you’re only going to get to do this once so why not make the most of it?

Well, the way to make the most of it is to be able to hear yourself think. The way to treasure the experience of buying your wedding dress is to only have your own heart ruling your decisions. The way to enjoy bridalwear is to have the time and space to come to terms with your own body and personality to find a dress that fits both. The way to keep everyone else happy is to give them jobs to do on your wedding day that make them feel involved. The bridal dressing room is not the place for an entourage of 12 people.

If we sound bitter, it’s probably because we are, but that’s not because an overwhelming number of hanger-onners make it harder for us to do our job (although that’s true) or because suddenly there are a dozen extra ‘experts’ in the room (although that happens) and it’s not because we hate you/your family/women in general…

It’s simply because in every instance where a bride has brought too many people to her appointment, those are the least happy brides. They hear the conflicting opinions, preferences, advice and experience from a mixture of women across generations, style gaps and ideals and suddenly they lose their sense of self. Too many cooks spoil the broth and all that. No bride with an entourage has ever confidently picked her own dress with complete conviction that she’s happy and hasn’t upset someone in the party who thought she should have chosen something else.

So, leave the girl gang at home. Trust us when we tell you that you’ll have a better time if you just bring a trusted friend or ‘maid and your Mum, if that. Believe us when we say that you will pack far more of a punch as you walk down the aisle if half the congregation weren’t there when you chose your frock. Don’t commit the biggest sin in wedding shopping, but do believe in yourself and the sartorial choices that you are free to make.

Image by Jose Villa

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