Back when we thought pandemics only happened in films and Corona was merely a brand of Mexican lager, the subject of who to take wedding dress shopping still threw up some contentious issues for brides.
How many people is too many? Who can I trust? Who do I want there? Who should I have there? Who will expect to be there? And the list goes on!
While there aren’t many good things to have come out of 2020, in our opinion, and that of many other wedding experts, restrictions on guest numbers at bridal boutiques is undoubtedly one. Yes, we 110% agree it’s a super special occasion that you want to make the most of, but trust us when we say that going big on your girl gang could make it memorable for all the wrong reasons.
Covid-19 guidelines and safety measures have meant that many brides over the last 12 months have gone wedding dress shopping - when permitted - with just one companion in tow. While some may think this would put a downer on the experience, for many, it’s lifted that ‘who to invite’ weight off their shoulders, made them value the opinion of their one special guest and meant they’ve felt more confident in picking the dress of their dreams...rather than someone else’s.
PEARL OF WISDOM
Make sure you’ve read/enquired about a bridal boutique’s guidelines on how many guests you’re allowed to take with you before booking an appointment.
You see, the more people, the more opinions; the more opinions, the more noise, the more noise, the more confusion. All of this can result in a stressed-out and overwhelmed bride who loses sight of her style and wishes. Doesn’t sound too much fun, right?!
So, though the restrictions might be starting to ease, we at The Little Pearl - and a lot of fellow boutique owners - believe the positive change brought about by reducing party sizes means we’ll continue to cap guest numbers. For us, this will be a maximum of three: the bride, plus two guests, all of whom can be from different households. Not only is this to assist brides in making the right choice for themselves, but also to carry on protecting the health and safety of our team, guests and loved ones.
Our bridal boutique is a warm, welcoming and intimate space. Hence, we also need to consider how many people we can comfortably accommodate, and we feel that, indeed, the magic number for Little Pearl bridal parties is three.
PEARL OF WISDOM
Read our Full Guide To Wedding Dress Shopping blog post for top wedding dress shopping tips on researching and booking boutiques and attending bridal appointments and fittings.
For those who find it difficult to limit their list, additional friends and family can join the appointment virtually through our Zoom facility. Initially, you may think this would curb the enjoyment of the experience, but again, we’ve had a really positive response from brides. Mainly our #PearlsGirls have said that they’ve felt more at ease with fewer people in the room and that if they’ve needed a moment of calm and clarity, it’s been much easier to achieve with people on video rather than there in person.
So, to address the question of who to take wedding dress shopping, we’re suggesting those that will make, rather than break, the experience whilst also highlighting the top perks that can come with streamlining your #shopsquad.
WHO TO INVITE WEDDING DRESS SHOPPING
The first person to spring to mind will likely be a trusted family member, often mum, step-mum, sister, grandma or auntie...or it could be your dad or brother. The key criteria being that this person will support and encourage your decision on this emotional and exciting journey.
If a relative is paying for your dress, it’s usually deemed the correct etiquette to invite them to the experience, and this can often help to keep the budget in check and avoid any awks “how much?!” conversations later down the line.
A ‘should’ invite that you might feel obliged to consider is your soon-to-be mother-in-law, but if this isn’t someone you feel entirely at ease with or who doesn’t know/understand your style preferences, then don’t give in to that pressure. The restricted boutique guest numbers will provide the perfect reason not to explore that avenue any further.
PEARL OF WISDOM
If you’re worried about certain friends and family members feeling ‘left out’, give them a task for the wedding to help them feel more involved or invite them to another key appointment, such as your make-up trial, dress fitting or accessory styling session instead.
You’ve picked them to have your back on your big day, and so chances are you want your bridal party to be a part of your momentous wedding dress shopping experience too. If, however, you’ve got more members in your #girlsquad than Taylor Swift, you might want to narrow down the invites. As mentioned, too many conflicting opinions are likely to hinder rather than help.
Ideally, you want that main girl (or guy!) that knows you best and will deliver their honest thoughts without causing offence. This person should also recognise and respect that this is your moment in the limelight, so they shouldn’t influence your choices based on what they would wear for their wedding, nor should they be looking to outdo your other leading maids/men. Kristen Wiig and Rose Bryne in the film Bridesmaids being a key reference point here!
PEARL OF WISDOM
Discuss and share images of your bridal attire ideas, vision and wishes with your shopping companions before your boutique appointments. That way, they’ll know in advance what you’re looking for and the types of wedding dresses you will be trying on.
Perhaps you have that one good friend who you always go shopping with, or seek their viewpoint when it comes to deciding on an outfit for a big event...like a wedding! This person might not be a part of your bridal party, but when it comes to your sartorial style, they know you better than anyone else - and that’s their golden ticket to join you on your dream dress quest.
If you’re generally a lone-shopper, the thought of letting others in on this special purchase may be totally alien to you, and that’s completely cool. After all, nobody knows your personal style better than you! As professional bridal stylists, we will be on hand to act as your #girlgang whilst also offering expert advice and dealing with anybody hangups or niggles along the way. We’ll take time to find out about your fashion loves and loathes, your big day plans and bridal vision so we can help you find that perfect match.
KEY BENEFITS OF MINIMISING YOUR WEDDING DRESS SHOPPING ENTOURAGE
Minimising doesn’t mean missing out! As outlined via the key perks below, reducing your dress shopping guest list can lessen the pressure and even enhance the experience.
Just having the opinions of those who know you and your style and have your best interests at heart is likely to help guide you towards your dream dress rather than lead you further away from it.
Having fewer people involved will make organising and booking your bridal appointments much easier.
Smaller numbers usually mean a smoother appointment leaving extra time for trying on more dresses.
There’s less chance of feeling overwhelmed by having too many eyes on you or too many thoughts thrown your way all at once.
With fewer people to entertain and appease, we, your stylists, have more time to get to know you and your preferences, allowing for a more personal and concise appointment.
You and your #shopsquad will feel comfortable, safe and relaxed in the space at the boutique.
BEST OF ALL, you can keep your chosen dress a secret from the majority of your wedding guests until the day itself, making your walk down the aisle a real ‘big reveal’ moment.
PEARL OF WISDOM
Once you've chosen your few select wedding dress shopping companions, be sure to take those same people to ALL bridal appointments with you during the 'dress search' stage so that you always have everyone you need there to confidentally say "yes" to the dress. Not only will this save you the time of having to book multiple appointments at the same boutique(s) but it could save you money too if you have to pay an appointment booking fee.
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