Wedding dresses on mannequins

Wedding Planning Tips

Helping Your Bride Pick the Perfect Wedding Dress

The perfect dress is absolutely essential to the perfect wedding. A fabulously planned, designed, and executed wedding just won’t have the same pop for a woman who’s not comfortable in her dress or happy with the design. Finding the right dress can involve a big investment in time and money, in addition to a major emotional commitment. Here are our top tips for helping your bridal client pick her perfect wedding dress.

Offer advice, but be supportive

It can be easy to forget amidst arranging venues, choosing flowers, picking the cake, and all the other big and small decisions, but weddings are incredibly personal events – and what could be more personal than what you wear?

Your taste is not necessarily the same as your client’s, and this is her decision to make. Give her advice on styles, patterns, and fits, but keep that in mind when you’re helping her shop for a dress. If she’s set on a dress that you don’t think will jive with other elements of the wedding, let her know – that’s your job as a professional – but ultimately, make sure you accept and support her decision. Stay flexible to accommodate her; your client should never feel like she’s fighting you.

Help her manage family members and friends that come shopping with her

Family members dress shopping with bride

As a professional, you know to be supportive – however, your client’s friends and family members may not show her the same courtesy. The best way to help her out is to stay on her side; your example may remind her friends and family members that this is her big day, not theirs. If they don’t take the hint, you may have to manage them a little more actively. Try finding a middle ground between conflicting opinions, or work on turning thoughtless criticism into something constructive. Your presence can make shopping for her dress way easier by reducing the potential stress and tension.

Know the feel of the wedding and the decor

How you fit the dress with the wedding depends on when in the process your client picks the dress out. If you and your client have already settled on a theme and some of the decor, it’s important to go for a wedding dress that will go right in. Offer suggestions on colors and styles that will fit with the rest of the wedding; if your client is going for a traditional wedding, a classic dress is a better bet than one that’s more casual or ultra-modern.

On the other hand, your client may be picking her dress early in the planning stages. Even if she hasn’t settled on a theme with you, chances are she has something in mind. Ask her to give you a sense of what she’s envisioning, and provide feedback on how you think the dresses she’s trying on will fit with it.

Know the venue

Bride in dress at wedding venue

Knowing the venue includes both stylistic and practical considerations. If you live somewhere with hot summers and the venue is outdoors, a long-sleeved dress is probably not a good idea. Alternatively, an indoor venue that is air-conditioned or heated may have unpredictable temperatures, so if she’s looking for a short-sleeved or sleeveless dress you can suggest picking one that will look good with a shawl; even if she doesn’t want to wear it during the ceremony, there is nothing worse than spending your own reception shivering.

Stylistically, the key is really to match the dress to the decor, but the venue itself is important to keep in mind as well: a big, elaborate dress may dwarf the rest of the wedding if the venue is small and understated, whereas a casual dress in a larger, more formal venue will also look out of place.

Encourage her to try on as many dresses as she needs – but not TOO many

Bride contemplating trying on wedding dresses

When it comes to trying on wedding dresses, there’s no perfect number. The first dress your client tries on may be The One – or she may visit three salons before she finds anything she likes. Dresses look different on your body than they do on the hanger, so encourage her to resist making a snap judgment about a dress that caught her eye on the rack. On the other hand, trying on too many dresses can be overwhelming, especially if your client has already found one she likes. Just remind her to take some time to think before making a purchase, because most wedding dresses and accessories aren’t returnable.

Choosing her wedding gown is a huge decision for your bride, so above all else, remember to be supportive, understanding, encouraging and honest. It can be a stressful journey for your client, but with your help you can make it a positive and memorable experience!

Have YOU ever helped a bride pick her dream dress? What techniques worked for you? Share your own suggestions in a comment below!

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