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8 Tips for Helping Your Friend Find a Wedding Dress

A guide for bridesmaids and family members accompanying the bride.

Whether or not you’ve already been married yourself, being asked to help your friend or relative shop for her bridal gown is both an honor and a fun time!

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Photo: Painted Peacock Photography

Whether or not you’ve already been married yourself, being asked to help your friend or relative shop for her wedding dress at a bridal salon is both an honor and a fun time! You get all the joy of looking at beautiful dresses without the stress of worrying about picking the wrong one.

If you’re in the bridal party (which is usually the case in these situations) it’s also a great opportunity to get to know your fellow bridesmaids, if you’re not already all friends, before the big day. It’s like living in a real-life episode of Say Yes to the Dress! However, if you watch the show, you know that there are cases where the shopping entourage can be too harsh and wind up discouraging the bride. Read below for tips on how to be a good wedding-dress shopping partner and help your friend find her bridal gown. 

how to help your friend find her wedding dress, wedding dress shopping entourage tips
Photo by Jana Williams Photography; From Real Wedding: Classically Elegant Alfresco Ceremony & Ballroom Reception in Ojai

- Find Out Her Taste

Though brides sometimes end up loving something completely different than they thought they would, it’s helpful to know her vision going into her appointment. This will help either keep her on track or help you convince herself that she's making the right decision by going in another direction.

Remember It’s Not Your Dress

A bridal gown you love might not be the right silhouette for your friend, and your general distaste for beading does not mean her dress shouldn’t have any! Separate your own preferences from her own.

Respect the Budget

Don’t go pulling gowns that are twice the spending limit your bride has in mind. Once you try on an expensive dress, it’s hard for others to live up to that. Be mindful of her spending limit and don't try to get her to spend more.

Be Honest, But Kind

There’s no reason to be “brutally honest” – that’s often just a polite way to call someone mean. When giving your opinion, always make sure it’s the gown you’re criticizing, not the bride. Consider how you would want your friends to react if you were the bride.

Offer Constructive Feedback

This goes for positive statements as well, but it's important to offer good feedback that your friend can take to heart. For example, “The cap sleeves flatter your figure much more than the off-the-shoulder straps,” is far more helpful than “What a pretty dress!” 

Ask Questions Instead of Making Comments

When you’re unsure about an element of a bridal gown, ask the bride to get her feelings on it first. For example, “You only liked fit-and-flares before, how do you feel about the A-line skirt?” Adjust your response to how she is reacting to the change.

Don’t Gang Up on Her

Be careful not to pile on with the rest of the shopping entourage, even if the comments are in a joking manner. If you notice a friend or family member crossing the line, try to steer the conversation in a more positive direction. 

Read Her Facial Expressions

When her face lights up when she walks out to show you the dress, that’s probably the one she loves. Now, no matter what you actually think, you love it too!

For more wedding fashion tips, find out how to preserve your bridal gown and discover FAQs for shopping for your wedding dress