Satin and lace A-line gown, $299, from BRIDAL PLACE. Photo: Her World Brides June 2014
Having helped many a bride-to-be shop for her wedding dress, I abide by this one golden rule I never break: Respect her preferences and choice. In many ways, I am just there to help facilitate the discussions between the bride and the designer/stylist, as well as help her fulfil her vision of her dream wedding dress.
In my opinion, here're four reasons why you should go wedding shopping alone:
Too many cooks...
Sure you'd like to include your close friends and family members into one of the biggest rituals of getting married - choosing the dream dress! But everyone has an opinion and sometimes, people think their opinions matter more than others, including yours. Shopping for your wedding dress is very much like shopping for an important outfit for say, your first job interview, your first date or even your school's graduation dance: you choose what you like, what's appropriate for the occasion and what you will feel, and look good in.
Some brides may have a clear idea of what they like but they can get confused if they have too much feedback, opinions, criticisms and advice from well-meaning friends. She may just end up with a dress that everyone else likes (or the one her in-laws prefers) but not something she likes.
It's your day, wear the dress you want and love, and feel fabulous in it. Trust the professionals to guide you to the right choice and heed what others say, but always be clear of what you like and stick to it.
Don't let them get you down
There are some people who thrive on putting others down all the time - even if they don't see it that way. Their criticism can be discouraging and sometimes rude. At the bridal salons, it's quite common to hear friends and parents criticising the bride in her dress - you look like a hobbit, your ass is massive, you look trashy and cheap, etc etc.
Shopping for your dream dress should be a happy and joyous occasion. There will be times when you try on a dress that doesn't complement your assets but it's important to have positive and encouraging advice rather than be biting, negativity comments. So sometimes it's best to shop along for your dress and enjoy every moment of the experience.
It takes time
It's very rare that a bride-to-be gets to find the dress of her dreams at her first try. Sometimes its takes days or weeks and even months to narrow down the choices. A single visit to a bridal salon can take hours while you try on dresses and have in-depth discussion with the designer or stylist.
There are very few people who are willing to go through this entire process; and it's not quite considerate for you to be dragging your friends or relatives to every shop visit or dress fitting. You also don't have to worry if they're bored or taking up too much of their time while you make up you mind or try on more dresses; there is pleasure to be had while going window shopping alone rather than with a big group. So until you've decided on the dress of your choice, go wedding dress shopping alone.
Because we don't really follow the tradition where the husband doesn't see the bride in her dress until the wedding, it's quite common here for brides-to-be to drag their other half along during her shopping expeditions. The plus side is that he will be there with his credit card on hand; the down side is he would probably prefer to be out golfing or drinking with his pals. So don't expect him to give you good advice during your fittings! And honestly, you'd be denying him the romance and surprise if he has seen you in your wedding dress multiple times before the wedding!