Dress shopping

Wedding Stylist Chelsea Hobbs from The Wedding Suite at our Downtown Seattle store offers ten tips for dress shopping that every mother of the bride can cherish.


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Sisters, friends, bridesmaids, maids of honor: this post is for you. If you have a friend who has recently gotten engaged, chances are you’ll soon find yourself on a shopping trip, looking for “the one.”

Being asked to go wedding dress shopping with a bride-to-be is truly an honor, but it can also be a day filled with pressure. Our friend Faye at OneWed recently had this experience and is here to share. What could be better than a wedding industry expert—OneWed is a must-read for brides!—giving us her experience firsthand?! Read on for her helpful list of dos and dont’s for the big day… of shopping, that is.

1. Do Know the Budget

Before you set foot in a store, gently ask the bride what the budget for her wedding dress is. Remember that number and don’t suggest a dress that costs significantly more. Talking about money is hard to begin with, and even more so when dealing with weddings. This conversation is best handled honestly, overtly and with a bit of levity.

2. Don’t Cross the Mom/Daughter Line

A bride’s relationship with her mother is sacred ground. Respect the fact that mom’s approval of the wedding dress is probably needed, even if you know the bride hates her mom’s taste in clothing. (Luckily, my bride and her mom get along fantastically and both have great taste.) The mother might have more influence if she is paying for the dress or she may have been planning her little girl’s wedding in her head her whole life. The point is: you don’t really know, and therefore, it’s best to bite your tongue and not openly contradict the mom.

3. Don’t Confuse Dress Shopping with the Bachelorette Party

One celebratory glass of champagne to calm the nerves and bring a smile to the bride’s face is perfectly OK, but what you don’t want is a tipsy bride. Drunk shopping is like drunk driving—don’t do it!

4. Do Let the Pros Lead the Way

You may read OneWed and the Nordstrom Wedding Suite blog daily, know the difference between a mantilla and blusher veil and have worn a bridesmaid dress more times than you care to count, but you are still not a wedding dress expert. Let the pros do their job and explain the details of each dress to the bride, walk her through the store, showcase the lines they carry and make appropriate suggestions.

5. Do Try Out New Silhouettes

I had a single wedding dress silhouette in mind for my friend and couldn’t imagine her in anything else. Boy, was I wrong! Fortunately, I followed my own advice and let the stylists pick out a variety of dresses, and after trying on a few styles, the bride picked the exact opposite of what I thought would work. She even tried on and loved a beyond gorgeous birdcage veil and Jenny Yoo chantilly lace shrug, two things I never would have chosen for her.

6. Do Think Before You Speak

When the bride walks out of the dressing room, your first instinct will be to either blurt out a comment or make a face. Instead, take a deep breath, give her a few seconds to look in the mirror, twirl around and face you. Then take a look at her expression and decide how to react. You may not love the dress, but if she has an ear-to-ear grin on her face, make sure to react positively. That’s your job!

7. Don’t Share the News On Social Media

This one is important! Put down the phone, stop Tweeting, don’t update your Facebook status and do not Instagram the bride in her dress. Some moments are meant to be special and a bit secret. When, how and with whom the bride chooses to share the dress she picks is up to the bride. Respect her desire to keep it all under wraps until the wedding guests and the groom see her walking down the aisle. That’s when you get to take all the pictures you want!

There you go! Seven simple steps to ensure that wedding dress shopping goes well. Not that hard, right? I’d also suggest a good night’s sleep, a sassy pair of shoes, your favorite shade of lipstick and being ever so thankful that someone you love has invited you to be a part of this huge moment. Happy shopping!

Thanks to Faye for these honest and thoughtful tips!

To connect with a Wedding Stylist for your big shopping day, check out our Wedding Suite locations. You can now pick your own appointment time and book online—even more convenient!