Bridesmaid Dress Shopping Etiquette 101: Rules Every 'Maid Should Follow

Bridesmaids, Etiquette

Yay! You're a bridesmaid! Standing up beside your friend on her wedding day is all sorts of fun, from the bachelorette party to the bridal shower to the morning-after brunch. It also means you'll be donning a fancy new dress — but this one is of your friend's choosing, not your own. Whether you're so excited to be part of the process or are wishing you didn't have to shell out for a bridesmaid dress you'll only wear once, there are a few rules every bridesmaid-to-be should follow when heading to the store with the bride. Here are a few bridesmaid dress shopping tips you should make sure to follow.

Have an Open Mind
Repeat this mantra: "It's not my wedding." Before you get anxious or defensive about what your engaged friend is looking for in her bridesmaid dresses, whether it's a style or color you're not partial to, keep your mind open and give it a shot. Best case scenario, you put the dress on and it's totally fabulous on you. Worst case scenario? You come out of the dressing room in something that's just not working — and hopefully the bride realizes maybe it's not the best choice.

Follow the Bride's Lead
If she's asking you to pick whatever you like, or to browse the racks and help her get inspired, ask for a little guidance first. Does she want everyone in chiffon, or is she open to multiple fabrics? Is there a length or detail she'd prefer? Don't grab a mini-dress if the event will be black tie, but if she wants some new ideas, feel free to look toward complementary colors or a silhouette she may not have considered.

Give Constructive Feedback
Wearing a dress that you totally hate? Keep the strong feelings to yourself. Instead, find a helpful way to vocalize what you don't like, whether it's a shade that's not working on your skin tone or a neckline that's way too revealing for your liking. If you can explain what you don't love, you might either be able to find a way to fix the situation with alterations or helpfully guide the bride in a new direction.

Wear the Right Undergarments
If you know you're heading to a bridal salon to look for bridesmaids' dresses, make sure you're wearing nude underwear and tuck a strapless bra into your purse. This way you'll be able to try on any color or neckline with relative ease, and won't be distracted by bright red boyshorts or a lacy bralette that sticks out in all the wrong places.

Be Upfront About Money
Make sure you've spoken to the bride about any financial difficulties you might face, especially since bridesmaids dresses easily run over $200 a pop. You can't force her to pick something different, but once she's selected a style or color, you might be able to find the same dress for less on a resale site, so let her know if you plan to shop around before placing your order.

See more: Pregnant Bridesmaid? Here's When to Order the Bridesmaid Dress

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