When you're wedding dress shopping, the people you choose to accompany you can seriously make or break the experience. So whom should you bring wedding dress shopping?
I mean, the last place you want to invite drama is a crowded fitting room. Just ask Kleinfeld bridal consultant and Say Yes to the Dress fan favorite Shay Yarbrough, who's seen more than his share of dramatics in more than 10 years in the bridal industry.
Meet the Expert
Shay Yarbrough has worked in the bridal industry for more than 10 years, including his time working as a bridal consultant for Kleinfeld and styling brides on Say Yes to The Dress.
"It's such an anxious time for a woman anyway," he says, "But it gets really overwhelming with what your friends are telling you and what your mom thinks you should do and what you want, so the types of people you ask to come along shopping are important."
To save future brides from an inevitable breakdown, Yarbrough offers his specific advice on how to decide whom to bring (and to bar!) when wedding dress shopping.
At a dress appointment, you want someone to help fasten your buttons, not push them. “We all have that family member likely to say the one thing that’ll get under your skin,” says Yarbrough. Instead, “you want soothing people who are careful with you and their words—who are honest but in a loving way.” As for future mothers-in-law? “Run it by your mom first,” he says. “She may not tell you, but this is a very special time for her too.”
If you’re easily flustered, keep invites few (three to five) and intentional. “Think of it like hosting a dinner party,” Yarbrough says. “What is each person bringing, and will they get along? Who will encourage a pick that’s authentically you, even if it’s not their taste?” Yarbrough asks. If one of your beloved besties is admittedly a mean girl, notorious party pooper, or someone known for making a scene unnecessarily, she probably shouldn't be there. For those members of your wedding party and the rest of your close friends, soften the blow of them not receiving an ask by setting up a FaceTime fashion show, texting photos, or taking them to a fitting. “They’ll still feel involved, but after the dress is chosen, you’d be a troll to say you don’t like it then.”
Shy introverts should consider the pal most likely to bring them out of their shell and let them have fun, while indecisive brides might appreciate a friend known for her level head and objectivity.
The Wild Card
Someone completely unexpected can offer a fresh perspective amid a chorus of ladies saying "YASS!" to literally everything you try on. Yarbrough suggests a stand-in for your fiancé, such as your father or brother. “Bring someone who has the same understanding of taste that your husband has, and you'll be surprised by what they think is beautiful versus confusing,” he says. He recalls a recent bride’s tense family moment when too many of her relatives were weighing in all at once: “You could tell that she and her brother were close, and at one point he looked over and said, ‘Listen, do you feel beautiful? That’s all that matters.’ It's like, of course, I could say that, but from him? It meant so much more.”
Serious suggestion: Consider going shopping at least once all by yourself— free from any forms of judgment, persuasion, or manipulation from others (even those who are well-meaning). As Yarbrough puts it, “You want someone there who is 100 percent team you—who is on your side when you’re picking the dress that you love.” Who better to trust than the team captain, right?