Once you've said yes to your perfect wedding dress, it's time to start playing dress up with your 'maids. But, this poses the question, who goes bridesmaid dress shopping with you? You thought long and hard about who should tag along to help you pick out your own dress for the big day, and this wedding shopping trip is equally important. While shopping for bridesmaid frocks is way less stressful than choosing your bridal gown, it's still important to select your shopping companions carefully. This experience should be fun and carefree, as long as you bring the right people with you.
With that being said, you definitely don't have to invite the entire bridal crew. Pick and choose a few trusty girlfriends (even Mom) to bring with. Can't decide which bridesmaids will make the cut? Keep the following seven things in mind when choosing who will shop with you, or you might not have as much fun as you deserve. Then, sit back and laugh with your girlfriends when something truly adorable on the hanger looks hideous when put on.
1. You're not obligated to bring anyone from the bridal party at all.
"The bride should bring the person (or people) she trusts the most to help her decide which bridesmaid dresses to select, regardless of if they're in the wedding party," says Gabriella Risatti of Gabriella New York. "She certainly does not need to bring anyone from the bridal party, and sometimes that's actually better. Bringing one member of the bridal party could mean that that person's opinion and taste gets taken into account and not anyone else's, which could upset others in the bridal party."
2. Don't take more than two bridesmaids with you shopping for a dress.
The more girls, the more opinions you'll have to contend with when they try on dresses. As per bridesmaid dress shopping etiquette, your bridal party should keep up positive opinions and attitudes while shopping, but bringing more than two friends presents a greater opportunity for complaining and unwarranted feedback.
3. Take bridesmaids with different body types with you to the bridal shop.
If you have a member of your wedding party with a body shape that makes finding flattering dresses a challenge, this is the woman you need to focus on when you're shopping for bridesmaid dresses. "If a bride has a wide range of body types in her bridal party, selecting a color and fabric and letting each bridesmaid pick the silhouette that works best on her figure is a really great way to go," says Risatti. "If that isn't an option and there's one bridesmaid whose body type is the most challenging when it comes to dresses, I would consider narrowing the selection down to two or three and then asking her to come with you to try those on so the bride can see which dress works best and that the bridesmaid is most comfortable in."
4. Only take your mom if she's on the same page as you.
If your mother is adamantly opposed to strapless, for example, and that's what you definitely want, then don't invite her to go along on the shopping trip. She'll understand if you need to go this one alone, especially if she already helped out with your wedding dress selection.
5. Bring a bridesmaid who understands your taste and the look you're going for.
If sexy isn't the look you want at your wedding, don't bring the girl most likely to choose something with more cleavage and less skirt. When determining who goes bridesmaid dress shopping, consider bringing a bridesmaid (like the MOH) who helped you pick out wedding dresses. That way, she'll have a better grasp of the overall wedding style and can pick bridesmaid dresses that pair well with your gown.
6. Choose the least opinionated and most supportive bridesmaid for this shopping expedition.
"If the bride really needs help in that initial selection process, she should pick one friend or relative whose opinion she trusts the most and someone who knows the body types of the other bridesmaids, so that can also be taken into consideration." Yes, you want your girls' opinions, as long as they're in line with yours. You get to choose the dress, so if they don't like it, they have to live with it. It's only one day of their lives.
7. Consider shopping alone.
Risatti says brides should even think about shopping by themselves initially so that they can get the lay of the bridesmaid dress land completely objectively and pick dresses that best match the style of their weddings. "In an ideal world, the bride would go shopping by herself and narrow her choices down to three styles," she says. "Then, her bridesmaids can go on their own, individually, try on the dresses, take photos and send them to the bride so she can make her final decision." But, it's up to the bride to find the perfect dress that will make her squad feel comfortable and confident.
Also, if you're having your 'maids wear different dress styles within the same color scheme, Risatti says to take each bridesmaid shopping individually. Or, have the bridal party shop for dresses themselves and send you pictures for approval.