How to Make Wedding Dress Shopping Special for the Bride

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Your BFF has dated her man long enough. Now she has decided that it’s time to get married and move into what she envisions to be a happily ever after.

Unfortunately, she might already be having a dizzying array of bridal gown questions that can make shopping seem stressful. If anything, she’ll need your help to shop for the right wedding dress and the last thing she expects is a no.

But how do you make bridal gown shopping easy and memorable? Keep reading to learn how to make wedding dress shopping special for the bride and read up on wedding dress fitting etiquette for good measure.

7 Ways to Make Wedding Dress Shopping Special for the Bride

Below are seven ways to help your BFF to get the best wedding dress shopping experience:

1. Ask a Special Guest to Join You

Reach out to the bride’s squad or a mutual friend that you share to see if you can work your magic and surprise her with the presence of a particular loved one she least expects to see.

Don’t let your BFF decide whom she would like to involve in the outfit shopping because they might involve everyone significant in their lives. While it’s customary to involve close individuals, it can result in multiple perspectives that make it difficult for the bride to make a decision.

Limit the number of people joining the outfit shopping to four at most. That way, the bride will have confidence in her ability to pick a wedding dress that will look good on her, rather than what everyone else thinks would be a good fit.

We don’t always recommend involving the bride’s mother, sister, maid of honor, or bridesmaid in the wedding dress shopping process. While additional opinions can go a long way to help choose the right wedding dress, these individuals can obstruct progress because they’ll never agree on anything. One of them might even dislike the outfit the bride tries on. Read more about how to decide who should go wedding dress shopping with the bride.

It’s generally preferable to consult with one person (or perhaps more but definitely an odd number) who has done a wedding before, and whose opinion she appreciates and trusts.

2. Have the Bride Bring their Wedding Shoes Along

Ask your bestie to grab the correct shoes before leaving the house for shopping. It’s critical to have them bring the shoes they want to wear on their wedding day or something comparable to see how well they go with the gown they choose.

3. Get Her a New Outfit

Buy your bestie a shopping outfit for the day, preferably one she would never buy for herself.  A new jumpsuit, a trendy top, or a killer pair of shoes can enhance her confidence as she enters the wedding salon in quest of her dream gown.

4. Help Her Set a Realistic Budget Before Going Shopping

One of the mistakes brides make when going shopping for a wedding dress on their own is failing to set a realistic budget for their purchase.

Women who enter the bridal store without a set budget in mind end up overwhelmed by options and opinions, and it’s easy to fall in love with a wedding dress that isn’t within their budget.

To make wedding dress shopping special for the bride, help them set a realistic budget they can work with before going to the bridal store. Then, conduct research on boutiques, e-commerce stores, online retailers, and boutique designers near you that sell wedding dresses priced within your budget.

Having a firm grasp on the budget for a gown enables you to remain focused during the buying process.

5. Start Shopping Months before the Wedding

One of the best ways to make wedding dress shopping special for the bride is to consider shopping as early as possible.

Depending on the retailer from whom you purchase the gown, it may take several weeks for the wedding dress to ship. Following the purchase, it will take several weeks for a seamstress to make necessary adjustments to the dress so it fits the bride’s body type.

Consider beginning the shopping at least 6 months before the wedding, but preferably earlier. There is nothing wrong with starting early, even a year in advance if placing a special order.

6. Help Them Decide Where to Shop

Where to shop for a bridal gown will certainly depend on the bride’s budget. Help them to decide if it would be more appropriate to shop at chain stores, at independent shops, or online.

Regardless of where you shop, make sure the gown you consider buying fits. Sizing the dress right is critical, so ask the dealer to give the bride enough time to try the dress on to see if it’s a good fit.

Use extreme caution if you choose to shop online. If you’re not careful, you might regret the purchase and end up spending twice as much time if you return the dress that was purchased online in exchange for a new one. Best to order a few sizes per model (as they might not be always true to size) so they can try them on at the same time.

Many bridal shops don’t require appointments, so you can walk in any time. However, consider scheduling one, so that you and the bride don’t have to wait for hours while consultants help clients who scheduled their meetings.

If permitted, bring a camera (ideally a digital one in addition to your Instax) with you to capture photographs of the outfits you adore so you can keep track of them. The bride is likely to try on a number of gowns throughout the hunt, and you’ll soon forget the specifics of each as you put on the next one you like.

7. Bring Enough Fluid to Stay Hydrated

Trying on gowns may be a time-consuming process, and it can turn into a workout for you and the bride quickly. So bring a bottle of water or beverage with you to stay hydrated throughout the shopping jaunt. Some stores will offer you refreshments but it’s not always the case.

Frequently asked questions

Does the groom’s mother go dress shopping with the bride?

Traditional etiquette dictates that the mother of the bride takes the lead and shops for her wedding attire first; then, the mother of the groom can choose her dress. However, many modern women use this advice as more of a guideline than a strict rule.

How long before your wedding day should you buy your dress?

Providing that you have a strong idea of your wedding style and theme, and have booked your wedding venue for your desired wedding date, the ideal time to start shopping is around 10 months before the big day.

What month is best to buy a wedding dress?

Wedding industry experts largely agree that January is the best time of year to buy a wedding dress. There are a few reasons for this trend. Many couples get engaged around the holiday season, so January is a popular time for newly engaged couples.

How long do you spend in a bridal store?

Bridal appointments tend to last about an hour which is usually more than enough time for you to try on a wide selection of bridal gowns and to get a good feel of what you do and don’t like. Don’t feel rushed and like you have to make a decision there and then.

What does off the rack bridal mean?

Buying a gown “off the rack” is a great idea for many brides! Buying a dress off the rack means you are buying a dress that is aisle-ready. The standard procedure for ordering a wedding gown is a little different.

How many wedding dresses should you try on?

There is no exact answer to how many dresses brides should try on during their search, and even our experts have different opinions on a golden number. Dieujuste recommends picking your top three and going from there, while Silver recommends trying on no more than 10-15 gowns.

How many bridal stores should you visit in a day?

We advise brides to keep it to around 3 appointments a day if they can. That way you can give yourself at least an hour at each of them, and that last appointment won’t feel like you’re rushing through it because you’re tired, hangry, and ready to go home!


There are many ways to make wedding dress shopping special for the bride. Just make sure your idea is magical enough to surprise them and make them feel unique.

We strongly recommend that you keep your phone away during this time.

Your bestie is probably apprehensive about the idea of a photo of her in a dress she isn’t crazy about appearing on a social media feed. So keep your phone away to alleviate this concern.

Also, keeping your phone away gives them the assurance that your mind is set on them because they are important to you the same way you’re significant to them.

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