Confessions of a Bridal Consultant

I work a couple of hours a week as a bridal consultant. It is something I do for fun, simply because I like working with brides and being around pretty dresses. I don’t work on commission (thankfully), and we generally get a pretty cool group of ladies that shop our boutique. Having worked there for awhile now though, i’ve noticed some trends, common themes/problems/questions that seem to come up in some way with every bride.

So here are my confessions….. Ok, not really confessions, more a top 10 list of info I wish brides were aware of when they started looking for their wedding dress/accessories.


10) Try on at least one of every style. I know you may have had your heart set on a mermaid gown with cap sleeves, but I have seen too many brides come try on the “joke” or “just for fun” dress and fall in love with it. You never know unless you try.

9) Don’t schedule too many appointments in one day. Trust me, dress shopping is exhausting. Between the weight of the gowns and getting zipped, laced, snapped into them for hours, it can really take its toll on you both mentally and physically. You won’t remember one gown from another and you may be more likely to make rash decisions. I know that your mom may be in town for only the weekend, so maybe split it up. Two appointments saturday, two on sunday. Or better yet, go to some initial appointments earlier by yourself or with a friend. Then narrow down just one or two stops you want mom to come with you too.

8) Understand that your appointment has a time limit to it. I can’t count the number of brides that show up for their appointments and when we give them an estimate of how many dresses to pull (we let our brides choose their own), either they or a party member  remarks “oh, I didn’t know there was a time limit to the appointment. I guess we better hurry”, and then starts to rush. Breathe and Relax. Don’t rush. Just know that you may not be able to try on 20 dresses in one shop. Trust me, 10 dresses is more than enough to try, and chances are, this way you are only trying on the ones you really like (20 dresses is really exhausting too).

7) Tell us about your wedding! Not only do we like hearing about location, colors, and your gaggle of bridesmaids (we wouldn’t work in this industry if we didn’t), but it may help us find the perfect dress for you. We know the stock, and some dresses look awful on a hanger and really need a body to fill them out and look awesome.

6) Stop looking once you’ve bought a dress. Dresses are big investments, and if you fall in love with another one after you’ve already bought/ordered one, you many not be able to get your money back and be stuck with a costly decision to make.

5) Bring any questions you may have about the dress buying experience. If you don’t ask, we can’t answer.

4) Make an appointment and don’t try to walk in places even if just to look at accessories. Most shops will have to turn you away if you walk in without an appointment. I have seen countless bad reviews of bridal shops on yelp because of this, and I generally feel they are unfounded. Let me explain. Wedding dress shopping is unlike any shopping experience you will have otherwise. This isn’t like picking out a new sundress at Anthropologie, it is a much bigger investment financially and emotionally, and therefore consultants want to give you their undivided attention. When you pop in, even just wanting to browse, we feel like we are neglecting you when we are with our scheduled appointment. We would much rather you schedule something, so we can help make this the experience you deserve. In cases like the shop I work in, it’s also simply too small a space to allow extra bodies roaming around.

3) Be wary of bringing a crafter or basic sewer with you. Unless they have sewn wedding dresses before, take any alterations suggestions they may have with a grain of salt. I’ve had some crazy suggestions come from the brides party and I have had to take multiple brides back into the fitting room and tell her that it might not be possible to do what her friend recommended.

2) Be prepared for your mom to be a little crazy. You may have the most down to earth relaxed mum in the world, but much like a bride, you never can tell who’s going to go a little bit wonky. She will fuss over every little detail of the gown, and get flustered more easily than usual. She may also pull samples of what she wants to see you in, and then cry when you like your selections better than hers. It’s all totally normal. Have patience, she’s your loving mum after all, and her little girl is getting married. We as consultants are ready to handle the situation whatever may arise. Chances are after you’ve made your decision, she’ll settle back down and be thrilled with the decision you’ve made.

1) We are here to support you. Any consultant worth her salt is on your side. We have our own opinions and our own style of course, but this appointment isn’t about us. When you ask us for our opinion, we are going to talk about the dress we saw you light up in and get excited about. We can tell what dress you like the most even without you telling us. Sometimes this isn’t the family/friend favorite, but if it’s yours, it’s ours. Often when a persistent mothers opinion differs they will pull us aside and try to get us to agree with them. We won’t. We will agree that of course you looked beautiful in their pick (you did), but we really thought the other dress suited you more (it does).

That’s all for now folks! Happy Tuesday!