How Many Guests Should I Bring to my Bridal Appointment – 8-minute read.
Choosing your wedding dress is one of the most memorable moments of your life. However, it can be challenging to decide who to bring along to the appointment with you. This is a topic you should spend some time seriously considering, as it can easily make or break your bridal experience. While your guests will surely have your best interest in mind, they can unintentionally add stress and pressure to your experience. This article will prepare you with thoughtful topics to consider before you start booking your bridal appointments.
Why Should I Consider Who to Bring?
One word – Anxiety!
Preparing for your bridal appointment can be both an exciting and anxious time. That is normal! Most of the brides I work with say they are anxious above all other emotions. Half of the time, the anxiety comes from not knowing what to expect, or not knowing if they will find enough options. The other half of the time, their anxiety comes from feeling torn between pleasing yourself and staying true to who you are, while also passing the judgements of the girl gang you brought with you – Matriarchs and Maid of Honors alike. Making an informed and thoughtful decision about who you bring with you to your bridal appointment can easily help you regulate your anxiety as you head into a moment of your life that you will remember forever.
How Many Guests Should I Bring?
After 12 years of helping brides through their gown search journey, my largest take away is that less is more. There is no magic number that is right for everyone. We all have different families and circumstances that can influence this decision. My advice on this is always one to three guests. You should always check the policies of the boutiques you wish to visit. Most, if not all, will have a guest count limit. Here, at Astraea Bridal, our traditional appointment allows up to four guests.
How do I Choose Who to Bring?
You want to bring your most trusted advisors who understand your vision for your wedding day and will support your decisions while giving supporting input and guidance. You DO NOT have to invite anyone you don’t want to because you are concerned about how it might make them feel. This is already making the event about them, not about you, and it should be your first red flag. You should also consider how much their opinion can persuade you, and if you really want it to. Once we hear something negative about something we love, it’s hard to get that out of your head, even if it is just one person’s opinion. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This is one of the greatest things about fashion. You can absolutely think something is beautiful and have your twin sister think it is hideous.
You also may want to consider the values of the guests you might bring. For example, you might have someone in your guest group that thinks that how attractive your body is in a gown is the most important factor. You do not have to choose the “most flattering gown”. You should choose a flattering gown that is comfortable to wear, feels like you, and fits nicely within your budget. You are the only person that can decide all those things. It can be easily said the “The second gown was more flattering”. Now we’re in our heads trying to decide if the gown we love is unflattering.
For another example, let’s say that you are inspired to make your fiancée look at you like a Looney Tune looking at a nurse. Is mom going to get behind your sassy attitude? Or is she going to tell you that you should be more modest for your wedding? Now you are looking in the mirror trying to decide if the gown that makes you feel beautiful is leaving too little to the imagination while mom is picking out some beautiful, but churchy looking gowns. Or maybe you are the modest one, and your MOH is telling you this is “the one time it’s okay to be sexy”.
All these pieces of feedback are only true if they are TRUE FOR YOU.
Don’t get me wrong, we all need advice, that’s why you’re reading this blog anyway, right? But you really should only bring the people whose advice matters the most to you. The people who you can consider if the comments are right for you, and either take to heart or disregard just as easily, without an emotional toll.
Why Should I Bring Less Guests?
Okay, so really everyone you know is totally behind you and supportive, that is fortunate! You should still limit your guest count.
Let’s talk about EVERYONE having something to say, or a question to ask about every gown you try. This input takes time and can seriously impact the number of gowns you can try on during your scheduled appointment time. It can also put a certain amount of stress on both you and your stylist.
Segue to story time.
Once upon a time I had a bride with a larger group. We tried a gown on in the Bridal Suite and she gave it a 6 out of 10. Okay, not the one, but she wanted to take it out to the Platform and show her family anyway. They came for a show, so let’s give them one and bring them on our bridal journey. We went to the platform and the bride said she did not love it, but that there were things about it she did like. We are immediately bombarded with simultaneous questions from three different guests about “Well what if we change the sleeve” “Can the beading be removed?” and my favorite – seriously one person asked “What would it look like bustled?”…. (She doesn’t even like the dress so why does that matter!?) While I’m mentally processing the simultaneous questions, I decide on showing a sleeve option. While I’m tucking in a sleeve, I’m asked by another to get out of the picture they are trying to take. I get out of the picture without showing the sleeve and look off in the distance to take a deep breath and collect myself. What do I see? Two of her guests looking through the racks, in the wrong budget and size area, to try and find “The One”. I go off to wrangle them in and remind them we already have a couple more in the room, and that it’s too early to pull anything new. They are not pleased that I am putting away their pulls. Now the mood in the room is stressed.
Luckily, this appointment did end up getting back under control, and ending with the bride finding an amazing gown, but it took an extreme level of assertion by both the bride and myself, which robbed her appointment of joy and is not ideal.
You will also want to consider the experience of other brides in the boutique. Does your aunt have a habit of giving unsolicited opinions? Then it is plausible that she might pop her head in on the other bride’s appointment and tell her how beautiful she thinks a certain gown is – or isn’t. The other bride does not want your aunt’s opinion, trust me. Since you can pick up on social ques, it might stress you out that your aunt is doing that, which is distracting you from your own search.
Okay, I’ve read all this, but still need to invite more than the recommended number.
That is Okay! Like I said in the beginning, we all have different families and circumstances. I have had brides that are visiting back home for the holidays and want to bring both grandmas, mom, 3 sisters, and MOH. This happens and it’s ALL GOOD! Many boutiques have an appointment option for this. At Astraea Bridal we offer a Private Bridal Appointment that allows us to accommodate up to 7 guests. As of now, we charge $200 for this service. This charge will cover gratuity to your stylist, an additional 30 minutes in your appointment, as well as closing the other bridal suites, or operating outside of normal business hours. (Non-bridal guests may still be allowed to enter and utilize our non-bridal fitting rooms.) Openings for this service are limited to availability, so it’s best to schedule these well in advance.
Let what you have learned in this article be a guide to help you set clear expectations for your guests! It’s okay to have a meaningful conversation with your party about their expected behavior during your Bridal Appointments. Share your vision with them in advance so that you are on the same page when you arrive to the Bridal Salon. Consider having a “safe word” with your group that lets them know you are getting overwhelmed. Maybe appoint a person-in-charge that will be your lead advocate for the group. These are just a couple of ideas of ways you can include everyone, while keeping your anxiety levels low.
No matter what your family circumstances are, there is always a way to help you include everyone who you want to be involved. You can always have more than one Bridal Appointment. Bring the JV team to help you learn about your bridal style and then the Varsity team to help you narrow down the best of the best. If you are going to multiple shops, consider flying solo for a first round of appointments and then bringing the whole gang to the salon you vibe with the best. Mother-in-Law can’t make it? Well, bring her to an accessory appointment or an alteration fitting. There are plenty of ways we help everyone that is important to you feel included, while keeping your gown choosing focused on your wants and needs above all others.
We hope you have found this article insightful, educational, and empowering. Above all else, we want you to remember that your gown purchase is an emotionally charged decision. You should prioritize your emotions and be aware of how your family and friends can impact you and choose your guests accordingly. You should also remain open minded to the feedback of your most trusted crew that you honor with an invite. Good luck finding your gown! I’m sure you are going to be stunning.