HOW TO SURVIVE WEDDING DRESS SHOPPING WITH A DIFFICULT MUM

This was never going to be an easy post to write, but I’ve seen so many difficult or tense appointments that I hope I can offer some advice on how to navigate the dress shopping experience with a difficult mum (or any other family member). Along with some gems of advice from some of our designers - Ashley (Daughters of Simone), Angel (& For Love) and Sandra (Blue Meadow Bridal) who have seen it all when it comes to family dynamics and wedding dress shopping.

Talitha dress by  Rolling in Roses

Talitha dress by Rolling in Roses

CAN YOU GO IT ALONE?

Firstly, if you already have a tricky relationship with your mom then don’t let the excitement of the wedding fool you into thinking things will be any different. In truth it can often heighten emotions that are already there, and make the relationship MORE tense. If that’s the case then I strongly advise you to find a way to begin your search without her. It’s honestly not worth the heartache and it can spoil the entire experience for you.

One way to do it is to attend your initial appointments with just your friends until you have found your dress. That way you get to have all the excitement and stress free dress shopping with the girls who 100% have your back. Then tell your mum you have found your dress and invite her along to your second appointment when you plan to order it. BUT the crucial thing here is to make sure she knows it’s DEFINITELY the one, and you don’t need further opinions, and you won’t be trying on any other dresses (this is a common occurrence when brides bring their mums to the second appointment who couldn’t make the first… “oh why don’t you try this one etc”) Hopefully this will appease her need to be involved without too much stress on your part.

If you think she will be offended not to be invited in the first place then you could always say it wasn’t a planned appointment and you just popped into the shop on the off chance and they had a free slot there and then.

Moms are tough! I think the best rule of thumb is to be realistic about you and your mums relationship. If you often go to her for fashion advice, she's your bestie and your confidant, and you trust her advice- bring her. If you guys butt heads, or she hates everything you wear in general, or you just don't have the same taste, maybe don't bring her to your appointment and give her another job that will make her feel involved e.g. asking her to organize the flowers. If you really think she may feel upset or left out, maybe wait until you've narrowed it down to your top two gowns and then bring her to that last appointment. But remember that no matter what she says, at the end of the day you are a grown woman and you can make your own choices, and you don't need anyones permission or approval about the dress you want to wear. 

ANGEL SPENDLOVE - & For Love

MEGHAN dress by  & For Love

MEGHAN dress by & For Love

GIVE THE SHOP A HEAD’S UP

If you really can’t get around not bringing her, you can always let us know in advance. That way we can help smooth the situation and be persuasive towards the styles you like. Believe me I’ve seen many a sour faced look from mums when they see our rails as we don’t have the ‘traditional’ style dresses. But it’s amazing what some small talk and some schmoozing can do to help win them over. Just give me a heads up and I’ll bring my A game! Sometimes it’s hard to grasp exactly what’s going on with the dynamics, so a little bit of insider info goes a long way.

In private, or ahead of time, let the store know of your concerns with this person so that they can assist you with the situation during your appointment. Let your stylist know when you really like a gown so that he/she may present it to your family prior to you coming out of the fitting room, i.e. "I think we have a winner!", A statement like this will let your cheering party know that you are loving this gown and typically can help achieve excitement all around.

ASHLEY CASTANOS - Daughters of Simone


Ashley wearing her namesake dress ASH by  Daughters of Simone

Ashley wearing her namesake dress ASH by Daughters of Simone

PAY FOR IT YOURSELF

One sure fire way for your mum to think she has a say in what you wear is if she is paying for it. No matter how tempting it may be, if you know your mum isn’t going to be on board with what you want to wear then definitely purchase the dress yourself. It gives you full control over your choices and means you won’t have any resentment or negativity associated with your dress.

THIS YOUR ONE SHOT

Remember babes this is your one chance to do this so wear whatever the hell you want and don’t let anyone else’s bad vibes get in the way of your dream dress! DO NOT SETTLE! It literally doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks - if you feel amazing in it and you love it then go for it. So much of our confidence and personality is wrapped up in how we dress and project ourselves into the world, so if ever there was a day to feel like the most shit hot version of yourself, this is it.

For a bride dealing with a tricky mum, you have to be firm and stand your ground. It’s the bride walking down the aisle and wearing the choices, no one else. Ultimately it should be the brides decision. You never want to look back in 5, 10 or 25 years time and think why did I wear what my mother wanted me to wear, and not what I wanted! Stick to what makes you feel like you!

SANDRA O’HARA - Blue Meadow Bridal

Pippa veil by  Blue Meadow Bridal

Pippa veil by Blue Meadow Bridal

I really hope this has helped anyone who is feeling anxious or dreading their first dress appointment. Please get in touch if you have any concerns about who to bring with you or want any extra help at all. (It wouldnt be the first time I’ve pretended I’ve never met a client before!) We 100% have your back and want to make this experience as awesome as it should be.

Big Love,

Claire x

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