Hello all. I’m here to tell you all about my experiences as the perpetual bridesmaid. Yes, that’s me, always the bridesmaid, never the bride. While that’s a saying that’s a bit connotative of the word spinster, let me tell you, I’m happy as can be about never-been-married at 34. A string of single years and succession of lovely boyfriends have been enough to keep me happy. I don’t feel a need to get married yet and I may not ever! But that’s not the point of my post today.
As the perpetual bridesmaid, it’s been quite the honour. Wow, enough of my friends love me that much that they want to make me a bridesmaid! I’ve yet to experience being head bridesmaid and I’m kind of glad about that – sounds like a lot of prep, planning, and management. Regular bridesmaid is enough for me. There’s enough prep and planning and meetups that go into that as it is!
One of the activities that you get to be involved in as a bridesmaid, if you’re lucky, is going wedding dress shopping with your bff or relative, the bride. Going wedding dress shopping could just be a day, if your bride has done her planning and gets lucky and happy, or it could span across a few dates, to make sure that the dress is the one. We’ve all seen Say Yes to the Dress. I can tell you for a fact that if a bride visits just one bridal shop it’s either because they have the biggest collection in the world or she gets super-duper lucky. One shop. Ha!
Luckily, there are usual bridal shop enclaves or districts in whichever part of Australia you live in. This means that a trip to a few shops doesn’t have to mean criss-crossing the city. No one wants to sit in a car all day, I don’t care how good the tunes that are cranking are. Often shops will be just a short walk or drive away.
Each bridal shop is completely different from my experience. From the price ranges, to the layout, to the size of the shop, the colour scheme and lighting, the décor, the changerooms, the salespeople, the selection of designers, and even the selection available from a particular designer. For instance, a shop may carry Provonias, but not the Provonias Eco dress.
The best bridal shops from first impressions are the ones that have enough floor space and seating, dresses not jammed onto racks, beautiful displays, comfortable, large and very private change rooms, soft lighting (fluros can make anyone look bad), and most importantly, good sales people.
The perfect sales person is one who is able to expertly size up their bride and know what’s going to look best, but also let the bride pick out a few of her own to try on. She (or he) will be an expert in making the bride feel special and beautiful. The bride’s too big for the dress she’s trying on? “It’s a gorgeous look on you, I can check if we can get it in another size.” If the bride is seeming self-conscious about her arms or back? “We also have an amazing range or lace shawls and boleros, would you like to see them?”
I have witnessed my friends be disappointed in some of their wedding dress shopping experiences, all because of a misguided salesperson or one that didn’t truly “understand” the bride. Perhaps a degree in bridal psychology is a good idea. While none of these salespeople ever tried to go in for the sell (I think it’s kind of tough to do that in wedding dress shopping), it was simply because they didn’t approach the situation with the right degree of finesse.
The right salespeople are more likely to make the sale because they’re more likely to keep the bride in the shop for longer – looking at more dresses. The more dresses you see, the more likely you are to get closer to “the one”, right? A glass of champagne for the bridesmaids and family never goes astray either!
Even though a bride may not purchase a dress from a particular store, if her experience there is positive, then whoever else is along for the ride that day is more likely to remember that shop the next time around. They’re also more likely to remember the lousy ones too. Word of mouth is excellent marketing, so appease the bride, appease the bridesmaids, and word will go far.
While it’s been a little while since my last bridal shopping outing, I’m secretly hoping that I get asked to be bridesmaid again soon. Not only for the fun shopping experience, but for the joy of celebrating friends or family getting married, plus I love a good excuse to dress up and get on the dance floor.