Shopping For Two Complementary Wedding Gowns Or Suits Without Spoiling The Surprise
Not long ago, a reader wrote in asking how she and her fiancee might go about shopping for complementary wedding gowns without ruining the fun of a wedding day reveal. And, while this may be more of an issue for brides who won’t be getting ready together, there might be a few grooms out there who also wish to save a surprise for a first look prior to the ceremony. In any case, it’s important for a couple to consider what they will wear and how their styles and colors will pair, particularly if they are planning on investing in a photographer to capture the Big Day.
Our reader, Erin, asked:
I’ve scoured the internet searching for style advice for two (lesbian) brides who are interested in both wearing gowns to their wedding. There’s advice on suits EVERYWHERE, but nothing on how to select coordinating but not matching bridal gowns. Can you help? I’m particularly interested in how two brides should approach dress shopping separately. We want the surprise factor, but don’t want our dresses to clash. Suggestions for how to discuss this with each other would be very helpful. Should we agree on color/material/cut/style beforehand? Designate one person as a style guide who sees both? HELP!
My answer on how best to shop for wedding gowns without ruining the Wow! Factor:
In brief, I do think it’s difficult to do the dress shopping to be both a surprise and complementary. Perhaps one way to do this might be to find a local bridal shop with a knowledgeable salesperson or a wedding planner who can work with each of you individually to better understand what your tastes and objectives are, while keeping an eye on the style coordination for you.
If you won’t be using the help of an intermediary (likes a salesperson, planner or friend), it will be important that you know what style dresses you are interested in, and from there, make sure you are in the same general ballpark so that you will complement each other nicely. For example, you wouldn’t necessarily want to show up with one of you having selected a 70s style wedding dress and the other in a formal, fancy gown with a long train!
Once you are in the same arena on your style, you can then do your shopping together for your accents (like flowers, colors or other ceremony and reception themes) in order to pull your complementary look together without seeing each other in your wedding dresses.
You might also decide to do some preliminary shopping together (or consult with a stylist) to learn more about which dress options will look most flattering on your body types. From there, you can use those details to discuss with the salesperson what you are shopping for independently without revealing more to each other.
And, perhaps, you might restrict the element of surprise to something other than the dress itself. Perhaps it’s easier to choose your dresses together but then consult separately with the make up artist and or hair stylist so that the finished ‘reveal’ will be more dramatic.
And, for all of our grooms out there: there may be less drama about planning your suits or tuxes, but you can still employ a few of these tips to keep your outfits complementary if you, too, like surprises and want to enjoy a dramatic ‘first look’ on your wedding day.
Wedding innovator Kathryn Hamm (@madebykathryn) is co-author of The New Art of Capturing Love: The Essential Guide to Lesbian & Gay Wedding Photography (Amphoto Books, 2014), an Education Expert for WeddingWire and Publisher of GayWeddings.com