How to Dress Shop with Your Mother (or Mother-in-Law)

No matter the relationship with your mother or mother-in-law, it’s important to manage expectations.

It’s finally time! You get to go wedding dress shopping. You’ll likely have some idea of the style you’re looking for and, of course, your besties will probably want to come with you. Your mother and/or mother-in-law may also be interested in helping you choose the perfect gown, but how do you dress shop with your mother or mother-in-law?

No matter your relationship, here’s how to dress shop with your mother or mother-in-law.

MORE: 6 of the Most Popular Wedding Dress Silhouettes – Which One Should You Choose?

Manage Expectations

Before you head out to a bridal salon, figure out what you’re looking for as far as style, price point, color, and designer goes. Communicate with your mother or mother-in-law ahead of time to loop them in — tell them what your ideal gown looks like, and the kinds of dresses that catch your eye. This will give them an idea of your preferences, so they’ll know what to expect as they “ooh and ahh” over the dresses you model! This could also help them narrow their focus, so they don’t suggest different styles or gowns you’re not interested in.

Keep an Open Mind

Just as you want to manage their expectations, it’s also important to keep an open mind for yourself. We’re not saying to try everything your mother or mother-in-law suggests, but it might not hurt to try something they think would look great on you. They usually have your best interest in mind. And if you hate it, there’s nothing wrong with saying so!

Know Their Personalities

At this point in your life, you know both your mother and mother-in-law’s personalities. Take this into consideration as you dress shop. If you think their personalities will clash, maybe take separate shopping trips. If everyone gets along, make it a group outing. Either way, just remember the experience is all about you, so make sure you’re happy.

MORE: 6 Things to Wear When Dress Shopping

Set Boundaries

This goes along with managing expectations. Set those boundaries early. If you don’t want them to take photos, that’s fine. But let them know, as they will probably be eager to not only take those photos, but share them with their friends.

It’s also important to let them know that you will keep their suggestions in mind, but ultimately, your dress is your decision. If you set those boundaries before you head out, it will make the dress shopping experience fun for everyone.

Put You First

The dress shopping experience should be about you and only you. Yes, it’s great that your mother or mother-in-law wants to share that experience with you, but make sure that you put yourself first. Schedule your shopping trips at times that are convenient for you, choose the salons that you want to visit, and be the main point person for your bridal consultant. You are the one getting married, and you are the one wearing the dress, so you (and only you!) are in charge of the experience.

MORE: What you feel when you find THE dress 

And remember — there is nothing that says you HAVE to dress shop with your mother or mother-in-law. If you prefer to shop with only your besties in tow, consider involving your mother or mother-in-law in another special wedding activity. Just as with everything else planning related, it’s your wedding and you can do what you want.