Bride Tribe (n.) – The group of people the bride trusts the most to provide support, feedback, and positivity while planning details of her wedding.

With tons of bridal hashtags circulating the web via social media this day and age, it’s hard to tell which wedding-word-choices carry serious weight and which are simply “for the Gram.” My hope is that you’ll be able to understand key elements of a title that might place you at a higher standard of duty owed to the bride… or in the case that you are the bride, give you some things to consider when choosing your posse for bridal shopping. Let’s talk about the “Bride Tribe.”

If a bride in your life asks you to be part of her tribe, this is not something to take lightly. If she’s asked you to go with her to pick out her wedding gown, she’s selected you as a delegate in one of the most important decisions of her big day. While “tribe” members need not be members of the “wedding party”, the trust and respect that is conveyed with the bride’s request for you to join her in selecting her dress, can far exceed the responsibility of a maid.

When inducted into this exclusive world, there are several things you will want to keep in mind.

The soon-to-be-Mrs. values your opinion. She knows that you will be honest with her but it’s very important that you do it with the utmost kindness. Brides often express that they have left out particular people, knowing some will not finesse their disapproval or soften their suggestions while shopping. When a bride discovers that she misjudged a trusted friend or family member during her appointment, it is always devastating for her. Choose your words wisely, and you can be sure that she will bring you back for her next consultation.

Keep the focus on the bride. Yes, you will attend her wedding. Maybe you will be standing next to her during her vows…maybe you’re her mother, the groom’s mom, her sister or hell, even her Granny. Perhaps you will wear your hair up? Or a long sparkly dress…Pause! This is not your moment. Do not make the bride’s appointment about you. You will get your time to shine, but our sweet bride’s dress sets the tone of the event and you’re a part of the instrumental. Let her find her melody and bask in the harmony before you start throwing in suggestions for accompaniment.

You wouldn’t be sitting on a plush velvet sofa waiting for her to emerge from the bridal suite in a gown that might make you gasp if she didn’t want your input. She knows that you KNOW her, (like down to the core), and she wants you to help her stay true to herself. While your ultimate goal is helping her illustrate her vision, don’t be afraid to voice constructive criticism. Stating that you believe a particular gown “is classier/more sparkly/more whimsical/more you” than the one that precedes or follows another, is a perfect way to voice your opinion. Keep the focus on compliments for the bride, and you will ensure you contribute to a positive experience for her.

For a bride selecting your tribe, know that your shopping event doesn’t have to include anyone that you don’t believe will be helpful and supportive. If you have a particularly large bridal party, it’s often most productive to begin your shopping endeavors without them- opting to bring a few of your closest peeps instead. It’s not unreasonable to request an initial smaller-crowd appointment and then come back for a follow up where you ask additional people to come help you narrow down your favorites so you can say “YES!”. I routinely book appointments for brides who want to come back alone after a rowdy appointment as well (there are no rules here). Make sure you don’t put too much pressure on yourself during your shopping experience, especially during the initial consultation. Although you may want to get everything done in one sweep with choosing your gown, maids styles, tuxedos etc., it is not necessary. You are more than deserving of time to revel in the glory of finding your dream dress before thinking about what anyone else will wear. Don’t hesitate to ask your stylist to back you up or help rally your bride tribe if at any point you start to feel frustrated or overwhelmed, that is literally our job and we do it because we love it. If you happen to need a glass of champagne during your appointment, we are happy to join the bride tribe and do the pouring.

Kassy Lauer of Rose & Bliss