You just don't see it as a bonding experience with her.

By Nancy Mattia
September 25, 2018
wedding dress rack shopping with grandma
Credit: Diane Hu

It's one of a bride's most cherished experiences: After trying on dress after dress, she walks out of the dressing room in a gown she loves and is met with oohs, ahhs, and maybe even a few happy tears from her mom. But what if the above scenario sounds more like a fairy-tale than reality? If you can't imagine your stoic, disinterested, or distant mother crying at the sight of you in a wedding dress, it may be hard to imagine her being part of this special shopping experience at all. Whether you've always had a difficult relationship with your mom, she's supercritical of everything you wear, or you worry that her persuasive ways may end up talking you out of a dress you really love, you may be wondering if you need to invite her to join in the search for a wedding dress.

Ultimately, the decision is yours to make alone, but before you extend the invite or cross her off the shopping guest list, consider the options you have.

Don't ask her to go.

It may be easier said than done, especially if she expects to go. But it's a special day for you, and one where you should be surrounded by people who are supportive, honest, kind, and objective. That could be your sister, maid of honor, the bridesmaids, or even his mom. Should you think that your mom will make the experience anything less than amazing, it may be best for her to sit this task out.

Invite her to join your (largish) squad.

While many bridal salons prefer a small group of friends and family accompanying the bride, some may be able to accommodate a full crew. In the event that you're able to bring along a handful of bridesmaids, sisters, or loving relatives, go ahead and invite her. The vocal people cheering you on with love and support will overshadow any aloofness or criticisms from your mom. And should you only be able to invite a few people, make sure the others in attendance will balance out your mother's attitude.

Show her the dress after you've chosen it.

Some bridal salons allow customers who've already ordered their wedding dress to "visit" the sample until their own gown comes in. After you've selected and purchased your dress, invite your mom to come see it in person, but explain ahead of time that you hope she likes it and to hold her criticism it if she doesn't. You want to bring a sister or friend for moral support.


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