Here’s the scene: I walk into a bridal boutique that deals in new, used, and vintage gowns. It is beautifully crowded with lovely things. I’m greeted by two friendly ladies, and I explain that I’m looking for a wedding dress. Behind me, my fiance. This wasn’t the first time I’d taken him dress shopping.
“And this is the groom, we assume?” the ladies ask.
“And you’re ok with…?” The question doesn’t even need to be finished.
“Yes. It’s his wedding too. And I’m going to be working on the dress at home–how wouldn’t he see it? I want his opinion. I don’t really have anyone else in this state, anyway.”
For the record, the shop was very welcoming. I wound up buying a dress.
But I want to talk about this assumption that the groom shouldn’t see “The Dress.”
Perhaps it worked in a time when the bride’s family was expected to cover the entirety of the wedding, and the bride could plan the wedding in secret that way. I don’t know, honestly, if it ever worked, really.
But I do know what the reality of now is. The reality of now is that my fiance and I are planning the wedding together. I know that I’m marrying him because I like to share things that make me happy with him–I don’t think I could not share a pretty dress with him.
A few months ago, I made an appointment at a national bridal wear chain and tried on dresses there. I knew I wanted to make my dress, but I wanted to try things on and see what the prices and styles were. And I wanted my fiance there; I was unbending on that. And it was a great decision, even if he was there only groom there. As it turns out, he has a great design sense, and it reminded me once again why I love him.
Why shouldn’t I want someone who thinks I’m beautiful helping me choose the dress that’s supposed to make me feel the most beautiful? Why shouldn’t I bring my partner when we’re making a major financial decision? Why would I keep a secret from the person I want to share my life with?
Seriously, I strongly recommend taking your intended with you when you go formal wear shopping. This is the person who thinks you’re beautiful even when you’re under the weather. This is the person you are planning to make major financial decisions with. This is the person you want to share good and bad news with first. This is the person you are trusting with your very life, not to mention your household and family. Why wouldn’t you want their input?
Starting off with a big secret seems like it’s sort of antithetical to the goal of marriage, even if it is traditional to do so. Starting off with open communication about something that makes you feel vulnerable and emotional–even something as seemingly trivial as a dress–seems like a good foundation.
Sure, wedding planning may take more time if you always check in with your partner on every major decision. And maybe you don’t get that “first look photo.” But it sure feels less lonely this way.