When my wife and I were planning our wedding, we decided to do almost everything together. We both attended every vendor meeting, had a joint shower, stopped by each other’s bachelorette parties and more or less got ready together on the day.
But there was one tradition that neither of us wanted to shirk: keeping our dresses secret from one another until the wedding day. There was something beautiful to us about a first look, about seeing one another as brides for the first time mere moments before we would walk down the aisle. Beyond that, it simply felt fun to have it be a surprise.
Keeping things a surprise was a bit more complicated once we knew we’d both be wearing dresses. We didn’t want to accidentally end up in the exact same one. Personally, we were not too concerned with whether or not our dresses would be well coordinated, but we knew we did not want to match. Since we were both shopping at the same two stores, it didn’t seem a far-off possibility for us to unintentionally select the same dress.
My wife purchased her dress first. When I arrived for my appointment at the same store she purchased from, they told me she had called ahead to have it put away so I couldn’t inadvertently pick it out or even lay eyes on it. It was a great plan, and I ultimately picked a dress from a different store, anyway, so we figured we were in the clear.
The First Look
We spent the entire wonderful morning before our wedding getting ready together, but we separated to put on our dresses. When the moment for our first look arrived, we turned around and were both delighted and amused to discover that while the dresses were not the same, they were indeed very similar.
All of our guests thought we had done it on purpose, and as it turned out, we didn’t care. We both looked beautiful, and the dresses looked gorgeous together. The situation was merely a continuation of the many times we had accidentally matched for events in the past, and in our eyes, it was merely another sign that the two of us were meant to be.
Different Ways To Shop
If you and your partner both plan to wear dresses, and being well coordinated (and not accidentally matching) is important to you, I would not recommend our method of completely surprising one another.
I have read about couples who work with the same stylist who can make sure their dresses are complimentary, and other couples who merely decide to shop together. One of my wife’s and my original plans was to have our moms compare our dresses before we purchased, though once we each fell in love with our respective dress, we never did follow through on that.
In the end, your wedding is yours alone, and you get to decide what makes it special. My wife and I loved the freedom that being an LGBTQ+ couple gave us to design our wedding. Without the pressure of gender normativity, we made every decision based exclusively on what worked for us. In this case, it was keeping the dresses secret. As a result, they ended up similar, but it ultimately made the day even more perfect.
So, if it is special to you for your dresses to coordinate, then there is nothing wrong with picking them out together or having a designated person ensure it all works out. If being surprised is the most important thing, there is also nothing wrong with leaving it all up to fate.