Kara Solarz
February 09, 2016 9:44 am
Image via TLC

I was trying not to visibly freak out as I rifled through racks of lace, tulle, and beading, but I’m sure my dinner plate eyes and sweaty palms were giving me away. “I did see a dress online that I liked,” said my brother, cooly searching alongside me for the gown that caught his eye. With an armful of ivory, my bridal stylist led us to the dressing room area, which was filled with gaggles of girls, weepy moms, and soon-to-be brides. My six-plus-foot, broad-shouldered brother stuck out like Babe in a sheep-herding competition.

My brother isn’t exactly the type you’d think would be into wedding dress shopping. Growing up, our lives were all Legos and lightsabers, our post-college relationship primarily revolves around Philly sports. Thanks to my brother, I’m much more inclined to talk about Game of Thrones fan theories than my Dream Dress. But when I starting booking bridal consultations, I knew I couldn’t do it without my only sibling by my side. 

Here’s the thing about weddings: There’s still a lot of old school gender stuff in play. (See: bridal showers, bachelor/bachelorette parties, bridesmaids/groomsmen.) It’s kind of weird to me that my wedding party, which is comprised of all my female best friends, doesn’t include my BFF brother. My brother is in my fiance’s wedding party, which is totally lovely and makes me all teary when I think about it too hard, but it’s strange to me to do so much stuff without him by my side. So why not include him whenever I can?

Also, it turns out people have A LOT of opinions about wedding stuff. Especially moms, and most especially moms with only one daughter. My mom is amazing, so I usually let her live out her dream wedding wishes. But I knew that when it came to the dress, it had to be about what I wanted. It was handy to have another, completely neutral family member nearby to ensure we both felt heard.

Plus, if I’m honest, I wanted a dude’s point of view. I usually just do what I want, style wise, and my aesthetic essentially aligns with Man Repeller’s. But on my wedding day? I definitely want my husband-to-be to think I look good. And so I needled my fiance for weeks to get a feel for what he had in mind — something romantic? something traditional? something casual? — and got nothing. “I just want to be surprised!” he’d respond to my every question. So yeah, it was nice to have at least one guy around to tell me that the tiered tulle skirt I was drooling over came off more way-out-there weird than cute and quirky.

My brother is actually the best shopping buddy. Seriously, he puts a Mary Kate and Ashley mall montage to shame. My brother encourages me to try things on I normally wouldn’t and is all about making things fun. He put me, my mom, and my MOH up in the coolest, coziest hotel for “wedding dress weekend” just to make it feel more special. He was the first to suggest champs and cracked jokes when I started feeling flustered. If you had a brother like mine, you’d take him wedding dress shopping too.

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