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Choosing a wedding dress, with a little help from your friends

Fashion, Shopping, Social software

As a followup to my post a couple weeks ago about shopping for wedding dresses online, I wanted to talk about an interesting way my sister is using the web to decide on a dress.

If you read my first post on this, you know that my sister is getting married soon. She came to visit me in Austin a couple weekends ago and we spent a lovely Saturday going from bridal shop to bridal shop, where she tried on about 30 wedding gowns. Of course we took millions of pictures.  When we got home that evening, we put all the pictures up on Flickr, labeling and rating each dress. This was initially so our mom could see everything my sister tried on, but it became much more than that.

The Flickr set in question contains about a hundred photos of about 30 dresses. We tried to take a few shots of each dress, so Mom could get a sense of the whole gown, including the train, beading detail, the bodice, etc…  The first picture of each dress in the Flickr set includes information about the dress designer and store and the reasons why my sister liked (or didn’t like) it.  Each dress also got a rating: a 1 if it was a top choice, a 2 if it was a maybe, and a 3 if it was a no way. We sent Mom the link, and talked to her on the phone about all the dresses. It worked pretty well, since she couldn’t be here in person with us.

But then the interesting thing happened. My sister and I each shared the Flickr link with a few of our friends. These friends spent some time going through the pictures, commenting on dresses they liked and what they thought looked best on my sister.  They could tell from the photo comments which ones she liked or didn’t like, so I’m sure most of them were careful not to hate any of the ones my sister loved. But in a span of about a week, the pictures in this set were viewed several hundred times.  The photos are private; to see them, someone has to click on the link we created. So the people viewing these dresses are just our family members and friends.

But with something like wedding dresses, everyone has an opinion. My sister and I talked to both married and unmarried women (the ones who have had their own weddings sure had a lot to say about wedding gowns!), as well as a few men. All of them had feedback and ideas and suggestions.

I don’t know how my sister feels about this. She may be at the point of wanting to tell everyone to shut up, that it’s her decision what dress she chooses. Or she may be loving the participative nature of these conversations. Either way, these dresses have now been vetted about as much as a vice presidential candidate. My sister is certainly making a well-informed decision.

I think it’s pretty cool how we can use tools like Flickr to share this experience with more people than you can reasonably bring to a bridal shop. It’s sort of like the wisdom of crowds applied to wedding dresses. Pretty neat, if you ask me.

PS – If you’re curious, here are two of her top choices right now. This first one is from Alfred Angelo’s Destiny collection.

alfred angelo dress

This other one is also Alfred Angelo, from their regular bridal collection.

alfred angelo dress 2

So, what do you think?

Jenn @ July 24, 2008

5 Comments

  1. Heather July 31, 2008 @ 4:13 pm

    Now you need a zitefight dedicated just to wedding dresses! (I like the top dress, but it is so hard to find a dress that is not strapless these days so the second one is also a great choice).

  2. Miss C. January 15, 2010 @ 8:19 pm

    I think every girl, dreams of having a wedding. And it would be never be without a wedding dress, right? Or if not, it wouldn’t be perfect without it. I like the first wedding dress picture, the tube dress. It is simple yet elegant. Great choices, I may say. Anyway, congratulations then to your sister. Best of luck!

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