Your Guide to Body Positivity in Wedding Dress Shopping and Prep

January 1, 2021 | riley

Whether you’re newly engaged or are taking your first steps in the wedding planning process it’s never too early to learn the ins and outs of wedding dress shopping. While this is often one of the most exciting parts of planning a wedding, we know that it can also be one of the most stressful. From not feeling comfortable in your own skin to hearing others’ opinions about what looks good and what doesn’t, there’s a lot that can ruin the experience.

Weddings are a celebration of your love with those closest to you, and this applies to wedding dress shopping too. While it may seem impossible to have fun if you’re filled with self-doubt, there are ways to surround yourself with self-love and confidence–that’s what wedding dress shopping should be about, after all!

Prep For Success When Wedding Dress Shopping

Before heading to your first appointment, do your hair and makeup in a way that makes you feel confident. If you want to get your hair and makeup professionally done, go for it. What better way to do a wedding day hair and makeup trial than to do so while you’re trying on your dream dress? 

If you love how you feel tan, get a spray tan—a few days before the appointment, of course. Or treat yourself to a manicure and pedicure. The more confident you feel, the more you will love how you feel in the dresses.

Image by The Tinsley Co.

Don’t Compare Yourself To Social Media

It’s no secret that comparison is the thief of joy. In the age of technology, we know just how easy it is to compare ourselves to others on social media. This is especially true if you are spending hours on Pinterest and Instagram. These resources are there to inspire, not make you feel poorly about yourself. 

If you find yourself feeling down while scrolling or flipping through the pages, delete the apps or lock the wedding magazines away for a few days before your appointment. If you can’t part with social media, consider filling your feed with accounts that promote body positivity–such as Megan Crabbe, Nyome Nicholas-Williams, and Eff Your Beauty Standards

The most important thing to remember is that you should never neglect your confidence and mental health for the sake of inspiration. Trust us, we’re the inspiration experts.

Image by Anna Caitlin

Surround Yourself With People You Trust

It may be tempting to bring a large entourage with you. However, the more people you bring, the more opinions you are going to get. It’s hard enough to be kind to ourselves, so be sure to avoid bringing people who will only add fuel to the negativity fire.

Instead, surround yourself with people who are going to lift you up and cheer you on. This doesn’t mean that they have to give you constant positive feedback, but when they do give negative feedback, it will be in a way that is constructive. Expect these comments to sound more like, “that dress is pretty, but I think there other dresses that will be more flattering for you.” 

Keep Words And Talk Positive

Speaking of constructive feedback, it’s important to keep all interactions positive–this includes conversations with yourself. Steer clear from words such as “fat,” “big,” “disgusting,” etc—in fact, do this forever. 

If need be, find a mantra or phrase that you can repeat to yourself when you’re feeling down. Whether it be “I am beautiful” or “I am thankful for my body,” recite it whenever you need a little pick-me-up.

Image by Los Ébano

Be Honest With Your Bridal Consultant

You might have heard horror stories from friends about experiences at boutiques or with specific bridal consultants. We’ve heard them too. But we’re here to tell you that the right bridal consultant is there to help you feel beautiful. If there are any concerns or insecurities that you have going into the appointment, let your consultant know. They will work to make you feel as comfortable as possible. If you find yourself in the rare and unfortunate situation where this isn’t the case, don’t feel pressured to stay.

The wedding dress shopping process is meant to be full of love and happiness. You’re in control of your appointments and how they go. If you ever feel uncomfortable, leave and take your business elsewhere.

Image by Sharon Pye

Try On Different Silhouettes

Many people think different silhouettes won’t be flattering on them. Most of the time, they are dead wrong. If you go into your bridal appointments with this mindset, then you are setting yourself up for a very limited shopping experience.

Trying on different silhouettes will pinpoint what you like and dislike about different gowns. Many brides fall in love with entirely unexpected styles. And if you go in to try on a particular dress and find that it is not as flattering as you like, that’s totally okay! 

This is all about the process of elimination. You will find the one you absolutely adore through trial and error. And trust us, when you find “the one” after trying on less than perfect ones, you’re going to love it that much more.

Image by Katy Weaver

Wedding Dress Sizes Don’t Matter

It might come as a surprise that wedding dress sizes typically run 1-2 sizes larger than street sizes. When it’s time to pick a size with your consultant, don’t let the size chart determine your self-worth. A size is just a size. The most important thing is that the dress makes you feel like a million bucks—the dress that does is the perfect size.

Pick A Dress That Fits You Now

There’s always pressure to shed some pounds to get wedding ready. This negative expectation typically leads to ordering a wedding dress that is a size or two smaller than recommended. Not only does this set you up for a chance that you’ll receive a dress that is too small, but it also enforces the idea that you need to change yourself.

Don’t go into an appointment thinking about a body that you hope for. Instead, imagine yourself walking down the aisle in the dress of your dreams in your body. If you end up losing any weight along the way, alterations will be an easy fix. If you don’t, that’s okay too, because you picked a dress that fits and makes you feel beautiful as is.

Don’t Shop On An Empty Stomach

You know how they say you should never go grocery shopping while hungry? The same goes for wedding dress shopping. It may be tempting to skip breakfast to make you feel better during your appointment—however, don’t underestimate the effect that being hangry has on your mood, confidence, and energy levels. 

Dress shopping can require a lot of time and energy, and let’s face it, it’s easy to get impatient when you’ve got a growling stomach.

Say No To Diet Culture

Diet culture is a concept that has been force-fed to us for years—it’s especially prevalent in wedding planning. Whether you’re planning on changing your body or not, negative commentary about food and your weight can be detrimental to your confidence. There’s nothing wrong with looking to better your diet and incorporating exercise into your daily routine, but it can often lead to extreme measures to lose weight fast, which can be seriously dangerous.

Shift conversations about food and weight into a more productive direction. Think sustainability rather than a quick-fix, yo-yo crash diet. Take care of your body and don’t be afraid to treat yourself through the process. We know wedding planning can be stressful, and you deserve it.

Image by Louis Gabriel

Remember That Your Fiance Loves You—Exactly As You Are

At the end of the day, if there’s only one piece of advice that we can give you for your wedding dress shopping experience, it’s to remember that your fiance loves you as you are. They see far beyond your physical appearance and are choosing to spend the rest of their lives with you. You’re going to blow them away the minute they see you on your wedding day, no matter what.

Now that you’re ready to book your wedding dress shopping appointment, check out a collection of our favorite bridal boutiques from around the world. In the meantime, you can also get inspired and get answers to your bridal hair questions, thanks to our expert stylists.

Image by Jordan Voth

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  1. Amazing ideas! Every being bride gets tips from your article.

  2. I am hearing this term ‘Body Positivity’ for the first time in your post. I agree that wedding dress shopping is always stressful. It is also difficult to pick a dress that everyone in your close circles approves of. However, it is important that you like the dress you select because it is your big day.

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