Some of you reading this might already be married, others might be recently engaged and prepping for their wedding and some of you still may be looking for the right “one” (do not worry, they are out there, and you will get that ring).
Regardless, the way our parents raised us, especially when it comes to body image, can affect us in some of the deepest and darkest ways. Even more so, the things our parents say to us can affect us far into the future, including bridal gown shopping.
I have been working in the bridal industry for three years now as a bridal stylist and consultant. Essentially, I help bride’s say “yes to the dress” and work closely with their bridal parties.
At least once a week for the last three years, I have had a bride explain to me, sometimes even crying while half-naked in the fitting room with me, how she does not like this or that about her body.
The sad part is why she does not like certain features – even her entire body, on occasion. Time and time again, my brides tell me what their parents would say to them growing up, specifically the mothers.
So many women are body shamed by their own mothers, often starting at a young age. Whether it is out of jealousy or ignorance, body shaming is never OK and is considered emotional abuse in my book.
About five months into working as a bridal stylist, a mom of one of my brides said directly to me, “She’s always been fat, and she will never be able to get rid of it. Unhealthy trash.”
That has stuck with me to this very day. As I saw the wave of guilt and shame wash over my bride’s face, I kindly but firmly stood up for my bride, explaining to her mom that she is beautiful and she should not want to change her daughter’s body in vanity. Rather, she should try to find the beauty in her own daughter and not take her blessings for granted.
I am still unsure of how I did not infuriate my bride’s mom, but she conceded and apologized. Later, as I was in the fitting room with my bride, she cried in my arms and thanked me, explaining that no one has ever defended her and her body like that.
Over the years, I have seen so many mothers walk in with their daughters for a bridal appointment, but the outcome goes one of two ways: The bride has a phenomenal appointment and finds “the one” or she walks out disappointed and, sometimes, in tears. It has always broken my heart when it is the latter outcome.
Either way, a good bridal appointment always has a supportive mother.
That could simply mean that they are body positive or are just there for moral and emotional support for their daughter during this important time in her life.
Regardless, it is important as a parent to be there for your child and have a strong bond that only you two understand, especially during such a stressful time such as wedding shopping.
If you are planning on going bridal gown shopping in the near future, bring a small group of the most supportive and trustworthy people you know to make bridal shopping fun and less stressful.
Hopefully your mom is one of those supportive people you trust to bring in your entourage, but if not, ask her to be genuinely supportive on this day at least, for you.
When you are a mother, remember to shower your children with love and
adoration. Tell your children how much you love them. Tell your children how beautiful they are because you made them.
Show your children what they deserve in a relationship, any kind of relationship. Set the standards.
Love your children for who they are with all of your being. How you treat them as a child will stick with them throughout adulthood.
Make good impressions on your children so you can create lasting memories and continue the memories through both of your lifetimes. Whatever you do, be there for your child always.
I love working with brides and will continue to do so for as long as I feel necessary. I cannot stress enough, however, the importance of being there for your daughter physically, mentally and emotionally during her bridal experience. Do not try to make this any harder or stressful on her than it already is.
And brides, remember: Love yourself for who you are because clearly someone loves you enough as you are to want to spend the rest of their life with you.
Make some happy memories and do what you need to do in order to have the experience you want. You are worth it, always.