Post # 1
Regular bee going anon. I’m just so embarrassed about this….
I’m going wedding dress shopping for the first time this weekend and I’m having such high anxiety. I have body image issues and an eating disorder that causes me to have avoidance tendencies. I avoid eating sometimes and if I’m feeling overly anxious I will eat in isolation. I purposefully avoid mirrors on a daily basis. I tend to go into the bathroom and not turn on the light to look at myself. So the thought of trying on a wedding dress and standing in front of a bunch of people in front of the mirror critqueing what I’m wearing literally fucking brings me to tears.
A couple of my bridesmaids are coming with me this weekend and I opened up to one of them about it last night. She’s trying to be reassuring because she’s so excited about the whole process. She’s saying the consultants will be very professional and help me feel beautiful. I just know I’m going to break down in that fitting room and not want to come out.
Also, we plan on going to a wedding show later this month and my girls are foodies and super excited about all of the samples. I hate eating in front of people.
Are there any other bees who are super self conscious about themselves? I know I’m supposed to love my body for what it is but I’m just really hard on myself. I hope I’m not the only one out there…
Also, yes, I have been going to therapy for these issues.
Post # 2
:hugs: You’re not alone and it’ll be okay. Try to do what you want to do and feel comfortable with and I wouldn’t force myself to do something I really didn’t want to do. It’s ok to acknowledge your feelings and I would think baby steps would be better than jumping into a situation you’re dreading. Maybe you can go at a less busy time to the dress shop. I was at a consignment wedding store yesterday afternoon and it was just me, my mom, and the consultant.
As for eating at the bridal show, maybe start small. I’m going to my first bridal show tomorrow, so I have no idea, but maybe you can make it your goal to just have one sample there in the moment and take the rest for later.
Good luck! You’re not alone and you’ll be fine.
Post # 3
You are not alone in your feelings. Try to book a bridal appointment at a less busy time. Bring only your most supportive friends or family. One or two people is much better than a large group when it comes to getting opinions on dresses. Wear light colored underwear that fits well and a little make up and do your hair. Remember that sample wedding dresses may not be your exact size so they may not be as flattering as the dress would be if it was in your size. When you look at yourself in the dress, look at the dress first, its silhouette, the dress’s details, the feel of the fabric, its weight on you. Try not to focus on your perceived flaws, we are our own worst critics. Focus on the dress. Can you walk, sit down easily in it. Does it twirl when you turn around in it? Try to focus on everything and anything but what you think are shortcomings.
Post # 4
Unfortunately I don’t have any advice, but I do have sympathy. I feel the same way about wedding dress shopping and it’s the biggest wedding related hurdle for me. We got this. ::hugs::
Post # 5
Have you considered only bringing one person to the fitting, whoever you feel the most comfortable with? Your bridesmaids would understand if you mentioned that doing it in front of a group has caused anxiety and you want to scale it down. Having one person there means someone to help slow the intrusive thoughts when they begin to spin out of control. If you can’t for this shopping trip, then maybe future ones.
I’ve had anxiety issues my whole life, and although mine are different I know that bad, untrue thoughts your brain cooks up can ruin an experience in a heartbeat. Do what’s best for you. This is part of the wedding experience, not something to entertain your friends with and they should understand that if bringing them is too difficult. Self-care comes first.
Post # 6
Not sure how many bridal salon options there are in your area, but could you try to only go to ones that have seating areas that are more private? I was surprised in open settings how many other people were checking me out and making comments. When I’ve been with friends before to look for their gowns I tried to not be super nosy of what other brides were trying on, but I feel like I’m one of the few.
Many of the salons in my area have private sitting rooms outside the dressing room, or the salon is designed so that someone would have to be walking around to see other groups. Might help to look into that.
ETA: Good advice above about going at non-busy times. I took days off during the week to go on my appointments, and at a few of them I was the only bride trying on, which was really nice.
Post # 7
What PPs have said is all spot on! I used to work in a bridal salon and we luckily did have one room that had more of a private sitting area for brides to try on dresses without having to be out in the main viewing area. Definitely ask if that is an option. Also, a good consultant will be your best friend in this whole process. There were definitely times when I had a bride in the private changing room express to me how nervous she was and how uncomfortable she might have felt. It is our job to make her at ease and to hopefully make the experience a pleasant one. Don’t be afraid to tell the consultant that you do not want to show the people you are with a certain dress if you do not feel comfortable in it. Also, I was never in the changing room with a bride unless they wanted my help. I instructed how best to put on the dress and then stepped out. There were also many times that a bride put on a dress and then took it right off because she didn’t like it in the private mirrors, she didn’t show me or anybody else and we just moved on to the next dress. It really should be a personal experience, not a “show” for others.
Also, remember that bridal sizing is vastly different than any other clothing. As much as possible, do not look at the number on the dress. I would measure my brides and then according to the size chart, pull dresses in the size that best fit the measurements, but I would never tell the bride the size unless she specifically asked or we were discussing ordering at that point. Just plan on the number being anywhere from 3 to 4 sizes more than what you normally wear. It is just a number randomly assigned by the bridal designers, it has no bearing on your actual size! Hope this helps from a different perspective!
Post # 8
Thank you, everyone. Your comments have helped alot. I just want to pick the first dress I put on and be done with it…
Post # 9
Everyone made really good comments, but I just wanted to add one. Your bridesmaids that you’re bringing love you. If they give any criticism it is of the dress and not of *you*. You are not being judged. If a dress doesn’t look good on you, it’s not your fault – it’s the dress’s fault. Wen you look in the mirror make sure to frame your language in a way that implies this.
ex: “The dress makes me look X” and not “I am X in this dress”, “The dress is unflattering” not “I look bad in this dress”, “The dress is ugly” not “I don’t look good in this dress”, etc.
Also ask your bridesmaids to use similar language
Post # 10
Is there anyway you can go alone? with just someone who understands your situation first so you can be more comfortable doing this in front of a group of people, and enjoy it more?
I’m sorry bee. *hugs to you for dealing with this*
I know it’s difficult. Trying on dresses was AWFUL for me because no matter how thin I’ve ever been my mother has always been hyper critical so I was sort the *not coming out in this or that or that dress bride*
If you don’t like a dress, don’t go out it unless you want. Make a set of rules in your head, and don’t come out of the dressing room unless you feel comfortable doing so. it’s your perogative to make this a comfortable experience for yourself.
You will look gorgeous in what you pick, it doesn’t have to be from the first appointment or the first store, try to have fun 🙂
Post # 11
All I have to say is that you are beautiful, bee. *Hugs*
Post # 12
Hey dear, I can totally relate to this. I suffered from an eating disorder all through HS and college and even if I’m at a healthy weight I still have those certain feelings and anxiety when eating in public. So, what I did was I went dress shopping ALONE. I tried it on and the only other person who saw me was the sales associate helping me, who turned out to be a really sweet woman. I know I would have been a bag of nerves if my friends / family were around. Anyways, that’s what worked for me.
So happy to hear you’re going through therapy. I know you’ll get through this and come out stronger on the other end 🙂