Post # 1
I’m not sure how else to put this, but I’m in recovery from an eight-year battle with anorexia and it’s making my life absolute hell right now. I know that wedding dress shopping is stressful for every bride, but my distorted body image and negative self-talk is really getting in the way of what should be one of the most fun things an engaged woman does.
I’ve come a long way with my recovery in the last six months, but I still feel very uncomfortable with my body and can’t even begin to describe how awful I feel when I think about choosing a wedding dress. I can’t even get dressed every day without analyzing (and over-analyzing) my outfit, my body, and how I imagine people perceive how I look in said outfit.
It’s to the point that I’m not even sure I want to have a wedding (elopement or otherwise) because the dress thing is freaking me out. I want to wear a dress.. but then again I really don’t want to wear a dress. Fiance is cool with postponing things and wants me to be in the best health (mental and physical) I can be, so waiting and seeing how things go and getting a dress closer to the date/changing the date is an option.
Does anyone have experience with this? I’d greatly appreciate any insight.
Thanks in advance, and sorry for the novel I just wrote.
Post # 3
firstly kudos for you coming on here and saying what’s going on in your head and voicing your concerns. I also think its really cool your fi is being so supportive about possible postponement.
If you get to that point where you think you might want to get married sooner rather than later and therefore find a dress. I would maybe suggest doing it your way, use what you have learnt to begin recovery. Maybe small steps? I would also suggest yourself or a member of your bridal party who knows about your issues emailing a few bridal shops and explaining that you are very nervous about the dress process, could they recommend a quiet afternoon for u to pop in, no fuss or fanfare, maybe just to walk through the shop, meet your consultant and look at dresses with no pressure to try them on. Leave it as long as you need and return?
I think the fact you’ve come on here and spoken on what your fears are, means there are solutions there as well.
Wishing you much luck, you WILL be a beautiful bride x
Post # 4
- Wedding: July 2014 - Prague
+1 Very good advice here!
Do you have an objective friend who could come along and be an outside eye? I know with your body issues you may not trust what other people say, but you can also probaby judge which of your friends you trust the *most.* I’d really suggest having another person there.
I’m literally on my way to my first ever dress trials, and I’m trying not to panic. I have no eating disorder, but a very real and I guess normal fear of this process bc of my own issues with my weight. I’m going to try my best to view it as a life experience and not the end-all-be-all.
Small steps! Good luck! And good for you for fighting your disorder!
Post # 5
If you already know what shape generally flatters you, maybe you should pick out dresses online to try and disassociate the dress from your body. If you don’t know, just ask a fashion conscious person in for their input (make sure they know not to trigger you!). Find a dress you think is objectively pretty and try it on as the last step, with your favorite people there to support you.
Whatever you choose remember that your mental health comes first. A wedding is really just one day, it’s not worth regressing over. If the thought of “all eyes on you” is unbearable then maybe just have a very small ceremony. As far as prolonging things, only you can decide if that will decrease or increase your anxiety.
Sending big hugs! Take it one day at a time 🙂
Post # 6
- Wedding: May 2013 - Pavilion overlooking golf course scenery, reception at banquet hall
Firstly, congrats on your recovery journey! It is not easy, but it gets better with time. Good luck with continuing your recovery, and let’s hope that the dress shopping actually helps! One thing I noticed while shopping is that wedding dresses are fantastic pieces of optical illusion. They’re so well-structured compared to regular clothes that it is easy for them to nip in here, puff out there, elongate here… But it goes both ways! Don’t be afraid to laugh at a dress because the way it was designed makes you look 3 feet tall; just remember there’s a Jessica Rabbit bombshell of a dress hiding somewhere in the racks for you. On top of all that, you will be distracted by the delicate laces, intricate beadings, luxurious satins, and soft tulles. I remember being intimidated by dress shopping before I went because of some gained weight, but after I tried on a few dresses I was having a good time because of the way they are structured. I hate regular clothes shopping because I can’t put an outfit together to save my life, but dresses are easy because they’re only one piece.
I also agree with a PP who said to call a salon to visit during a quiet afternoon, and only bring one or MAYBE two close friends/family you trust to help in the way that you need them.
Post # 7
Thank you all for the words of encouragement. I think scheduling a bridal appointment on a slow day is a fantastic idea, and I do only plan on bringing one person along who will be objective but supportive.
Post # 8
Honestly, I know where you are coming from. I looked online until I had a few requirements in a dress, then when I shopped, I focused on checking off boxes. Mine were:
Sleeves, sparkly fabric, silk, interesting back, straight skirt, off white.
I ended up finding what I wanted, not in a store, but online, and feeling great in it. If anything I feel stronger than I did before because I got through this hurdle.
That is my experience though, I have been in recovery for 6 years, and I know that some periods are better than others. I wish you the best of luck. I prefered shopping alone, but I think that if you are doubting whether you are strong enough and have a trusted person, bringing them can help you avoid the negative thoughts.
Post # 9
I think you’ve gotten great advice. Congratulations on being in recovery and making it so far!! Every day you stay healthy is a huge accomplishment. I’ve been in recovery for 3 years, and it can be extremely difficult at times. Don’t let the wedding pressures derail your success so far! I would highly recommend working with an ED therapist to help you through your body image anxiety.
I browsed dresses online first to narow down what I wanted to try on at the store. I brought my best friend with me who I knew would be extremely supportive of me. All those things made the process a lot less stressful.
Another thing I would recommend is not dwelling on how you look in your dress when you first try it on. Alterations and accessories make a world of difference.
Post # 10
I was the same way and have struggled with anorexia for a few years. I’ve been in a good place (not completely recovered, but in a good place) for little less than a year. It was EXTREMELY difficult for me to think about what would look good on me right then and then think about this same look for a year out. I had a panic attack before I left for the appointment and Fiance basically said if you aren’t ready to do this today that’s okay, but I know you’ll be beautiful in anything you put on. It’s still extremely hard to think about the first fitting. The word fitting just gives me anxiety, ahh it’s hard to even think about. It’s a time to really dig deep and try your damndest to find healthy ways to cope because the stress, for me, is a trigger and we all know wedding planning in itself is stressful. If you would like some support PM me and we can totally chat and talk about more personal issues! It would be support both ways. 🙂 🙂 Be strong.
Edited: I just reread your post-we talked about holding off our wedding as well, Fiance was totally okay with it. He wants me to be there and be mindful and in the moment and not worry about other things. Fiance has been so incredibly amazing through this whole process-nearly saved my life- and I credit him with a lot for how well my recovery is. Surround yourself with a great support that helps as I’m sure you know.
Post # 11
- Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry
Great advice given above- I second trying to schedule your appointment mid-week- there was only one other client at the store when I had mine, which made for a very relaxed experience.
Post # 12
Your all are so amazing. Thank you so much for the words of support abs the good ideas regarding dress shopping. I’ll talk to my therapist and see if she has any further input. Congrats to those who are in recovery, too. It’s a hard road but we can make it =)
Post # 14
You brave girl, overcoming an eating disorder while planning a wedding is no picnic, I’m sure! I don’t have an eating disorder but I’m a woman, I know very well how yucky it feels to go clothes shopping, let alone wedding-dress shopping, when you don’t like the way you look for whatever reason.
The other ladies have all given you excellent advice and I’m sure your therapist will also think of something helpful. Here’s my 2 cents in. How about you first try on something that makes you feel absolutely tiny? Like a huuuuge ballgown, even if you don’t like them, just for laughs and so that you’ll be able to see how small you look in it? It might help! Good luck with your journey 🙂
Post # 15
Definitely choose a small entourage and choose them widely. Only people who are really supportive in your life. Second the middle of the week thing is a great idea. I hate crowds and went once on a Saturday and felt like I was in some kind of crazy bridezilla movie. I went on thursdays and got the entire store to myself! Also realize that you are being asked to try on dresses that are probably not your size and imagine they fit you. No one looks that great in the stores sample prealteration. I went to one store where I couldn’t even fit in the dresses, and another shop were every dress was much too big. I absolutely didn’t look like a gorgeous princess in a dress that didn’t fit. Secondly if the store and/or consultant isn’t trying to make you feel.beautiful it isn’t the store for you. And don’t feel afraid calling it an early quits for the day. I have body image issues too and we pretty scared to try on dresses. I didn’t bring many people with me and it was actually better than I thought it would be.
Post # 16
Well done for saying all this. You are very brave. I haven’t really got further advice except to say that if you find shopping really difficult at first you maybe could get a professional shopper to help by bringing dresses to you or by choosing dresses for you to try on at the bridal shop so that the length of the visit is shorter. I suspect that the more you go to bridal shops gradually the less difficult it will become. Also get something nice that isn’t dress related. A pretty necklace perhaps.