Michelle sitting in a chair. She's wearing a white wedding dress with lace sleeves and she is looking at the camera
Olivia J Photography

In the age of 'shredding for the wedding' and cosmetic procedures, it's easy for your bridal experience to become about external goals and aims that have nothing to do with planning your wonderful day or knowing what makes a beautiful bride.

If you’re on a journey to positively embracing and loving your body, you don’t need to check that journey at the door because you think you need to meet 'bridal expectations' for yourself, for others or for society.

The truth is, we don’t have to commit to the idea that our bodies aren’t good enough in order to be worthy of bride status. We can embrace the fact that being a bride has nothing to do with what sample size we are or what silhouette we choose - and everything to do with reflecting who we are.

Here are some truths to affirm on your body positive bridal journey!

Truth 1: You Are More Than Your Body

You are and will always be more than a body. Sometimes it feels as if life begins and ends with what our bodies look like and that only gets amplified the moment we start thinking about a wedding, but remember that you are so much more than your body. You are more than its size and its shape and its height and its weight.

You are a wonderfully complex person and all the dimensions that come with that! Do not let anything or anyone, including yourself, reduce the sum total of your journey as a bride down to your body. If you catch yourself eyeing up numbers and panicking, take back control!

Attest all the things about yourself that have nothing to do with your body and have everything to do with all of the wonderful things that make you who you are: the person your other half fell in love with.

Michelle in a floral robe in a hotel room, laughing

Truth 2: The Dress Doesn’t Make You, You Make the Dress

As we search for 'the one', we create a picture of this perfect dress. When the reality of looking and trying things on begins, we often find ourselves lost in waves of fear because we don’t look like the images we have conjured or seen presented to us.

That fear can steal the joy from the experience and stop you from exploring with as much abandon as you should. Remember that a wedding dress, though important, is just another article of clothing and it does not hold any power over you. The dress is nothing until you choose it. So, don’t let yourself get stuck in the cycle of numbers, dos and don’ts and what’s 'flattering'.

You get to set the rules. You have the power!

Truth 3: You Do Not Need Approval

Sometimes we get stuck waiting for something or someone to give us the permission we need to take up space, take a chance or do what feels right.

You don’t need to wait around for that!

Seize the moment and honour what brings you joy. And whatever that may look like, you don’t need to apologise for it. When you find yourself seeking permission, take a moment to unpack why and empower yourself to do what is authentic and safe, because your bridal journey goes by so quickly - don’t waste it waiting.

Michelle sits on the edge of a bed wearing her wedding dress
Olivia J Photography

Truth 4: It Matters Who Is Around You

This journey is vulnerable, and on the tough days you want to be surrounded by the people who are going to affirm and lift you up, not project or tear you down. So, remember that it matters to have your bridal support group be a reflection of the kind of environment you wish for yourself and others.

It’s okay to set firm boundaries and recognise that some of your relationships won’t be conducive to maintaining a body positive environment through your bridal journey.

Truth 5: You Will Have Harder Days

All things said and done, being body positive it isn’t always easy.

There will be days when you don’t necessarily feel that positive and that’s okay. Days where you’re not sure if you’re worthy or enough, and that is okay.

This journey isn’t linear, and it isn’t perfect, and you don’t need to be either. Allow yourself the space to go through what will be nuanced and complex highs and lows.

On the days when it feels like a struggle not to cave into the pressure of being 'the perfect bride', double down on affirming all the things about yourself and your body that help remind you how worthy you are.

Thank your body for how it carries you, all it does for you and how it enables you to be present in each moment.

As brides, we pour so much energy into the style, the texture, the colour, and cuts of the things around us that we forget to think about how much we also deserve to invest in respect, authenticity, imperfection and individuality. You don’t owe anyone a version of yourself and your body that’s not real.

And so, remember, stay true to you.

For more wisdom and inspiration, follow Michelle on Instagram @michellehopewell.