If you love wedding shows, you are in luck. There are wedding T.V. shows springing up every day--shows about the engagement, the wedding cake, celebrity weddings, and fabulous honeymoons. We've seen brides at their best (Chelsea Clinton) and at their worst (Bridezilla and Whose Wedding is it Anyway). Some shows are geared toward improving the bride's self-esteem and others prey on it.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about a new show Bridalplasty. Basically, there is wide-spread concern that Bridalplasty may be sending a negative message. To recap, women compete for extensive plastic surgery to be "perfect" for their wedding day. What's the big deal? It seems to suggest that it is essential for women to look "perfect" even if they have to go under the knife. The reality show spin may also minimize the seriousness of plastic surgery, a major medical procedure.
If you need a bridal fix, Say Yes to the Dress may be a better option. Although I've only seen an episode or two, it was immediately obvious that it is very different than Bridalplasty. The premise is somewhat the same--looking your best on your wedding day. But the shows go about it in completely different ways.
Say Yes to the Dress is a TV show about women picking out a gown for their big day. The best part--rather than snipping, tucking, or cutting up the bride, it's about finding a dress that enhances her natural curves and beauty. There is a great dress for every size and shape. There is no push to change their appearance or for dramatic weight loss. In fact, one of the "plus size" brides bet her aunt that she could lose 10 pounds in a month. Randy, the fashion consultant, suggested that the bride should not attempt drastic weight loss the last few weeks before the wedding. It's about being healthy, eating nutritious foods and taking care of yourself.
There is a transformation in a woman's demeanor when she slips on a dress that is really "her." No matter what the shape--thin or curvy there is a glow and an amazing smile when she feels truly comfortable. It makes one thing really clear. It doesn't always take plastic surgery or drastic weight loss to make a woman feel beautiful. Even the "plus size" women who express honest insecurity about their figure or have a shopping phobia because they have difficulty finding the right size, leave feeling terrific.
When the fashion consultant slips the dress over a woman's head the bride often says things like "too princess, I'm more bohemian" or "this isn't the right amount of bling." She isn't afraid to say, "yes" or "no" or that it's not "her." Too often, women put their "self" to the side. It's good to see women really "knowing" themselves.
Sure, lots of the dresses on this show are extremely pricey and sometimes a bride can be a bit demanding. I'm not suggesting that you have to spend a lot of money. Instead, it's just being more mindful and tuned into your style. The lesson--sometimes it is about find clothes that make you feel comfortable and do amazing things for your natural shape.
Wouldn't it be nice if we choose all our clothes with this amount of mindfulness? Instead of just purchasing something off the rack that you like, try it on and determine if it is really "you" and makes you look your very best. Take a close look at your closet. My guess is that you have a sweater or a dress that is your favorite for this very reason.
So, as you are flipping channels, consider how Bridalplasty and Say Yes to the Dress are on different ends of the spectrum of how they make women feel about themselves. If you like bridal shows, I guarantee that you will love the one thats sole mission is to make a woman feel good about her body as it is.
Dr. Susan Albers is a clinical psychologist and author of five books on mindful eating. Her work has been featured on Dr. Oz , the Oprah Magazine, Shape, Health, Prevention and the Wall Street Journal.