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Say Yikes to the Dress

Tips to help choose what to wear to a wedding

Some of what I do for a living as a therapist is helping people survive marriage. But surviving a wedding is quite another thing. Anticipating a wedding can be stressful in so many ways beginning with thinking about what you’re going to wear, how you will look and how you’ll look in pictures for years to come. A wedding requires a lot of planning with a great deal of emphasis on what people wear whether you are the bride, the groom, the mother of, or a guest. This article could have also been entitled “say yikes to the tux” since my son was recently married and I have some hands on experience with wedding stuff.

Caring about how you look is code for caring about how you will be perceived by others. Beauty, for better or for worse, has always mattered in our culture and is so much more in the limelight at a wedding. The process of choosing what you wear can be complicated so hopefully, armed with some insight, the process might be a bit less stressful. So, what should you consider when undertaking the exhaustive work of finding something to wear for the big event?

Here are some pragmatic as well as psychological things to think about that might help find that special outfit.

1. Pay attention to how you would want to be perceived? This means think about what aspect of your personality do you want reflected in what you’ll wear.

For example, think about whether the playful you, the serious you, the sexy you, the cool you, the classy you, the adventurous you or the conservative you is how you’d want to look that day. Once you have some idea about that, you can begin to search in categories of clothing which best reflect that.

And the same goes for men. Though I did think that tuxes pretty much looked the same, there are nuanced details in tuxes that too, reflect how you want to be perceived. Men have the opportunity to reflect that in their choice of fabric, color, cut, accessories such as bow ties, ready- made vs. tied, underneath tee shirts, socks, cummerbunds, or shoes, or so I learned from my GQ son.

2. Think about choosing something that is close to how you dress most often and what makes you feel most authentic and attractive.

If, for example, you’re a jeans and sneakers person, wearing something really fussy and ornate might not be the best choice. You might want to consider choosing something simpler and more comfortable to wear. And if you’re used to wearing coordinated outfits, you probably would feel most authentic in something complicated and ornate.

When I finally settled on a dress for my son’s wedding, the best part of my choice was the fact that the dress had pockets allowing me to carry my cell phone and tissues. We all have our priorities!

3. Are you willing to wear something out of your comfort zone?

Sometimes choosing something that you’ve always wanted to wear and have waited for just such an occasion to wear might be a bit out of your comfort zone. But if you’ve always wanted to wear a specific type of dress, for example, to your wedding, then that’s probably what you should wear regardless of whether it’s in your comfort zone or not. You need to be true to your dreams.

In light of all the energy and stress that goes into planning a wedding, remember that a wedding is the celebration of love and commitment no matter what you wear.

More from Maria Baratta Ph.D., L.C.S.W.
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More from Maria Baratta Ph.D., L.C.S.W.
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