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Future of Fashion

How the Bridal Industry Is (Slowly) Getting More Inclusive

Photo: Courtesy of Jermaine Horton

Body positive bridal magazine, Pretty Pear Bride, serves gorgeous wedding inspo for women who want to see beautiful plus size brides who look like them. In a Q&A, the publication’s CEO and Editor in Chief, Shafonne Myers, gives her take on the evolving bridal industry and virtual dress shopping. 

Shafonne Myers

CEO and Editor in Chief, Pretty Pear Bride

How has the bridal industry evolved to become more inclusive of different body types? 

Personally, I think the evolution has really come from seeing more plus size brides. Now, is it where it needs to be? No. But it has come so far. I think back to when I got married 16 years ago and I saw nothing that looked like me. Absolutely nothing, no one. So just the aspect that I can see plus size brides in styled shoots, on blogs, in advertisements, is a step in the right direction. But in that same breath, I also say that so much more can be done. When I think about brides planning their weddings and still having to imagine how they will look in a dress, or still not being able to physically try on a dress in their size, but having to pay for and buy said dress, sight unseen — it’s heartbreaking. That’s the work we still have left to do. 

What is the biggest piece of advice you’d offer to couples considering moving or postponing their weddings?

This is a great question and one that so many couples are dealing with right now. We will make it through this. Love is still love. The love that you have for one another is still there and will still be there if you move your wedding. No need to cancel the moment in time that your family and friends want to see, that you all have looked forward to. I know you are scared and don’t know what will happen, but you do know that you love each other and that won’t change. So, no need to cancel that, just move it to a later date. When deciding between moving or postponing just keep a few things in mind. One, you must be flexible. Things are ever changing right now, so just be flexible when it comes to picking dates, picking locations, and vendors. Your wedding might have to look a little different than you originally planned.  Two, understand the financial impact. When you cancel or postpone an event there is going to be a financial impact. You will lose retainer fees and final payments. You might even have to think about fees for nonrefundable goods and services. So, when it comes to thinking about moving as opposed to canceling or postponing there is definitely a difference financially to them.  

Photo: Courtesy of Grá Photography

How can brides navigate the process of finding the perfect wedding dress at a time when many salons and wedding expos enforce social distancing measures?

Right now, it’s all about finding bridal inspiration online. So that means following your favorite bridal salons and wedding publications so you can find the dresses you love online. And it all comes down to being able to see the dresses you love on models who look like you, especially for me as the owner of a wedding publication. That’s my biggest driver, knowing that my images and inspiration are providing plus size brides with exactly what they need to find their perfect wedding dress. Salons are also offering virtual wedding dress appointments which can be helpful too. And usually in these situations the bride is able to see a certain number of dresses up close through a zoom call. There are also at-home try on packages that are growing in popularity. This includes having dresses that the bride pre-selects come to her home so she can try them on. I personally love this option right now because you can involve your bridesmaids in a virtual party where everyone sees them try on dresses. You can also use this for bridesmaid dresses and each bridesmaid gets their own bridesmaid dress to try on. 

What are you most excited to see in the bridal industry in 2020?

Honestly in 2020, I’m excited to see curves, curves, and more curves in the bridal industry. I’m ready to see plus size brides showing off their amazing curves in form-fitting wedding gowns. For so long, plus size brides have always stayed safe and only thought they could wear A-Line or ball gown wedding dresses. I’m so excited to share that I’m definitely seeing an explosion of form-fitting wedding gowns for plus size brides. And I can’t wait to see it get bigger and bigger. I’m also super excited to see the many virtual options pop up in response to COVID-19. Surprisingly they are actually pretty useful and a great option when planning your wedding. Certain examples include virtual wedding planning, virtual weddings, and even virtual dress shopping experiences. The ability to truly plan your entire wedding online has immersed and I think it’s here to stay.  

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