In a culture of diets and “thinspiration,” we often hear brides talk about needing to slim down for the big day or dieting so they can fit into their wedding dress. We’re led to believe that the best way for a bride to look beautiful on her big day is to lose weight, and that the thinner the bride, the happier she’ll be. This isn’t something solely specific to weddings. Fashion magazines and movies all seem to tell women the same thing: skinny equals happy. Those love handles and muffin tops are the enemy and need to go in order to live your happiest life.

But studies show that’s not actually the case. A study in the UK in 2013 polled 2,000 women about their feelings on their appearance and whether or not they were happy. The results were very different from what we’ve been led to believe about body image. In fact, 74% of women wearing size 16 (size 12 in the US) claimed they were happy with their appearance, whereas only 42% of women who wore a size 6 (2 in the US). Half the women whose weight had fluctuated over the years claimed that they were happier when they had a fuller, curvier figure, and in fact, 35%of size 6 women envied fuller, curvier figures.

This may come as a shock to the mainstream media, but it’s something that many curvy women have known for years: curves are beautiful. Curves are something to be proud of. And while there’s nothing wrong with being naturally skinny, there is nothing attractive about trying to hide or deprive yourself of your curves out of shame.

But what about staying healthy, some may ask? And staying healthy is certainly important. But there’s a misconception that healthy always means thin. This could not be further from the truth, and in fact, a plus size woman can be the picture of health. If anything, this survey shows that women who listen to their bodies and respond accordingly, rather than trying to force their bodies to fit some impossible expectation, are more confident and happier with their appearance.

If that’s the case, why do so many women–especially curvy brides–feel the pressure to skinny? Unfortunately, more often than not, this pressure is applied by the clothing stores. Most mainstream clothing stores offer few options for plus size women, and often those options are baggy and dull. Mainstream bridal retailers are especially guilty of offering only limited options to plus size brides. So, when a curvy bride finds the dress of her dreams, the dress she imagined in her head, she often has to conform her body to fit that.

That’s exactly what Fan-C-Designs doesn’t want to do. We offer a Curvy Brides collection that’s full of as much style and personality as the brides themselves. No two curvy brides are the same, in shape or in character, and our dresses reflect that. You can find something classic and elegant, something bold and fun, or a dress to help you feel like a princess. Your wedding dress should fit you, not the other way around, and it should fit you in more than just size.

There’s no room for body shame on your wedding day…so don’t give into it. Your curvy body is yours, and it’s beautiful. Be proud of it.

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