Ask Alysia: Becoming a Confidence Queen

JustJess Photography

December 13, 2023

Every issue, bridal stylist Alysia Cole answers your questions about plus size bridal fashion and feeling good in your own skin no matter what your size. Submit a question by emailing and using the subject line ASK ALYSIA.

How do I feel confident in my wedding dress when I’ve gained weight?

Lovebug, I want to tell you a few different truths about this situation, and they can be hard to hold at the same time. I often see nearly-weds get so mad at their bodies for changing and they feel guilty for gaining weight. But the first truth I want you to know is despite what you may have been told your whole life, gaining weight is morally neutral. Gaining weight is not a failure and it doesn’t change your worth. It’s natural for your body’s weight to fluctuate especially in stressful times (and we all know wedding planning isn’t exactly a walk in the park). The second truth is that learning to love your body can be a lifelong process, and you might not be 100% there on your wedding day. Let go of that pressure.

You might be worried about how your wedding day outfit will look if your body has changed since you’ve picked your dress. Share this concern with your tailor so that you can work together and make sure the gown fits in a way that feels comfortable for you. If you’re worried about the gown fitting, remember that some gowns will come with an inch or two of seam allowance in which case your tailor can let the dress out. If not, there are other tricks your tailor can help you with, such as changing the back from a zipper to a corset, to allow for more room in the garment. Having your gown fit comfortably is one of the best ways to give yourself that confidence foundation.

Remember that confidence is a muscle! Start flexing it in your everyday life in little ways – try out mirror affirmations, find people in your life that can reflect your goodness back to you, and be gentle with yourself!

How do I enjoy my wedding day if I don’t like being the centre of attention?

There’s lots of strategies my fellow introverts can use when planning your wedding to make sure it’s a day that suits you and your needs! If you’re someone who gets uncomfortable in the spotlight, keep that in mind at the beginning of your wedding planning journey. A 300-person party might not be the best option for you! You and your partner can craft an intimate day that makes you feel comfortable while still allowing loved ones to celebrate with you. Feel empowered to skip any tradition that makes you too nervous – for example instead of giving a thank you speech at the reception you could include a thank you note on each table. You are under no obligation to toss the bouquet or even do personal vows in front of an audience! For my more apprehensive clients I recommend building in lots of couple time for the day (that may sound obvious but more traditional wedding timelines don’t always allow for that!). Getting ready together in the morning, walking down the aisle together and having set break times to sneak away just the two of you are all options that let you share the spotlight with your partner and also give you a breather from being the centre of attention.

I’m nervous to start wedding dress shopping and find boutiques to be so intimidating!

Walking into a bridal boutique for the first time can be so exciting, but it can also stir up the nerves! My number one appointment prep tip is always to call the shop beforehand. Talk to someone about your vision, make sure they have samples in your size and price point, and feel out the stylist over the phone! If they don’t make you feel welcome over the phone, on to the next one. You can also do a deep dive into their social media accounts. This can help give you a better idea of their inventory, their store layout so you know what you’re physically walking into and even “meet” some of the stylists!

For the appointment itself be sure you’re bringing only the most trusted people in your circle. You want the group to help build up your confidence as well as help you explain your likes and dislikes to the stylist. If there are loved ones who don’t provide that kind of support but who you feel obligated to bring shopping, I’d recommend bringing them for the second appointment. This way you already have a few favorites and you’re more comfortable in the boutique. If you’re feeling nervous about trying on in front of other brides, you can always ask if the shop offers VIP appointments. Several boutiques now have this option where you can book out the whole shop (for a fee!). And lastly if you get overwhelmed during your appointment for any reason, don’t be afraid to cut the appointment short! You can always go back another time. At the end of the day these are just dresses and the stylists who work there want to help you find your perfect look!


Alysia Cole is a plus size personal bridal stylist who has helped hundreds of nearly weds find their perfect wedding outfit. Based out of Chicago, you can also find Alysia on TikTok and Instagram.

This article originally appeared in issue 50 of Rock n Roll Bride magazine. You can purchase the latest copy here, or why not subscribe to never miss an issue?