Hello Mother, Hello Daughter

SEASON TWO, Episode 4: Tales from the Bridal Salon. A discussion with Emily Lappi

October 15, 2023 Allison Alford, Michelle Miller-Day, Emily Lappi Season 2 Episode 4
Hello Mother, Hello Daughter
SEASON TWO, Episode 4: Tales from the Bridal Salon. A discussion with Emily Lappi
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Tales from the Bridal Salon. A Discussion with Emily Lappi

Whose wedding is it anyway? When it comes to a bride’s big day, choosing a wedding
dress is anything but simple — especially while navigating the complex
mother-daughter relationship.

In this week’s episode, we hear from Emily Lappi, a bridal consultant, actor, former podcast host, and friend of Dr. Michelle Miller-Day.  With over eight years of experience styling brides, Emily has truly seen it all, sharing numerous stories that highlight topics such as body image, menstruation, and parental health. She views the dress selection process as a symbol of a woman coming into her own power as she prepares for marriage, independent of her mother. Considering the pressure that can be felt from one’s mother, family, or media depictions, it is essential for brides to set boundaries while remaining open to change.  Rather than asking what a mother “wants,” Emily suggests asking what she “sees” her daughter wearing; this centers the focus of the wedding dress shopping (and the wedding) on the bride and her partner. As a stylist, Emily works to bridge any gaps between a mother and daughter, keeping the bride’s happiness paramount.

Emily describes witnessing hurtful communication practices like mothers who retreat or attack during bridal fittings, withholding communication or making hurtful comments about their daughter's physical appearance. In response, brides “deflate” under their mother’s disapproval. A better way forward, Emily says, is for a Mother of the Bride (MOBs) to practice active listening. Active listening allows daughters to lead the experience with mothers reflecting upon daughters' communication, holding back any negative appraisals.  Michelle and Emily discuss the importance of mother-daughter communication when wedding dress shopping and how Gen Z daughters and their mothers seem to be more accepting of one another. Learning how to communicate effectively  has become a lot more accessible thanks to social media. And that's a good thing!  After all, it is your daughter’s wedding!

Tips from the hosts, Drs. Allison Alford and Michelle Miller-Day:

  1. Mothers often see daughters as extensions of their own bodies — be mindful of the comments being made.
  2. Have a conversation prior to the bridal appointment to set boundaries and articulate expectations.
  3. Hold the experience with “open hands” by considering new possibilities

Quote from Emily
“It’s not about what the dress looks like, it's how you feel in it — because how you feel in your dress is what shows in your photos.”

Quote from Michelle
“Comments matter. Be careful and aware of the comments that you make. You serve as a model for your daughter.”

Find us on Instagram: instagram.com/hellomother_hellodaughter/
and Facebook:
facebook.com/hellomotherhellodaughter


MICHELLE:

Hello, mother. Hello, daughter. Just like any relationship, the adult mother daughter relationship takes work. I'm your host, Dr. Michelle Miller Day.

ALLISON:

And I'm your host, Dr. Allison Alford.

MICHELLE:

In this podcast, we'll discuss the experience of mothering and daughtering in adulthood. We'll explore the topics that matter most to women using both a scientific perspective and an everyday relational lens.

ALLISON:

Be sure to listen till the end of the podcast to hear our pro tips for both mothers and daughters. Our goal for this podcast is to help women have better relationships and better lives.

MICHELLE:

And of course, don't forget to like and follow us on

ALLISON:

social media. Today's guest is Emily Lapi. She's a bridal stylist in Southern California and she's seen the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to mother-daughter interactions while wedding dress shopping. Hmm, I remember my own wedding dress shopping experience. Michelle, um, let me set the scene for you. It was 2004. And strapless gowns were all the rage. In fact, it was kind of hard to find anything other than a strapless gown. Um, and at that time I needed a dress ASAP because my fiance and I had decided that we should get married three months after we became engaged. And we were going for a summer wedding and for wedding dress shopping in terms of getting a wedding dress, this is like no time at all. This is definitely, there was not enough time to order a dress, you know, a custom dress. And the thing is, I, I also wanted a dress with some pizzazz or color on it, uh, which you might imagine with my personality and flair. So I had some very specific wants and also some tough constraints with the time, but I ended up with this beautiful dress with a taupe or kind of gold accent in the middle with pearls and. Sparkle and on my wedding day I wore gold boots and I wore a red, a big bright red rose in my hair. Oh, it sounds beautiful. It was beautiful. And looking back, I really did have a pretty good experience with my own mother. When wedding dress shopping. And I think that it's because she really let me lead that experience and, and you can kind of take charge and get, get, get what I wanted out of the experience. Today's guest is Emily Lappie. She's a bridal stylist. Not only is she a bridal consultant, but she's also an actor and a podcast host. Okay, let's hear some of what she has learned about the mother daughter relationship being a wedding stylist.

MICHELLE:

Well, here we are today to talk about mothers, daughters, and weddings. We have with us today, and I'm so honored to have this guest with us today, a friend of mine. Her name is Emily Lappy and she's a bridal stylist in Orange County, California. Emily,

EMILY:

welcome. I'm so glad you're here. Thanks for having me. I'm so excited to talk about this. Oh my God. How long have you been a bridal stylist? I've been a bridal stylist for eight years. Oh my gosh. Eight whole years. Okay. Yeah. And I've been in the same salon. So I've, I don't know any different than my salon, but I, I low key, our salon's the best.

MICHELLE:

Oh, well, my question for you, my first question, I'm going to get right to that after years of doing this. What are some of the takeaways that you've learned about the mother daughter relationship from working in the bridal industry?

EMILY:

Biggest things that I've learned is that the most important thing I think in a mother daughter relationship is making sure that the daughter is happy. It's really telling when a bride puts on a dress and she loves it and she's like jazzed and like she lights up. She feels so confident and then she walks out and the mom doesn't like it or the mom has something to pick apart. Watching Then in the fitting room when we go back in watching them completely deflate Mm hmm is heartbreaking and that's the biggest thing and I'm like man like when these brides aren't we call them brides We don't call them guests or clients. We call all of our clients brides So if I say that it's a generalized term of a bride But it's it's really hard to get her confidence back And so it's kind of like, Ooh, it's really interesting watching the different dynamics of that, um, of supportive moms and not supportive moms and then moms that aren't really close with the daughter usually do one of the, one or two of these things. They either retreat or they attack. Oh, interesting. So interesting to me because the moms that I can tell, like maybe the, maybe the bride is closer with the mother in law or maybe the bride is closer with her dad or her brother or her sister, like another family member. And the mom isn't as attached. The mom will either, like, not say anything at all, um, and then the bride will be like, well, mom, what do you think? And then she'll put it and be like, whatever you want, sweetie, right? Or they're on the attack, where they, like, get up and, and they feel like they have to be performative. And they're like, Oh, see, look, I care. I support my daughter. And you're like, Whoa. Okay. Got it. But then those are also the same types of moms too. Not all the time, but most of the time that make comments about their bodies too. Where it's like, I had, I had a bride's mom. I'm just running away with it, Michelle. Yeah. Do it. Do it. I had a bride's mom. Like as soon as every single time the bride would walk out of the room with me. Her mom would go, Oh, that dress is beautiful. If you lost 20 pounds. And I'm like, yeah, how is that helping the situation? How is that? How, how are you being a supportive mother by doing that? And most of my, the moms that are super close and are supportive, they usually have a lot more of a calm demeanor. And it, like, makes my heart swell because it's, it's amazing to watch these moms, like, be so in awe of their daughter, like, making these decisions and everything. And, you know, at the end, I just had a bride yesterday that was like, or the day before that was like, was like, mom, you're really quiet. Like, what is it? Her mom was like, I'm just so happy for you and whatever makes you feel confident and beautiful. Like, that's important. I always tell my brides it's not about what the dress looks like. It's how you feel in it. Because how you feel in it. Is what shows through in your photos.

MICHELLE:

That's awesome. Can you repeat that? Because I think that bears repeating.

EMILY:

Yeah. Um, it's not what the dress looks like. It's how you feel in it, because how you feel in your dress is what shows in your photos. Listen to that brides

MICHELLE:

as well as moms, because that's true. Right. You know, to be supportive is not to say I like every single dress. Okay. It's I give it to you.

EMILY:

Yeah, you're giving your daughter the power to make those decisions herself and not constantly look at her at the mom for validation, right? Stepping into a marriage, you no longer, I mean, it's, it's a little more old school, but it's like, you don't go to your parents anymore for validation or you don't go to your parents for, um, should I do this? You go to your partner. Yeah. And I feel like. With wedding gowns, it's like, yeah, the mom is usually paying for it. Like, mom or dad is usually paying for it. But it's a perfect example, I think, of women to be able to stand in their power. And to make a decision for themselves. I'm like, yeah, okay, it's a dress. But it is something that you're going to look at the rest of your life. So, if you don't like how you feel in it, You're not going to like the photos, you know, it's, there's like, there's so many things that brides say no to based off of like their parents or their family. And I'm like, but why? Like, let's break that down. Like, I feel like a therapist half the time. Why do you feel that way? Coming from somebody

ALLISON:

who's

MICHELLE:

never, I mean, actually I, my mom never went with me to shop for a wedding dress at all. And yeah. And I'm like, this is become this iconic. Right of passage, right? To

EMILY:

go with your mom. I also feel like people put too much pressure on it, though. Okay. At the end of the day, I always tell my brides, I'm like, this doesn't need to be a difficult decision. I understand how it could be, but you found your spouse, you found your partner. Um, that's the hardest thing. And now it's like, what makes you feel beautiful? What makes you feel confident? It's, it's, people put a lot of pressure on it, I think, because of social media, and because of, like, Say Yes to the Dress, which is my life. If you ever, listeners, want to know what it's like, that's my life. Um, give me my own reality TV show.

MICHELLE:

Okay, okay. So I've gotta ask then, what are some of the more outrageous, and it doesn't even have to be outrageous, what are some funny stories that you've had, because I'm sure... Over the course of these eight years, you have a few funny

EMILY:

stories. Well, how much time do we have? Um, I've had a mom come in with her daughter. I can't believe I'm like saying this. She wanted her daughter, verbatim, said to me, I want my daughter to look like a slut. I was like, ha ha, like you're joking, ha ha. And she's like, no, she's only going to look this hot once in her life, so why not show it off? And I'm like. And here I am thinking like, Ooh, the Uncle Tommy's gonna be there, and your grandpa, Ooh, and like, the brothers. Or how about like your own brother looking at you like that? Ooh, but you know what I like to say to that? There is a dress for everyone.

ALLISON:

Did the daughter react to that, or was she like The

EMILY:

daughter was No, no, the daughter was like, Yeah, totally. I agree. I was like Then maybe she put on something that was like really covered and ended up like buying something that was not, I mean, I wouldn't even say really covered, it was still a shop of stress, but it didn't have like cutouts, you couldn't see her legs or like And she was like, yeah. And it's like a pretty deep neckline too in the front. A sweetheart neckline, listeners, is that, that like heart shape that you have on your strapless dress. And it plunges down, this dress like plunged down to her belly button. And she's like, yeah, this is modest, just enough. And I'm like, your boobs are out. Like this is still like. For you, this is modest. Like, So that was a very interesting dynamic to be with two women who are so comfortable in their bodies. Like, if you really think about it, I'm like, pop off. Love that for you. Do it. That's an exception more than a rule, right? Yeah. I was like, okay, cool. Yeah. I would want my daughter to wear nothing down the aisle too. Um, but like another thing too, it's It's funny because for the longest time, like at this job, I was single and. It's, some of my favorite stories are of mothers and daughters trying to set me up with their, like, their brother, their, their son. Okay, I have to hear some of these. It's hysterical. A lot of times it happens with more of my Persian brides, which I'm all for. Persian brides are so fun because they spend a lot of money, they, like, are very lavish, they're very, like, intense when it comes to what they want. And when somebody is kind in their tradition, they're like, they have to marry into the family. So like, I totally, they FaceTimed, she, the bride FaceTimed her brother and put him on FaceTime with me while she was shopping, while she was in a wedding dress. And I'm like, dang, I like, know I'm pretty awesome, but to be like, match made like that on the spot while I'm making hourly money, what a dream, honestly. I had brides that, like, I'll take like a late appointment, and their mom and her are still there, and they're like, you wanna go grab drinks down the street? And I'm like, yeah. So I've like, gone and like, had drinks with brides and their moms, and just... Vibed like I'm another daughter. It's great. I have so many stories, Michelle, like this could take. Those are just like my good ones. I have some pretty gross ones too, but we won't get into that. We won't. I'm, I mean, I had a bride, uh, get period blood all over a dress. I'm all over the carpet. No. We've also had a bride who, uh, got food poisoning and had a bridesmaids moment. Have you ever seen bridesmaids? Yes. No. Yeah. While she was in

MICHELLE:

the

EMILY:

dress. Mm-hmm. What happens in

MICHELLE:

those situations? Do they have to pay for the cleaning or how does

EMILY:

it work? No, because it's like at the end of the day, it's like not really her fault. You know what I mean? Like she's sick. She shouldn't have come in to begin with. Like if you feel like you're sick, like, maybe not. Or like the girl with the period. I'm like, how do you not know that that's your first day on your period? Like the first day of your period is so heavy. Like we'll just reschedule. Yeah. And how are you not wearing like a tampon or a pad? Like I just, I can't. But anyway, lots of kooky stories. Lots of kooky stories. Moms

MICHELLE:

react with those

EMILY:

ones. With the moms. With the

MICHELLE:

period blood of the baby sick. The bridesmaid

EMILY:

moment. The bridesmaid's moment. The mom ran out to the car and like, Got another pair of underwear and I was like, so did you know that she was sick? she was like, that's what I'm saying. I'm like, what? And she was like, yeah, she had El Pollo Loco last night. I'm like, okay. The best thing is I wasn't even on the clock with this, like this was somebody else's bride and I came in to like pick up a paycheck or do something and I walked right by, like, cause this, this, uh, box is right by our break room. So when I was in the break room, the door was open. I was like, did somebody, like, cook eggs back here? And then my, my coworker comes around the corner and she's like, Shut up! Shut up! Like, she's totally telling me to, like, cut it out! She's like, stop it! And I'm like, well, like, whoever it is, like, how dare you bring that into the break room? Like, it smells so bad! And then I found out it was literally the girl going, uh, I need a bathroom. I was like, oh no. Yeah. Yeah. I can't make this up. Like, this is my life. Period blood mom was like, Embarrassed for her and they left. So, okay, there you go. Yeah. I'm going to get back to the mom daughter. And

MICHELLE:

I asked, I asked for it. No, I think everybody's interested in these things because we're never in these

EMILY:

contexts. There's so there's some fun days where I'm like, this is my life.

MICHELLE:

Oh my gosh. Well, you talked before about the mom being very proud of her daughter's body and celebrating it. But then you also talked about the woman body shaming, right? if you lost 20 pounds, do you tend to see more of any of those in this kind of context? Do you see body shaming at all?

EMILY:

Um, I feel like as the years have progressed, It's gotten a lot better. I would say right now is probably 75 percent positive, 25 percent negative. Um, I honestly think as much as I'm like with social media, I honestly think Tik TOK has helped a lot with that because a lot more people are talking about body positivity and talking about being open with their curves. And I think moms maybe, I mean, correct me if I'm wrong, I'm 30, but I feel like the generation of moms now. Are a lot more accepting because it's the body positivity and knowing how to speak to your daughter is a little more except accessible. Whereas when I have older brides that are in their 40s and they bring their mom, their mom is like roofless. Right? I mean, that goes into. A lot of moms, too, I've noticed, want their daughter to try on their wedding gown. And, it's so funny to me because So

MICHELLE:

the moms want the daughters to try on their wedding gown? Yeah.

EMILY:

Okay, okay. Yeah, and I, I just feel like it, it can breed a lot of toxic energy. Um, I mean, there's two sides to it, right? Like, I hear this a lot during my appointments. Oh, when are you going to try on my dress? But like, I'm clearly looking at the mom, and the mom is really tall and skinny. And then I'm looking at the bride, who's built more like me. That's like, small waist, but curvy, you know? Like, Yeah. Is athletic, like, obviously she's not going to fit into her mom's dress, right? And it's hard to watch the demeanor of the brides change when their moms bring that up too. And it's like, that's one thing I've just noticed a lot more that comes up in conversation. I'm like, oh, well, you didn't try on my dress. And the bride's like, well, I can't fit into your dress. That's something that I, I wish, I feel like that's something nobody really talks about as far as what that does to your mental health and your relationship with your mom if you're like, I can't even fit into my mom's wedding dress, you know? Yeah. Um, I wish there was a little more talk about that and what that does to a bride's mentality going into trying on wedding gowns and also just like not forcing it on your daughter. Right. Cause I know I won't bring it to my moms. Yeah.

MICHELLE:

Oh, no. Are you kidding? Well, I'm in that older group, right? In the, the, the, the moms in the sixties and literally women in the forties and fifties, they were like all size zeros and twos.

EMILY:

It's like, forget about it. Right. It brings me into like another topic that I'm passionate about is like the measurements then are so different than the measurements now. Mm hmm. Uh, in, listeners, in Bridal, I don't, um, I keep saying listeners, because I, like, used to have a podcast, so, like... Which was awesome, by the way. Thank you. Um, but, listeners, like, if you are, like, I'm a street size 10, sometimes an 8, sometimes a 12, right? In women's fashion. We love it. We're all over the place. But I'm standard, a 10, medium large, okay? In bridal, I'm a 14, 16. There are different sizes? Yes, you have to go up two sizes, and every designer size chart is different. So, here I am working with a bride who's already not super confident in her body, regardless of what size she is. Okay? Regardless if she's a 2 or a 6. You've got her mom yapping about trying on her wedding gown. You've got her mom, uh, maybe a mom yapping about her weight. Or, uh, not liking it and then the bride finally makes the decision and then I'm going to go bring the measurement sheet in front of mom and daughter because I have to show them, right? Because when I say, okay, she tried on a 10, she's actually a 14 and you look at her and she's tiny because one of the designers, I'm not kidding. Like I would be a freaking 22, 24. They run so small. Some of the more couture designers just are insane. And now I'm basically, like, second handly, accidentally not meaning to, quote unquote, fat shame your daughter when, and I always have to, like, cover the measurement first and be like, look at me. The numbers on here do not matter. You are beautiful. You are strong. You are exactly who you need to be. Do not. Take this number to heart because you're going to be shocked when you see it and it's just the plot that they put you in That's it. And they're like, okay, and then the mom will be like, but she's a six and I'm like, okay But she's a ten in this designer. Do you want the dress? Yeah, and then you get moms that are like, I don't want her to order a size 10 That's disgusting and I'm like, but she's a size 10 But she's not. Okay. But in this designer, she's a size 10. Oh, here's a perfect segue. Can I go on another story tangent? Yes. I had a bride. It's, it's pretty funny. I will say, but I had a bride who said yes to a dress. She did not want it tight on her hips. She was falling into a size eight. I said, if you do not want this dress tight in your hip, like it's supposed to be, you should do a size 10. So we have more give in your hip. You'll need a little more alterations. But you don't want it tight in your hip and the mom was like, mom was like, no, she will do an eight. And I was like, she's falling into a 10 because of her hip. I would do a 10 and she's like, no, we're going to do an eight. And I'm like, okay, you do the eight. It's going to be tight in the hip. You can't see my face guys, but I was like, I was really giving it to the camera. So fast forward, these are like children don't take like nine months to come in. So I finally, this girl comes in, the mom comes in often and puffin now mind you. I don't recognize her at first, and I don't think she recognized me, because... She comes in, bah, bah, bah, bah, my daughter put on her dress and it's tight in the hips And I'm angry because our stylist is dumb and doesn't know what she's doing and I'm like, okay Can I get the name and I like turn around? I like pull the folder. It's me. So she's talking shit

ALLISON:

on

EMILY:

me And I'm like I'm gonna play along so I'm like, oh really your stylist is dumb. Okay. Well, let's see here. Here's the size chart It says here that she should have ordered a size 10 right here. And you picked an eight and you signed off on it. And that paragraph that you initialed says, if the dress does not fit, I cannot return it because gowns are made to order. There are no returns in bridal final sale. This dress is made for you. Bada boom, bada bang. And the mom goes, well, the stylist made us order the eight. And I'm standing here like, Oh my God. And the best part, Michelle, is she goes and she didn't even offer us champagne. And then my tailor comes and puts the, my alterations girl, puts the dress on the bride and is like, all we need to do is let out the hip a little bit. And the mom's like, absolutely not. Just do it. And I'm like, because you ordered a size eight.

MICHELLE:

Wow. What advice do you have for daughters to set boundaries with moms?

EMILY:

Set boundaries. Yes. I mean, I always feel like you always need to bring everything back to you and your partner. At the end of the day, it is about you and your partner. Absolutely. It's not about what Aunt Jan wants. It's not about what Uncle Robert wants. Like, no, it's not about that. Like, I understand if your mom or your dad or your family's paying for the dress, you do kind of have to, within reason, respect that. But at the end of the day, setting boundaries of what you want in your dress is so important. And starting with, I want this in my dress, mom, what do you see me wearing? See me wearing, not what do you want me to wear? As your stylist, I can try and blend the two, right? It's that communicating style of this is a big moment. It's a special moment.

ALLISON:

It's an emotional

EMILY:

time. Like I get it. But you as a bride have to set boundaries of this is what makes me feel beautiful. This is my vision. This is what I want. You also have to be okay with adapting because a lot of brides come in and I'll say like, what do you think that you want? And then the moms will chime in and I'm like, chill, you'll

ALLISON:

have your moment, you'll

EMILY:

have your moment, hold on. So then the, the, the daughter will say one thing and then the mom will say pretty much the same as the daughter, but they'll use like different terms. They think they're being different, but it's the same thing. And then I bring wildcards that are nothing like either one of them wanted, or what they thought they wanted, and they end up going that direction. I can't tell you how many ball gowns I've sold to a girl that's like, I want a tight fitted dress. No lace, no sparkle. And they buy the biggest sparkly ball gown. Like you have to communicate and be open to change though. Do you know what I

MICHELLE:

mean? Got it. No, understood. Yeah. Interesting. And I've got two boys, so probably we'll never be in this situation. I know. But, but it is Yeah. Okay. Maybe

EMILY:

I'll come to your fitting. Whenever that is. Yeah.

MICHELLE:

It, but it is a sweet moment. It's an emotional moment that has a potential for that. Do you have any stories or experiences that were sweet

EMILY:

or emotional, or? My favorite, favorite, favorite story that I love to tell is I had this bride who, her name is Jamie, she was She's so cool. We're still friends on Instagram and everything because of this moment. But she, on the phone, had told one of the stylists, like, hey, I'm really struggling. Like, my mom has Alzheimer's. Um, she's gonna be at the appointment. I'm really sorry if she acts like a little kid or if she's loud. Like, maybe put us somewhere really private so as to not just distress her or pull focus, you know, from other brides. Like, she's so kind. And the girls know that my grandma has dementia, and my grandma is like my second mom, and I haven't had her for a while now, and she's still alive, but, you know, dementia and Alzheimer's, you lose that person. Right. Um, so, the bride comes in, I, the mom is immediately, like, charmed by me, so I was like, cool, I got her, she doesn't, she's speaking babbles, which is normal, right? We do this whole appointment and I can tell Jamie's struggling. Like her mom doesn't really, isn't really there, isn't really focused or understanding like where they are, like what we're doing. And you know, Jamie's having to kind of talk to her like a kid, which is like not what you want to do when you're trying to feel like a woman and make a decision, but you know, it's her mom. So by the end of the appointment, she finally finds her dress and she's crying and she walks out. And in that moment, her mom became lucid. And remembered who she was and the first thing she said to her was Jamie, that's beautiful. Is that your wedding dress? It literally, it like makes me tear up every time. Like she remembered her in that moment as she was on the box saying yes to her dress. It was, we were, I was sobbing. She was crying. Everybody's right. I tear up just telling the story and like she got a photo with her and like even her face was different in the photo. Like. And that was like done deal, like done. She felt the most beautiful, you know, and then I've been lucky enough to stay friends with her. I've, I've watched her, uh, first dance with her mom. Her mom didn't know what was going on then, but it was like, it was so special just watching Jamie like have that moment of like, okay, but my mom did get to see me in my dress, like actually see me, you know,

MICHELLE:

documented that too. We're able to document that time,

EMILY:

photos and everything. It was amazing. It's one of my favorite stories ever. That's an amazing

MICHELLE:

story. What an amazing experience for her

EMILY:

and how times like that, that I'm like, okay, that outweighs the bad, you know, like I really am making a difference in someone's life. Yeah. Regardless if they get along with me or not, or like, if they feel like we have, you know, I'm close with a lot of my brides, not with everybody, but I do feel like I'm a small part of their big day. So, no,

MICHELLE:

I think you're probably a big part of that whole, because it's a process, right? It's an experience, the planning, the preparations. It's not just that day either. So,

EMILY:

yeah.

MICHELLE:

I asked you this question earlier, but, but now that we've talked a little bit more about it, any additional advice that you have for daughters and moms for during that process of picking out

EMILY:

the wedding dress? For moms, I would just say listen. Listen to your daughter. Listen. Because a lot of times our relationship with our moms, we feel like not that you don't want to overstep, but you want to respect your mom. It's your mom. You know, you want to be able to speak openly, but you also want to, you want your mom to be proud of you. So a lot of daughters try. I. Maybe like you'll know better, but the communication styles of mothers and daughters, like a lot of times daughters aren't very clear or concise. And so they say things in their own way as to be like, is that okay that I felt that way? Um, I noticed that a lot and a lot of moms just don't listen or they don't ask questions. Like a lot of moms are like, it's this way and that's it. I see her in this and that's it. And it's like. The daughter's saying she wants something clean, which clean, listeners, means like no lace, that's like your silk, your satin, like nothing on it, it's fully clean, and because she is insecure about her stomach, she wants an A line, right? Everybody's insecure about something. Well, moms will be like, yeah, I want to see her in, yeah, something clean, but fitted to show off her butt, and I'm like, okay. Your daughter just said she's insecure about her stomach. Like, she just said that. So, believe her and go with it, right? But can't you please just try one? I was like, I will pull one. If the bride wants to try it, the bride can try it, right? Listen to your daughter. I feel like it's just such an emotional day that everything goes out the bride. And she's supposed to be feeling beautiful right now. Right. So listen, listen, you know, maybe come up with a game plan beforehand, like what mom wants, what you want. There's a lot of times I'm doing that on the fly. At the end of the day, I'm my bride's biggest cheerleader. So whatever my bride wants, my bride's going to get, got it. I've had to stand literally in front of. Mom's before who are being mean just like to block their view because I'm like stop You're being rude and mean it's my favorite game to play though. My co workers can View my co workers can tell like it's just one of those things like I don't do it on purpose But I'm like if you are going to consistently attack my bride Yeah. Who I've now become best friends with in an hour because that's the type of job it is like, no, you're just being mean now. So listen to your daughters. That's my biggest piece

MICHELLE:

of advice. Listen. Well, if we could all take that advice in all of our relationships.

EMILY:

Yeah. Listening, receiving, taking a beat and responding. And not going into attack mode or going into, I'm not being heard, you know?

MICHELLE:

Do you ever ask them to consider what they both want and talk about that prior to the appointment or is it almost always during the

EMILY:

appointment? It's always during the appointment. Like a lot of times brides will be like, well, I know my mom wants me in this. Cause they talk about it. Of course, when they're trying to like go on Pinterest or find dresses that they like, a lot of times they'll be like, well, my mom wants this. You know? I, I think it depends on the relationship of mother and daughter. I wouldn't say that's like a necessary thing, but if you know that your mom is very passionate about what you're wearing and that matters to you, it doesn't always matter to everybody. You know, I have brides are like, if my mom does not like it, I'm not buying it. And I'm like, cool. So then I got to go through my Rolodex and my brain of gowns and be

ALLISON:

like, okay, what's kind of the

EMILY:

mixture of both. Um, but then you get brides that are like, I want my mom to support it, but if she doesn't, I'm still going to get it. So I think it really depends if your mom is very gung ho forward about wanting to wanting it to be a certain way, then definitely talk about it beforehand. Okay. But, you know, moms also change. They'll be like, yeah, I don't care, whatever you want. And then mid appointment, they're like, absolutely not. And you're like, wait, whoa. Wait a minute! Yeah, so, I would say that's the biggest thing. Listening. And always, the bride, always bringing it back to you and your spouse. It's about you too, whether that be wedding guests, ceremony, things like that, cake even, or bridesmaids colors. Like it always needs to be, what do you two want? Cause I get that question a lot. What do you think I should do? Well, what do you want to do? What do you think I should do with my hair? Well, what do you want to do with your hair? I have brides that are like. I want to wear a ball gown, but it doesn't work for my venue. I'm like, why? It's your wedding dress. I had a bride that was like, I'm getting married on the beach that in Hawaii that I, uh, used to rescue whales. I was a conservationist in Hawaii. That's how I met my husband. So we're going to get married on that beach. And I really have this dream of wearing a ballgown, but I know I can't do that. And I'm like, what do you mean you can't do that? And her mom would be like, yeah, the sand. And I'm like, what do you freaking mean you can't do that? No. I put her in the biggest ballgown. She said, yes. Her photos looked

MICHELLE:

epic. I bet that was stellar.

EMILY:

Oh my god, so beautiful. And the entire planner and everything made the dress work for the venue. Never settle for a dress. It's like, Oh, it's a rooftop. So I can't wear a ball gown or, Oh, it's a, it's a castle. So I have to wear a ball gown. It's like, you don't have to do anything. And I tell moms all the time. I'm like, there are no nose and bridal, man, you want to change the color of the dress. Let's do it. You want to add a sleeve or a strap. Let's do it. And that's what helps a lot in mother daughter relationships in the appointments. And that I'm like, we can bridge the gap between what you want and what you want because we can customize something. You have to be open to that and listen.

MICHELLE:

It's about communicating. Right.

EMILY:

I

MICHELLE:

love the idea of customizing, you know, a lot of people don't know that you can potentially do that. I mean, you

EMILY:

do have to pay for it. So if you can, if you can not. Customize a lot. You're going to not spend as much, but yes, you can customize anything. If there's a different top you want, normally we can switch tops out with another dress from the same designer. You can do a top. You can do the bottom of one dress and the top of another dress, like, you can do anything you want. Like, white white, which, like, really isn't a thing anymore, but I just like softer tones rather than, like, stark white. So, white white isn't really a thing anymore? I did not know that. No, uh uh. So, white white in new fabrics and the way that things are being printed and, like, sewn, it comes off blue in your photos. Oh. Yeah. So, like, most dresses, when you see them online, they're ivory or off white. They're not white.

MICHELLE:

That's fascinating. I did not know that.

EMILY:

And there are some partners, there are some fiancés and partners that are like, no, you, I want you to wear white. Yeah, they're not. I want you, and I want you to look like a bride. Yeah, you know and it's like you have to respect that, you know It's also his day or her day or whoever you're marrying like it's their day too. So oh

MICHELLE:

gosh Yeah, but it's mostly the bride's day. Mom's respect that And coming down to you know, Emily Stated, you know what? We've been talking about pretty much all season which is Communicating right? Yeah Out of time one of the expectations. What are the what's the vision? What's the best laid plans? What are you willing to negotiate on? What's, what's must and what's, oh, if we can.

EMILY:

Yep. Know what is important and what isn't as important. I am

MICHELLE:

so, so glad you took the time to be with us today,

EMILY:

Emily. Thanks for having me. I

MICHELLE:

love your stories.

EMILY:

Bye. Thank you. Bye.

ALLISON:

Some of those stories are surprising. I don't know. Some of them are

MICHELLE:

touching to the mom with Alzheimer's. That story really touched me.

ALLISON:

Yes. You know, I was also struck by the discussion of periods and menstruation. I thought it was really fitting to bring up the ways that we talk about periods and talk about how that communication is evolving and changing. Uh, so I was inspired to do a little bit of digging. Okay. Yeah. So a lot of women, uh, have feelings of shame about their periods, especially if something like staining happens, like Emily mentioned. Um, one article I read from 2020 by Kira McLean and colleagues showed that around the world, many cultures view menstruation as dirty, uncontrollable, polluting. Disruptive. Wow. Which, I mean, clearly those are negatively valenced words, right? And uh, because of this stigma, women and girls can often feel a lot of shame when they're on their period or they feel like they need to hide their menstruation and any events that may happen like leaking or staining, even though most things just do happen. The truth is that menstruation is natural and it's happening for approximately 800 million people around the world, uh, at any given point each day, which is 26 percent of the population, according to the NIH, that's every single day. 800 million people are menstruating. So, you know, Gen Z they're, they're basically making it accessible for us to talk about this and saying, you know, let's bring this out in the open and not have shame, even when awkward things happen, uh, and, and then they're also taking that and they're turning it into a big market. They're buying reusable products, fueling a 475 million industry, uh, with reusable. So if you go to TikTok, you might find videos, uh, labeled with the hashtag period talk. Wow. Yeah. Period T O K. That's the, that's the corner of the internet where you can find menstruation videos. Okay. Um, but you can also go to period. org for more info if you want to learn. About these things, and I imagine that any retail establishment where people try on clothes has dealt with this issue, right? And so let's just talk about it and say, Hey, that's normal and natural. And that's just part of being a retailer who allows people to try on clothes. So I had to sort of break in and give this little, uh, sort of investigation because that's what occurred to me as I listened to the interview. The take home from this interview for me in terms of relationships and mothers and daughters is, you know, whose wedding is it anyway? Yes. Hello, mother. Hello,

EMILY:

daughter.

ALLISON:

Research is pretty clear that from as early as Uh, age three, mother's critical communication about her own appearance can impact daughters and it can be related to poor body image in daughters. We do

MICHELLE:

see our daughters often as extensions of our own bodies, and we don't think about how comments about her body. We think we have every right to comment about her body. But your comments matter. Be careful. Be aware of the comments that you make. You serve as a model for your daughter.

EMILY:

And when shopping for a wedding gown, this is not the time to comment about your daughter's

ALLISON:

body. Ding, ding, ding. And

EMILY:

you know,

ALLISON:

daughters, if you are thinking in advance that When you're about to have this experience shopping for a wedding gown and you think your mother might feel compelled to comment negatively, uh, whether it be about your body or about what the gown looks like on your body during this search for your wedding gown, have a conversation before you go to the bridal salon, set those boundaries, articulate expectations, and Thanks. Articulate what it is that will happen should things not go in the way that you anticipate them going, right? And let mom know what kind of comments that you find helpful and what kind of comments you'd like for her to keep to herself. One way we like to kind of say that sometimes is just hold, hold the experience with open hands. And that means we don't know what's going to what happens. Whose wedding is it anyway? Your daughter's. It's your daughter's. Hey, we hope you enjoyed listening to Emily's tales from the bridal salon. So until next time, bye

EMILY:

bye.

Introduction
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