How to Keep Your Wedding Dress a Secret Without Feeling Guilty

woman trying on a wedding dress

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There's a ton of ways to share photos with pretty much anyone around the world—including all of the people who will inevitably ask to see your wedding dress before the big day. It's totally your right to keep your gown a secret, but it's easy to feel guilty or anxious saying "no" to those who ask for a sneak-peek. So we talked to Tara Cousineau, Ph.D. and clinical psychologist, about how to keep what's yours all to yourself (if you want).

Declare Your Personal Policy

It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of dress shopping, but Dr. Cousineau says to decide ahead of time what you want—then, be really clear about it. “It's better to say in the very beginning if you're showing people or not,” she says. “If you 'play as you go,' you're bound to offend someone.”

Pick Your People

“Young women second guess a lot of their decisions,” says Dr. Cousineau, who is also a self-esteem coach. “You may not want the whole peanut gallery putting in their two cents about your gown. You want your dress and your experience to be precious. Don't feel guilty for not including someone; this is a situation in which it's more about self-care.”

Manage Relationships Accordingly

There isn't a one-size-fits-all formula for brides and their dresses (literally and figuratively). The same goes for your relationships. So, if you have to bend a bit— maybe someone close to you is genuinely hurt they haven't seen your dress—then you may just have to give in. Worried it will open up a can of worms with other people? Dr. Cousineau says to “address the concern and then soften the blow,” perhaps by saying, 'I understand you feel left out, and that is not my intention. But it's more meaningful to me to have this be a surprise for everyone, including you.'

Reconsider What Sharing Means

“There's a difference between showing and sharing,” Dr. Cousineau says. “Showing—or, oversharing—is because you care about other people's opinions. Sharing is about mindfulness of your own needs and relationships.” The point: When you start to waiver, make sure you're prioritizing your own feelings over other people's.

Alternatives to Just Saying No

If all else fails, respond with one of these one-liners to shut down the show-me-your-dress pressure.

Sarcastic: “I'm pulling a Katniss Everdeen and I'm going to burst into flames down the aisle.”

Conservative: “I'm not showing people because I want to be traditional about it.”

Clever: “I already deleted all the pictures because I was afraid the groom would see it.”

Perky: “I'm not showing people but I'm dying for you to see it because it's amazing!”

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