Ronald Joyce X Models of Diversity

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At our recent Harrogate Bridal Week we had the pleasure of welcoming the wonderful Lauren Woodhall, winner of the Models of diversity’s ‘Model of the Year’ competition. As the competition winner Lauren was offered the opportunity to Model for us on one of our busiest buying events in a fast-paced catwalk event. To add even more excitement to the day Lauren had recently become engaged herself and so was excited to start the process of trying bridal gowns with her own special day in mind.

We caught up with Lauren after the show to get her perspective on trying bridal gowns with her Stoma bag.

Did you have any preconceptions or concerns about the process of trying on wedding dresses?

Yes definitely. Since getting engaged, a lot of people have asked about dress ideas! However, it’s definitely something I had been putting off thinking about due to my stoma. I was sure I was never going to find a dress I would be totally happy in.

What was your experience of trying on wedding dresses with your Stoma bag?

I was so nervous to find a dress that I loved but did not feel confident in because of my bag either showing through or being uncomfortable. However, I quickly find that there are lots of dresses to accommodate my bag without me feeling like I was massively covering up or limited my own options.

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Did you feel that your bag altered you experience?

Yeah 100%. I have always and am always so open about my bag to others – that’s not what bothers me. But naturally my bag can sometimes affect my own self esteem. I just wanted to prove to myself that I could still find a wedding dress that I’d always dreamed of growing up, and that’s exactly what happened.

Did you have an idea of what styles you would prefer before trying dresses on and did this change once you had tried a few dresses?

I always thought I would go for a ballgown style dress to hide my stoma bag, however, having now said yes to the dress I’ve gone for a slimmer silhouette. The dress I have chosen is still an A-line but on the slimmer side of an A-line which I never thought I’d have the confidence to go for!

What advice would you give to other women with stoma bags who are looking for a wedding dress?

Try everything. I know that’s such common advice but especially for those with a stoma bag who might go shopping thinking the choices are automatically limited, please don’t be afraid to try a slimmer style if that’s what you would have preferred pre-bag. Even if its just to try it on and say ‘absolutely not’ before taking it back off! I’m beyond glad that I allowed myself to try something that wasn’t drowning me – remember that extra underskirts can always be added to a smaller dress too!