In addition to being a model and body-positive activist, Hunter McGrady is also the first “curve bride” to be featured on the cover of a print magazine.
McGrady currently appears on the August issue of The Knot magazine, in which she discusses her marriage to Brian Keys. The model first met her husband less than two years ago on Snapchat, and recently married him in California on June 16, 2019.
INSIDER recently spoke with McGrady about her wedding, and the three tips she has for brides ahead of their big day.
Hunter McGrady and her husband were married in Moorpark, California
McGrady originally met Keys on Snapchat, according to Sports Illustrated. The couple dated for less than two years, and then got engaged in New York City’s Central Park.
To plan their wedding, McGrady told INSIDER that she and Keys had to figure out a location that worked for both her family in Los Angeles, and his relatives in Philadelphia. Eventually, the couple decided to wed at the Eden Gardens venue in Moorpark, California, to create a destination wedding for their Philly family.
“Everyone really enjoyed coming down, and enjoyed California,” McGrady said. “For a lot of them, it was their first time traveling.”
The plan worked perfectly, as McGrady said her wedding was “the most perfect day ever.”
“Everything I’ve ever dreamt of just really came to life,” McGrady told INSIDER.
McGrady didn’t follow any societal fashion rules while picking her wedding dresses
Speaking to INSIDER, McGrady said she noticed a difference between “plus-size” and “straight-size” wedding dresses while trying to find her dream gown.
“I would go into stores and ask for certain things, and they would say, ‘Well, we provide that in a smaller size, but not in plus size,’ which was disheartening,” McGrady said.
As a result, the model said she followed a less conventional route and had her two dresses designed specifically for her.
“I actually ended up getting my dresses custom made because I really couldn’t find anything I felt fit what I wanted,” she said. “And I find that, as a plus-size woman, that’s usually the case.”
Still, McGrady was resistant to others’ opinions on what she should wear for her big day. Instead, she aimed to wear the styles people told her not to wear because of her curves — like clothes that are sexy, tight, or have a high-neck top.
“Of course, I was like, ‘I’m gonna wear all of that,'” McGrady said. “My first dress was form-fitting to my curves and it was sexy. My second dress was a high-neck ode to Megan Markle’s Stella McCartney dress when she got married to Prince Harry.”
Meditation played a big part in helping McGrady prep for her wedding
According to the model, she said she had all the basics done in the weeks before she tied the knot. She colored her hair, did her nails, and completed other activities that made her feel relaxed.
“I did meditation, yoga, swimming, whatever I know that relaxes me,” McGrady said. “I really wanted to enjoy the moment, so meditation helped me to hone myself in, be present, and not worry about anything.”
“I knew that once the day came, whatever was gonna happen was gonna happen and there’s nothing I could do to control that,” she continued. “I just kept focusing on: ‘I can’t wait to say I do.'”
Read more: 10 easy ways to squash pre-wedding jitters
In terms of her beauty routine, McGrady made sure to get a facial ahead of her big day.
“I got a massage the day before, and I think facials really helped me as well because my skin was really flaring up,” she said. “Getting a hydrafacial and having my skin prepped was something that I highly recommend.”
McGrady said it’s also possible to achieve similar results on a budget by using a mask the night before the big day.
At the end of the day, McGrady says weddings should be about a lot more than gowns
According to McGrady, she thinks brides should try to remember that while dresses may be important, weddings are ultimately about making a commitment to your partner.
“I always tell people that if I had to, I would get married in my pajamas in my living room, as long as it meant that I could get married to Brian,” McGrady said.
“I think it’s important to remember that, and also go in knowing that you are worthy, and you are beautiful, and you are incredible, and you’re gonna look your best on this day,” she continued. “You’re gonna feel your best because you have everybody around you who loves you and is there for you, rooting for you and supporting you.”