I got married and I felt beautiful. From my feathery and sparkly fascinator down to my emerald-green painted toes (to match my dress!), I felt like a rock star all day. I got so many wonderful compliments, and my new hubby couldn't take his eyes off me!
Leading up to our wedding day, however, I felt terrible about myself. I'd gone and convinced myself that, during everything from my walk up the aisle to our first dance, I was going to resemble a huge, ungainly, lolloping mess, at which everyone would laugh. I grew acutely aware of my imperfections, and believed that no amount of pretty hairstyling, makeup or accessories would do any good. And, every time I cracked open a wedding magazine and saw those willowy, glossy-haired, gooey-eyed, immaculately make-up'd models gazing out at me, I'd feel like Mr Blobby in drag.
So, if you're anything like me, here's a little survival guide for keeping your self-worth intact while planning your wedding.
1. Do a media purge
The Sunscreen song said it best: "Do not read beauty magazines — they will only make you feel ugly." For any brides feeling like they simply can't measure up to the Ubiquitous Gorgeous Woman In The Media, I prescribe a media purge including anything wedding-related. Resist the urge to watch any Celebrity Wedding episodes on the E Channel, haul those wedding mags you've acquired down to the Salvation Army, or to your local preschool for the kids to chop up, and then do something fun to distract yourself. Because, if it ain't in the house, it can't make you feel shite about yourself.
2. Offbeat Bride wins
Once you biff out the glossies, head right over here. Offbeat Bride gives the spotlight to so many beautiful women, many you'd rarely see in the bridal mags — brides in glasses, brides over 40, brides with jaw-dropping tats, you name it! And, Offbeat Bride has an entire tag dedicated to women who identify as plus size brides. In my moments of self-doubt, I always headed to the plus size posts to find glowing, radiant, deliciously happy and absolutely stunning brides! Plus size women may be underrepresented in the wedding world, but they are goddesses on Offbeat Bride.
3. Get it custom made
As a bigger girl who really struggles with clothes off the rack, getting my dress custom made was the best possible decision. I ended up with a wedding dress made exactly for my measurements, and that specifically enhanced my fabulous bits.
But, whatever route you go down, make sure you're paying a professional (either a dress-maker or bridal store) who encourages and supports all body types. Vendors who make disparaging comments about weight are worth neither your money nor your time.
4. Keep your friends close
Surround yourself with loving, positive people, who will be there to build you up when you find yourself flagging. Limit your contact with anyone, however well-intentioned, who makes you feel bad. You don't need that.
5. Practice self love
I recommend treating and affirming yourself as much as possible in the lead-up to your wedding. For example, if you're feeling low…
- Write down a list of all the things you like about yourself.
- Paint your nails.
- Go for a walk and grab a latte.
- Soak in the bath.
- Wrap a shawl around yourself and listen to some comforting music.
Think about it — you wouldn't tell your best friend all the horrible things you're telling yourself, right? No, you'd give her a hug, provide some chocolate, tell her she's going to make a stunning bride and take her out for brunch. In the lead-up to your wedding, the best thing you can be is a friend to yourself.
6. Stand by your man/woman
There's a high chance your partner loves you just as you are. I got me a man who fell in love with every last inch of me, and who happens to, in the words of Colin Firth in the second "Bridget Jones" movie, have a very high regard for my wobbly bits. He didn't propose to the blonde on the front cover of Cosmo Bride; he proposed to me.
I realise it's easier said than done, but remember, above all else, that your partner thinks you're gorgeous, adorable, and sexy as all hell. In their eyes, you don't need your teeth fixed, your tummy flattened, or a spray tan. To paraphrase yet another "Bridget Jones" — Here's to the bride! Who is loved just as she is!