For many women, the thought of trying on endless amounts of beautiful dresses would spark a glee of excitement. If those dresses are bride dresses, the thoughts are generally elevated by a thousand.
Once you’re engaged and ready to tell the masses about your upcoming nuptials, there are a series of questions which normally proceed. Some being:
Are you getting married in a church?
Have you picked a colour scheme?
How are you going to have your hair?
Are you hiring flying monkey’s to bare your rings? (Ok, that one maybe not)
But the hottest questions on all their lips…
Do you know how what sort of dress you want?
Fortunately, due to my quick wit, I had managed to answer that question with rounds of throwaway answers. A few favourites being,
A boiler suit and heels,
One of the Seven Dwarfs,
Naked as a baby.
One of those suggestions normally either ended up in laughter (my laughter) or some awkward looks/subject changing which resulted in not having to give a true response. Because my true response would have simply been, I have no fucking idea.
The thought of buying a wedding dress brought on a torrent of questions and fears swimming around my mind. Will I be able to find one that fits? Will they have styles that suit me? What happens if they don’t go above a size 18? Will white make me look fatter? Do I have to buy a plus size dress? Will I be happy on my wedding day? All which had me up at night while I lay staring at the ceiling. Looking over to my beautiful fiance, thinking why the hell does he want to marry this?
I knew this wasn’t the sort of thing ASOS could solve. So, of course, the only probable answer would be, I need to lose weight. Bingo! This is what nearly all women do before their wedding day, I could do the same!
I had around two years to do this. ‘Wow, that’s no problem’, I kept thinking. If I can do most of that in a year, I can pick my dress, lose some more and look perfect for my wedding day. All I knew was, I don’t want to be a fat bride.
So the dieting begins. Firstly I took up Slimming World and over six months, successfully lost two stone. I was happy(ish). I knew that was a lot all in all, but I kept telling myself it wasn’t enough. Towards the end of the six months, my weight just kept going up and down. One pound off, two pounds on. How boring and dull. I love food. I love going out for dinner. I love cooking. I love chocolate. Dieting just didn’t cut the mustard. (Pardon the pun). After the six months, I went through quite a stressful second half of the year. We brought a house, I changed jobs and was generally feeling quite low. The pounds then slowly kept creeping back on, and before I knew it May 2015 was here and I was getting married in just over a year.
The fear had then crept up again, I hadn’t looked at a single dress. I felt like my time was up, only 6 pounds lighter than when I had started. I felt like a failure. One big fat one that was getting married in 13 months. My Mum asked me, ‘When do you want a start looking at dresses?’ And all I could answer with was ‘soon’.
I knew of a bridal store, not far from us in Battlesbridge, called Rock the Frock. I picked up their card at a local wedding fair before, so started following them on Facebook. They seemed kind. Their stock not traditional and their real bride’s photo’s always so beautiful.
So I took the plunge, one oddly chilly May evening. I emailed them.
After a few minutes, I hadn’t heard back. Strangely happy as I might have got away with putting off this agonizing experience for another month. But 10 minutes into Gilmore Girls, I had a reply. “We have a space next Saturday at 11am if you can make it?” And unfortunately, I could make it.
As the day past a work, I only told a few of my close colleagues that I was going to look at some dresses. They all asked, did I know what I wanted? I just kept saying that is would be a big surprise for them all (and most of all me!). I was very strict about who could come along, only my Mum. Her opinion I trusted the most.
The day came around Saturday at 11. My annoying habit of being ridiculously on time meant I was half an hour early. Meaning we had that awkward sit in the car, while everyone walked past thinking ‘Why are those two women just sitting in the car?’ I was nervous, babbling to my Mum about how many slices of bread a duck could eat, or something stupid along those lines.
When the time came along, I anxiously walked up the stairs into a quaint boutique at the back of an antique shop. When we walked in, my breath was taken aback by the rails of beautiful, soft dresses. Some long but a lot short. Boho, vintage, coloured. Nothing traditional. A small smile sprung onto my face for the first time. And a little sprig of excitement flashed past my eyes. Until I saw one of the labels said ‘Size 10’. Then my stomach dropped back down into that pit where it had been for the past few days. The assistant greeted us, so happy bright and full of questions. We chatted pleasantly until she asked me to pick out a few dresses to start trying on. At this point, I had no idea what to do. So I frantically grab three I thought looked lacy, two long and one short then shuffled into the fitting room.
The room was calming. Decorated with vintage Swallow wallpaper and cool blues, I felt slightly more relaxed. The assistant asked me which one I wanted to try on first. I picked a Boho style dress, long and flowing with arms, which I hoped would cover a multitude of sins. I panicked as the label said size 12. How was I going to fit into that I thought? The assistant reassured my worried face and confidently said ‘The size may not be right, but we can always pin it to give you the idea.’
I did think, are you fucking Harry Potter? I haven’t been a size 12 in nearly 8 years. If she was Harry Potter, maybe she could bring back the body of a girl lost the Belgium Buns? However, I didn’t know if she would appreciate my wit as I was undressing.
I slipped the dress half over my arms and chest as she gently pinned me in. As I turned round to look in the mirror, I realised she was right. She could give me to the idea of how the dress could look. And it was ok. Not brilliant but ok. And for the first time, I genuinely smiled and let myself breathe. The only problem in doing that, a few pins nearly smashed the glass cabinet behind which was keeping me in. But we laughed as I picked my next dress to tackle.
The second dress was a 10 with no chance of going on. Another Boho style I placed in front of me. I didn’t like it, I didn’t look like me.
The third dress was a calf length tea dress. Very vintage, very lacey in a beautiful Ivory tone. It had lace arms down to my elbows with tiny little eyelash lace details around the ends. It was breathtaking, but it was short. I feared as my legs were on show.
This dress was a 14 and a little more forgiving. I pulled the dress on, and the assistance again pinned me in and I felt good. Really good.
The curtain opened and Mum and the mirror in front. My Mum gasped and a tear rolled down her face for the first time. I looked to my right, straight into the mirror and there I was, I was a bride.
At that point, I knew why women were so excited to go wedding dress shopping. For probably the first time, I felt beautiful and elegant. But most importantly, I felt like me with an ounce of confidence. My legs were on show, but I didn’t care, I liked that my legs were out. The dress didn’t feel traditional, as I am not traditional either.
The rest from there I’m sure you can all predict.
After finding my dress, I just aimed to maintain my weight. For the first time in months, I was happy. Not under pressure. I felt like me again. With a big personality and one big arse. I had finally started to love myself. Not loads, just a little. I felt confident and I like to think that shined through. All with a little help from a lovely bridal shop and some pins.
The message I am trying to provide readers is one of faith. Faith in yourself that you are fabulous just the way you are. You can be confident and should be confident in who you are as a person. And most importantly, big ass brides fucking rock. All shapes do! And you don’t have to get a “special” dress for your day because the dress you wear IS special.
I was the happiest I have ever been on my wedding day, and I wouldn’t change the way I looked for the world. And since that day, I don’t know. I have started to love myself a little more again, I like my big arse. It’s who I really am. Yes, I will always strive to be healthier and will achieve this in time.
I just want to stress, I am not condoning an unhealthy lifestyle and being overweight. I believe that being happy is healthy. So want to take the emotions of being a bride from a different angle.
But remember, you can’t let other truly love you until you start loving yourself. Take a look in the mirror, look at every inch of you. Look yourself in the eye and whisper to yourself ‘I am fucking beautiful.’ Because you are. Inside and out. And on your wedding day, as you do every day, with those tiny thoughts going through your head, I promise you will absolutely rock it no matter what shape or size you are.
Until next time,