Saturday I had my introduction to the bliss/hell known as the wedding gown search. Since the wedding is a full year away, and I will be moving across the country in less than a month, I had no intention of finding or buying “the one” this weekend. I thought it would be practical to get size and shape ideas for when I do start dress hunting on the west coast. Most importantly, I understood that I could not completely deny my mother the experience of the whole wedding gown thing with her only daughter.
Everything seemed in place for the classic mother-daughter moment, that coming-of-age mom gets teary eyed as her little girl steps out of dressing room thing you see on “Say Yes To The Dress” or whatever. The store was charming, the attendant was super friendly, my mom was on her best behavior, but the whole experience was just… meh.
I wanted to be excited, to giggle and squeal, and try on frilly princess dresses. But it was warm and breezy and truth be told I would have much preferred to be at the dog park with JD and Pluto. And there it was, that familiar feeling of lacking some fundamental girly girl gene.
Most of the time I am happy enough with my body. Of course there are things I would like to improve, but I make it through most days without much body/beauty obsessing. However, every so often I have a complete melt down. This is usually triggered by attempting to shop for clothes, which subsequently I don’t do very often. I become completely overwhelmed by my inability to easily find cute, feminine clothing in my size. And based on my experiences so far this is going to translate big time into the wedding dress thing.
Being a bride gives you a free pass to play dress up and be in the spotlight of all your friends and family. So what do you do when you don’t want all eyes on you? Yes, I want to *feel* special, and aesthetically I want to maintain a (minimal) level of tradition, but I don’t want to swim through a sea of tulle to get there, especially if it causes me to feel bad about myself. I don’t want to look through bridal magazines and boutiques and feel like I need to squeeze into a strapless ball gown. JD proposed to me at this weight/size/shape and he loves me for everything I am (and am not), so why am I having such a tough time feeling the love for myself?
- experience body image issues before your wedding?
- have a hard time finding wedding dresses in your size?
- avoid the shopping thing and have your dress made or buy second-hand?
- wear something “untraditional” ?
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As uncomfortable as it looks to wear such an elaborate dress, it would make sense that if looks wasn’t a major issue, every bride may be wearing a pair of comfortable pants. Interesting thoughts.
(found your blog via Autumn’s street harassment post)
In response to your questions: oh Maude yes! I was engaged once ~8 years ago, and married (to someone else, fwiw) 2.5 years ago. The first time around, we were planning a traditional wedding with The Dress. Our upstairs neighbors were getting married around the same time, so she and I went shopping together. She was a skinny, conventionally attractive woman who looked gorgeous in everything she tried on; I was wearing a US dress size of 10-12 at the time (which translates to a wedding dress size of 14 or 16) and, even then, couldn’t find any dresses in the shops that fit me. It was humiliating!
My actual wedding was nontraditional, and happened in Central America. I was wearing a 12-14 dress size then, and didn’t even bother trying to find a traditional wedding dress in the country – I knew it’d be a futile effort in a country where “Large” = size 8. Instead I lucked into finding a beautiful, off-white formal dress in my size at a mall. I fought off body image issues enough to convince myself that I looked beautiful, or at least radiant – but, of course, my mother’s one and only comment about my wedding was that I looked fat in my photos. Sigh. But that’s another story.
My advice: find a dress you love and feel beautiful in, whether it’s traditional or not. Above all, enjoy your wedding!