I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a bride in the body-obsessed, diet driven, and perfectionist culture that we live in today. Without a doubt, there’s an unbelievable amount of pressure to look a certain way on your wedding day. As a plus-size model, my job’s success rate depends on my looks, and I am constantly being made aware of my body. I’ll be the first to admit that I can be incredibly hard on myself, setting high and sometimes even unattainable standards. When it comes to my own big day, I’ve internally battled with how I want to look and feel. What’s most upsetting to me is that, after getting engaged, my initial thought was,”I need to lose weight before my wedding.” And I’m sure that’s something many brides-to-be can relate to.
That’s why I wanted to be very honest and candid about my journey to wearing that little white dress. While I am an advocate of being healthy and finding balance, I believe that only you and your doctor can determine what that should look like for you. This ideology of needing to lose weight for a wedding has been placed on us by society, but no one should have to live by these standards. After all, it is your day — you should look and feel how you want.
I recently had lunch with a fellow bride-to-be and she was explaining of how she found her dress at a sample sale. It was the second one she tried on and she was ecstatic about it. Her favorite part of all is that it fits her exactly as she is. That really resonated with me because I don’t think I had realized that it is possible to find a wedding dress you love on your body right now, not 10, 20, or 30 pounds from now. Then I asked myself, “Why was that so shocking to me to hear another bride talk about how she fits in the dress perfectly and doesn’t have goals of changing?”
I began my body confidence journey on my Instagram account well over a year now. The most important thing that I have ever learned along the way is that it is a journey, not a destination. I truly thought I was going to wake up one day feeling totally confident, and that I’d never have to think about it again. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case, and it’s something I work on every single day. When it comes to my wedding day, I can’t help but to imagine the picture-perfect details that will make the celebration spectacular. As someone who appreciates (and maybe even obsesses) over those details, I understand how easy it can be to lose sight of the reason why this wedding is happening in the first place. But the big day should be about so much more than just the surface details; your day should be about two people who’ve decided to commit their lives to each other.
Related article: The guide to finding the best wedding dress for your body type
When you think about how you look on your wedding day, remember what’s really important. It’s your wedding, and you’re marrying the person you love. As a bride, you’re bound to look great no matter what — there’s just something beautiful about a woman radiating happiness from within. That’s why I know that, no matter what the scale says, I will be one happy woman on my wedding day. (And not just because all of the planning is done!)
There are a few things I’ve learned on my journey: I will always have full hips, thighs that touch, and a round stomach, and my body was made for wearing items that showcase curves. To be a bride means to be a woman — whatever shape and size that may be — not a supermodel. To me, being a bride means being who I really am, from the inside out. And I’m learning that woman is quite alright.
This article originally appeared on Martha Stewart Weddings.