My wedding day was one of the best days of my life. Like many little girls, I dreamed of the day when I would get married, trying to imagine every little detail — from the venue, to the decorations, to the ideal color scheme. I dreamed of the person I would marry — their physical attributes, their smile, their laugh, and how much they loved me. Most importantly, I dreamed about what I would look like in that white dress. I would wear satin and pearls, my hair up and perfect, my veil long and flowing. I would be thin, my skin would glow, my hair would shine, and I would be a princess.
I knew I would marry Andrew after our first date. We’d known each other for a few years, mostly through Facebook and Twitter conversations, but something had clicked in the few months we had emailed each other prior to our first date. I just had this gut feeling that he was the guy. A little over 6 months into our relationship, he proposed. I already had the date in mind because we had discovered, rather early in our relationship, that both our parents married on the same day, August 8. We decided that August 8, 2015 was the date!
Planning a wedding is hard. I didn’t think it would be after having spent my life as a stage manager and film producer, constantly preparing events. Nope. It’s hard. It’s hours of discussing stupid details and coordinating relatives, making a million tiny decisions. It takes your time and energy and, in the long run, your social life.
But planning a wedding is kind of worth it. A friend described it as having 1000 birthdays and 1000 Christmases all at once. And, as the bride, you become the star of the show! People check on you constantly and cater to your every whim. People brought me food and champagne, my sister in law braved my sweaty feet to help me change from my heels to my comfy shoes, and my two best friends held my dress as I peed.
Everyone told me to make sure that I stopped and savored every moment, and I tried to every chance I got. That day still ran past me like the swiftest moving waters. It was a blur of moments:
Drinking champagne with my best girlfriends.
Everyone hiding Andrew away when I got to the church so we wouldn’t see each other.
Seeing myself fully made up in the dress.
My flower girls running to tell me Andrew had fallen — but he was okay, don’t worry.
Seeing Andrew for the first time.
Pictures. Vows. Readings.
A crowd of people smiling at me.
Andrew getting stung by a bee.
Cake. Food. Friends.
I forgot to think about that rosacea spot on my cheek that I hate. I forgot to think about how limp my hair can be, or how small and squinchy my eyes get when I take pictures. I forgot to pick at my nails and suck in my stomach (although, to be fair, that tight dress was doing it for me). I forgot the size of my dress. I forgot I was plus sized — and all the weight that traditionally comes with that.
For the first time in my life I saw myself sans flaws, and I wondered why, even as a very confident size 22, it took me almost 31 years and a marriage to see myself as I really was.
I’ve tried to carry that with me since that day — veil lifted, truth revealed, just me. I pick my clothes, my hair, my style, my life with a cool regard that I didn’t hold before. I have wasted so much time trying to hide insecurity in a veiled confidence, and I can’t do it anymore.
This is the girl I became when I forgot all those tiny little things on my wedding day. This is the girl I have always dreamed of being.
Emily Whalen resides in Denver. She is a writer and artist who is passionately committed to helping women be utterly awesome in the world. You can follow her on Twitter, @Emmerroo, where you will see she is a geek, feminist, and body confidence advocate who likes to take silly pictures of her husband and cat. Read her struggles with health and body confidence at www.fitandfatblog.com.