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I vow to myself…

Growing up, young girls are told, their wedding day will be the most magical day of their life.

I remember my parents and grandparents painting a fairytale picture of what the day would look like. I’d be in a Cinderella ball gown, looking like a fabulous princess. I’d be marrying the man of my dreams in a venue that sparkled almost as brightly as the ring on my finger. The Sun would be shining, every detail would be perfect, and it would be the happiest day of my life.

As early on as I can remember, I absorbed these unrealistic expectations about my future wedding. If there’s anything I’ve learned along my self-love journey, its that perfection doesn’t exist and pursing it only hurts us in the long run. That’s why I’m partnering up with ‘The Wedding Swap App‘ because we think talking about the lack of self-love women suffer from, while chasing these unrealistic expectations of weddings, needs to be normalized.

I know there will be some brides who read this post and think, “I’m in control. I work very hard to manage every detail. My day will be perfect. I will look perfect. I will make sure of it.” I empathize with these brides because I was one of those brides.

I flourished when I was in control. Planning my wedding for two years, I had designed a wedding that was authentic and intimate for me, my husband and our family/friends. My Pinterest board addressed every detail, from the lace of my dress to the type of eucalyptus in the floral arrangements. I had it all together, just to my liking, and then, the pandemic ripped control right out of my hands.

3 weeks before the big day, we had to cancel my dream wedding and I was left with boxes of perfection piled all around my apartment. I remember crying for days, depressed. Although most couples who were in the same boat as me were rescheduling their big day to keep their wedding vision intact, I wanted to get pregnant terribly and knew if I waited another year, I wouldn’t fit in my disgustingly expensive corset mermaid dress!

I’ve always had an image in my head of what I’d look like on my wedding day, pregnant trying to fit in a form fitting dress was never apart of that vision. I battled back and forth in my mind of what to do. I had felt like I had lost so much and didn’t want to compromise what I hoped to look like on my special day, but I also didn’t want to center starting my marriage around what dress I was wearing. So my husband and I decided to rally, and got married in my parents backyard on our original wedding date and renewed our vows at a later time.

I wasn’t the only bride though who struggled with body image fears of the future. A friend of a friend had ordered her wedding dress numerous dress sizes smaller than she was at the time, prior to the pandemic. She was committed to being a specific size for her big day and when her wedding got cancelled, she was overwhelmed needing to commit to her diet for another year if she wanted to resemble the high standard image she had placed on herself.

The quote from ‘Bride Wars‘ pops in my head. “You don’t alter Vera Wang to fit you, you alter yourself to fit Vera!” Here we were, two girls, alongside many others, depriving ourselves of love and enriching experiences, to fit in a dress. I can’t help but wonder, would I have been so obsessed with my body image if my parents and grandparents had painted a wedding vision for me centered around self-love instead of unrealistic perfection?

What if the story went like, “One day, you’re going to find a man who loves you for exactly who you are. He’s going to think you’re beautiful in anything you wear, regardless of what size you are, and so will you. The Sun will shine in your hearts whether its a clear warm day or a messy windy afternoon. You will be surrounded by your close family and friends dancing, laughing and smiling, living in the moment. It won’t matter what you look like because you will be drunk in love with yourself, and your husband, exactly as you are.”

I wish that was the story I had grown up hearing, but it wasn’t. It took me months of therapy to grieve the wedding I had expected and the version of myself that I had wanted to reflect that day. I can’t change my experience, but I now know how the story I tell my daughter when she grows up will go.

When I look back on my experience, of my backyard wedding, my raw and vulnerable emotions were splattered like oil on a hot stove. I was so worried that my husband wouldn’t think I was gorgeous in my last minute off the rack wedding dress. It wasn’t form fitting and it didn’t accentuate my curves like my Pnina Tornai dress did. But it didn’t matter to him.

When we did renew our vows on the beach the following year, and I got to wear my wedding gown, my husband had shared with me later on that my first dress was actually his favorite. A $70 last minute dress captured my husbands attention better than a dress that I had be hyping up to be the most gorgeous dress in the entire world for two years.

It goes to show you that you are already perfect as you are and just like my husband knew, I know your partner does too. It’s time you come to the same conclusion.

Before becoming a Self-Love Coach, I would have agreed with Kate Hudson, you alter yourself to make the dress work. But now from my experiences, I encourage women to look through the lens of self-love. If you follow these 3 self-loving approaches, you will be one step closer to manifesting confidence and self-allure in any wedding dress:

1.Pick a dress that you feel confident, authentic and comfortable in. Don’t pick a dress that you need to commit to starving yourself or getting surgery to fit into.

You’re beautiful just the way you are. You don’t need to change a thing about yourself to find a wedding dress that you love. Your dress should accentuate your natural beauty, exactly as you are today. While you may like different styles, celebrate your body by trying on dresses that work with your body type, not against it.

2. Stay healthy for you. Don’t exercise or go on a diet just to fit in your dress.

Working out, hydrating and eating a well balanced meal should be apart of your daily self-care practices. If you commit to a healthy lifestyle, it should be because you know your body is worthy of a healthy loving relationship. Otherwise the messages you are sending to your body are harmful to your physical, mental and emotional health.

3. Believe that your smile is your most flattering feature on your wedding day.

Your smile is your best accessory any time, but especially on your wedding day. No dress will ever compare to the look of genuine happiness and life is infamous for throwing unexpected curve balls our way. So smile and laugh wholeheartedly when picking out your dress and on your wedding day, no matter how the day unfolds.

While you can’t change the story your parents painted for you of what your wedding would like, you can take control of your experience with yourself. You’re worthy of having an incredible relationship with yourself, especially throughout your wedding journey.

#Makelovenotwarwithyourself

Xoxo,
Elena

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