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A Way To Weigh What You Weigh When You Wed


I (as you might imagine) get a lot of questions about weight and body image issues and weddings, and I never quite know what to say. So. I’ve been waiting for a long, long time for someone to come along and tell us all what we needed to hear about our bodies and weddings. And it turns out that person comes in the form of the beautiful Margaret. In this essay Margaret is talking about her weight and her wedding day, but I think what she’s saying applies to everyone in the world, because it talks about how we, through our bodies, experience weddings. And what she says is what I’ve felt since our wedding – you don’t remember how you looked on your wedding day, you remember how you felt (and part of what you felt may well be gorgeous). So with that, I’m honored and thrilled and excited to bring you Margaret herself.

In the months leading up to my wedding, I would occasionally break down and cry over my weight.  I worried about how people who hadn’t seen me in years would react to the fact that my weight had doubled since graduating college.  I would moan and say that my face was getting swallowed up by fat.  I felt like I would never be comfortable on my wedding day, that my thighs would rub together and my bra would be uncomfortable.  I would cry because for the rest of my life, my wedding pictures would show me as an enormous monstrosity.  I was convinced that I would look ridiculous in white – “like a giant marshmallow.”  “I have no neck,” I would wail to patient, loving friends.  I agonized over the fact that my favorite necklace no longer fit me, and that I couldn’t wear a favorite pair of shoes.

And then the wedding day came, and it felt like this:

A Way To Weigh What You Weigh When You Wed | A Practical Wedding
And this:
A Way To Weigh What You Weigh When You Wed | A Practical Wedding
Oh yeah, and this:
A Way To Weigh What You Weigh When You Wed | A Practical Wedding

I want to write this because I feel strongly that if I can help one woman who’s anxious about her size feel just an iota calmer before her wedding, I will have done a good deed.  So, with that in mind, here are my reflections as a very plus sized married woman:When we got engaged, I weighed 400lbs and wore a size 32.  There seem to be two schools of thought about weight and bodies and weddings.  There are people who believe you should accept your body the way it is, focus on being healthy but not worry about losing weight.  This is admirable and I generally sympathize with this point of view, but a part of me still believes that I should work at losing some weight for health considerations if no other reason.

Then, of course, everyone here is familiar with the pressure on brides to lose weight.  This is not news.

I wish I could say that I resisted that pressure, that I didn’t engage in frantic dieting and exercise.  That when I was sick as a dog with gastroenteritis two weeks before the wedding, the thought “At least I might lose some weight” didn’t cross my mind.

All of the dread, the anxiety, the self-loathing came in waves as we planned the wedding.  I lost weight, and I gained some.  I thought that in the last week I might relax a little but I would still have my moments.  Thankfully, my very wise and wonderful friend would calm me down.  She would say “Yeah, it’s not ideal, but your weight goes up and down depending on how much energy you have to devote to it.  Right now you don’t have a lot because you have this little wedding thing going on, but after the wedding you will.”

And then the wedding came.  And like so many here, I don’t think anything could have prepared me for how it would feel.

My weight was probably the farthest thing from my mind.  If people were shocked and horrified at my weight, they were much too busy laughing, gabbing, catching up with old friends, screaming with delight, cheering, dancing, eating and drinking to let it show.  I felt stunningly gorgeous, but more importantly, I felt loved.  I was making big, life-altering promises to the man I love and I was surrounded by some of the most important people in my life.  And nothing else mattered.

If any of you out there have felt wretched about your weight, if you’ve felt that being thin means being loved and not vice versa, if you think that being heavier than you’d like to be will detract from your wedding – well, I hope that my experience can help lessen that burden you’ve placed on yourself.

A Way To Weigh What You Weigh When You Wed | A Practical Wedding

Now, Team Practical, I do have a few practical solutions to common challenges faced by plus size women:

1) Get properly sized for your bra.  It makes a world of difference.  My bra was a feat of structural engineering and it was COMFORTABLE.
2) There are garments that exist for the sole purpose of preventing your thighs from rubbing together. They are non-constricting and greatly increased my comfort.
3) Necklaces can be lengthened.  Our family friend/awesome jeweler fabricated a few inches of silver chain that attached to the clasp of my favorite necklace so I could wear it after all.
4) I didn’t make a lot of concessions to my weight in my clothes or anything else but I did end up wearing sensible, not very exciting shoes.  Being as heavy as I am, my feet take a beating.  I found a pair of white sandals with a low heel and arch support that came in double wide sizing.  I was so glad I wore them.  No one could see my shoes, anyway.
5)  And finally, there are more options than ever for dresses in extended sizes, but we had mine custom made.  I never set foot inside a bridal shop and dealt only with vendors who treated my weight like a non-issue.

A Way To Weigh What You Weigh When You Wed | A Practical Wedding

But more than anything, I hope for you what was true for me, which was that on the day I got married, I felt so buoyed by hope and joy and love from all corners.  I danced like a mad woman.  I laughed and screamed with delight.  My weight was so unbelievably unimportant.  It was so incredibly beside the point.  I wish I had had a glimmer of what this would have felt like, because it would have saved a lot of grief in the months I spent planning.  So I wish that for you, instead.

Pictures: All by family and friends

For more on being a bad-ass plus-sized bride, you have to check out Plumage, the new blog by Khris, she of DIY Bride fame.

More in Recent Posts Staff Picks

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  • kayla

    thank you. so much. for this. i’m really choked up right now because of how much i needed to hear this. it’s absolutely true. thank you.

    • http://www.icanhazwedding.com Lynn

      OMG – Thank you so much…and thank your friend again for this perfect one liner “your weight goes up and down depending on how much energy you have to devote to it. Right now you don’t have a lot because you have this little wedding thing going on!”

      So saved my life today!

    • Jess

      Thank you so much for posting this. I am walking a fine line betwene loving my size 14 body and then wanting to look my “best” on my wedding day in a few months. I have been working out and feel better, but have not lost one pound. Seriously, not one pound. And don’t try to tell me it’s all muscle, because my body hasn’t changed yet :) But this gave voice to what I had hoped was true – that I am going to be so happy and feel so beautiful on my wedding day that it won’t matter that I didn’t lose the extra weight. Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this!

  • Karin

    Thank you… from the bottom of my plus size booty, THANK YOU!! I am currently knocking in at 300lbs and a size 26 wedding gown. I have 345 days to get my butt down to a size 20 wedding gown. That’s 1 size every 2 months and I am determined to do it.

    It’s beautiful to see other plus size brides out there rockin’ the dresses!!

    • Kristin

      Hi Karin :-) As another plus-sized future bride (335 lbs and a size 26) I am going to kindly and with all the love in the world suggest that you consider disengaging your hopes of weight loss with your dreams for your wedding.

      While I fully support your efforts to lose weight (although my heart says, if it was that easy, wouldn’t you have done it already? Wouldn’t *I* have done it already? And don’t be so cruel to yourself as to say you haven’t really *tried* yet. I’m guessing that’s not true), there’s something about saying “I’m going to be size X on my wedding day” that rings of the Fantasy of Being Thin.

      Please look at Margaret’s wedding photos, and remind yourself that you will be just as loved, just as gorgeous, just as radiant and surrounded by holiness (of your choosing) as she was, whether you drop a hundred pounds or no pounds.

      • http://bravebride.blogspot.com/ Kim NYC

        I second that, Kristin!

        I’m often on the fence about debatable issues..but one issue I am fiercely in protest of is the dreaded bridal diet – the wish to be someone other than yourself on your wedding day.

        I had big plans to wear a size 4 dress. (I have a long history with yo-yo dieting.) And I understand wanting to be your best emotional and physical self in general…but to have a strict due date by which to accomplish this only invites harsh judgment if you don’t meet that expectation– a kind of conditional love and conditional compassion toward the self. I think you can be on the road to good health without looking at your reflecting with disgust and labeling yourself a lazy ball ‘o chub while pursuing your health goals. In fact, I think it’s VERY important that this happens.

        There are women who would look at a photo of me and think I’ve got nothing to complain about, and indeed, I don’t have to worry about not finding clothes that fit or sitting comfortably in small spaces. But when you’ve been gaining and losing the same 15 lbs. your whole life like I have, there’s something going on there that has little to do with just food. I’ve found that it’s an emotional thing, not just a discipline/ will power thing.

        I’m reading a great book right now called Women Food & God. (Yes, it’s from Oprah, a side note that has half of your cheering right now and the other half throwing rotten tomatoes at your computer screen.) Anyway, I highly recommend it:

        http://www.amazon.com/Women-Food-God-Unexpected-Everything/dp/1416543074/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1279205544&sr=8-1

        • Kristin

          Thanks, Kim; I think it’s important to to pursue health goals and not weight loss goals. In general, really. Health and fitness can be completely separated from weight and physical appearance.

          I know a lot of people have issue with the Fat Acceptance movement, and I’m not going to get involved in that kind of discussion here, but I think all women of all sizes can learn from the message in that Fantasy of Being Thin post by Kate Harding (and I think it’s a message that is completely in keeping with the spirit of APW), and that is that we all need to accept ourselves as we are, now, today. We are surrounded by messages that tell us we need to be thinner, prettier, dressed better, with better hair and a better job and so on and so forth, and no where does it become more psychologically damaging than when you tie those into what you’re “supposed” to look like or be on your wedding day.

          I’m starting to write a novel here, but one of the things I grapple with every day is the fine line between “things I can still change about my life, and goals I can achieve” and “things I should accept about who I am and the way I am that are unlikely to change.”

          • bex11

            I also want to encourage brides to not get sucked into pre-wedding crash diets. It might be one of the pieces of the WIC (and media in general) that is the hardest to shut out – that you need to be yourself but 2-6 sizes smaller to be a real bride – afterall *all* brides diet before their wedding.

            As I’m sure a lot of APW readers realize, dieting is extremely taxing physically and emotionally even if you reach your ‘goal’. IMO it’s just not worth the cumulative stress it will add to an already enormous transition.
            Perhaps a useful recommendation (I’m actually a nutritionist) is to focus on health & overall wellbeing (physical, emotional, & spiritual) in the time leading up to the wedding. Fuel your body and mind more whole foods, perhaps learn a few new recipes or try to move your body in an enjoyable way a little more.

            Thanks for the great post!

          • Lethe

            So true and so wise! That’s a big part of that elusive thing called “maturity,” no?

      • Sept Bride

        Thank you for linking to that blog post… so true, and so interesting. Thin is a goal we set for ourselves as a way to con ourselves into believing that one chnage can make all the difference in our lives. (Of course, losing weight can be a very real, very important task for some people’s health, but that is not what I am getting at here…) I used to feel that way about getting engaged… after 5 years and 4 spent living together, I used to tell myself, “If only he would propose I would be happy.” But guess what? He wasn’t about to propose to an unhappy women who thought a diamond could fix everything. I made some positive changes, got happy for ME, then got the rock. :o) But, really, back to my point – thank you again. Margaret’s post and the post you linked to are stunning. And great reminders that we need to look within ourselves for happiness, steadiness, and peace.

      • Marina

        While on the one hand I totally agree with you that about disengaging weight loss goals from wedding day goals, I do respectfully disagree that this means that no weight loss goals should be set. I did not lose weight for my wedding, but my wedding provided me with incentive to START on a healthier path than the one I was on. I don’t think I would have justified buying a gym membership or spending hours reading about nutrition if I hadn’t had the wedding as a one-time event to look forward to. Again, I did not lose weight before my wedding, but now, a year after my wedding, I have lost some weight, and more importantly feel MUCH healthier. (I’ve started running, which I never in my LIFE thought I would willingly do!!!)

        I guess my point is, yes, don’t tie how you feel on your wedding day to your weight, but if a wedding provides incentive to get healthier that wasn’t in your life before, use it!

        • Kristin

          I am of the opinion that joining a gym and reading nutrition books and working on living a healthier lifestyle are wonderful goals on their own, independent of whether or not they lead to weight loss.

          When people talk about losing weight to be healthier, what they really mean is that they intend to, by focusing on losing weight, lower their blood pressure, their cholesterol, feel more energetic, stronger, etc. Those things don’t happen just because the extra fat isn’t there anymore, it’s because the person has increased their activity level, made healthier food choices, and so on. Doing those things will make you feel better and healthier, even if your weight stays exactly the same. The number on the scale is irrelevant.

          At any rate, I didn’t want to get into a big HAES discussion here, it’s not the place. :-) We’ll just have to respectfully agree to disagree. Thanks for your comment.

          • Nataliah

            ^^ this is so so true. It continues to amaze me how pervasive the weight = health myth is. I relaly think that most people maintain that there is a direct corollory between how heavy you are and your health/fitness. this is so not true. I work out alot, with a group of girls, I am the biggest and I am also the strongest and fitest (the workouts we do are completely measurable). There you go, myth smashed!

          • englyn

            I just wrote a bunch about how the weight=health correlation frequently doesn’t occur between different people, but often (NOT always) does for an individual. But then I realised it was totally beside the awesome point of this post. A gorgeous bride and a gorgeous post!

          • Marina

            I “exactly”d, but wanted to non-anonymize it–I agree 100% with your comment. :)

  • http://www.hellerandhellerfurniture.com Jenn

    Margaret, thank you so much for this. It is way too easy to get caught up in things that don’t at all impact the joy of getting married, and I needed to be reminded that my body shape is definitely one of them.

  • Kristin

    Meg, you have done it again… posted exactly what I needed to hear when I needed to hear it. It’s like magic.

    Thank you, Margaret, for being so brave and honest and stunningly beautiful and reminding me that I don’t need to be anything but who I am for my wedding.

    I’m going to go have a nice cry now.

  • http://onecatperperson.blogspot.com Angie

    “I want to write this because I feel strongly that if I can help one woman who’s anxious about her size feel just an iota calmer before her wedding, I will have done a good deed.”

    Margaret, I want to give you the biggest hug right now. I recently had a bra fitting and bought some amazing shapewear and when I tried all of it on with my dress I felt like a goddess. At that moment I didn’t care about how thin my SIL is or how I recently gained back the 20 lbs I had lost… all I could see was a beautiful me.

    The last few days made me forget that experience, but this post reminded me of it again. Thank you so very much. You are radiating in your photos, simply gorgeous.

    • http://bravebride.blogspot.com/ Kim NYC

      Angie, my dear!

      I hear you on the gaining/ losing/ gaining 20 lbs. thing. I recently bought shapewear that smoothes me out and makes me look much better in my dress, but I know I’ll be sacrificing comfort for looks by going this route. (A corset in July while in an un-airconditioned tiny Quaker church packed over max capacity? Yikes! But I’m doing it anyway.)

      So I’ve got mixed feelings about shapewear. (I’m speaking for myself here; I’m not judging others who love shapewear.) For me, I don’t want to rely on smoke and mirrors to make me temporarily compassionate toward my body. :-/ So yeah. Ambivalence and frustration in this area.

      • http://onecatperperson.blogspot.com Angie

        I get you on that, totally.

        The shapewear I bought is comfortable and airy and I don’t feel restricted… but I do feel like I’m trying hiding myself. But I also like the way it makes me look. I figure it’s better than crash dieting or obsessing. Yaknow?

        • http://bravebride.blogspot.com/ Kim NYC

          I know, it’s a strange balance and fine line. Perhaps it would be less of a difficult issue for me if I found out where you got your airy/comfy shapewear?? Hee-hee. That way I’m only making a *little* sacrifice for beauty. ;)

          • Bibs

            I have to add to this line of thought about shapewear and body acceptance at your wedding. I struggled with this as well (don’t I want to look like ME? aren’t I good enough as is?) and I realized that I wanted to experience my wedding as free from insecurity as possible. I wanted to have my outdoor, middle of July wedding without feeling self-concious about my bad skin or bulging tummy, or the million other things we worry about in ourselves that others don’t notice.

            So, I assembled a “team of professionals” and swallowed my concerns the expenditures not being “practical”. I found money in my budget to hire people who helped me feel like a very, very good version of ME, and I rocked it. I felt like a million dollars. Could I have felt that way without shapewear and a makeup artist? Probably. But it worked for me, my confidence and my stress relief on that day.

            (For what it’s worth- the first thing I did at the reception was pull off that shapewear and dance like wild with my husband. I’ve never felt so beautiful.)

        • http://www.alosangeleslove.com Becca

          I am a huge fan of shapewear for formal occasions, but not because it slims me down. Actually, it adds enough that I can’t wear it with normal jeans (yeah, I tried that once). Instead, it smooths you out. It’s still me, just me without pantylines. And yeah, I can feel a bit more confident too. It’s a boost, and the mental boost I need against the onslaught of “perfect” body bullshit (since no one walks around with a personal photoshopper/airbrusher.) I don’t get plastic surgery, I don’t get botox, and I eat too many cookies. But I’m cool enhancing what I have (makeup, shapeware, a good hairstyle) because it’s still just me.

      • http://happysighs.blogspot.com liz

        i endorse smoke and mirrors.

        it is hardly a fair playing field out there. and while lack of comparison should be the end goal- i need to take baby steps.

        there are models who have not just genetics in their favor, but airbrushing, photoshop, expert lighting, and a staff of people to help them pose perfectly. (plus several takes) there are normal women who have money to spend on cosmetic surgery or less invasive, but seriously expensive beauty treatments. and women who have all of the time in the world to spend at the gym, or soaking their pretty feet or exfoliating. i have none of the above going for me. my wedding photos were taken mid-action, when my mouth is twisted oddly as i laugh, my hair is flying in a notty trail as i dance. and yet my pre-wedding frame of reference were these other women- expertly posed, expensively primped.

        knowing that i don’t look half bad with this bra and that pair of spanx, the right heels for booty lift and some amazingly flattering lipstick- believe it or not, does make me feel more beautiful even without the smoke and mirrors. because i know looking awesome isn’t a complete impossibility, i feel comfortable when i don’t- free of makeup, in the middle of dishes, in paint stained sweats.

        it’s like anything else with wedding planning. there are some impossible, unhealthy standards of “perfection” set. and it’s okay to reach for “pretty”- as long as we make “pretty” a reachable goal. not a “lose 50 lbs in a month goal.”

        • http://bravebride.blogspot.com/ Kim NYC

          I wouldn’t go so far as to bash *all* forms of smoke and mirrors. I mean, I definitely do the padded bra thing and “natural-looking” make-up, for example. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with looking pretty.

          But in my case I know that my shapewear will be uncomfortable because I’ll be in a tiny church in July with no air conditioning. So there’s a slight feeling of sell-out guilt because the sacrifice for beauty in my case is steep.

          Making smaller sacrifices doesn’t bug me, though. I’m wearing extensions so my little side chignon looks nice and full – and as a girl who has had super thin hair all my life, THIS beauty treatment feels like a special treat as opposed to a break from my attitude toward the awful pressure to be beautiful.

  • daydreamwanderer

    I’m pretty averagely sized (besides my mini bustline :'( that is), but my thighs still rub together. Drives me crazy, it’s like the grossest feeling ever, sweat and sticky skin.

    Could you share a bit more about tip #2? Like, where to find these mysterious garments?

    Thanks!

    • Margaret

      Luvees! They are so comfortable – I swear by them. http://www.luvees.com/

      Although, I wore a pair of basically non-control-top nylons that came from my waist to my knees. I bought them from “Woman Within” (which I feel is a particularly cruel name for a plus size retailer) but I can’t seem to find them.

      • Sara_B

        Thank you for this link!!! I think I’m going to buy a pair today. I also wear bike shorts with skirts, but they can get kind of hot in the dead of summer and the black shows through some of my lighter-colored skirts.
        PS: Thank you for your story as well!

    • Tricia

      I wear a pair of white cotton bicycle shorts with pretty much every skirt I wear. They simultaneously solve two problems.

      1) My thighs rub together too

      2) I am modest and don’t want to flash anyone, but am also a tomboy and am liable to dance my ass off, throw down a cartwheel, climb a tree or do whatever else I want to do and completely disregard the fact that I am wearing a skirt. Wearing shorts makes me comfortable doing that.

      • shorty j

        I don’t want to sound creepy, what with being an internet stranger, but I kinda love you so much for this comment. I’m a swing dancer, and my dancer friends love to tease me because their idea of “full coverage” is wearing essentially granny panties under their skirts and I’m like “oh… no thank you.”

        • Kat

          no way! I’m a swing dancer too, and I’ve been wearing the little nude colored “assets” from target lately . Only problem is one wear and they have holes in the crotch from all the thigh rubbing… :(

      • http://laorencha.blogspot.com channamasala

        Me too! I wear a pair of black lycra shapewear pants under my skirt, but in a size that actually doesn’t give me that much shape because they’re not constricting (I bought them one size up from what they’d be for shapewear). They firm me up but don’t bind, and it gets rid of rubbing thighs, weird sweat and keeps modesty intact. (I am not a prude by any standard, but I don’t want to flash my goodies at the world, either).

    • Sharon

      Flexees also makes fantastic shorts of this nature, and I just bought a brilliant pair at the Hanes/Jockey/Bali/Platex outlet – I’ll have to look up the name when I get home, but they’re the same thing, and are amazing. It’s allowed me to have a detente of sorts with my thighs – usually we’re at war with one another.

    • Katelyn

      I second the Flexees- I have a nude color pair. They look like high-waisted bicycle shorts. They smooth out my lower back and tummy, too.

    • Laura

      This might sound strange, but if I’m in a pinch I’ll use deodorant (the secret clinical strength) on my inner thighs. Maybe not ideal for a long summer day outside, but for the office or an evening out it’s perfect!

    • Nicole

      Probably along the same lines as using deodorant, Monistat makes a fabulous “anti-chafing gel” that I absolutely swear by, and use pretty much every time I wear a skirt. Just rub a little of this lotion/gel on your thighs and it’s like magic. You can usually find it with feminine products in any drugstore. Its a total life saver, and a good option when you don’t want the added bulk/warmth/potential noticability (is that a word??) of a pair of shorts under there. I probably sound like I work for them or something at this point but it is really a fantastic product!!!
      http://www.monistat.com/soothing-care-powder-gel

      • KD

        Glide is a product made for runners to prevent chafing. It’s amazing as well. It comes in a deodorant type packaging and you can just rub it on your inner thighs or arms runninb or just walking around in a skirt.

      • Kat

        Funny story – I found out over on wedding bee a few months ago that said anti-chafing gel from Monistat also moonlights as a primer under your foundation … achem, from what I hear, it is the same formula as Makeup For Ever’s HD primer. But I have some. and I heart it. As both things. :)

      • Kibbins

        I LOVE THIS COMMENT THREAD!!!
        That is all :-)

    • sarah

      If you’re low on cash, just buy a boatload of nylons and cut them above the knee. They won’t last that long, but they’re a super cheap alternative to the expensive stuff.

      • veronica

        If you’re really really out of cash…baby powder! Chafage is the WORST!

      • Margaret

        They roll up, though. I really hate being uncomfortable and that feeling would drive me In. Sane. So whatever people do, I do advocate road testing it pretty thoroughly. And prepare for sweat. I was very sweaty and we had a cool day.

  • Danae

    Hear hear! Beautifully put, and you look amazing!

    I am a plus-size woman and went through everything Margaret went through. The doubts, the tears, the whole shebang. Then I finally just said, “screw it – I love who I am and i’m not going to re-invent myself,” and I took our wedding as an opportunity to learn how to dress for my body shape and how to apply my own makeup. Since our wedding I’ve “upgraded” my style based on all of my research, so I not only felt great on our wedding day, but also every day afterwards!

    Also, I wear these shorts every day (with pretty dresses) to prevent my thighs rubbing together – http://www.asos.com/Maidenform/Maidenform-Control-It-High-Waist-Thigh-Slimmer/Prod/pgeproduct.aspx?iid=690356&utm_source=google_product_search&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=google_product_search they are highly recommended – i also wore them on my wedding day!

    • http://bravebride.blogspot.com/ Kim NYC

      “‘Then I finally just said, “screw it – I love who I am and i’m not going to re-invent myself,’ and I took our wedding as an opportunity to learn how to dress for my body shape and how to apply my own makeup.”

      …Good for you, Danae! I’m trying to do the same thing, only what I’d like to focus on before my wedding is learning how to look at an objective truth (eg- my thighs rub, my waist is 30″, my upper arms are thick), without applying a moral judgment to it (eg -You’re lazy, undisciplined, pathetic, and unattractive, and when people look at you all they notice is your chub. Sucks to be you.).

      So yes, I support internal transformation during engagement, not just external. (Yay to you for acquiring some fashion and make-up tips that make you feel great!)

      And THANK YOU, Margaret, for this beautiful and honest post!

      • Danae

        It’s so hard, isn’t it? I still struggle with it, especially now that i’ve gained a bit of weight since getting married (I learned how to bake – dangerous, but fun!) For me, it’s all about learning to forgive myself – i’m not at a weight and fitness level that i’m happy with, but I know what steps I need to take, I have a plan for taking them, and I accept that i’m busy with other things at the moment. I only have so much energy to devote any one thing, and I don’t want to waste what energy I have beating myself up.

        That said, I still see photos friends have taken and just want to curl up and die. It’s a slow process!

  • Emily

    APW has never sent tears to my eyes as intensely as this post….so beautiful (and practical)!

  • http://amandalaird.wordpress.com Amanda

    Margaret, you looked stunning on your wedding day. This was so wonderful to read, a reality check and an inspiration.

    I started losing weight on Weight Watchers well before I was engaged and probably still will be well after I get married in November. While I try extra hard not to tie my efforts and goals to my wedding day, it’s easy to let thoughts of THE WHITE DRESS creep into my head and get me all tied up in anxious knots.

    • Katelyn

      I’m a WW’er too! I think my only advice to you is to look at all the gorgeous, multi-sized women here on APW and Offbeat Bride. See their effervescence. And know that’s what you’ll look and feel like, no matter what!!

  • http://www.bassackwardsblog.blogspot.com Sara

    Margaret, you were a gorgeous bride! Great piece!

  • http://www.ukuleleinrouen.blogspot.com Kinzie Kangaroo

    Wow. You are gorgeous. And Meg is right, these are words of wisdom for ANYONE, no matter your shape and size. Don’t try to change who you are for your wedding day, for your marriage, for your life.

  • Chloe

    How beautiful! My heart is full after reading this post. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Margaret.

  • Sarah

    Cheers to you, Margaret – a beautiful and well-written reminder for brides of all sizes.

  • Amy*

    “I wish I had had a glimmer of what this would have felt like, because it would have saved a lot of grief in the months I spent planning.” This speaks to the stresses that I felt when I was wedding planning. All the family drama, all the time spent spinning my wheels, all the things that got me so upset. That stuff all falls away on the wedding day and no longer matters. (Did it ever really matter?) I think that I look back at my wedding planning process in the same way that I look back at high school: “I’ve I’d have known then what I know now…”

    • Margaret

      Yeah, I feel this way about a lot of it and I think it is a pretty common experience. But I wonder if it’s even possible to know beforehand. Still, I think it’s worth it to try to share our experiences and help people gain some perspective on all the angsty wedding bits and APW is the best place for that conversation.

  • Elizabeth

    Margaret, you are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing this.

  • http://happysighs.blogspot.com liz

    rarely have i read a wedding-related piece on weight with such a healthy perspective.

    you look gorgeous, lady, and your husband clearly agrees!

  • Jennifer

    I love this – thank you for sharing, Margaret! While my weight is not currently an issue for me, I am not free of appearance-related insecurities, and a post like this speaks to that as well.

    I also love that we’ve had a couple of days in a row of posts that combine things philosophical/emotional with concrete helpful tips and how-tos. Maybe it’s because we’ve just rounded the corner into the icky planning stage of working out lots of logistical details, but that particular combination seems to be really matching my headspace. (Or maybe because I’m in that headspace, I’m noticing that combination more than I did in other stages. Either way, it’s a good thing.)

  • Kelly

    Oh boy, this made me tear up! Beautiful!

    I was a plus-size, second-time bride a few months ago. When I was married the first time I was so f-ed up about how I looked and that I ended up with a dress that wasn’t comfortable and didn’t fit right and I didn’t have the right Bra (I thought I could go without! What?! A 42G go without a bra?! NO strapless dress has that much structure!) I spent the evening trying not to expose myself to everyone. In retrospect, a lot of that wedding was about appearances and fitting the mold —including marrying the wrong person simply because it was “time”. But I digress…

    I am now older and hopefully a bit wiser and recently married the man who’s been patiently waiting all those years for me to come to my senses! Our wedding day was about love and family and friends and being in the moment, not about having to have all those things the WIC tries to convince you that you need, including being a size 4 bride. Not once that day did I think about how I looked, just like Margaret said, it was about feeling loved. But, just like making sure I was picking the right guy who will support me through thick and thin– :) — this time I also made sure I had the right bra to support me all day and night!

  • Lethe

    Plus-sized or any-other-sized it is so nice to be reminded that a wedding is not a frickin’ beauty contest and we are allowed to feel beautiful in the bodies we actually have!

    • dev

      Yes! I feel like brides (myself included) can get so caught up in how they look, like this is their One Chance to be pretty. Like if you aren’t at your absolute skinniest, or get a pimple, you have somehow failed. It’s ridiculous. I lost zero pounds before my wedding, didn’t have time to get a manicure, forgot to wear my awesome fake eyelashes, and I still looked gorgeous. Everyone there told me so. Because I was beaming, and glowing, and surrounded by love. And that kind of beautiful feels so much better than “perfect weight, preofessional make-up” type of beautiful.

  • http://asfarasitgoes.blogspot.com/ Carly

    Meg – amazing. Thank you so much for sharing Margaret’s story with us.

    And, Margaret! You are just AWESOME. Seriously, what you wrote about happiness on your wedding day is so inspiring. This is the first APW post that actually made me cry about getting married :o) …in a good way!

  • http://christytylerphotography.blogspot.com Christy

    What a beautiful, beautiful post (and bride!!). The joy is evident on your faces… congratulations!!!

  • http://www.sillylittlemischief.blogspot.com Linda

    Beautifully written. You were a gorgeous bride! Congrats!

  • elyse

    while i’m most certainly not plus-sized, i have bat wing arms like you wouldn’t believe! thought it would bother me like crazy at our wedding 2 months ago, because all i ever do is stare at other women’s skinny, toned arms (and there were lots of said women at our wedding). but the day came and i danced my ass off, arms up in the air, in my sleeveless dress and didn’t think twice about it.

    but what i really wanted to say here, is your dress is amazing!

  • Meghan

    Thank you for this Margaret! You are absolutely beautiful, and you look so joyful. So many have said it, but I will go ahead and repeat it: I needed to hear this, and at exactly this time. I will be reading and rereading this post many times in the next few weeks :)

  • http://www.katiejaneparker.com Katie Jane Parker

    Margaret, I want to give you a hug for being so wonderful and inspiring. I have been OBSESSING about my weight for the past couple months – running myself into the ground exercising. Thinking that on top of my more than full time job, the full time job of planning the wedding, and… oh yeah… having something resembling a life, I will also find time to lose 20 pounds in the next three months before my wedding. Which is totally ridiculous, but I don’t think I realized how ridiculous that was until this morning. I needed to hear this today.

    And y’know… the one person who really matters already thinks I look beautiful, and I’m marrying him. So I can’t be bothered anymore with worrying about what everyone else thinks.

    Margaret, you rock. Meg, you always know what we need to hear!

  • http://accordionsandlace.wordpress.com A.

    Thank you Margaret, for saying all of this! Awesome post, and stuff you don’t hear nearly often enough. I have been overweight most of my life, and had a relatively healthy body image, but man, the wedding pressure was a special, horrible beast.

  • http://www.runrgurl10.blogspot.com Runrgurl10

    This was such a beautiful post, thank you for your words, Margaret!! Congrats on your marriage and for cheering on brides everywhere of all shapes and sizes…

  • http://2twenty-three3.blogspot.com/ eRiN

    This was amazing. Your joy is so evident and THAT is what makes a bride beautiful!!

  • Mary Kate

    Margaret, you are GORGEOUS! These pictures are splendid and I’m sure they don’t even begin to capture how truly happy you felt during your wedding. Thank you SO much for sharing your story. As someone who has struggled with her weight for as long as I can remember, it’s one of the very first things that comes to my mind when I think about getting engaged. I am not yet engaged but my boyfriend and I have been talking about it a lot. Losing weight should be done for your health, not so you don’t feel afraid to step into a bridal shop (although I’d probably go your route and get a custom made dress anyway!). I have lost weight recently but it is only for my health, not so I can be a “skinny” bride. The pressure my sister felt to lose weight before her wedding was overwhelming, and unnecessary! I love your honesty and positivity!

    Oh, and Spanx are literally the best item of clothing I’ve ever purchased!

    • Alyssa

      UGH, Spanx are the devil! I mean, they help enormously in the shaping department but LORD…I almost give myself a coronary trying to put them on. (To be fair, I feel the same about tights and pantyhose.) Kudos to you Mary Kate, I can’t contemplate the things without having to have a lie-down….

      A caveat for new Spanx wearers: make sure that you wear them a few times before you use them on special occasions. Your wedding day is NOT the time to realize that your innards do not like being compressed like that.

      • Mary Kate

        Oh, I absolutely walk around the house with them multiple times before wearing them to a big event. Also important: practice bathroom breaks when you have to pull them down and back up again. Normally I wouldn’t want clothes that require such preparation, but they are more comfortable than rubbing thighs!

  • http://www.loveatthelodge.blogspot.com Erica

    This morning I work up, and one of the first thoughts in my mind was how I could lose 15 lbs before our wedding in 78 days. And then I read this and remembered that my dress fits as I weight right now, and when I put it on I feel gorgeous, and that feeling will only be amplified on my wedding day.

    I still want to lose those 15 lbs (and then some) but it’s not because I’m getting married. It’s because I need to for my health and I should stop imposing arbitrary deadlines on myself for losing x lbs. I used to be really good about working out and (trying) to eat healthy and recently those efforts have fallen to the wayside as my spare time has been eaten up by wedding projects. There is really something to be said for not letting your efforts to lead a healthier life go off track before your wedding. When I’m working out and eating right I feel better about myself, even if I don’t lose a single pound.

  • Alyssa

    Margaret, you are gorgeous and this post was SO wonderful. (Thank you, Meg.) I had a mini-weight related meltdown when I tried on my dress three months before the wedding and found it didn’t fit right….which led to me running twice a day for a few months, having my best friend talk me off a “pageant diet” of crackers and mustard and ultimately spending the night before my wedding sleeping in saran wrap, hoping to sweat off a few more inches. I’m embarrassed that I went so crazyface about my dress and I wish I could take that time back so I could not worry about it and add to even more of the stress of that time.

    Ladies, PLEASE listen to Margaret. She’s funny and she’s smart and so spot-on about this.
    Plus she has the CUTEST HAIR EVER and I’m jealous.

  • http://ridiculouslyeverafter.blogspot.com Nikki

    HELL THE F*CK YES!

    She looks gorgeous, she looks comfortable, she looks HAPPY. I know this is a non-WIC blog, but seriously, every bride featured looks like a model. And at this point I’m pretty sure it’s because they feel like one.

    • http://www.mysanfranciscobudgetwedding.wordpress.com Sarah

      I think every bride looks like a model because this blog celebrates truly happy unions. The people in these photos are happy and radiating that happiness. If you are miserable, it will show; if you are glowing wit excitement and joy, it will show.

      Margaret looks like a model because she felt like one. I love this post.

      • Morgan

        Totally! I just went to a wedding where the bride and groom didn’t particularly look happy, and while she looked nice, it is NOTHING compared to the radiant glow and beauty of a happy bride.

        • http://happysighs.blogspot.com liz

          those weddings make me SHUDDER.

          • http://www.mysanfranciscobudgetwedding.wordpress.com Sarah

            Because you know where they are headed.

      • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

        Maybe the wedding dress sellers should discover this little secret. I’m sick of wedding dresses being modeled by women who look like they’re trying to stare down the IRS or something. The sulky sultry look does not convey “wedding” to me.

      • englyn

        Yes exactly, every bride does look like a model. But the reverse is not at all true. I borrowed a magazine from the library last night (so glad I didn’t spend any money on it!) and it’s full of bony sulky teenagers. Geez, how about some diversity and happiness! Who on earth decided that weddings and haute couture have anything in common?

        • Meaghan

          You know, as a naturally bony person, I’m just a teeny bit offended …. ;)

          I’m right behind you on the sulky though. And that weird stooped over pose they all do.

          Beautiful post, though! Happy = beautiful, regardless of size. And this applies, I think, to all those “imperfections” we all stress about, however imaginary many of them seem to those who love us.

        • http://happysighs.blogspot.com liz

          my paranoid self believes it’s one more means of manipulating us into seeking some unreachable goal of perfection.

          a happy, normal-sized girl, grinning her face off is much more “wedding” and may even sell more dresses. but that skinny, sulking, hunched-looking thing? that sets one more subconscious standard that we need to spend thousands to try to claim.

          i think i’m a conspiracy theorist.

  • Mary

    Aaaaah, Margaret….so warm, so wise and so damn beautiful! Congratulations on your marriage. I’m sorry you struggled with such angst beforehand, but it surely sounds like you got it….

    “I was making big, life-altering promises to the man I love and I was surrounded by some of the most important people in my life. And nothing else mattered.”

    But…for the record….you looked radiantly beautiful.

    As a plus-sized bride myself, I only hope I look half as happy and joyous as you. Thank you.

  • Michele

    If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard “the diet starts today!” the moment a woman gets engaged, I’d have enough money for a lap-band. Ha!

    I too was a plus-size bride. No, scratch that; I am a plus-size woman – I always have been. Literally, from my late-teens through my entire adult life, I have always been 200+ lbs, and I actually think this worked to my advantage where my wedding was concerned. You see, because I’ve ALWAYS been heavy – I didn’t feel that pressure Margaret alluded to, that feeling of dread and shame associated with people who haven’t seen you in sometime perhaps being surprised/shocked/horrified/repulsed by how your appearance has changed. Instead, I took comfort in the fact that everyone already knew what I look like and figured it’s never been an issue before, so why should it be now?

  • Ellen

    I’ve had yo-yo weight my whole life. I’m kinda having an “a-ha” moment right now where I am realizing that my wedding will be just like every other time I’ve been reunited with my family or my college girlfriends–to some people, I’ll be thinner than I was when last they saw me; to some, I’ll be fatter. Worrying about my weight on my wedding day is starting to seem just so… pedestrian! I worry about it every single day of my life. Maybe this needs to be the one day where I just. stop. it. already!

    Thanks so much, Margaret, for sharing your story with us!!

  • http://www.cindyandjulia.com Cindy

    As someone who has been overweight since about the third grade, this post really hit home for me as well. I struggled in the wedding planning process with my feelings about my weight, especially because I married a gorgeous, skinny woman. I found myself constantly comparing myself to her, and worrying what people would think when they saw us together. But – in the past few years I’ve tried to just accept myself the way I am and work towards what I want to be, and not worry too much what others think.

    What Margaret said is exactly right – on your wedding day, you won’t even think about your weight. It is so irrelevant. In fact, in looking at our pictures, we both can’t get over how awesome we look – and it doesn’t really have much to do with our bodies or our dresses or our makeup. As I read somewhere else a while ago, a bride doesn’t look beautiful because of any of those cosmetic details – a bride looks stunningly gorgeous because she’s filled with joy and love. We were bombarded with so much love – from each other, from our friends and family – there is no possible way we could have felt bad about anything.

    That said, I echo what others have mentioned – no matter what your size or shape, make sure what you are wearing is comfortable and fits you well. Something too large or small accentuates problem areas, but something that fits you perfectly makes you look great. Which makes you feel fantastic!

  • Anna

    Oh YES!!

    That last picture is especially darling and joyous!!

    I am quite tall and heavy, but have recently lost a significant amount of weight (for health reasons, and to get my energy levels up). Once I got engaged, a coworker remarked, “Oh, so is this why you’ve been losing weight — for the wedding!” I was not sure what to say — I’d never been that kind of girl who gets wrapped up in the bride image. And now I understand it better, and I’m SO glad to read this post about positive, radiant body image.

    • KD

      Ugh!! Isn’t this the worst when other people say things to you about your weight/wedding!?
      A coworker asked right after I got engaged (a full year before my wedding) if I was going to go on a crash diet for the wedding…. Ummm? Really? I didnt think I needed to lose any, and certainly wouldn’t crash diet if I did want to! Why on earth do people make comment like these?

      Like we don’t put enough pressure on ourselves…

  • http://www.weddingdiplomat.blogspot.com Emily

    Meg, APW never ceases to amazing me – I logged on to read because I was feeling down – yes, I know – after looking at our candid wedding shots. We got married last weekend and I FELT so beautiful and I had so much fun and was so happy (and still am) BUT I started looking at the photos and felt suddenly ugly, and had huge feelings about looking way blobbier than I thought in my dress – and I suddenly felt all this pressure – did I FAIL to look perfect on my wedding day? I mean, I have to “live” with these photos forever! What if I don’t feel like I am perfectly beautiful in them?

    Well much to my surprise, that topic is EXACTLY the one featured on your blog today. My jaw dropped.

    Anyways, Marget and your beautiful photos and words really helped me to feel a bit better about the whole things – hey, it’s ME, I am not “perfect” in that WIC perfect sort of way. Boy oh boy though, I never realized how much all of those IMAGES in those magazines burned themselves into my head, making me picture a waif-like version of myself prancing in my dress with perfect makeup and no flyaway hair and then prancing off to a honeymoon of bikinis and ab muscles – whoa. Anyways, we are heading off to our honeymoon tomorrow and I am just hoping that I can feel happy and in love in beautiful even though I am not skinny and waiflike and prancing in a bikini :)

    Oh APW, always to the rescue

    • http://happysighs.blogspot.com liz

      i felt that way for the first few weeks after the wedding.

      what helped me, was to first, stop looking at the photos that made me feel that way. focus on the ones of friends.

      then, when all of the built up emotion and anxiety from all of the wedding planning dissipated, i went back to the photos and weeded out the ones i actually liked. those are the only ones i post anywhere or frame or look at. once i set about weeding through, i found there were ALOT more that i liked than i realized.

      don’t worry about “living with them forever”- i found a lot of my disappointment was just general emotional moodiness leftover from all of the chaos and craziness. i feel much, much better now.

    • http://happysighs.blogspot.com liz

      oh, and honeymoon?

      nothing like a week of sex to improve one’s self-image.

      HAVE FUN, GIRL!

    • http://made-of-sun.tumblr.com/ Trisha

      I had that exact same feeling looking through my pictures the second time, about a week later. I only saw the way I looked larger than I felt, and the way in most of the pictures, I had a lock of hair sticking up the wrong way. (Why didn’t anyone tell me!?!? Oh yeah, because they didn’t notice. They noticed how radiant and happy and breathtaking I looked. They didn’t notice either.) Then I looked at them again about a month later, and now I, well I won’t say I don’t notice those things, because I do. But they don’t matter anymore. I look at the pictures, and I see how everyone, especially my husband and I were overflowing with love, and a wild and rampant joy. I hope that the same thing happens for you.

  • Sarah

    Thank you so much for sharing this experience – like others, this was exactly what I needed to hear today. We’re getting married in September having just decided a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been feeling conflicted about dress shopping – waiting to lose weight, but also knowing that waiting until the last minute was not going to do me any favors either. I weigh 25 lbs more than I did when I moved from MN to Boston 3 years ago- it’s been a rough transition, and I have been dreading having my old friends see me this way. Intellectually I know that brides are beautiful no matter what – becuase all that happiness just makes you glow. But I still need to hear it over and over so that it sinks into my heart. Unfortunately there is just a lot of social pressure – especially surrounding the photos that will “last a lifetime.” My philosophy right now is to do my best to be as healthy as possible – exercise daily, eat right, get enough sleep. Even if I don’t lose lbs, that behavior will result in a more confident, sculpted me and I’ll know that I did my best to feel at my best. For myself, what I have to guard against is throwing in the towel and saying f*** – it. I know myself, and I would kick myself heartily if I didn’t at least try.

  • http://spirographs.blogspot.com/ jenna

    how wonderful – congrats!

  • Analise

    What a beautiful, healthy, happy way to think about your wedding and the world.
    Team Practical hits it out of the park again!!

  • Leigh

    I’ve been reading this site for ages (since before I got engaged a few weeks ago, actually), and this is the first time I’ve commented. It’s a good thing I’m the only person in the office right now, because I’m for real about to lose my shit.

    I’m just getting started planning, haven’t even set a date or gotten a venue and this is still probably the biggest thing I’m stressing over: how freaking fat I’m going to look in that stupid dress I’m going to wear one day and then never again. I’m also something of a fashion snob and a cheapass to boot, so finding a runway-worthy dress to swathe my child-bearing hips for under $500 is going to be challenge, at best.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Margaret for this beautiful inspiration, this priceless advice and wisdom, and this timely reminder to all of us that the last thing we should be thinking about on this day is what we’re wearing, and our outward appearances. It’s just what I needed to hear right now, even before all the real insanity has started and I have a feeling I’ll keep coming back to this post again and again.

    • http://www.cindyandjulia.com Cindy

      This is a little off-topic, but look into finding a local seamstress or costumer to make your dress for you. My wife and I both made our own for about $350 total for both dresses. You will no doubt have additional cost in labor, but you’ll get a lot more bang for your dress-budget buck.

  • Mary

    This was so timely for me too. I got my second dress fitting yesterday, and my mom was wondering if it was fitted too tight across the belly, which is not what any bride needs to hear three weeks before her wedding. FWIW, the alterations folks at my locally run, dresses-made-in-the-store shop thought it was just fine. I am bigger across the top than the bottom (size 14 up top, size 8 on the bottom for wedding dresses, so hard to find what fits). I’d been feeling lousy all day and wondering if I should try to magically lose a few before the wedding, too, so this was so timely for me. I have never been a crash dieter, and am incredulous that the wedding stress would get me to a place where I’d even consider it.

    Margaret, you looked beautiful at your wedding. Thank you for sharing your pictures and your story, and congratulations!

  • http://thisisjacksonriley.blogspot.com Jackson Riley

    thank you for such a beautiful and heartfelt post – what a wonderful way to start my morning. and, to echo everyone here, you are a beautiful bride – love the dress, love the hair, love the big ass smile on your face!

    and i have to agree: bra fittings change people’s lives. i had one recently and have been sooooo comfortable ever since that I’m kicking myself for not doing it sooner. if anyone in the APW community hasn’t gone and got one done, DO IT. your girls will thank you.

  • Jen M

    thank you, thank you, thank you. I feel like so many people are scared to write about this topic. And I know a lot of plus-size women not only feel bad about their weight, but are often made to feel bad about feeling bad about it! Like, love you fat! Sorry, it’s hard to love my fat sometimes, especially when I’m worried about looking like, as you so wonderfully put it, a big marshmallow! You look beautiful and happy…I hope I do too!

  • Danielle

    Can I just say that I am not plus sized but I am thisclose to letting obnoxious crocodile tears roll down my face at work?

    It makes me very sad to think that plus sized brides have to deal with all of this crap about how they *should* look on their wedding day. Margaret, you rocked your wedding. You looked so happy and absolutely radiant. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  • Liz

    Margaret,

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this!!! This is exactly what I needed to read, today, right here, right now.

    I’ve struggled with eating disorders in the past. I thought I had put all that behind me, and had developed a healthy attitude about weight and health and food. But somehow as soon as I got through the initial rush of excitement about being engaged, all those old insecurities started to creep back in, and I’ve begun to worry again about my weight, and if I’m eating too much, etc. etc. etc.

    Last week, after some serious soul searching and long, tear-filled conversations with my fiance, I finally promised him (and myself) that I am *not* going to try to lose weight for my wedding. Instead I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been trying to do for the last ten years – eating a variety of foods, getting some exercise every day, and filling my life with things to think about other than my weight. But it’s still a struggle to really accept this decision and live it every day, when there is so much pressure to diet or at least be stressed out losing weight.

    I’m going to bookmark this post and return to it any time I need encouragement, to remind myself of what the wedding is really all about. This year leading up to my wedding is my year to celebrate: to eat cake and drink champagne and dance. Besides, anyone who would spend my wedding day focusing on my weight is frankly not invited.

    • http://agorillalibrarian.blogspot.com/ Mejane

      Liz, sounds like we’re in roughly the same boat. It’s amazing/awful how wedding planning ends up needling all those old insecurities. Honestly, I’m so glad I decided *not* to lose weight for the wedding. It was just the best choice for my mental well-being. Now, with a month left before the big day, I’m definitely much more at peace with all this body stuff than I would be if I were crash-dieting. Or running 10 miles a day. Or just generally beating myself up for not meeting some arbitrary goal.

  • http://hitchdied.wordpress.com HitchDied

    What a wonderfully honest, wise, affirming post. It should magically be hand delivered to every newly engaged woman! I hope at my wedding I look even close to as happy and beautiful and Margaret did.

  • Pamela

    Thank you so much for this post!!! Margaret, you are stunning and wise, and I’m in love with your dress!

    I’m another plus sized bride, and of couse, as soon as we got engaged, I did the mental math of “how much weight can I lose in the year before the wedding if I lose x amount per week/month.” I dreaded dress shopping and picking a photographer was *really* hard (because what if I look ugly in the pictures??)

    Mostly, though, for me – I realized that my fear came from being the thought that I would somehow be an embarassment as a bride – that because I don’t fit the current definitions of “sexy” and “hot” with my round body, glasses and crazy hair that I swear has a mind of its own – that people would feel sorry not for me, but for the wonderful man I’m marrying. I was afraid that people would think that he could have done better or married a hotter woman. Somehow, I started to feel that I “owed” it to him to be as conventionally attractive as possible, so that he wouldn’t be a laughing stock.

    Then I realized f*ck it. This is the man who has loved me through thick and, well, less thick over the last seven years. This is the man who makes me feel beautiful and wanted every day of our life together. This is the man who cried with me in the hospital when I had to have surgery because we weren’t sure if I had cancer or not (turns out not! Phew!). He proposed when I was the heaviest I’d ever been. All that pressure was in my own head – not coming from him or anyone else. Realizing that, though, still hasn’t completely stopped the “I should be better!!” thoughts.

    So, thanks again for this post – I have a feeling I’ll be returning to it often in the next few months as the wedding date nears.

    Oh, and for the “chub rub” problems – Monistat makes a powder chafing relief gel that’s pretty much magic. It does need to be reapplied somewhat frequently which can be a pain, but it’s good stuff :)

  • http://www.spinningninny.com Sarah

    That is incredible. Thank you so much for sharing this story. It seems to me that nearly every woman that I’ve ever met (whether large, small, short, tall) has concerns about their weight and how their weight is perceived by others. Thank you, thank you for sharing.

  • http://www.icookwithwine.com Melinda

    Margaret, thank you so much for your story. It made me mist up a little on this otherwise typical Thursday morning. You looked incredibly gorgeous and happy!

  • Amy

    What a great post, and I agree Margaret you looked just beautiful and beaming on your wedding day!

    Just yesterday I was e-mailing back and forth with my oldest friend and bridesmaid. She unsolicited sort of brought up this issue.

    She wrote, “Have you been on the crazy bride diet? I remember I was convinced I had “just a few more pounds” to lose before my big day. Looking back I didn’t. No one could have told me that of course. But I will try and tell you!!! Don’t worry about it. Last time I saw you, you were gorgeous and thin as ever!!!”

    It’s good to have friends that remind you to appreciate your beautiful self as-is and concentrate on what really matters as the day gets closer.

  • Leslie

    I love APW. I’ve been reading it ever since I’ve got engaged (but never posted), and I’m always so thankful that there are people who marry in a beautiful, sane fashion. The brides and Meg on APW always remind me that my wedding is not a show or a beauty contest (something I really need to be reminded of sometimes). A wedding is something real, imperfect, and beautiful for the essence of what it is.

    Somehow though, I forgot that we are also beautiful, simply because we are. I wanted to lose the typical twenty pounds ever since I got engaged. A good friend of mine is also getting married a month after me, and she’s well on her way to losing her twenty pounds. I feel horrible, stressed out, and like a failure for not doing it too and also for comparing myself to her (when I should just be happy for her). I’ve been (plus or minus five pounds) the same weight for eight years. It’s at the high end of a healthy weight. High enough for me to feel bad about myself, and to know that I will have aunts critiquing me at the wedding. There is such immense pressure that we have to be perfect, and that thin is part of being perfect. This post reminded me to be kinder to myself, and that the pressure isn’t even really based on any truth. Margaret, you look happy, and beautiful in these pictures. Thank you for posting, and reminding us that we are stunning simply because we are.

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  • Cat

    MARGARET! I adore you so much – you’re absolutely beautiful, inside and out. This post is PERFECT for me. I’m not engaged yet, but there have been talks of the possibility of us getting married, and I will admit to going to David’s Bridal and trying on some dresses at one point. I’m a bigger gal, size 18 or 20, although I have the good fortune to have my weight pretty evenly distributed. However, with all the WIC pressure, I started thinking, “Oh man, I have to lose so much weight before I end up getting married…”

    Even when trying on dresses, though, I felt beautiful, because I was happy. Whether skinny or heavy, it doesn’t matter – as long as you’re happy, you’re beautiful. I love this post so, so much.

  • Danielle

    What a great post! I went to my best friend’s wedding (he’s a big AND tall guy) and his wife was by no means tiny. It was inspiring to see her in a gorgeous gown even though she wasn’t twiggy.

    Now I’m getting married in about a year, and I am also not twiggy. I would like to know more about undergarments that prevent thigh chaffing (it makes wearing shorts or skirts really uncomfortable).

    Again, thanks for the inspiring post!

  • http://www.koruwedding.com Koru Kate

    Congratulations & best wishes Margaret!

    As a wedding planner for the past ten years, I have worked with everyone from too-skinny Brides to plus-size Brides & everyone in between. Honestly, when I look back, I don’t remember the beautiful Brides by their dress size. The most beautiful Brides, no matter what their size, were the Brides who smiled the biggest & laughed the hardest!! And Margaret, you were one BEAUTIFUL Bride!!!

  • http://faithintruth.wordpress.com Faith

    Anyone else think it’s like those girls who were always so annoyingly picture perfect in high school, seemed to have everything together, and the hottie boyfriend are the ones calling the shots in the WIC?

    Controlling the way all us normal girls (who just want to be married already!) see weddings and once again making us question who we are. Just like they did all those years ago.

    Couldn’t stand them then, can’t stand them now.

  • http://newlydomesticated.blogspot.com Newly Domesticated

    oh god thank you. I’ve been looking at pictures of myself 30 pounds ago, thinking about when i didn’t have such a double chin or when my gut didn’t protrude as much and fretting that i will hate my wedding pictures. I really truly needed this, just like everyone above me, and let me say, Margaret, that you look so gorgeous, most especially in that second picture when you’re laughing.

    and can i add, one of the biggest frustrations i’ve had with wedding magazines/blogs is that it seems like all the girls who have beautiful, well-designed, lovingly crafted weddings also happen to be a size 2, model-gorgeous and have the silkiest hair I’ve ever seen. What IS that?

  • http://agorillalibrarian.blogspot.com/ Mejane

    Margaret – you are absolutely gorgeous! Also: very wise. Thank you so much for writing this piece. It helps.

  • Ragon

    Wow, that was just what I needed to hear. Thank you!

  • Laura

    Margaret, you are lovely and this was a beautiful post.

  • http://www.carahall.com/ Cara

    Beautifully said! Seeing my friends (of all shapes and sizes) getting married the past few years has made me realize how much the day is not about your weight. I hope it’s the last thing on my mind for my wedding. I do think one of the reasons I have thought it important to have lost weight by my wedding day is this lingering thought that I want to have dealt with my body issues and adopted a healthy lifestyle prior to having children. I do not want to pass on the negativity I’ve felt for my body to my future kids, especially girls. I fear that more than anything.

  • Meg

    Thank you so much for writing this post. I have always struggled with body image issues, mostly stemming from being a chubby child. Over the past few years I have mostly come to terms with these issues. Now, I am 16 days away from getting married. I have also been sick for months and unable to eat a really nutritious diet. I feel like my skin and hair look like crap and I’m really self conscious about my looks once again! Seeing your beautiful wedding photos and reading your wise words helped me realize that it’s our wedding and joy will be the order of the day. If my hair is dull or I have to wear a bit of undereye makeup, it really doesn’t matter much. Thank you again!

  • Melissa

    Thank you. Thank you for accepting yourself, and thank you for admitting that any weight loss should be for health reasons. It is so seldom that women have such actualized perspective of their weight and body image. It has been a long road to get there myself, and every once in a while this whole W-E-D-D-I-N-G thing knocks me back down and all I can think of is what my arms are going to look like in an effing photograph. Thank you again for saying it, and saying it so perfectly.

  • Bridette

    Margaret – one of my “friends” (note the quotes) suggested that I put a picture of a model on my refrigerator to motivate me not to eat. Nevermind that I eat less than 1200 calories a day and Im still heavy. Instead – Im putting your picture up reminding me that I have been heavy for the last 10 years and I didn’t care…..Suddenly Im in a shame spiral that results in me not coming out of the dressing room to see what I look like in the wedding dress.

    Im the confident girl in my group and yet the following comments follow me around in my head so much that I can’t stand it.
    1) mom saying “don’t worry, I know you will be able to lose 50 lbs before the wedding” in my voiced concern about my weight. (She later recanted and said I would be beautiful no matter what but the first part stuck) -GUESS WHAT? She’s on a diet for the first time in 10 years and has been obese the last 20 years ….why? CUZ she wants to be thin for the wedding – its an epidemic.
    2) Friends saying I couldn’t get a designer dress because I wouldn’t have lost the weight in time to get fitted.
    3) Going to the dress shops and they don’t even have a size 10 and I need a size 22.
    I wouldn’t even take off my pants in front of the dress attendants. It was getting ridiculous.

    And then my close friend took me to a Korean day spa where you have to get naked with a bunch of insanely thin Korean girls to bathe before you can go into the spa. It was one of those get naked or get out moments -so we did and I had an awesome time and yes, I was fatter but nobody laughed at me and I had a relaxing heaven of a time….and then I remembered who I am.

    SO Margaret – Thank you, we needed this more than you can know.

    • K

      Bridette – I think it’s possible that literally everyone involved in our wedding is trying to lose weight for the “big day” – mothers, bridesmaids, friends, and my husband-to-be. It’s hard to be in the middle of it all, particularly when I’m working so hard not to succumb to a history of body-image issues. My hope is that all of those people involved in our wedding will forget about it all on the day, just as Margaret did, and that we’ll have so many beautiful pictures that capture their joy and radiance, rather than their clothing sizes.

  • Katelyn

    Finding/Wearing The Dress is my #1 wedding-related anxiety, and has been for years–even before I met a man I thought I might like to be married to. How messed up is THAT? I’m so grateful to you, Margaret, for your honesty, positivity, and practicality. It sounds like lots of us needed the reality check.

  • Marina

    Thank you so, so much for this post and for the beautiful pictures–Margaret, you look AMAZINGLY gorgeous. I love all the shots of you grinning your head off!!!

    The best health/weight thing I did for myself before the wedding was focus on drinking lots of water. Forget weight loss, not being dehydrated gave me more energy and fewer pimples. ;)

  • http://bondingcarbonunits.wordpress.com/ Sarah K.

    Amazing, amazing, amazing. Thank you, Margaret. <3

  • Charlotte

    I think Sara from $2,000 wedding said it best when she talked about life style changes vs. dieting. In the US we approach losing weight like it’s a one time goal of eliminating one food group or doing x amount of exercise and suddenly you will be beautiful. I think a wedding is a good time to get healthy, not necessarily thin. Instead of crash dieting we could all do ourselves a favor by riding our bike to do errands or go discover the local farmer’s market or quit smoking.
    And Margret, you look lovely.

  • Susan

    It seems perfectly normal to think about weight leading up to your wedding but so important to remember what really counts.

    Thank you for this.

  • http://islandwed.blogspot.com Chloe (Island Wed)

    Thank you so much for this post Margaret (and Meg), this is one I know I will go back to during the next 12 months. It’s hard for me to see friends losing lots of weight before their wedding when I thought they looked great and perfectly wonderful. Now I worry that people will expect the same from me, which really fucks with my already body-image-fucked-up head.

    This post is one of many reasons that I come back to this site. It is real, it is honest, and it is written by someone I can relate to rather than a wedding site robot. Thank you so much!

  • Christina

    I’m sure this is the one millionth thank you – but I’m ok saying it again. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS POST. I’m at work totally crying because this is exactly what I’ve needed to hear. I am heavy right now, the wedding is in two months, but I just started a business and I have exactly NO time to focus on my weight. I’ve always said to myself that I would finally lose this weight I gained in college when my wedding rolled around, and I’ve felt nothing but fear and guilt that I haven’t. I’ve even secretly considered diet pills and it just makes me cringe. Margaret, you are absolutely beautiful inside and out and just the first little series of happy pictures you put up said enough. Love and life is bigger than my size :) Thank you so much for putting it in perspective. I haven’t been this exited for my wedding day through this whole process as I am right now.

  • http://www.arewewedyet.blogspot.com Megan @ Are We Wed Yet

    I know there have been a lot of “Thank you’s” directed at this article and the truth is that it needs a million more!

    Being over weight is hard. And while it is a position that I (as an overweight person) have put myself in, it’s emotionally stressfull 24/7. You can count on that stress tripling (at the very least) during an engagement. My wedding is 30 days away and I am a proud plus-size bride. Like Margaret said, it’s not ideal, but I don’t want to think back to these past few months in the future and only remember how much I hated my body and wanted to be thin. I want to remember the start of our new family, the merging of our old ones, the planning, the excitement, and everything else that goes along with a wedding. That’s what really matters, not how much the scale tells me I weigh.

    So again, thank you, Margaret, for your honesty and the courage it took to write this. You are quite an amazing woman.

  • http://kristythecoffeegirl.blogspot.com Kristy

    Margaret, you look beautiful! I don’t think there’s an “Exactly” button big enough for this. I kind of want to print out a bunch of copies and post them all over town. Thank you both, Margaret & Meg.

  • http://www.themadienmetallurgist.com The Maiden Metallurgist

    Lone it! I gained so much weight before my wedding that I actually had to buy a new wedding dress ONE WEEK before the wedding. I was freaked and panicked, and but I had lovely friends and family (and wedding elves) and it never felt like a huge issue.

    I share your wish that every woman who is feeling the burden of wedding industry pressure to loose weight and “fit the mold” is able to let go and relax. And I know that some of those women will read this, and do just that.

  • Christina

    Ok, furthermore- people don’t give enough credit to the fact that losing weight is HARD. DAMN HARD, especially if you do it the right way and not some crash diet way. But guess what else is hard? Planning a wedding! I really have resented that these things were supposed to happen simultaneously. As far as I’m concerned, I’d say doing both at the same time is absolute crazy-making.

  • Magdalena

    What a beautiful bride and I hope you have your dress stored some place safe, otherwise I’m going to try to steal it right out of your closet! I do think it is a good idea for brides to try to lose the weight… AFTER the wedding. Obesity is a serious, often fatal but highly treatable health condition and there are specialists who can help, especially with identifying issues like thyroid etc. It’s often a result of lifestyle choices and when you look at the burden placed on our health care system and society as a whole, it pricks the conscience. It IS important to make the choice to change, I understand that.

    But for current plus size graduates, for the love of God, do not put that stress and pressure on yourself BEFORE your wedding day. Don’t give one inch to the thought of possibly being one, two, or seventeen sizes smaller at your wedding “if I work hard enough” or “if I do x y or z” because the danger is the day will come and you won’t be small “enough” and you will let it affect your happiness, when as Margaret points out it should be a total non-issue.

    Make creating a weight loss/comprehensive health plan a part of your wedding planning. Set the start date for the day after you return from your honeymoon. Get healthy, not to look great in your wedding pictures, but to have that many more years alongside your beloved. Happy years not marred by the misery of diabetes (have you ever spoken to someone with neuropathy? Misery) or cut short by heart problems.

    • Pamela

      I actually take a bit of an exception to parts of this comment- obesity is not “highly treatable” for some of us. Yes, I can pay attention to what I eat/drink and make good choices. Yes, I can exercise and do all that fun stuff. But I cannot *make* the scale go down. If obesity was “highly treatable” by a 30 minute walk and an apple a day, we’d all be thin. Most fat women know way more about calories, exercise, water consumption, etc than anyone else. Sure, sometimes we’re lazy, but so are our thin sisters.

      I have a thyroid condition, too, that is under control (at least that’s what the blood tests show) and guess what? I’m still fat – because, as I said above, I can control what goes into my body (food) and what I do with my body (exercise), but I cannot force the scale to go down.

      I’m tired of the assumption that fat always equals unhealthy. It doesn’t, any more than thin always equals healthy.

      • Nataliah

        exactly x 100000000

  • lani

    I had my first, and hopefully last, bridal breakdown this afternoon and I needed a bit of APW to encourage me in my last 9 days to go. I saw the first few picture and tears started streaming down my cheeks. Yes, my stupid caterer will probably f*ck something up on the day but god damn it, if I can just be as happy and beautiful as you were on your wedding day, I will be … I can’t even finish my sentence right now. Thank you, thank you for sharing with us.

  • Sara

    A friend of mine sent this link to me today—–this is EXACTLY what I needed to read. Thank you so much Miss Margaret!! Half way through our 15 months engagement I was still in the mind set of, “I have to drop a ton of weight! I have to!” During that time though I just stressed out, ate when I was sad about my weight, ate when I was stressed about wedding planning and family issues surrounding wedding planning and that all did.not.help. Finally, FINALLY, I decided I needed to rewrite my goal of why I wanted/needed to lose weight. I need to lose weight because it will make me feel better, because I won’t need cholesterol medicine and when it comes time to start trying for a baby I hopefully won’t have a hard time if weight is not a factor like it most likely would be right now. Then something clicked. I woke up early one morning and popped in a video downstairs and I’m just taking every day one day at a time. Your post comes at a great time when I started stressing that I’m not seeing results enough on a certain part of my body I would hope to have and you are right—-IT WON’T F’IN MATTER because the day of our wedding people will not notice if I have chubby arms or whathaveyou—because if they do and care about that then they should not be at our wedding.

  • http://www.alosangeleslove.com Becca

    I’ve dealt with being overweight all my life. And then, I finally started to focus on health and I’m finally in a much better (and yes, slimmer) place. But even though I’m healthy and happy now, those last 15 pounds are taunting me like never before, all because of the damn wedding. It’s incredibly hard to keep my weight and health and occasional stress eating binges in perspective with the wedding and weight loss ads (really Facebook? the moment I changed my status to engaged the only ads you target at me are weight loss and wedding photography?) It’s harder than I ever anticipated it would be, even after years on Weight Watchers and learning to deal with living in Los Angeles surrounded by “beautiful” people. I actually have a file of wedding photos of non-model-looking women who are glowing from joy at their weddings that I refer to when I feel crazy. It helps alot. And I’m adding this entire post to that file. Thank you Margaret for your honesty and wisdom. I hope to be half as beautiful and glowy as you on my wedding day.

  • http://sparklefishmarriespistolfish.blogspot.com Mandy

    First of all, Margaret…this post is beautiful, and you are beautiful, and your wedding looked beautiful. Amen to being who you are.

    Second of all…I have to ask, WHERE do you find double-wide shoes? I have insanely hard-to-fit feet (5.5 double wide) and am desperate for shoes.

    • Margaret

      I have two sources for comfy shoes. The first is footsource. I’ve had a lot of frustrating problems with my feet over the years (plantar fasciitis, just plain old problems with various soft bits in my feet) and it’s a good online store for just about anything, including shoes that won’t kill your feet and come in double wide.

      Then, I bought the wedding shoes from Zappos and David Tate is the designer. I think most if not all of that line comes in both wide and double wide. That brand also makes extra double wide calf BOOTS, which is exciting, although my calves may be too wide even for those.

    • http://www.alosangeleslove.com Becca
  • peanut

    Margaret, you are gorgeous and a picture of bridal inspiration.

    I don’t diet, never have. I love food and I hate being hungry. When I ordered my bridal gown, the sales lady at the fancy-pants bridal salon asked me how much weight I was planning on losing so she could order the appropriate size. I am a size 6. I laughed and went out for pizza. I went out to dinner recently, and my friend remarked how refreshing it was to see “a bride who eats bread”. I cheers-ed with my buttered sourdough and we ordered dessert. I could go on – I am sure you all know exactly what I am talking about. The whole “brides have to be on a diet” thing is just another WIC/media/effed-up-society rule that makes no sense – no matter what size you are.

    I do, however, love to exercise and highly recommend regular exercise for brides who are feeling down about their bodies – with no “goal weight” or anything, just to feel better about yourself. About six months ago, I put myself on a weight-training program to try and tone-up my arms and back. Honestly, I haven’t noticed dramatic results – BUT after an hour of lifting weights damn do I feel sexy! I definitely feel more confident and kick-ass as I exercise more, and that is waaaaaaaaaayyyy more important than a number on the scale.

    • veronica

      I would second the idea that exercise does wonders. I’ve always been frustrated with my weight (enough to make me uncomfortable, not enough to be serious about changing it) and last year in a fit of ‘I will lose the weight’, I started working out. Soon, I became more frustrated by not being able to run more than three minutes than by my pants size. So my goal became training enough to run a mile. Then two miles…Then I started lifting weights and found new goals to be conquered. I now train capoeira and love it and have a whoooole long list of things to learn (flips and handstands etc). I have lost about 15 lbs, but it took a year and I kind of look the same as I did. I still have a pooch and I still don’t like the look of my fat arms, BUT having different goals has been super healthy. I admit it, after I run for 30 min without stopping or after I do a whole circuit of weight training I FEEL HOT. (sweaty of course, but also sexy hot!!!!).
      I would recommend any and all brides make it a point to do 30 min of some kind of movement a day!!! 1. endorphins and/or fresh air make you feel great – psychologically and physically!!! 2. Exercise is not something we should do as a means to lose weight. Its a way to keep healthy! Not a hobby, not a luxury, …a simple part of taking care of yourself. I mean, we always find time to brush our teeth, don’t we?!

      P.S. GREAT POST! Inspiration for us all!!!!

      • Katelyn

        That’s me with Pilates. When you feel toned and your arms and legs go in directions you didn’t know they could before, that’s sexier than a number on the scale any day.

  • lynne

    Aaaah, this is JUST what I needed to hear! I’ve been worried about exactly the same big and little things (will I sweat my makeup off? will my back fat be totally obvious and gross everyone out? will my arms look ok? WILL MY PICTURES BE PRETTY???). All of which are completely and totally ridiculous because 1) there’s not much that can be done about any of it now that we’re a month out, and 2) that could not be any LESS the point. Thanks for the reminder, and for giving me permission to let it go.

    Also, I love seeing Wedding Graduates posts from plus-size brides. It feels like we don’t exist out there in wedding land, even tho I know we do in real life, so it’s even more affirming to see blog posts about plus-size brides.

  • shorty j

    Margaret, a lot of other people have said it, but you are SO GORGEOUS! you look absolutely stunning, and so happy!

  • http://www.empapers.com Eleanor

    This was a wonderful, wonderful story. Thank you.

  • http://www.athousandmasonjars.com a thousand mason jars

    beautifully said. you looked gorgeous and most importantly, SO HAPPY.

    now i need to stop crying at my desk…coworkers are starting to stare ; )

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  • Julia R

    Margaret, THANK YOU (for the millionth time, but it should be repeated) for such a beautiful, wise, and honest post. I don’t know you, but I adore you!

    I’ve long struggled with my weight and my self-image/self-esteem (with not much help from my mother and her “helpful” comments). Luckily, I have a fiance who loves me as I am and who has helped me to learn to love myself as I am as well. We both want to shape up a little, though we tell ourselves it isn’t just for the wedding. Thank you for the reminder that wherever we end up, we’ll look our best on our wedding day because we’ll be so happy!

    And by the way, you looked amazing. When you said “it felt like this” and showed your pics, I could instantly “feel” your joy through the photos. And that is what truly makes a gorgeous bride.

  • Mandy

    I loved this. Thank you for sharing. Although I have never struggled with weight issues, there are other concerns and fears I have about my upcoming wedding day. Your attitude and optimism despite things not being completely perfect is truly inspiring.

  • http://irisira.wordpress.com irisira

    I feel a bit ridiculous commenting here to say that I struggle with my weight. I’m a size 4. But I am also 5’2″, which means that, as a size 4, I’m within the “acceptable” BMI for my height, but I’m at the high end of it. In order to stay in this range, I work out 5 days a week, aerobics plus weights, and I watch what I eat. I don’t stress if I decide to have a waffle cone or chicken wings, but I’m pretty careful.

    Anyway, I’m proud of how far I’ve come with my body acceptance, which has never been great. My waist/middle has always been soft and a bit thick; my shoulders broad given my A cups. Finding my bra size is a challenge. Finding jeans that fit well more so. And, bridal dresses (for maids too)? Forget it. The women who run those shops don’t seem to comprehend my proportions. Yes, I’m 5’2″. Yes, I’m a 36A. Yes I have hips and shoulders like a woman who is 5’10”. No, I don’t have a Barbie waist to go with them. And no, I CAN’T fill this out without breast augmentations, so you need to find a way to fit it to my chest, please and thank you.

    Case in point: the dress shop screwed up my size for my bridal gown, under the incorrect assumption that ordering a size smaller would be better for my small chest. WRONG. It zips, but barely. The shop owner sputtered, “Are you planning on losing weight before the wedding?”

    Uh … no?

    “It would only need to be 5 or 6 pounds.”
    “ALL brides lose a little bit of weight, you know.”

    EFF YOU.

    I was so angry. I told her I wasn’t losing weight and to just let it out. She wants to wait until August. I’m tempted to ask her how much trouble a corset back would be. I’m just really really annoyed that she would speak to me that way. Just when you think you’re comfortable with your body …

  • http://ladyoftheforest.blogspot.com blindirishpirate

    I think it was such a responsible, genius move to forgoe the horrors of bridal stores and went with a vendor who could create such a flattering, beautiful dress. Seriously – you are kickin’.

  • http://theunemployedbride.wordpress.com/ Tiffany In Houston

    Margaret, as a fellow plus size bride, I salute you. You look radiant.

  • http://laorencha.blogspot.com channamasala

    I have to say of all the posts on APW, this touched me the most. I wear a size 14/16, but I’ve always been that way. I do eat healthy, cook a lot of my own food, hike, walk, snorkel, bike, swim, play Frisbee etc. and am confident it’s not a lifestyle issue. That said, with the wedding approaching and any timeline I could have had to lose significant weight running out, I’ve felt worse and worse about it. One of my bridesmaids, my own grandmother and so many wedding photos out there in the world are screaming at me to slim down, but…well, I have a hectic, non-routine job (contract work, every day is different, schedule prone to sudden change, absolutely no way to schedule regular workouts and definitely not possible to schedule them over a long period of time to form a habit), I already eat fairly well and am working on slipping up less, but as for pushing myself into a workout and diet regimen that may not work anyway…well. For me, that takes a level of effort, planning and conscious thought that I really do not have the time for right now. At all.

    As someone said above, if it were just a matter of an apple a day and a 30 minute walk, I’d be crazy thin. I already do that and more.

    It took a lot of willpower to step up and tell my maternal Grandma to back off (I got tired of her “Are you going to try to lose weight for the wedding?” comments, and when I told her to quit it she fell back on the old “I am just worried about your health” crap, which is very clearly not what she’s worried about at all).

    It took a lot of will as well to stand up to my bridesmaid (who is also overweight, not that I care about that but what gives with her asking me if I’m on a diet regimen? Shouldn’t she know how that kind of comment feels?) – I asked her for advice on getting my custom dress altered to be more flattering and her take on it was that with the body I have, it wasn’t going to get any more flattering. Um…no, because I own dresses that look better on me than my wedding gown did back when I was planning the alterations.

    So, I got to thinking about it, not really crying about it but still feeling a bit worried and stressed, and then came to a realization.

    I recently had a dress altered so I could wear it again: it was a size 12 and I am now 1-2 sizes above that depending on what brand you’re buying.

    I could say “oh boo hoo, I am 2 sizes larger” but then I realized when I bought that size 12 dress.

    For my MIDDLE SCHOOL GRADUATION. So I’ve gone up 2 sizes between the ages of 13 and 30.

    Um, I dunno about my Grandma L. but I think that’s OK. I think it also says a lot about my natural body weight. Could I force it back down to a 12? Even a 10? Probably, if I starved myself and spent all my time at the gym instead of with my fiance. But do I really want to do that?

    Then there’s the fact that I do not have a traditionally pretty face. But then again few people do – we’re mostly just about average, all of us, and that’s fine. I felt a lot better seeing this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcFlxSlOKNI

    I’ve come to something of a compromise with myself: no bridal diet – I hate those things anyway – but I’d get a custom dress, with a cut that I’d researched the hell out of to ensure that it’s flattering on me, get it fitted within a nanometer of its life, and I would allow myself a few mirrors and some smoke. Not to gain anyone else’s approval, and not because of the judgments of others (most people have been sweet, supportive and not mentioned any kind of diet talk at all), but so that I can feel great on a day when I’ll be looked at a lot and photographed a lot, too.

    So shapewear is OK, but crash dieting is not. I have a bodysuit, a waist cincher and a butt lifter that also keeps the thigh rub down. It’s not comfortable, but it’s also not uncomfortable.

    I will get my hair professionally done.

    I will spend a lot of money on makeup and do my own, but I’ll practice and get very good at it.

    I will wear my custom dress with a skirt, (pouffy mermaid/trumpet), top (deep crossed V) and waist sash (at my narrowest point) designed with my own figure in mind.

    In short, I will make some concessions to suffering for beauty – makeup feels gross to me, shapewear is not very comfortable – but I will not go overboard. And I’ll do it all for me.

  • Bee

    This was such a beautiful post, and exactly what I needed to hear!
    I’m not plus-size, but have, throughout my life, had a very unhealthy relationship with weight. I was a ballet dancer for years, and if anything can screw up the way a girl thinks about the way she looks in the mirror, putting on tights and an elastic band around your waist every day and then having someone yell to tuck your butt under and just generally obsess about your physical appearance (“what, you put on five pounds, you’re going to sound like an elephant on stage!”) is the way to do it. My dancer friends and I could look at each other and tell if one of us had gained even two or three pounds, and we weren’t afraid to say something! Since I stopped dancing (it’s been years now) I’ve really had to work through the way I think and feel about my body (especially since in the year or so after I stopped I gained 30 lbs, despite continuing to run everyday). I really thought I had mostly sorted out how I feel about my body, and I thought I really had a handle on my self esteem, and then I got engaged and suddenly it felt like I was back in a dance class being criticized for every extra pound on my body.
    This wonderful post has really helped me put things back into a healthier perspective. Thank you so much for being willing to share your story! And just to echo all the other wonderful ladies- you looked absolutely stunning on your wedding day!

  • Liz

    Thank you. Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou. And the pictures- they are awesome, and you are gorgeous! You can just feel the joy emanating from your face!

  • Laura

    These pictures are so beautiful! And I love the dress thus making me think into custom fit dresses. In the past year I have gained 30lbs by simply ignoring myself in the pursuit of taking care of others. But after I realized I hadn’t been eating fruit or veggies in months I took a stand and have tried to push myself higher on my list of priorities. I have been working out, lifting weights and re-joined Weight Watchers which always works for me. But I’m NOT doing this for my wedding. It scares me to see people I see who are at a health weight or even less, want to be waifish for their wedding day. What so you can pass out from stress and low blood sugar? And then people put 50 pounds or more on after they get married have kids etc.

    After the dust has cleared from the wedding nonsense, make yourself a priority. I’ve done this before but I know that I can’t lose all the weight I want before the wedding. I know that this is a life change. No longer eating when I’m stressed or as a reward for getting through something tough. I’ll be eating for health. Whatever weight I am when I go the last fitting well that’s what I’ll be. I could go naked and it would still be an amazing day.

    Congratulations Margaret!

  • Kat

    just… tears. I feel you.

  • http://beccaloves.blogspot.com English Becca

    I currently have tears running down my face. Thank you so much for this. You look absolutely beautiful. xx

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  • Danielle

    I’ve been heavy my entire life. I gained more weight after high school, and while it’s never phased my fiance, I’ll have moments where I cry about it. As I started to plan our wedding, I started to get a slight panic – how am I going to look on my wedding day if I look like this? I got my first wedding dress online, without trying it on because I didn’t want to go into a store and be embarrassed about being size 28. I put on my custom-made dress and hated it. I started to cry.. not tears of happiness but tears of utter disappointment. I found another less formal dress for my beach wedding and when I put it on, I actually felt pretty. That would be my dress.

    We’re a little over a month away from the big day, and this morning I decided to put on my dress again. While I felt like I loved it, this little part of me got panicked again that I would look awful and gross and fat. I was feeling a little down, then I came across this post.

    You have no idea what it has done for me. That panic is gone. You have given me the reassurance that on my day, I will be happy. I’m marrying my best friend in the world of 7 years. I’m going to have an absolute blast with those who matter the most.

    Thank you for writing this. I know you don’t know me, but you just did something for me that I will forever be thankful for.

    I can’t wait to be married and for our big day.

  • Betty

    You look lovely.

  • Nicole

    You’re an amazing woman and that showed on your wedding day. God bless you!

  • Chantal

    Firstly, congratulations on your wedding! I hope the marriage is as happy and fulfilling as you deserve!

    Even before my engagement in April this year, I was having issues with my weight. When my fiance and I started dating I weighed about 42kg and was a size 26. I’m now a size 34 (after losing a few kgs last year) I still find myself crying everytime I need to get dressed up for a big do.

    I must say that it doesnt help when friends and family point out my weight all the time. Surely they must know that I own a mirror and know what a scale is!!!

    Thank you so much for your very inspiring article. I will continue to TRY to lose some of the excess weight for health reasons but I dont think that I’ll be obsessed with having my wedding day as a deadline! What does wonders to make me feel better about myself is my fiance who’s still as gorgeous as the day we met – he’s always telling me how sexy I am! I just need to remember your words and that also nothing else matters on the day except that we’re 2 people who love each other and want the world to know it!

    Thank you SOO SO much! You have no idea how much peace this brings me! I felt almost instantly calmer after reading your piece.

  • SoonToBeBride2010

    Margaret,
    From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!

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  • Debbie

    I have been stressing about my weight for sometime now before my wedding. Thank you so much! This article has made me feel better and more excited about my wedding!!!

  • Alexandra

    Margaret, you look absolutely beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing your story. Clearly, you’ve helped many many brides already. (Non-brides, too!)
    Congratulations. Great dress, too!

  • Kathleen

    I know that this response is coming a bit late to the party, but I just wanted to thank you. I am a younger bride (23) marrying the love of my life. He loves me for who I am but even with that I struggle with my weight and the thought that in 60 days I will be a bride. It is so hard to be bigger than what others think you should be, and this article brought me to tears. With a full-time job, spending precious time with my fiance and planning a wedding, I feel so stressed about everything being perfect, including myself. It is difficult to hear that people think that I am pretty because I have never thought that I am with how much I weight. I just want to thank you for this article; it has helped me realize what is more important on my path to the altar. Thank you so much.

  • http://yeastinfectiontreatmentz.com Constantine

    A very sweet story. It’s so nice to see that people can be very happy, even if the have any kind of problems. Thank you for sharing it. it helps me to overcome some personal problems. I think the most important aspect is your inner world, and the only thing you have to do is to find your 2nd part in this world.

  • Mary Jane

    This is the first time I’ve commented on APW, although I have emailed links to various posts to various women I love and admire, single, engaged, married or otherwise. This site means so much to me, as an engaged woman, as it meant (means!) to my recently wed little sister.

    So of all the posts that have moved me, this is the post I chose to respond to. I can’t even find the words to express how I feel after reading your story. I thank you so, so, so so so much for sharing your beautiful wedding! Your experience has made a huge and positive impact on me :)

  • http://weddings-paradise.com Paula

    The photos are wonderful !!! …congratulations photographer’s !!!:)

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  • Fiona

    Thank you so much for sharing! I used to be very petite and athletic…but then I suddenly began gaining weight rapidly and it took 6 years for me to figure out I have hypothyroidism. I am battling my disease whilst trying to lose the weight it has piled onto me. I didnt get that big (I gained about 60lbs total and have lost 17 of it so far)…but coupled with this fatigue and joint pain it feels worse than it is. I miss my old body, and more importantly what I used to be able to do and how I felt. Being healthy is so important, even if you arent perfectly slim. But I want to get married sometime soon and I am definitely stressing about if I will be healthy and lose the weight by then. This post did help relax that anxiety in that it WILL be okay.

  • SeraphL

    The funny thing is that when I scrolled past your pictures, I barely noticed your body. Just your gleeful smile :D

  • Alyce Deeth

    Thank you so much for this! My weddings in 3 months and I can’t bring myself to send out invitations because I don’t want people to see me. All I hear in my head is my families comments about my cousin on her wedding day about her back fat and huge breasts – and she’s a size 16 (and looked gorgeous). Now I just want to cry with the thought of them watching me get married. But your photos bring me so much relief, your smile is amazing! I hope your still smiling like that!