Sarah & Jonathan

*Sarah, Social Media Strategist & Jonathan, Chef*

Weddings and Body Image

Today’s Wedding Graduate post seemed like such a perfect one to run in the first week of the year. First of all, it’s gorgeous, and second of all, it’s smart. But what I particularly love is Sarah’s message of  finding a way to be deeply happy, exactly the way she is is. Some of us are wrestling with our bodies, some of us are wrestling with other things, but if we allow our engagements and weddings to be a tool to learn to love ourselves more and see ourselves as joyful beautiful beings, then we win (and beat the media messaging about women and weddings, too).Weddings and Body Image

After nearly a year of being hooked on wedding blogs, I can state unequivocally that all brides are beautiful. No matter what, when you look through pictures of wedding after wedding, it doesn’t matter what they look like, all brides just glow. Which is a good thing, because if you want to know the truth, I was kind of a sweaty mess on our wedding day.

Weddings and Body Image

It was really hot, especially for late September in New Hampshire. Once I got my dress on, between the heat and the nerves, I basically turned into a pool of sweat. My hair frizzed out, my makeup started to streak. It was a bit of a bridal beauty disaster.

Weddings and Body Image

Weddings and Body Image

And honestly? It didn’t matter. I was fairly stressed about it at first, but all my anxiety melted away (with my makeup! Rimshot!) the minute the music started and I realized I was about to be married to my best friend. From that point on, I could only smile, laugh, and revel in my luck.

Weddings and Body Image

It shocked me a little because if there was one part of the Big Bad WIC that I’d bought into completely, it was that I was supposed to look as perfect as possible. It was so important to me, like I had something to make up for, considering I do not exactly fit society’s mold for conventional beauty.

Weddings and Body Image

Weddings and Body Image

While I don’t want this post to be all about the trials and tribulations of being a plus-size bride, I feel it’s important to begin there. Because there was a time when I couldn’t have imagined ever being this happy unless I was also thin.

Weddings and Body Image

My husband Jonathan has had a lot to do with changing that perception for me, which has helped me realize that having this body and being ridiculously, joyfully happy are not mutually exclusive. I focused on that rather bold idea throughout our wedding planning process, at times clinging to it like a life raft as the pressures of wanting to be the Most Prettiest Bride Evar! started creeping in on me.

Weddings and Body Image

Weddings and Body Image

~A Short Play About A Paranoid Bride And Her Saintly Groom~

Me:  What if I can’t find a dress that fits?
Jon:  You will. And you would look beautiful no matter what you wore.

Me:  Do you think I should get sleeves? Or a coat? Or a full-body cape of some kind? My arms… good god, my arms!
Jon:  Your arms are fine. And you will look beautiful no matter what.

Me:  Should I order my dress a size or two down to force myself to lose weight?
Jon:  Why would you do that when you’re already stressed about so many other things? Just order it in your size because you’re beautiful the way you look now.

And so on. Is there a World’s Most Supportive Awesome Groom award I can nominate him for?

Weddings and Body Image

This combination of awesome groom, incredible family, and a stellar group of friends resulted in the nine months of our engagement being the happiest of my life. And I wasn’t even close to being thin for any of it.

Weddings and Body Image

As for the wedding, what a feast! Open bar, tons of food, great music—probably the best party I’ve ever been to and definitely the best one I’ll ever throw. Jon is a chef; we gave out his personal blend of savory spices as favors, and he planned the menu to send people home stuffed to the gills.

Weddings and Body Image

Weddings and Body Image

We had a raw bar, prime rib, a delicious cake, and a late-night pastry hour with cannolis from the Modern in Boston and homemade sweets from both of our families. After eating, drinking and dancing the night away, we woke up happy; husband and wife.

Weddings and Body Image

Weddings and Body Image

So, aside from the heat, did anything go wrong? Sure. Was it a big deal? No. Some of it even ended up being a positive.

Weddings and Body Image

For example, I had way too much to drink and stayed up way too late catching up with old friends the night before the wedding. But despite waking up on with a raging hangover, I still can’t call this a snafu.

Weddings and Body Image

If you have the chance to drink whiskey and cheap beer with dear friends you haven’t seen in many years and may not see again for many years more—why go home early?

Weddings and Body Image

Weddings and Body Image

I guess what I’m saying is, no matter how much sleep you get, no matter how hot it is, you’ll still be so happy that you’ll look incredible. Even if you’re really, really, really sweaty.

Weddings and Body Image

The Info—Photography: Alexandra Roberts / Dress: Rivermill at Dover Landing / Dress: Alfred Angelo / Bridesmaid Dresses: Alfred Sung / Programs, paper, signage, invites: Beth Cote Designs / Custom Cake Topper: Mud Meddling / Shoes: DC / Venue: Palm Event Center

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  • “the pressures of wanting to be the Most Prettiest Bride Evar..”

    Yes.. Those.. Especially bad if your version of being the Most Prettiest Bride does not correlate with anybody else’s version..

    It took me to a point where I considered spending 700 bucks on a pair of hand made boots to stop decide that “Pretty Decent Looking” was also okay. After which I spent 40 bucks on shoes.

    Anyway.. You both have faces that are very expressive – that show so much emotion. And I only see happiness radiating off of them. It’s so lovely to see!

    • Yeah, I also definitely related to that quote. Though I’ve never struggled with my weight, I still have my issues for sure. I was afraid my skin wouldn’t be clear enough, my dress wouldn’t be nice enough, and a million other stupid little things. I also related to the part about being a sweaty mess; we got married in San Antonio, TX in July, and it was incredibly hot and humid. My tight, long dress trapped in the sweat and heat like you wouldn’t believe! But in the end, I was super happy and really did have the best time at my wedding.

  • Caroline

    “If you have the chance to drink whiskey and cheap beer with dear friends you haven’t seen in many years and may not see again for many years more—why go home early?”

    Yay, a bride like me!! :)

    Lovely post, gorgeous pictures, great shoes. Can’t lose!

  • “…the pressures of wanting to be the Most Prettiest Bride Evar! started creeping in on me.”

    God. Yes. I was engaged for a year and a half, and when I got to the week of my wedding, I had a little meltdown – I was so mad at myself! I had all that time to lose 20 pounds, and I didn’t – I felt like such a failure. But then… I didn’t care on my wedding day. Not once. Yes, I have some double chin photos… my updo fell out halfway through… but I just look crazy, ridiculously happy. Because I was. I could have worn a garbage bag that day and I probably wouldn’t have cared.

    And you do not look sweaty at all – you look stunning. That black and white photo of you in your veil with your bouquet is spectacular.

    • Kashia

      This sounds like me. At one point I had a “mini-meltdown” about if I should get fake nails for the wedding because mine are rarely even (I’m always too busy doing things with my hands and working outside and that causes nails to chip and break). I’ve never cared about my nails before, and likely never will again, but for about a week before the wedding I was so remarkably worried about my nails and how they wouldn’t be PERFECT!

      My wonderfully sane husband reminded me that NO ONE at all would care about what my nails looked like. Turns out he was right.

      Not only did I not care, I’m pretty sure I managed to break a few nails over the course of the day because I was too busy playing extreme croquet and
      laughing with old friends and dancing my butt off to care.

      • My family freaked out about me not getting a manicure. I did get pedicure (not that anyone saw my feet during my winter wedding — I wore tights under my dress!). But I know myself, and I know I’d chip a manicure even if I was being super careful. Even if it was “just” clear polish. My nails are naturally pretty white tipped, so I just trimmed them up carefully and called it a day. I haven’t seen the pro photos yet (we were married just last week), but in our friends’ photos, even ones that show our hands, you can’t tell at all.

        I also forgot to wear mascara, because it wasn’t in my makeup bag and I was too busy getting dressed to go grab it once I got home. I don’t think you can tell that either, and I was pleased to not have chunks of mascara falling into my eyes or clumping my lashes. The eyeliner did well enough.

  • Let me be really shallow here: LOVE your veil, it sets off your stunning face beautifully! Also, yellow shoes are hot :)

  • carrie

    Sarah! You are beautiful! And seriously, one of the prettiest dresses I’ve EVAR seen. I love my dress, but wow. I might buy it today and dye it for something else. ;-) Amen about the pressures, my dear. I still nitpick my pictures sometimes. But mostly, I look at my pictures and they put me in a better mood because my husband and I and everyone at the wedding were so happy that day. Congrats to you both!

  • Nicole

    Sarah, you and your husband are a GREAT-looking couple! Your happiness comes through so strongly in these photographs. Thank you so much for sharing.

    I, too, am lusting after your dress.

  • Lakelady

    So happy to see a fellow NH bride represented here! You look absolutely stunning and SO joyful–which is the most important thing!

  • Hortensia

    I love the I DO on the bottoms of your shoes–what a great idea! The yellow shoes and yellow flowers are so pretty.

    • Sarah

      I bought little stick-on rhinestones at Michael’s for about 3 dollars and it took me 15 minutes to do up the shoes. I saw it on another blog and just had to, so cute! And I’ve worn the shoes a couple times since then too, and they are still on there. So cheap and easy!

      • I think I’m going to have to borrow that detail, because it made my heart melt when I saw that photo.

  • This is a lovely post. And you’re right, there’s something about wedding photos that make you look flipping fantastic even if you are a sweaty mess (which you do not look like in any of those amazing pictures!) I think it’s the smiles. Happy people with smiles bigger than any other day would normally bring…that’s what I love about your pictures, the joy and the fun of it is so clear!

    (And that’s why you can always tell if a wedding is a real-wedding or a photoshoot-wedding…you just can’t fake those smiles!)

    Also the thin equals happy trick is such a hard one to see through! Cause we are told it everywhere! It’s so sad that we all believe it and take it in and take so long recovering from the damage no matter what our size is. Thank you for stating it plain and clear.

  • There are so many parts of this that I love and resonate with. The most prettiest bride eva bit that others have mentioned. Yes, and yes. And I’m not out of the fire yet on that one since I haven’t bought a dress. My struggle is not weight; it’s acne – but the same story. I’ve been struggling with it what feels like my whole life, and I always have this feeling that I can’t be pretty until it’s gone. Which is crappy because I’m 31 now, and it seems to be here to stay. So, I keep working on trying to accept that I’m beautiful, and I’ll BE beautiful on my wedding day no matter what. And thank goodness that I, like you, have a supportive fiancee on that front.

    Also, I’m going to force my fiancee to become a chef between now and the wedding so that we can give out savory spice blends to our guests. Best party favor ever.

    Also, you looked smashing.

  • ASH

    Thank you Sarah. This post is much needed. I’ve just begun my dress search and am fighting so hard the urge to be the Most Prettiest Bride Evar. I’m never like that, so why on my wedding day would I suddenly feel the need to be that? I was thinking this morning that I needed to start getting my eyebrows waxed for the wedding. I never do that! Why the hell should I now? It’s infuriating!

    I’m overweight and paranoid that I won’t find something that fits well, makes me feel comfortable, and looks pretty and special. So I stayed up way too late last night looking at dresses online when I should have finished the book I’m reading and went to bed at a decent hour. As much as I try to be the laid-back bride, it’s flippin’ hard sometimes because you care about your wedding. Thankfully, I have APW and an amazingly supportive and loving fiance to bring me back to reality when I start to float away.

    Congratulations to you and your husband! Maybe we can create a World’s Most Supportive Awesome Groom page on APW where we get to nominate them and they all get the title :)

    • Chelsea

      I agree that we shouldn’t pressure ourselves to be the “most prettiest bride evar,” but in your post I see a hint of the “I’m not ‘pretty’ in everyday life, so I don’t deserve to be pretty on my wedding day” attitude and I wanted to squash it. Since when do size two brides who get their eyebrows waxed weekly have a monopoly on the bridal gorgeousness market? Clearly, from this post, they don’t.

      It’s a really fine line – on one hand, we definitely don’t want to pressure ourselves to be something we’re not (and make ourselves unhappy in the process), but on the other, if being the most gorgeous version OF YOURSELF is something that will make you happy, there is absolutely no shame in a few late nights of online dress hunting.

      Anyway, I was probably reading too much into your post, but I just wanted to point out that there’s nothing impractical about wanting (and working) to look your best, as long as you’re doing it for happy reasons and not because you feel like it’s what you have to do.

      • ASH

        Hi Chelsea,

        You really made me think. Thank you for that. I do feel that I’m pretty in everyday life. I feel pretty most days (especially when I’ve had enough sleep!) and I feel gorgeous when I have enough time to get ready and have something on that is flattering. But I do feel like there are so many other things I would rather (or sometimes have to) put precious resources towards (time, money, etc.) than shopping, eyebrow waxing, and other beauty routines. But not my hair cut. I LOVE that experience every six weeks!

        So you’ve made me think and I’m feeling better about taking the time to spend on myself to look and feel my best on my wedding day. Now, can you be the little voice in my head for the rest of this process? :)

        • Chelsea

          Yay! I’m glad you normally feel pretty, and it sounds like you’re on the right track. Looking back (my wedding was 1.5 years ago) it can be so hard to pull apart what the WIC wants, from what you want to do just to stick it to the WIC, from what you actually want. The urge can be to say “The WIC wants me to put a million dollars into my appearance? Then I will put ZERO DOLLARS into my appearance, take THAT!” But that’s not ourselves either, right? So we have to find what feels like us. It looks like you know what you need to feel like a gorgeous you, so you’ll be fine. Good luck!

  • Ugh! I am currently in the “I just need to lose 10 pounds” phase and I know I need to STOP. My fiance, like your husband, keeps telling me I’m perfect. Maybe I should believe him.

    You were (and are) beautiful. And happy :) Congratulations!

  • Sarah

    Thank you so much everyone. It really was the best day. For NH brides, we truly loved our venue, Rivermill in Dover. The brick walls are so beautiful.

    Also I got my veil at the very last minute, on eBay for 20 bucks including the feather clip. eBay and Etsy were my best friends. :)

    So excited about being featured here, thanks again!

    • meg

      Have you put your venue on the APW Venue directory??? DO IT. Pay it forward :) People will love you for it.

    • Ibu

      I had the same dress for my August 6th wedding!!!
      I love, love , love the dress! It looks really great on you. I was so happy to see the same dress again, I was screaming with excitement. Can you tell I love that dress.:)

  • You look absolutely stunning and I am obsessed with your dress! Wish I had seen something like that when I was shopping! Also, you are so right about staying up late and drinking with friends – one of the biggest “regrets” of our wedding weekend was that I went home early the night before because I was so worried about being hungover! I was also physically exhausted, but I wish I would have pushed myself a little more.

  • Margaret

    I absolutely love your dress. If I can look as pretty as you on my wedding day I will be happy. Thanks for sharing with us, it is making me feel calmer about my own wedding.

    • Sarah

      Thank you! For what it’s worth, the folks at Alfred Angelo were AMAZING. I know it varies based on what store you go to, but my sales person was the best. She made me feel right at ease, and they had almost every dress I liked in a size that either fit or almost fit, so I didn’t feel huge trying to stuff myself into a comically small sample. Plus, they are affordable. I loved my dress too, I felt very princessy. :)

  • Kate

    You ARE the most prettiest bride ever! I love your dress, your bouquet and your bridesmaids’ dresses. And I ADORE that first photo of the two of you. It reminds me of the moment in a screwball comedy where the pretty heroine kisses the hero and he goes “Gosh!”

    Thanks so much for sharing these reflections.

  • Arya

    I relate to this so much! We just had our reception on Saturday, New Year’s Eve — and it was clammy, damp, and humid (outdoor ceremony, unseasonably cold for here in Florida), and I ended up being a somewhat sweaty, damp, wilted plus size bride who also had a raging hangover from partying the night before. I made it to the midnight toast through sheer will, but at some point the hangover lifted away and happiness (and probably adrenaline) took over.

    Ginger gum also helped. Made the hangover queasies go away. :)

  • Such wise words & such a beautiful wedding with a GORGEOUS Bride! The “I Do” on the bottom of your shoes is too cute. Congratulations~

  • I have to say, you look ABSOLUTELY STUNNING!! Your hair and makeup look flawless, your dress is beautiful and I can’t even tell you were “misting”. Everything looks wonderful! Congratulations!

    Side note: I know I do it to myself too but I hate that people think they can’t wear something based on their body type. I hate the advertising industry (wedding, celebrity, cosmetics, fashion etc.) for brainwashing us to think this way. It sucks.


    Partly because I no longer have to write a wedding graduate post about being a plus sized bride because she said it all above, but also because I feel/felt the exact same way about our wedding.

    The main thing I learned, to repeat what was spoken above, is that a couple in love looks so amazingly gorgeous on their wedding day that it doesn’t matter what insecurities they may have about their outside appearance. You can’t hide love, nor can you fake love and make it appear where it is isn’t…a couple in love glows from the inside out and there is nothing more stunning than a bride or a groom madly in love with their partner on their wedding day!

    • Sarah

      You should still write your post! I was a little wary about it because I am not a person who necessarily publicly acknowledges my body issues very often–but with the exception of Offbeat Bride, most blogs do not feature a lot of weddings with plus size brides. And I’m sure a lot of that has to do with insecurity or whatever from the brides not wanting to submit posts more than blogs not wanting to feature fat brides (although I’m sure there is some of that, certainly not at APW though).

      Anyhow, definitely do it, the more posts the better, I want to spread the word to everyone that they can look awesome on their wedding day without killing themselves to lose weight. :)

    • meg

      Nuh uh. We have a rule at APW: you are never allowed to let someone’s bravery in writing a wonderful post excuse you of the responsibility of putting your OWN experiences into words. Your story is not Sarah’s story, just because you share a body type.

      And Sarah’s right. We have a tremendous problem with representing the diversity of the community of readers on the site. We haven’t had a LGBTQ wedding submitted in months. We get more thin white weddings than not (that includes me). And we can’t make up content from thin air*! We need your help.

      *Well. I mean. We can. I can write lots of stuff. But it’s always going to reflect my experience.

  • jessie

    I think my fav photo is you with the flowers, which is framed so nicely coming after the quotes that really stood out for me: “It shocked me a little because if there was one part of the Big Bad WIC that I’d bought into completely, it was that I was supposed to look as perfect as possible. It was so important to me, like I had something to make up for, considering I do not exactly fit society’s mold for conventional beauty….While I don’t want this post to be all about the trials and tribulations of being a plus-size bride, I feel it’s important to begin there. Because there was a time when I couldn’t have imagined ever being this happy unless I was also thin.”

    THIS IS IT FOR ME. I can’t tell you how much energy I’ve devoted to worrying about how I will control my belly in the dress and, as you pointed to later in your post, my near manic need to cover my arms, which I always focus on in every photo of myself. And you’re so right – it’s hard to let go, but we need to let go, and just focus on the beauty that’s in all of us when we’re in the middle of really loving someone.

    Getting back to your photos, my fav is definitely the one with the flowers because you look so.incredibly.excited. In fact, I see the same grin in several shots, where you look like you know something awesome is about to happen and you just can’t wait! I hope I have that same look. I also hope my hair looks that good when sweaty (seriously, if you’re sweaty in any of these photos, it does not show. You look FAB!). Thanks for an amazing post!

  • KateM

    Stunning dress, you look amazing, and cannot tell at ALL that you are sweating. It is natural for weddings to bring up insecurities about our physical appearance as brides are the in the center of attention. It is also natural to want to look our best for the person we love the most, although my FH likes me best in a sweatshirt and ponytail and that ain’t happening on my wedding day. Our appearance is just like everything else wedding related, you do what you can and then let it go. Once again, not reading the WIC blogs have helped me with that a lot.
    I will also say that I am a size 12 and wedding dress shopping was miserable for me. I did not have a say yes to the dress experience. The first three salons I went to, had about 3 dresses each that I could try on and nothing in the style I was looking for. Trying on clothes that you know are unflattering and too small doesn’t really help with the insecurities. Finally found a place that specifically advertised as having all sizes (Curvy Girl Bridal) and had tears of relief when I wasn’t being squeezed into dresses that either didn’t fit at all or were too small. It is really great that people are standing up and challenging the WIC in all arenas. You giving voice to your experiences was really inspiring! Thank you!

  • Granola

    You look soooooo happy! I’m not plus-size, but I too have felt the “be the most beautiful bride EVER” pressure. I keep telling myself that the reason I think every wedding photo I see is beautiful is because the people in them are rapturously happy, not because everyone in the world is wildly beautiful except me. Maybe we’ve all got our own demons to slay. I keep trying to approach wedding planning as a wonderful growth opportunity, but as one of my girlfriends pointed out in a moment of stress, those “wonderful growth opportunities” generally do nothing but suck when you’re in the middle of them. Here’s to the light at the end of the tunnel….

    p.s. I love your bridesmaids dresses, and am considering that color for my own bridal party. Also, where did you get your flowers? I love how simple the bouquets are – adorable.

    • Exactly to the “pretty because you’re happy” part as well as the “growth sucks while you’re doing it” part.

    • Sarah

      We got the flowers from a local school that runs a flower-arranging class. The students put together arrangements as part of their studies, and it’s far cheaper than a regular florist! It was at Alvirne in Hudson, NH if you’re a New Englander. Only thing that was hard was having to transport them ourselves.

      Bridesmaids wore Alfred Sung, color is Majestic–I loved it too! I wanted purple and yellow for my colors right from the start. So thrilled with how the colors pop in the pics.

      • Granola

        Thank you so much! I was just talking to my mom about trying to find a picture of the actual dress or a larger swatch. It’s great to hear that you really liked it.

  • I walked down the aisle with cow pat up my dress! I am pretty sure that the wedding industry would frown on that! I looked down at the stains, looked up at my groom and could not care less. I had paranoia all the way through wedding planning but thank god for good husbands like yours whole talk a whole lot of sense! You looked radiant, you groom looks incredibly in love so I would say job terribly well done lady! Thanks for your wise words this morning.

  • Hooray for the Most Prettiest Bride Ever!!

    I think the only un-pretty “brides” I’ve ever seen are those sullen models they get to model wedding dresses for magazines. Sexy pout is not a look I’ve ever seen on a real bride.

    And this – “we woke up happy; husband and wife.” Yup. That’s a feeling that can’t be beat.

    • meg

      OR people who are miserable to be getting married, because they know they are making a huge mistake. Sadly, I’ve seen this play out in real life, and it totally backs up the idea that joy = beauty.

      • Ceebee

        What do you do when such a situation pans out? What could you do?

  • Bsweeney

    You had a beautiful wedding! I’m commenting because I love the color you picked for the bridesmaids. I’m wondering what shade of purple it is from Alfred Sung – the Italian plum? I’m planning on using the same design, and love this color!

    • Sarah

      It’s Majestic in the dupioni. I wanted Italian Plum at first because I thought the Majestic looked too “barney” in the sample, but then I saw a sample dress in Italian Plum and didn’t really like it. So I went for the full barney purple! :)

  • Happiness is the best beautician :) And you look stunningly happy- or happily stunning, or wait: both! :)

    The thin aspect of weddings and relationships (“you’ll never find someone to love you unless you are thin”…at least I felt that!) are one of the worst aspects of the western media, IMO. I stumbled upon an interview to Eva Longoria the other day when she was mentioning that after her divorce she lost too much way and was unhealthy, but people kept complimenting her and telling her that she never looked better…this is CRAZY!

    • lost too much weight, sorry for the typo!

    • Jennie

      I have this problem too. My mom lost a TON of weight after her divorce, I was at my skinniest after being dumped by a person I thought was The One. My aunt has an even worse story: she was dying of breast cancer (she beat it!) and was down to like 85 pounds at 5’10”. She was trying on clothes that she could put on by herself and a lady and her daughter in a nearby dressing room complimented her effusively on her thinness. She was DYING. And they were telling her that it was doing wonders for her figure. SO whenever I feel like I am not thin enough to be a valid person, I try to remember that how I feel on the inside does not have ANYTHING to do with how I look on the outside.

  • Steph

    “having this body and being blissfully, joyously happy are not mutually exclusive” love love love this line!!!!!!!! I had so many similar experiences planning my wedding. And can I also just take a moment and envy your purple – NOT lavender – bridesmaids dresses!!! I love the ones I found for my girls but that shade of purple would have been my first choice :) And lastly, would you mind/consider having me link to this post in a future entry of my bodyimage blog?

    • Sarah

      Thanks, and link away! :)

  • April

    You are gloriously radiant and beaming in every photo – just gorgeous! And you and your darling husband look the picture of happiness. Congratulations to you both!

    p.s. YOUR SHOES. WHEEEEE!!!!!!!!! :D LOVE!!!

  • Your dress is beautiful on you!

  • I so appreciate this post! You look fantastic by the way.

    One of my bridesmaids made me sort of uncomfortable when, at the reception, she told me “We need to get you to the bathroom. You’re hair’s starting to fall and you look all sweaty.” I politely ignored her, realized that I didn’t care and was having a great time regardless. Does my hair look a little straggly in some photos? Yes, but I think I’m the only one who’s looking at my hair instead of the smile on my face.

    Love those big white balloons too!

  • So many aspects of amazing in your post but FIRST:

    YES we should nominate your husband for a world’s most supportive awesome groom award. It sounds like you two have a great relationship. :) In those little snippets of conversation you really get across how amazing and loving he is, and how special it is to always be loved for who you are.

    I am also stunned by the gorgeousness of your wedding (dress! shoes! your girls dresses! smiles! flowers! how in love you two look!).

  • Not only is this a smart, practical post, but the word hoopla was printed on the invitation. Win.

    • Amandover

      Yes! I, too noticed the “hoopla” and rejoiced. But my favorite is your “Rimshot!”, Sarah! I laughed out loud. A little extra funny flavor to make this post a joy to read. Thanks for sharing.

  • Kimberly

    I have been struggling so much with my weight and the upcoming wedding that it is kind of killing my joy. What’s worse is my fiance’s take on it. He is very fit and always has been. He, too, has an idea of what his wedding day will look like. He has always seen the WIC and their supermodel-thin brides. I am far from supermodel thin. In fact, I am 60 pounds heavier than when we first met in college and after 2 kids, well, let’s just say that instead of flat abs, I have a bowl full of jellied cottage cheese (my apologies for the image that just flashed through your heads).
    [Before I go any further, please let me state that my fiance does not body snark me. He never, ever tries to use my weight to hurt me. If anyone is in a situation where your weight is being used against you or as a reason to beat you down, THAT IS NOT RIGHT. That person does not love you and you deserve better!]
    I wish I could say my fiance loves people of all sizes, but truth is he doesn’t. He is very supportive of me, but it is only in the context of losing weight. I have no doubts about our marriage or his love, but I wonder what I can do for him to understand. It is a difficult issue to grapple with in the best of times and these are not the best of times for us. As someone whose whole family has weight issues and likes to throw them around (from my father telling me he hopes I don’t have flabby arms in my wedding dress to my cousin telling me to lay off the soda to often being called “bubblebutt”), I have struggled for years.
    I think my fiance’s big problem is that he doesn’t realize that I can’t just snap my fingers and be thin. It’s hard work! And I already work hard being a mom, running a business, and volunteering in my community. I find it hard to find time to exercise and truly believe in what Caitlin Moran wrote in her book “How to be a Woman” about caregivers overeating because it is the only high they can get without killing themselves (well, killing themselves slower than drugs and alcohol). With recent studies proving that sugar reacts in the human brain in the same pattern that heroin does and my own personal experience of eating a whole pot of pudding in less than ten minutes, I think Ms. Moran is quite right.
    It isn’t easy to post this, since we expect our partners to love us thick and thin, but it’s my truth. All I ever read about is lovely plus-sized ladies with men who love them, but I know there are other gals out there like me. I just wanted to put this out there and maybe find some other ladies in the same position.

    Lastly, my wedding is in June and I am trying to prepare myself for the sweating–stockpiling paper towels and anti-persperant and all. Sarah, you don’t look melty at all! You look radiant! Thanks for giving me hope for my sweaty self on my wedding day!!

    • You are not alone! My fiance (still feels weird writing that) really, really wants to lose weight, and he thinks I should be doing it with him. I, however, having been working really hard for the past year to switch to more of a HAES perspective. I refuse to focus on losing weight, and it has been an issue for us. We had a huuuuge argument when he went out and bought a scale and I asked him to put it where I couldn’t see. So yeah, a pretty big issue. Even without body snarking (like you, we have none).
      I’m working really hard to get over my body-insecurity enough to go wedding dress shopping. And this isn’t helping.

      • Kimberly

        I went to David’s Bridal and had MAJOR trepidation about it. However, it turned out to be a really great experience for me. My sales lady was awesome and I found a dress I really love. I think it helped that right before I went I said to myself, “JUST HAVE FUN! You are getting married to a great guy and you will look awesome! RELAX”
        In my head pep talks always help me. I hope you will relax and enjoy dress shopping. It should be a fun time for all brides!

    • Ceebee

      I’m with you, and also going to give you a tip against you. Do not make it any harder.
      Sometimes people just want to Say something. So what of you bubblebutt, your cousin doesn’t die.
      Similarly, if you feel better, do what you have to, dieting or exercising but know you can’t be checking the scale or tape every day or week. To manage expectations, if you miraculously see the pounds off on your wedding Yay! If you don’t you know you tried and could show everybody you’re fab as you are. Double Yay!

      I’m kinda getting on this side having the same experiences, everytime I go home, I come back a pile of mess because dad always make me feel less than myself for being size 4 vs size 2. I took a lot of therapy to get over the body image, now I just don’t care being everything out of conventional beauty.

    • This absolutely breaks my heart. I too have kids, a full time job, am a PT college student and run 2 community groups. I should be healthier than I am and I know if I could “move more” I would feel better but the only time I have to get to the college gym (and it’d even be free!) would be 6am. I choose and extra hour of sleep. My fiance thinks I should make time and everyone I talk to about exercise and health in general seems to think time can be “made”.

      It can’t and it feels bad.

      We can focus on making better food choices but even that sometimes feels impossible when we’re on the run and somehow inadequate to move the number on the scale…

      Hugs for you, you are building a huge life and tthere’s this one piece that isn’t quite fitting…yet.

  • Mari

    I love seeing the plus size brides… it helps normalize the image, for those of us who are happy with our bodies but don’t get a lot of positive representation (outside of this site).

    Also, I haven’t read all the comments yet, but i’d like to say that I did not even look at your arms until I read the part about covering them up. I’m glad you were okay with baring them if that’s what you wanted. I am all about baring mine, but have had those moments of, will it look bad in photos? creep into my head. You look beautiful and I didn’t even for a second notice your arms until you mentioned it.

    • I have giant arms and was petrified of my strapless gown and how things would “shake out” in the pictures. Well, we’ve gotten about 800 wedding photos and I think they look bad in three pictures. Three. Out of 800. I wish I could take back the many hours I spent obsessing over how bad I would end up looking on my wedding day and put that wasted energy and emotion towards something useful.

  • Red

    Conrgats Sarah & Jonathan! And Sarah you look absolutely gorgeous!

    Small world, I believe I know one of your guests that’s in one of the last photos! :-) I didn’t expect that to happen here on APW but I’m not sure why I’m surprised either.

  • Ana

    LOVE this post. Thank you, thank you. A beautiful couple on a beautiful day. I think the thing is for me is to realize that most of the time, most people don’t even notice the things that I hate about my body. I’m the only one who cares that I don’t have Michelle Obama arms, and for the people who do care, they know enough not to say so.

    For the person higher on the thread who had trouble finding a big enough dress, I had good luck with specifically telling the shops my size when I made my appointment – only Nordstrom wasn’t prepared, but the other shops had clips/panels so I could try stuff on. Ultimately, found my awesome size 20W dress at Brides Against Breast Cancer, and they had dresses bigger than what I needed.

  • Sandi Santucci

    I am the mother of the groom. This is the best wedding I’ve ever been too. Sarah and Jon did not forget any detail. The best part of the whole wedding was the LOVE in the air from the two of them, and the vows were tailored to them alone. The smiles couldn’t have been wider. They are a match made in heaven. Great job Sarah. Love you both

  • Alyssa

    So many wonderful ideas! You are beautiful brains and bod! :) I’m currently planning and worry about all the superficial stuff constantly. Thank you so much for the reality check that what matters the most is being happy and enjoying the day!

  • Jessica

    I think you’re absolutely gorgeous and I love your post! Your wedding looked amazing, and I am so happy that YOU were happy with yourself and the way everything turned out because you should be.

  • You guys look SO happy! And I love the balloons! :)

  • SweetAdeline

    The joy on your face in every picture is so evident – this is a wedding I wish I had been invited to. You were a stunning bride and you’ll be a gorgeous wife too. Your husband was sweet, but he was also right. Congratulations!

  • Brittany

    I love this post! Sarah, you are beautiful! And as a Dover resident, its exciting to see a local wedding featured. Thanks for sharing!

  • Laura

    Oh Sarah, I don’t often comment on the wedding grad posts (though I love them) but yours made me SO happy!!! You are radiantly, gasp-worthy, beautiful and you and Jon both look over the moon delighted. I loved what you had to say and how you said it – well done. And seriously, my god, your dress is stunning. Stunnnnnnning. Yay!!! Congratulations!

  • Savychacha


    Thank you for being so honest about, well, everything. I kinda want to high five you…so consider this a virtual *high five*!


  • Lady, you totally look spectacular. Also, I love those balloons. Also, I would love to start a round of applause for your husband. It looks like you two are a good match. :) Congratulations, and I wish you every happiness.

  • Chiara

    Thanks for this post! I really love how APW goes for diversity, and you do look beautiful, Sarah. But your husband is right and you look beautiful all the time. It’s funny how we never get tired of hearing that. Hopefully you showed him this post so that he knows that it’s always good to get the reminder.

    I think it’s so important to see women of all shapes and sizes looking beautiful and confident. It helps us to recognize that we are beautiful, no matter how we’re shaped. My good friend is getting married soon and she’s petite. I have such a hard time picturing her in a wedding dress, because all the wedding dress models are so tall. Just like they’re all so skinny! So thank you for this. So much. And thanks for being brave enough to put your wedding on the internet, because it’s hard enough to talk about body issues without attaching a picture to them! You did it so wonderfully and I’m thankful to you for doing it.

  • Emily

    Congratulations! You do loo amazing. And so happy.

    And i am glad you wrote this today. At this time next Saturday my wedding reception will be winding down (!!!) and for the last month or so i’ve just been feeling down about my fear that i’ll be the least pretty person at the wedding. i’ve gained a couple pounds since i ordered my dress, i am already so self conscious about my hair that i had a trial and it was a disaster so i am afraid even professional help can’t get it to be all right, my face tends to be weird in pictures..and to top it off, all of my bridesmaids and my mom are genetically blessed and very put together, so next to them i’m worried i’ll be the ugly ducling.

    All of those insecurities – hair, weight, being the “homely” friend – get so much worse when you’ve got the pressure of everyone you care about staring at you and being the most beautiful you possibly can because hey the pictures are FOREVER and this is YOUR DAY! i mean, really! So i hope the joy shines through as it did for you!

    • Sarah

      Yes, I totally understand. If you check out the group portrait included in the post, you’ll note that all six of my bridesmaids are thin and beautiful, and in my opinion all six had better hair than me on the day! Mine looked (to me, I know most people don’t see our own perceived flaws as well as we do!) like it was just pulled into a messy ponytail.

      BUT–it’s just something that ceases to matter on the day of. Because no matter how beautiful your bridesmaids or others at your wedding, all eyes will be on you, and you’ll look fantastic! I promise. :)

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