adrienne: the wedding dress

31 May

So, I’ve been busy.

I moved in with my fiancée last weekend (after a two-year long-distance relationship! hurrah!) and in the midst of unpacking, adjusting, and getting the kids geared up for their summer, I’m also trying to tie up loose ends on our wedding which is happening in OHGODFIVEWEEKS. I just had to check the calendar to make sure I was right. Yes. Five weeks.

I HAVE SO MUCH TO DO. OK. Now that I’ve expressed that…

My wedding dress arrived at the bridal shop from the manufacturer two weeks early. Most brides would probably be pleased and excited that for once, something arrived on time! Ahead of time, even!

But no. Oh, no.

This set me off into a panic. The shop wanted me to immediately have my fitting and alterations done. This dress was two weeks early! I was supposed to lose fifteen pounds during those two weeks to be the weight I wanted to be, AT LEAST the weight I wanted to be, when I tried this thing ON, and now they want me to try it on NOW, when I’m FATTER, and I haven’t found a SHAWL, and oh my God my ARMS are BINGO WINGS, and my LEGS have lost their TONE because I haven’t RUN in MONTHS…

… and I don’t even have SHOES.

At least I had Spanx. (Seriously, thank you, Sara Blakely)

I made an appointment. The morning of that day, I forgot my Spanx at home with no way to get them beforehand. Then it was, “Oh God, now what do I do, I’m going to be fatter, I’m going to be lucky if this thing even fits me, because we totally guessed on the size and I AM SO NOT READY FOR THIS. The saleswomen would surely gossip about my arm flab and my huge stomach behind my back, not to mention all the other brides who were bound to be catwalk supermodels.”


just look at that waist!

STOP. Just… stop.

All this time I’ve been prepping for the wedding telling myself to focus on what it’s really supposed to be about: being who I am, marrying the woman I love, entering into a life I’d only dreamed existed. And it took me about thirty seconds to completely lose that focus. Suddenly it was about how I looked and how others would see me. It was about pleasing others and about proving to them that I look better than I ever have. I needed to impress them. I needed to disguise what I saw were weaknesses in order to appear, for the first time in my life, perfect.

It’s hard to suppress those feelings. But I reminded myself that it was my job to make sure that trying on this dress was the joyous occasion it’s supposed to be. What was it supposed to represent? Beauty. Love. Hope. Expectation and heady anticipation.

To alleviate some of my fear, I bought a new pair of Spanx on the way to the fitting. As much as I didn’t want this to be about my body image, I weighed (metaphorically) whether I would be more comfortable wearing them or not wearing them. My comfort at this fitting (and on my wedding day) took precedent over any self-righteous “ACCEPT MEH THE WAY I AM!” feelings stirring deep on my quasi-feminist gut.

Then I arrived, took the dress, and went to the fitting room. Immediately I began cutting myself down in regard to my looks. There were several younger women in flowing gowns–beaded, laced gowns, thousands of dollars’ worth of them–and I had, in my hand, a simple “bridesmaid” dress, a couple hundred dollars’ worth of chiffon. I had, on my body, forty extra pounds.

It was time for another bout of reframing. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and tried to focus on the significance of the moment. I was trying on this dress, the dress I loved when I saw it. I couldn’t wait to be beautiful for my bride, who I knew would be glowing and gorgeous all on her own. I would never dream of judging her the way I judge myself.

I put on my Spanx and the dress and self-consciously exited the dressing room. I watched in the mirror as the seamstress tugged the material tighter and reveled in the fact that I had defined waist and curved hips that looked perfect in what I had chosen. Suddenly I was more beautiful than I ever thought I could be.

I asked for an extra minute just to look at myself in the mirror and smile.

Then I saw it. I was happy. With my flabby arms and my chunky legs, I was still happy. Because wearing this dress was part of my introduction into the radiant rest of my life, like a debutante, something I had never previously felt.

And on the chance of sounding like Linus, well… that is what this moment is all about.

6 Responses to “adrienne: the wedding dress”

  1. Molly May 31, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

    Love yourself -you are worth it!

  2. Dasha June 3, 2012 at 9:02 am #

    It makes me ridiculously happy that you feel good in your wedding dress. You should, you earned it! I can’t wait to see you in it. In fact, I’m getting a bit sniffly right now at the mere thought. (Oh and I’m planning on buying a new curling iron today so I can use it on your gorgeous tresses.)

    • icedteainthebag June 4, 2012 at 9:50 am #

      Aw, you!! You!!!! I can’t wait for you to be my lady in waiting!

      And I told Dr. A about your purchases “for the wedding”. They make me giggle. With joy!! I can’t wait!! Are you going to make my hair look like drunken Cersei!?

  3. Rani July 17, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    I know this is late, but it’s interesting to go back and read this now that the wedding’s happened. I feel like weddings are so idealized, and there’s that idea that no one will look more beautiful than the bride on her wedding day, that it’s very easy to get caught up in self-criticism if you’re not a certain size/complexion/etc. etc. I mean, everyone I know, no matter what their size, feels they HAVE to lose a certain amount of weight before their wedding. But just so you know, I really did think you looked amazing in your dress. (And as for it being a “bridesmaid” dress, I actually adore that look on brides. If I were wearing a traditional white dress, I would definitely get something like what you wore. It’s classy, pretty, and looks amazing at a summer wedding. Plus, think of everything you can do with the money you didn’t spend! haha)

    Anyway, this was kind of pointless, but I just feel very happy for you, and I’m glad you had such an amazing day. <3

    • icedteainthebag July 18, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

      Wow, yeah, Rani! Thanks for going back to read it. It prompted me to go back and read it too. I have a lot of thoughts about it relating to how I expected I would feel vs. how I ended up feeling. I have to say that I felt so (unexpectedly) free on my wedding day. I felt beautiful in every way and I think it shows.

      This comment was not pointless at all. It’s caused me to reflect on everything (and it seems like maybe it made you think about things too).

      Thanks for being happy for us. It was a truly wonderful day and one I will remember with no regrets–only joy. :)

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