Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda

…Anyone catch the reference to Sex and the City in the blog-post title? Yes? Even 10-plus years since that show aired I am still a huge Carrie Bradshaw fan.

A lot of wedding-planning checklists include tasks related to beauty, such as “get in wedding-day shape,” “start a beauty regimen,” “consider whitening your teeth,” “consult a dermatologist for skincare advice,” “test out spray-tan treatments or self-tanning creams,” etc. There is so much pressure to look perfect on your wedding day. And glossy photos on wedding blogs and in magazines don’t help! As the wedding day got closer, I frequently thought about what I should’ve or could’ve done differently over the course of our engagement. Should I have spent more time with a dermatologist trying to get rid of my pesky adult acne? Should I have started a tanning regimen so I didn’t look pasty in my low-back dress? Should I have spent less time on crafts and more time on an elliptical?

I keep going back to an awesome article by a wedding photographer that was posted on Offbeat Bride. Angie Gaul writes:

Here’s something that you might not know about the wedding photography industry. MANY MANY MANY of the photos you see on the wedding blogs and planning sites are not real couples. Some of them are models. Some of them are extremely photogenic newlyweds who agree to get dressed up again for dramatic photos. And some of them are the photographers’ skinniest friends in borrowed dresses…. What all of these fake wedding shoots have in common is that these are hand-picked, super attractive people taken to attractive locations to look thin and pretty, which can end up making you feel—intentionally or not—like you are somehow lacking. Coupled with the pressure that you must BUY ALL THE THINGS and DO ALL THE THINGS and BECOME THE PERFECT PERSON WITH REALLY WHITE TEETH before your wedding, and it’s…not good [] At least three of Junebug Weddings’ (a self-described ‘style inspiration’ website) winners in their Best of the Best 2010 wedding images were not even taken at real weddings—two winning shots were taken of models at workshops, and one at a styled session on a weekday.

Does that sound familiar? Hive, who else stares at the beautiful, sun-kissed, doe-eyed models on wedding-blog posts with envy? Tell me I’m not the only one who tried, and failed, to finish a seven-day course of Crest White Strips application! Or who could’ve been out tanning at the pool on summer afternoons, but was instead indoors printing DIY save the dates and stuffing envelopes?

And then there’s the issue of photogenic-ism. (Is that a word? OK, spell-check is telling me not, but let’s go with it!) I’ve never felt very photogenic. My face is always shiny, I have a big forehead, and I really don’t like my side profile. I am that girl who blinks in every picture. (Sorry!!) My driver’s license photo is the definition of awkward. What if I look hot and sweaty in every single wedding picture? Will I manage to keep my mouth shut and eyes open during the formal portraits?

But, Angie Gaul continues:

To expand upon a 1998 self-esteem campaign slogan from The Body Shop that said, ‘There are 3 billion women who don’t look like supermodels and only 8 who do.’…Well, there are so many more of us imperfect, snaggletoothed, plus-sized, frizzy-haired, sweaty-faced-on-the-dance-floor real brides (like I was) than there are perfect, dewy princess brides.

I’m not trying to knock brides who do have the time and self-discipline to change their beauty regimens before their weddings. And I am amazed by the women who stick to their guns and are able to lose weight, in spite of the stress of planning a wedding. But I, Mrs. Wallaby, was not one of those brides. I knew that when I walked down the aisle and Mr. W took my hands in his, I would look pretty much the same as when he met me: I would be pale, my teeth wouldn’t be perfect, I might be a little sweaty from nervousness, and my acne might choose to make an appearance that day. I migh cry through our vows and make my not-so-cute crying face in all of our ceremony photos. But I know that Mr. W loves me for who I am now. He knew that he wasn’t marrying a Victoria’s Secret model, and he has seen me at my absolute worst. He tells me that I am goofy and cute, and he laughs at all of my terrible jokes. Our wedding probably isn’t blog-worthy, but we planned a special day and I couldn’t imagine us not having a great time. We always do. You’ll know we did when I get back our wedding pictures and I look like this:


Hiking along the coast of Ireland with my BFF circa summer 2011 / Personal photo

Whew. Once I got that off my chest, I unsubscribed from some of the wedding-inspiration blogs and started focusing on planning our honeymoon. :)

Have you struggled with your appearance on your wedding day? What helps you stay grounded?


Mrs. Wallaby

Wedding Date:
November 2012
The Tale of the $25 Wedding Band
Iowanna Marry You: The Doily Budget Breakdown

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  1. Member
    FoolsintheRain 971 posts, Busy bee @ 2:11 pm

    Love this post! And I was at that exact spot in Ireland in 2011 too!!! First week of June to be exact! haha.

  2. msarmadillo Member
    msarmadillo 497 posts, Helper bee @ 2:15 pm

    Such a good post! As a plus-sized bride I know there’s no way I’m going to look like a runway model on our big day, but as long as I’m happy and in love and Mr. A thinks I look beautiful, everything else will fall into place and all of it will be reflected in our photos. As the saying goes, “Happy girls are the prettiest girls!”

  3. Member
    jilleeann 409 posts, Helper bee @ 2:16 pm

    Goofy people rock. They’re more fun and take life’s knocks better than brittle practiced beauty.

  4. mstreasure Member
    mstreasure 1655 posts, Bumble bee @ 2:24 pm

    Love this post. There are definitely more than a few wedding photos where I think “ew I look fat” or “maybe I should’ve had a professional do my makeup,” but you know what? I’m not a model, and real people have back fat and shiny foreheads. And fortunately, I get to choose exactly which photos to show everyone. 😉

  5. Member
    Merelymere 476 posts, Helper bee @ 2:43 pm

    Love it! I have my first fitting for my dress on Saturday, and I’ve been kicking myself for not being tan, having a pedicure, losing the weight…in fact, I have GAINED. But A loves me, and wants to marry me and make a life together. And that’s the whole reason that I bought a wedding dress in the first place.

  6. Member
    bluebelle23 854 posts, Busy bee @ 5:12 pm

    Best. Post. Ever. Thanks for the reminder. And the happiest girls are the prettiest! :)

  7. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 5:40 pm

    Such a great perspective and even better post!

  8. Member
    shortbread 290 posts, Helper bee @ 5:43 pm

    I love this. We’re six months out from the wedding and the pressure that I’m putting on myself to lose weight is insane. I know that no matter what I look like my fiance adores me for who I am. We’re in this together and he just wants me to be happy. My goal is to let everything go the day of the wedding. I hope to feel as beautiful as ever and not stress about back fat or my rolls. I do want to look my best but shouldn’t lose sleep over it.

  9. graywolf Member
    graywolf 725 posts, Busy bee @ 5:07 am

    good post! i know that no matter what i’m going to feel awesome my wedding day- its not often i get my hair done and wear a long gown, so no matter what, it’ll feel special.

  10. Member
    debeachgirl 543 posts, Busy bee @ 5:39 am

    Thank you! I needed this as my wedding draws closer. I lost 30 pounds but my weight loss has slowed in recent months and I know it will be hard to get back into it with the holidays. I feel much better about myself but I was beating myself up for not reaching my goal. And this made me feel a million times better. Thank you.

  11. Member
    courtoni 177 posts, Blushing bee @ 6:11 am

    This post was just what I needed. My wedding is 4 months away and even though I’m working out with a trainer I’m not seeing much change or weight loss. I’ve decided to stop growing my hair because it’s not me at all. I’m going to do my best to look good and feel good by March 30th but stressing isn’t going to help anything! I just want to enjoy what we have planned, getting to spend time with our best friends and family and being married in the end. :)

  12. mswallaby Member
    mswallaby 2070 posts, Buzzing bee @ 6:20 am

    @FoolsintheRain: No way! That’s so cool! I loooved Ireland. Your furbaby is adorable – I love that pic :)
    @Miss Armadillo: Yes! This!
    @jilleeann: Agreed :)
    @Mrs. Treasure: Girl, I was a hot mess by the end of the night. My forehead was definitely sweaty. I take it as a sign that we were having a good time!
    @Merelymere: Yes! Exactly! Enjoy your fitting, and every moment you get to spend in your beautiful dress :)
    @bluebelle23: Yes!
    @Shortbread: Exactly. I hope that in the final days before your wedding you can relax and enjoy the special week with people that you adore. Every girl glows on her wedding day – trust me, you will too!
    @DEBeachGirl: That’s amazing! Dang girl, you should be proud of what you’ve accomplished!
    @courtoni: In the end, that’s all that matters. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, I’m sure you are going to look beautiful and have a great time on your wedding day!

  13. Member
    cosmo_gmr 488 posts, Helper bee @ 6:28 am

    You are so right! I did have all those things in my head also… I could’ve saved more money to invite more people or to have a better band or cotillion, I could’ve lost more weight, I could’ve this or that and the list goes on… But at the end of the day the important thing is that you’re getting married to the person you love and who loves you and wants to spend life with.
    And we enjoyed our wedding so much! We were so happy to be getting married that we forgot all those details we had stressed about (and that nobody noticed anyway).

  14. Member
    chocolatecoveredstrawberry 532 posts, Busy bee @ 8:17 am

    I love your message! Definitely something we girls need to keep in mind. And for the record, you are beautiful the way you are!

  15. painauchocolat Member
    painauchocolat 2298 posts, Buzzing bee @ 4:09 pm

    I took the aspirational wedding blogs off my reader about six months after being engaged. It was just enough time to gather ideas, but anything after that could deflate ANYONE’s self-esteem. On our wedding day, my thoughts were not on all the beautification/fitness projects I could have undertaken, but on how much fun I was having and how amazing it was to be marrying Mr. PaC. And the pictures reflect the fun and love. :)

  16. Member
    porcelain_glamour 12 posts, Newbee @ 10:12 pm

    Thank you for posting this. I think it’s easy to get caught up in the whole “perfect bride” ordeal, no matter how smart or confident of a woman you are. The weight thing is especially ridiculous. I’ve even had family members comment on how I need to lose weight for my special day. I’m just going as myself.

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