I Miss My Self-Esteem Most of All

We tend to lose a few things during the wedding planning process, but of all the things I’ve lost (free time, spending money, quality sleep, eating whatever I want), I think I miss my self-esteem the most of all.

I’m sorry, but I’m going to talk about body image. I don’t want to, but I need to get this out somewhere and I figure this is the most ideal place.

Last week I picked up my dress for the rehearsal dinner and not only did it not fit, but the shotty zipper broke while they were trying to get me in and then out of it. Talk about depressing. I’ve now had TWO horrible first experiences with ordered dresses and I’m pretty frustrated/annoyed with my body.

This is a 200+ dollar bridesmaid dress from a shop* in downtown Chicago. I wouldn’t normally spend so much on a rehearsal dinner dress but it was a gift from Boss Lady. During the summer of 2012 Boss Lady bid on a gift card to this shop and won! We didn’t have time to go shopping until this past January and we brought Littlest C with us to try on their flower girl dresses as well. I had Littlest C take a few photos of some of the dresses we looked at that evening.



In the end we found this beautiful strapless color-blocked dress (ivory, silver, black) with a pencil skirt bottom, and we decided it would be perfect for not only the rehearsal dinner, but also to wear again to other semi-formal events! The problem was I was in between sizes, which is the STORY OF MY LIFE.

This is my ever-constant first world problem, everything on me is two different sizes, my shoes, my bust, my body. I always seem to need two different sizes which inevitably causes problems when it comes to purchasing clothing/shoes. Well, I decided to go with the smaller size in the case of the rehearsal dinner dress when I probably should have gone with the bigger size. Ugh.

In the end, it was a crappy zipper that did me in. Much like the bra fiasco from scenario one. The ladies at the salon were very nice to me and offered a credit for the broken zipper. But the irritating part was that they called the designer and she proceeded to blame me for the broken zipper based on the fact that I chose the smaller size, which could be partly true, but it could be partly true that her zipper was crap as well! Also, the dress has shearing over the mid-section which makes it difficult for zippers to get past seams, AND I remembered the sample I tried on previously had a broken zipper as well. And seriously, did she have to make me feel like a fat ass two weeks before my wedding? I think not.

To be honest, I’ve always had pretty awesome self-esteem. I was raised to feel confident about my self image regardless of “flaws,” and I like my body, if not love it most of the time. So it sucks that I’ve been picking apart at myself these last few months. My teeth aren’t white enough, my skin isn’t tan enough, my body isn’t thin enough.

The shocking part is that I’m the thinnest I’ve been in a while and I’m still feeling like crap. It’s all in my head. I get this. I’m smart. And the brain is a powerful thing. I know I look damn good, and I know I will be a beautiful bride. All that aside, can I please wear a paper sack for the next few weeks?

I can’t even blame the wedding industry or bridal magazines/blogs (well, I guess I could”¦)! It’s my fault for imagining myself a certain way on my wedding day and it’s my fault for putting unnecessary pressure on myself to be perfect. Don’t be like me. Don’t put pressure on yourself. It’s one day. And you’ll look beautiful too.

NOTE: I’m not searching for compliments, just some commiseration! And I literally CANNOT WAIT until after the wedding and I go back to being my normal, confidence exuding bad-ass sexy self (she says with a grin).

*I don’t want to make this a review of the shop but if you live in Chicago and want more information, just send me a private message.

(all photos personal)

Does anyone else feel like their self-esteem did a 180 during wedding planning? Anyone else have frustrating experiences with ordering dresses and them not fitting or zippers breaking? Tell me I’m not alone! :)


Mrs. Sword

Wedding Date:
March 2013
Two Wheels Become One: We're Not So Different, You and I
The Honeymoon Reveal
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  1. Member
    Choreographer82 135 posts, Blushing bee @ 6:14 am

    I can totally relate to this!

    In the year before I got engaged, I went through a major lifestyle change and lost about 35 pounds. I was feeling great about my body for the first time in quite a long time.

    My fiance loves how I look and compliments me frequently and up until I started wedding planning, I was pretty confident and comfortable in my skin.

    Now, I am having the exact same struggles you are!! I put this unreasonable expectation on myself for how I should look as a bride and it is changing my whole self-image!

    So, thank you for your post! I, too, am a smart girl and understand that it is all in my head, but it is nice to know I’m not the only one having these issues! :)

    (And I’m sure you’ll look fabulous in both of your dresses!!)

  2. Member
    riley85 32 posts, Newbee @ 6:23 am

    First off, let me say, you are a beautiful girl. Yes I know that you aren’t searching for compliments here, but hey, its the truth!
    I have not had the exact same experience as you but I can say that the whole wedding experience has made me very sensitive to things…one may say overly sensitive. It takes me a day or two to clear my head and try to re-focus on the important things. I think that this is such a special time in our life and society has this image that wedding planning is the most incredible time. Well, it is. But, and a big but- it can be very stressful. I feel like tv shows and magazines leave that stuff out.

  3. msjackrabbit Member
    msjackrabbit 1080 posts, Bumble bee @ 6:39 am

    Girl, you’re beautiful. Just had to say that. Also, that pink dress is a fabulous colour on you.

    I think it’s so hard being thin AND not liking your body. It’s like “but I should like it and I don’t – whhhhy?!”

    I tried on my dress again this weekend and it wasn’t as tight as it was first time… but I liked it tight the first time! Do I now put on weight, or not? Because I like this size!

    It’s a serious first world problem and I imagine it happens to all of us :(

    This is an amazing post, btw. I’ve loved reading it. x

  4. msfox Member
    msfox 1635 posts, Bumble bee @ 6:56 am

    I totally hear you, S, except it’s something I’ve *always* dealt with, not just before the wedding. I think it’s so amazing and bad ass that you have such awesome self-esteem and confidence in yourself normally.. we all need a little more of that in our lives! But the pressure of looking your best for the wedding is a tough one.. and I think a lot of times we forget that we should look OUR best, not everybody else’s or the “ideal standard”, you know??

    Also, I know it sounds a bit corny, but I really believe that what we put out there, we get back in return. So if we’re self-hating, we kind of create this never-good-enough environment. My best advice is to look at what you’re doubting, recognize it, then let it go. Easier said than done, obviously.. but it’s helped me in the past!!

    PS. You’re gorg. Just sayin.

  5. Member
    fauxboho 2912 posts, Sugar bee @ 7:02 am

    I am so with you. I feel like I have to be perfect on my wedding day, the best me I can be! BUT I have the biggest self destruction switch that loves to switch on at the wrong time. That time is now. When I need to be eating my healthiest and working out all the time instead I’m eating shit and ditching the gym. Why do I do this? I’m very healthy normally but building up to the wedding it’s as if my brain just fights against me. My self esteem is plummeting and its my own fault.

  6. Member
    BookishBelle 1629 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:08 am

    **Commiseration** Although I pretty much constantly have body image issues every second of every day since I hit puberty. I also refuse to blame the media though, it’s my own expectations that are unreasonable, not society’s…

  7. Member
    blonde17jess 1290 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:15 am

    I actually was thinking something similar the other day. I’ve always taken the “f*ck it, I’m hot” approach, but the pressure I’ve put on myself to look perfect for the wedding is just absurd. I’m hoping to just be happy with myself for the wedding like I am every day, but the truth is, I want to be better than I am on a regular basis. I look good in pictures, but I want to look AMAZING. I’m comfortable with my fair skin, but I don’t want to look white-and-pink in my wedding dress. I can look slim, but I want not to see any fat or jiggle on our wedding day. It’s so sad. I want to be happy with myself, I really do, and I am, usually. I just get bummed out sometimes.

    So, long story short, WITH YOU GIRL! Keep our chins up and try not to nitpick ourselves too much!

  8. Member
    new york bride 13 334 posts, Helper bee @ 7:16 am

    I am so with you on this.

    After college, I gained some weight (almost 20 lbs!) I just didn’t feel good about myself. The wedding has been a great motivator to start eating healthy and going to the gym, but I do get upset when I don’t see the weight loss fast enough, or if I splurge on a nice dinner out.

    Of course, I know this is all because of my expectations for me and no one else’s!

    You look gorgeous in those dresses! I’m sorry the zipper was so shoddy. I would have been very upset about that too!

  9. thimble Member
    thimble 857 posts, Busy bee @ 7:20 am

    It’s pretty rough gearing up to be put on display for this highly anticipated day. It sounds like you still have a good head on your shoulders about it though! For the next 2 weeks wear all your favorite things that fit really well and you’ll feel like a badass again in no time 😉

    I kind of had no idea I was as thin as I was for my wedding. I worked out a lot up until… 6 months before my wedding, then I stopped, and I ate a lot of queso dip and chips for dinner. I have no idea… but now, my lord, I couldn’t fit into my shower/rehearsal/honeymoon dresses in my dreams! Hold on to your good attitude, you look great!!!

  10. Member
    MissSpark 180 posts, Blushing bee @ 7:28 am

    Since high school I’ve lost almost 100 lbs. All before we got engaged or started planning anything, Two Christmas’ ago when we got engaged, I was on cloud nine. I felt super confident and I was really proud of myself for having lost all of this weight without even a thought to weddings, just because I wanted to.

    However, as soon as we started planning I started freaking out. I ended up having to buy a size 12 wedding dress, despite being only 135 lbs because I have a “gigantic” (the sales girls says) rib cage and bridal sizing is different. And then I started worrying about my arms, and it just snowballed.

    I’m working on trying to stay focused on my wedding and how amazing its going to be, rather than comparing myself to every other bride out there. Thank you for this, I needed a post like this to remind me that I’m not the only one out there. Its nice to know that there are most emotions behind all the professional pictures I see.

  11. Member
    bunny8 105 posts, Blushing bee @ 7:31 am

    I get the desire to look fabulous on my wedding day. And I have been working at getting in better shape. I am also concerned about feeling good on my honeymoon. But just the other day I decided that I am going to do my best to be fit for the wedding – and then that will be good enough whatever it is when the day comes.

    I am in my 40s and it’s not as easy to lose weight as when I was younger. My body has changed and I have had a hard time accepting that I no longer have the same body that I had 20 years ago.

    I have been watching a lot of episodes of WHAT NOT TO WEAR because I love the positive messages of that show. They celebrate women of all body types and demonstrate how we can all be beautiful.

    And it is true that inner beauty/happiness outshines external beauty all the time. If you are kind, gracious and happy – people will find you stunning.

  12. Member
    kbiceling 298 posts, Helper bee @ 7:42 am

    I think you’re lovely, Miss Sword! I know that doesn’t change the thoughts in your head, but it is true!

    Just remember- sizing has more to do with vanity than actual truth. And shame on the designer for being mad at you!

  13. mslemur Member
    mslemur 616 posts, Busy bee @ 7:57 am

    You look awesome. Just rock it.

    Body image issues always pop up for me at the most stressful times. Oh you have a big interview? All of a sudden I look in the mirror and thing wow, I really wish I wouldn’t have eaten those extra cookies, or I should have straightened my hair instead of curled my hair, or why is my skin so broken out today of all days.

    Women are programmed this way and it’s so sad! If I have daughters some day I want to instill in them from a young age that it’s who you are, not what you look like. Thanks for this post :)

  14. Member
    may2013wedding 110 posts, Blushing bee @ 8:19 am

    I think you look great girl!! I completely understand what you are going through though, I am a perfectionist and am driving myself a little crazy making sure every little detail is perfect! I have also resorted to diet pills to loose those extra 15 pounds that I cant get rid off dispite 1200 calorie diet and exercise. This day is the biggest and most memorable day of our lives and we will be in the spotlight, but I think that the pressure of trying to be absolutely “perfect” is not healthy. It is so fortunate that we have resources like Wedding Bee to be supportive of other brides going through the same stuggles! The most important thing about your wedding is that you are marrying the love of your life and you want to celebrate this with your family! So take a deep breath and remember this quote: “If at the end of your wedding day you married the man of your dreams then it was a success!” 😀

  15. Member
    bunny8 105 posts, Blushing bee @ 10:48 am

    I also like the BODY PEACE TREATY that you can find on the Seventeen magazine website of all places. I love the concepts in there and I think it’s great that they are sending positive body messages to young girls.

  16. mspalmtree Member
    Mrs. Palm Tree 1122 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:52 am

    With you, lady. I think @Miss Lemur made a good point – I start to over analyze when there’s something “big” on the horizon.

    Also, bridal and fancy designers have goofy wackadoodle sizes that are SO not fair. Every piece of my bridal ensemble is a different size. How am I size 16 dress and a size 10 bra, and that dress I tried on earlier is a size 8 and fit perfectly? Get real. It’s like they’re designed to give us Issues.

    You are gorgeous and you are fabulous and on your wedding day, you will look gorgeous and fabulous times a million because you will be shining with LOVE, which is way more powerful than all of these poopy issues. Sending you hugs, lady. <3

  17. Member
    brooklyn55 743 posts, Busy bee @ 12:08 pm

    I was always small growing up and through high school. I went to college and gained 25 pounds. My body image was HORRIBLE. But since graduating, I have lot around 20 pounds of it and am back to a comfortable weight and I had been SUPER proud of myself.. That is until my wedding dress came in altered. Now I LOVE my dress and its the perfect dress for me but the second I saw the final look in my dress, I instantly started judging myself. Even though I am super proud I got the college weight off, its like it didn’t matter anymore.. I didn’t look good enough. My “hips look to wide” “flab is hanging over the strapless dress” “my arms jiggle” “my boobs are to small” (unfortunately loosing weight I went from a B cup back to an A, the only disadvantage). I am realizing though that I will NEVER be perfect and that I look awesome and a lot of my friends/family that hasn’t seen me since college are going to notice how great I look!

  18. Member
    summerraindropz 32 posts, Newbee @ 12:22 pm

    I’m with you, girl! I ordered my wedding dress online and was in between sizes. I normally would order the size up, but since it was clearance, they only had the size down. I ordered it and crossed my fingers that it would fit… and of course, it didn’t. It fits perfectly in my hips and my bust, but it won’t zip over my stomach. Fortunately, I am able to get it altered, but as I was trying it on, all I could think about what “why did you go for the second helping at dinner” or “why didn’t you get yourself to the gym” So frustrating, but I am still happy to be in my body and SO happy for all the wonderful things it can do!

  19. Guest Icon Guest
    Molly, Guest @ 1:06 pm

    I hardly ever comment, but just HAD to add: You are so beautiful, and your body is rocking in all of those dresses. Try to forget the pressure if you can, and just know that even from a stranger’s perspective, you look amazing!

  20. Member
    Ms_Maple 115 posts, Blushing bee @ 1:58 pm

    I think every woman out there feels your pain! I have been more obsessed with my weight in the last few months before the wedding than I have in my entire life…and I am the smallest I have been since like 7th grade! In my family we blame Twiggy for our body issues – curvy was in before her :)

  21. Guest Icon Guest
    Danielle, Guest @ 6:49 pm

    Uhm, thank you for this!! I have totally experienced this weird change in how I suddenly have to criticize every little detail about my body all because of my wedding. I find it doubly hard because I work in an eating disorder treatment center and everyone is hyper focused on body image. Your article made me feel sane again :)

  22. mstoadstool Member
    mstoadstool 2485 posts, Buzzing bee @ 7:21 pm

    I totally understand what you are saying, it’s like: you know you are beautiful and you look great (which you certainly do sweetie), but your brain doesn’t register it!!

  23. Member
    gotsol 46 posts, Newbee @ 11:00 pm

    You are gorgeous and you are fabulous and on your wedding day, you will look gorgeous and fabulous times a million because you will be shining with LOVE, which is way more powerful than all of these poopy issues. Sending you hugs, lady. <3

  24. Guest Icon Guest
    Tanya, Guest @ 11:23 pm

    Your bod looks TDF in these pics, so the zipper must have been crappy.

  25. Guest Icon Guest
    timmy, Guest @ 11:40 pm

    Looking pretty. The wedding occasion is very precious for all bride.Your situation i can also understand. Just enjoy and rock with beautiful dresses and jewelry.

  26. Guest Icon Guest
    c l, Guest @ 4:26 am

    This is my first comment even though I’ve been following this blog for ~6 months now. I just have to say that you look BEAUTIFUL and don’t need to change a thing!!!

  27. Member
    pinkglittergirl 313 posts, Helper bee @ 5:02 pm

    thanks for your post! I’m glad to read that I’m not alone. Since I’m a technology spaz and couldn’t figure out how to send a PM, would you mind sending me one to let me know the name of the bridal shop in chicago? I also read that you’re a nail salon snob so I’d appreciate any recommendations for that as well. thank you!!

  28. sword Member
    sword 1029 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:48 am

    Thank you, thank you for all of these comments! I read each one of them thoughtfully. I’m glad I’m not the only person this has happened to. Thanks for the body image support everyone!!

  29. Guest Icon Guest
    BML, Guest @ 12:39 pm

    Oh, I am sending you so much virtual compassion and love!

    I have totally felt the same way. In fact, I got to a point where thinking about dress shopping made me cry!

    I knew I had found THE dress when I felt like I could walk down the aisle in it that day (without losing a single pound) and feel gorgeous! Every other dress I had tried on made me feel like I needed to lose at least 50 lbs in order to feel just okay…which felt so excessive and flat out ridiculous.

    The small sample sizes at boutiques don’t really help this issue. 😉

    I think it’s so great to want to feel and look our best on our wedding day and I’ve definitely made a commitment to a workout routine and eating better. But the enormous amounts of pressure many of us feel under is not exactly productive.

    PS–I’m from Chicago so would love to know which shop you had the issue with.

  30. Member
    bridalbridle 6 posts, Newbee @ 1:12 pm

    I can totally relate to this, although you really do look stunning! I’ve always struggled with my size and self-esteem but, like a lot of brides, I somehow thought I’d be able to lose loads and look fabulous on my wedding day. Instead, I think I’ve actually put on weight due to dealing with bouts of depression which made it increasingly difficult to leave the house, let alone exercise. I have now decided I need to work more on feeling happy and confident with the me I have now, rather than trying so hard to create a new me for the big day. Hope it works!

  31. Member
    jlrhine5240 21 posts, Newbee @ 2:32 pm

    I can totally relate in many ways! It’s three months until my big day and I’m always thinking about am I getting fat, are my teeth white enough, is my face is too oily, and so on. It’s very frustrating because I’m not usually like this and I don’t want to be like this. And I do blame the bridal magazines and all the perfect weddings I see. In the end I just try and think to myself “my fiancé loves me for me, inside and out and I know he’ll think I’m beautiful on our wedding day so who cares what everybody else thinks” But you are very beautiful and your body is rocking! Don’t let anyone tell you different!

  32. sword Member
    sword 1029 posts, Bumble bee @ 9:20 am

    @BML: Thanks girl! :) And I didn’t have an issue with the salon, they were very nice, I just didn’t want to include the information publicly.

    @bridalbridle: Yes, working on being confident and happy is so much more important than working out, I’m sorry but I do understand!

    @jlrhine5240: It’s so true, as long as our partners love us for who we are, what else matters? ugh, if only it were that easy all the time! Thank you, I’m feeling really good today! :)

  33. Member
    jordyanna 476 posts, Helper bee @ 11:21 pm

    Like everyone else, I can totally relate!

    On my first foray into dress shopping, I was called a “bigger girl” twice by my consultant. TWICE. Because I have big boobs! I’m sorry I have curves, but that does not make me plus sized, nor does that make someone have the right to say crap like that!

    Two things to remember: people suck sometimes and you’re beautiful!

  34. Member
    Future.McGuffee 293 posts, Helper bee @ 8:28 pm

    I have GAINED weight as I’m trying to lose it. Which made my already fat booty look even fatter. I’m in 2 weddings this year, mine and my best friend’s, and I’ve been dieting and exercising and blah blah blah…I’ve gained about 15 pounds. My thyroid is off and my metabolism is down…

    And, I’ll admit, I have broken my diet a few times because of so darn much stress!

    I’m not saying this to “1-up” but to say that my willpower is gone where I once had a ton, and my self esteem is GONE where I used to feel great all the time, even though I am a plus sized girl.

    Weddings are frustrating! Lol

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