OK, hive, it’s time to get real. I don’t often write serious things because they’re boring, but I figured I should get this off my chest: being a bride makes me feel damn ugly. (If you’re tired of hearing girls complain about their looks, you should probably click away now.)
Screenshot from Mean Girls / Image via cinema-24.blogspot.com
Hot chicks complaining about their looks is the worst thing ever.
Every wedding plan I make somehow reminds me of my looks. There are the obvious things, like dress shopping, looking for photographers (and thus thinking about how I’ll actually look in the photos), and booking a makeup pro. But other things are worrying me too. Like am I gonna look fat in our wedding video when I’m doing my sweaty rendition of the “Cha Cha Slide“? Will I have a hunchback while we say our vows and everyone’s looking at me from the side? Is the next vendor I meet with going to think I look like I belong in the eighth grade instead of in a wedding dress? Are my teeth too yellow? Is my skin too pale? Are my arms too fat? Are my feet too big? Are my nails too small? (Answer: yes. I have perfectly circular nails. It’s strange, and every time I’ve ever gotten a manicure, the manicurist has taken one look at my nails and literally said, “Oh my!”)
What is it about this wedding that seems to have wiped out what little body confidence I once had? When I look at brides in magazines, all I think is that I’m not pretty enough or thin enough to be a bride. I also don’t look old enough, and I’m not fancy or glamorous enough.
When I tried on dresses at David’s Bridal (which I’ll discuss in another post), my consultant or whatever they’re called was about my age, except she was thin and pretty, and as she helped me into the dresses (some of which wouldn’t even zip) I got embarrassed. I started thinking, “How dare I try on a wedding dress when I look like this?” Why couldn’t I look like this waif of a bridal consultant instead? Then I started feeling bad for Mr. Unicycle that he has to marry someone who looks so childish/frizzy haired/fat armed in a wedding dress. I even felt bad for Mr. Unicycle’s parents that their son has to marry an ugly duckling. I wanted to issue a huge apology to the world—to Mr. Unicycle (and his parents, for that matter) for not being the bride they pictured when they pictured his wedding, to my photographer and videographer for not having better looking subject matter, to the bridal consultant who tried to be tactful when she slipped that little piece of “modesty fabric” into the back of the dress that wouldn’t zip.
Image via mudlane.blogspot.com
See those clips on the back of the dress? I didn’t need ’em.
But then I was all “Hold up, grrrl. You’re apologizing for not looking good enough? That ain’t right.” (Yeah, I got ghetto fabulous again.) How could I not be pretty enough to be a bride? Mr. Unicycle proposed to me, which means he likes me just the way I am. I’ve worked for years to accept my physical appearance—going through the big change helped a lot—and I was finally getting to be pretty OK with my looks by the time I got to college. Why was this wedding bringing back all those feelings I thought I’d worked through?
Here’s the skinny—or the fat, or the ugly—the wedding industry is an industry, which means it exists to make money. Liposuction, airbrush makeup application, bridal boot camps, eyelash extensions, etc. all cost moolah. The bridal industry and the cosmetic industry realized they could team up and prey on the insecurities of brides who want their “special day” to be perfect. This isn’t exactly a groundbreaking realization, and yet I need to point it out because even someone as cynical and “with it” as me fell prey to this manufactured self-discontent.
This is a pretty ugly picture of me. I have a double chin, gaps in my teef, and virtually no eyes. And you can’t tell that I’m dressed as the late, great Amy Winehouse, so that faux birthmark just looks like I have food on my face or something. But I love this pic anyway because Mr. Unicycle and I just look so happy. I hope that if I do look ugly in my wedding pics, at least it’s this kind of ugly.
So did my a-ha moment erase my insecurities and make me realize that I’m friggin’ hawt and any wedding dress would be lucky to hug these curves? Umm…no. I’m still worried that everyone’s going to think I look like a child bride, or that I’ll look more “cute” than “sexy” in my wedding dress, or that I should have lost a few more pounds before daring to walk down the aisle. But I realize now that it’s just the wedding industry telling me these things, and I’m going to try to remind myself of that every time I have one of these thoughts. Because, really, all brides look beautiful (they’re friggin’ brides, for Pete’s sake), and there’s no reason that I should have to change myself just because some dude put a ring on it.
Weigh in: Do you think the wedding industry puts undue stress on brides to look perfect? What’s the best way to combat these feelings?