June 28, 2016

Becoming a Bride: Fitting into Each Other, not the Dress.

DSC_36Kelly Anne Wadler26

If you had asked me, during the peak years of my body dysmorphia and restrictive dieting what I would be like the weeks leading up to my wedding day, I would have answered:

“Most likely on a 14 day juice cleanse, taking boot camp classes every day and locking myself in my apartment, obsessing.”

The good news is: I didn’t do that. It’s a huge win for me. Especially when you consider the pressure that is placed on a bride to look as perfect as she possibly can for her big day.

I decided pretty early on in my wedding planning that I was going to prepare myself as a bride differently. Instead of choosing deprivation and obsession, I practiced loving-kindness. For me, that looked like adding in nourishing foods, lifting weights and daily meditation. I also celebrated those “special moments” leading up to the big day without restriction or guilt.

I’ll admit that as I was traveling to my final dress fitting, I had some anxiety. I heard some old body image voices in my ear saying, “What if it doesn’t fit? What if I gained weight? What if I look horrible?”

I thanked the voices for sharing and chose not to listen. I realized that regardless of what conventional bridal culture tells me, my wedding day is not about what my body looks like in a wedding gown.

This day instead, is about how well I have “shed” my individuality in order to make a commitment to the soul I love.

My engagement year had me questioning why this inner aspect of marriage isn’t the main emphasis of the bridal journey. It seemed so warped that as I embarked upon this huge identity transition, my main focus should be about the way I look and perfecting the wedding day itself. In order for me to blossom into a wife, there was so much soul preparation that needed to be explored first. I chose to make that my priority.

To honor this, I created a plan to help guide me through my feelings leading up to the day. I asked myself some powerful questions and used the answers to create my “Emotions Bride Guide.”

Here are some examples of the questions I explored.

      >>What three words describe how I want to feel on my wedding day?
      >>What habits no longer serve me that I am ready to let go of?
      >>What do I want to add into my life?
      >>What foods feel best for my body?
      >>What physical activities make me feel strong and powerful?
      >>What lifestyle choices help me thrive?
      >>What can I do to feel present in my wedding process?
      >>When stress rises, what is the best outlet I have for relief?
      >>Where can I find the fun?
      >>In what areas can I better communicate with my partner?

When my wedding day finally came, and I walked down the aisle in my size 14 dress, I had never felt more beautiful, authentic and present.

No meal plan required.

For anyone preparing to tie the matrimonial knot, I offer you the idea that there is a choice in how you want to prepare for your wedding day. There is the option to focus more on how you want to feel within yourself than how you look from the outside.

I believe that when we put the love in, we shine in the most authentic and genuine way possible.

I would love to know your thoughts and connect about where you are in your own wedding process. If you are interested in creating your own “Emotions Bride Guide,” you can download a free template here.




Author: Kelly Anne Wadler

Image: Jeremy Smith—(provided by author)

Apprentice Editor: Roseann Pascale / Editor: Travis May; Catherine Monkman

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