Influencer Sophie Lait stands is a body-positive influencer and recent newlywed. Here, she reflects on her wedding planning journey and the impact it had on her relationship with her body. She shares her tips on how not to prepare for your wedding, along with advice on staying body positive as a nearlywed-to-be.
Planning a wedding is exhilarating and exciting in so many ways. It's the best thing you'll ever do, but also the hardest in so many ways. Booking wedding photographers and checking things off your wedding to-do list is easy enough - there's so much advice and guidance when you need help doing the practical stuff.
But when it comes to preparing yourself mentally and emotionally, and accepting yourself physically ahead of your wedding - it's not so easy.
I've worked so hard on this over the years, and made so much progress in my body acceptance journey. I've progressed to the point where I change my clothes to fit my body, not the other way around - which is why I was so taken aback by how much this shifted as I prepared for my wedding.
Wedding days feel different when it comes to body positivity and acceptance, especially for those wearing a wedding dress, because for this one day, you have to take people shopping with you, buy a dress and have it fitted and altered to your body ahead of the day itself - something which most of us won't have done before.
How Not To Prepare for Your Wedding
Personally, I experienced some of the worst body dysmorphia of my life in the lead-up to my wedding.
As someone who's battled with body acceptance in the past, the thought of fitting into a dress that's specifically tailored to me, on one specific day feels really daunting for me. I had stress, upon stress, upon stress about whether or not I'd fit into that dress come my wedding day, and I won't lie, it was nauseating.
The bottom line is, I know that what my body looks like is not the be all and end all of the wedding day, I know that. But that doesn't stop unsettling feelings and emotions, and all of my insecurities rearing their ugly head multiple times a day.
Insecurities really do suck, and they feel so much more heightened when wedding planning. It feels crazy even saying it, but they make me question whether or not the person who asked me to marry them actually wants to marry me.
Letting these insecurities consume you, and believing them, is the definition of how not to prepare for your wedding.
How To Prepare for Your Wedding, Instead
It's easier said than done, trust me I know, but using what I have learnt over the years, I found some coping mechanisms which helped me to turn the narrative on my body around.
Get to Know Your Body
Something I tried to do every day for myself was mirror work. This meant me looking at myself in the mirror, spending time trying to understand my body in full; what she looks like, how she moves, how she walks, and how she exists. I owed it to myself to not hide it away, and to embrace myself fully and wholeheartedly.
Even if I didn't like what I saw in the reflection, I kept reminding myself that it's my responsibility to take care of my emotional well-being, and this meant showing love to my body. We can't control what others do or think, but we have a say in what we do and how we think.
Leaving Your Comfort Zone
Another thing which really helped me prepare for my wedding was getting out of my comfort zone, and I recommend this for anyone feeling insecure ahead of the big day, especially if you are someone who is dreading being the centre of attention.
Whether it's wearing a bikini to the beach, rocking some shorts to the supermarket, embracing the part of your arms you hate in the park or something totally different, facing your insecurities head on and doing so before the wedding day can be just as exhilarating as it is scary. And it's also the best way to prove to yourself just how strong you are.
I've always been of the opinion that we should push ourselves out of our comfort zone as women. Testing the limits of our capabilities before such an important day really can make all the difference.
Pushing your own personal boundaries and stepping outside of your comfort zone will be hard, especially leading up to your wedding, but I urge you to do the tough things now so you're able to move forward and make happy and lighter memories down the line.
I really think by putting ourselves in these uncomfortable situations before the wedding, it helps us to deal with our anxiety around our body image a little bit better, so when it comes around, it doesn't seem so heavy.
Although anxiety and insecurities often make us feel like we have no control whatsoever over our own thoughts and feelings, it's so important to remember that we are in control. And we do have power over these intrusive thoughts.
As women, we need to constantly think about whether or not there are things we can implement and steps we can take that will make us feel better and more at home with this process, and if those things exist, it's up to us to action them.
Accepting Our Insecurities
Honestly, I think it's unrealistic for anyone to think that insecurities can be eradicated completely - that's not how it works for anyone. Wishing that can make you stress twice as much and before you know it, you're stressing about having insecurities, then stressing about stressing about insecurities and get yourself completely worked up.
Instead, it's better to be more realistic about it, and accept the fact that you're going to have insecurities, and finding and developing ways to live alongside them. It's also about accepting the fact that sometimes they win, and other times, you do.
Sometimes, the thought of “all eyes on us” can make us feel like everybody can see straight through our insecurities and low self-esteem, but in reality, we need to understand how our brain is able to cope in these situations.
If our mind is saturated and heavily consumed with uncontrollable anxious thoughts on our day, then we’re not gonna enjoy the things that we should be enjoying, like a wedding day.
If I was an fairy godmother I would take your insecurities away in a heartbeat, but unfortunately you have to do the groundwork, you are the one that has to put the effort in, and you are the one that will change if you invest in yourself.
So, I'll leave you with my final thoughts. Planning a wedding with insecurities is bittersweet - but the sweet will always outweigh the bitter if you just give yourself a break. Wear the dress on the day, wear the bikini on the honeymoon and don't put yourself in a situation where, when you look back on your planning process, you let your insecurities win.
You don't need to lose weight for your wedding, and you've got this!