Tag Archives: advice

Surviving Your Wedding When You Don’t Feel Beautiful

you are beautiful

I’m not going to lie to you, I’ve cried too many tears over my weight. I had an eating disorder for ten years and although I was technically recovered by the time I came to walk down the aisle, it was still at the forefront of my mind when planning the wedding.

My thoughts of self-loathing reared their ugliest head when it came to choosing my dress of course. I was worried that I’d never find one that I felt good in. I was worried that I’d be uncomfortable all day. I was worried that I’d look back at my wedding photos and cry because I looked so enormous.

There seems to be two main schools of thought when it comes to body image, weight and weddings. There are those, like me now, that believe you should focus on being healthy and not stress yourself out by trying to lose weight before the wedding. Then there are others that go on a diet or sign up to some kind of sadistic bridal bootcamp torture as soon as that sparkler is slipped onto their finger.

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5 Things You Must Do To Ensure Your Wedding Goes Off Without a Hitch

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It’s not something we ever want to think about, but the likelihood is that everything won’t go perfectly to plan on your wedding day. A couple of weeks ago I actually asked via my Facebook page if anyone had anything go wrong and I was blown away by the response. I even had people emailing me separately to tell me their stories of woe! While I was at first a little nervous that all those comments would be scaring the bejebus out of you brides-to-be, I think it is important to realise that while things may not always go to plan, it will all be OK in the end. Whatever happens your wedding will still be awesome. Pinky swear.

Some of these hiccups will be minor, others could be quite major, but instead of trying to second-guess the future and stressing yourself out about it, here are five tips on how to handle anything that might go a little pear shaped.

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1. Accept that things might go wrong… and be OK with it

If I learnt anything from reading all those Facebook comments it was that more often than not something does goes wrong. Accepting that fact and being OK with it is ultimately going to be a lot less stressful than worrying about something you can’t control the whole time. Realise that for most people (well, maybe except Bridezillas but I haven’t got any of those reading my blog do I?!) it’s the little hiccups actually end up making for a great story after the wedding.

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The Name Game: Should you Take your Husband’s Surname When you Marry?

Kathryn Underwood was always last to be called in the school register. I’m not sure why it bothered me so much that I was stuck on the end every time, but it did. I felt like an outsider and I longed to be all snuggy in the middle with the Matthews’ and the Smiths’ and the Jones’. “It’s OK though”, I justified to myself, “when I get married I’ll never have to be at the end of a register ever again…”

And then I married a Williams.

When I married, keeping my maiden name was something I never even considered. I’m actually a little surprised with myself that this was one of the few traditions that I never thought to rebel against! I’ve personally never felt that taking my husband’s name had anything to do with me being an oppressed woman, and I certainly never felt it was an archaic tradition that made me somehow become my husband’s possession (just as I didn’t even consider that my father wouldn’t walk me down the aisle. I actually felt this was a really special part of our wedding). I know many people do feel this, but me? Nah not so much…

I love that we have the same name and we often joke about being ‘Team Williams’. I never felt particularly tied to my old surname. I didn’t dislike it but it didn’t define me. I defined me. However I think deciding people should call me Kat instead of Kathryn (when I was about 16) was empowering. I chose to be Kat, just as I chose to be a Williams.

However I really started to think about this topic when I received the following email last week. Charlotte has, without a doubt, the coolest surname ever and is unsure of what to do with it when she marries her boy…

Hello Kat

Firstly may I say precisely how much I love your blog! Barely a day goes by when I’m not pawing over its beautifully designed pages. Thank you for existing!

Now on to my question. I want to make it clear that I’m not expecting a conclusive answer but I want to discuss this issue with someone objective who will share their opinion without rolling their eyes at me and telling me “that’s just the way it is – get over it!”

My fiancé and I planning to get married in 2014. We already have distinct plans and ideas for the day and wanted to get everything sorted as far in advance as possible so we can use our outstanding creativity to DIY the hell out of many many things. However, one detail we’re still confused about is our names. I have a pretty wonderful surname. My surname is Cloud. It makes me smile every time someone tells me how nice a name that is and it’s always bothered me that I’d have to drop it. I decided I didn’t want to drop it a while ago, but my fiancé won’t take mine. Although his argument isn’t that “it’s not the man’s job to take another name” (I have heard this opinion a lot recently!) it still leaves me wondering what on earth we’re to do. His surname (Fleming) is just a general English surname that a good few people will have. It’s not offensive, but it does become so when coupled with Cloud, so double barrelled is right out.

I then thought about each of us keeping our own surnames. I really don’t like this idea. I do feel that sharing surnames is an important part of being a married couple, and if we don’t share surnames then I won’t feel as married as I could. If we have children, I don’t want them to have a different surname to either of us; I want people to know that they’re ours, not just mine or just his.

I have heard of couples inventing their own surnames in situations like this but I’m quite lost now. I’m not really sure what I want to do and the easiest thing may well be to suck it up and drop my surname. Our families will be expecting it and if he drops his in any way they may feel betrayed. This does remind me though that many marriage traditions exist because a woman was property to be traded, and I don’t want to be branded as the property of his family name. I know that attitude might not fit in nicely within the ideals of someone who values marriage, but I’m full of contradictions!

Is this a situation you’ve come across before? I would appreciate some words of wisdom.

Many thanks

Charlotte Cloud

Charlotte Cloud! Yes, she’s right, that is the coolest name ever. It certainly made me smile as I saw it sat there, looking all cute and pretty on the page. Honestly though, I don’t feel well equiped enough to answer her dilemma on my own. My one tiny piece of advice would be that you have to do what’s right for you. In your gut you probably know what the right choice is and just because there are pressures from both camps (to change or not to change) you are the only person who can say what is right or wrong for you. After all it’s no-one’s name but your own!

To name oneself is the first act of both the poet and the revolutionary. When we take away the right to an individual name, we symbolically take away the right to be an individual. Immigration officials did this to refugees; husbands routinely do it to wives. - Erica Jong

Anyway, in order to get a more rounded idea of opinions on this subject, I took to twitter and facebook and asked my wonderful followers to help me out. And oh boy did you! In droves! I had literally hundreds of messages from you all (you can see the ones that were posted directly to facebook here). I wish I could post them all but alas it would equate to the worlds longest blog post so here are just a few of my favourites…

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Are Babies the Next Logical Step?

EAK Photography

I’ve never been particularly maternal. It’s not that I don’t like children, but in all honestly I wouldn’t ever choose to be in a room with a load of them. In fact at my parent’s Jubilee party which was frequented by rather a lot of screeching neighbourhood rugrats, I spent then entire time cowered in the corner staring at my lap/my glass of champagne/the dry sausage rolls and hoping none of them would try to talk to me. It’s ironic really, I’m pretty outgoing with adults, but anyone under 12 and I don’t know what to do. I guess I’m scared I’ll make them cry… or I’ll accidentally drop the f-bomb and scar them for life or something.

Sure, there are some kids I like, I have a few friends who are fantastic Mothers and have gorgeous children who are actually pretty fun to hang out with (they also find me fascinating which is quite hilarious. I’m pretty sure they think I’m actually a real life My Little Pony). But as nice as it is to be adored by these select few, it’s also really nice when they go to bed and we can have a drink and talk about things that don’t involve CBeebies’ characters. On the flipside I have had friends who have swiftly become ex-friends once they started popping out sprogs. I don’t know if that’s my fault…or theirs… or a combination of the two… but either way it’s happened.

Gareth and I were out to dinner the other night as we started chatting about children. I’m sure he won’t mind me saying that he always said he wanted children, although recently he’s started to change his mind. As he’s got older and our life has got more comfortable, he’s ended up pretty happy with our little child-free set up. I wonder if he, like I, always assumed that we would have kids, because you know, that’s what married people do.

I’ve always been on the fence. I’m not saying no way not ever… but I’d be alright with it if we didn’t end up having them.

Lemons with a pea via Etsy

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The Bridal Shop Experience & How to Come Out Alive…

Photography Credit: Assassynation (full wedding here)

I was blown away by the response to the article I published on Weight Loss and Weddings a few weeks ago. Thank you to every single one of you who was brave enough to leave a comment sharing your own experiences. Even though the post has been up for a little while the tweets, emails and blog comments are still pouring in for it. I never really know how topics like that will go down so it means a lot that you guys put yourselves out there like that. You are all so amazing.

There was one resounding message that came from the comments, and one I didn’t anticipate. It was your concerns of bad experiences with bridal shops and your worries with finding a wedding dress you love (and that fitted/complimented your figure/made you look beautiful). The crazy thing was that these concerns were not even limited to those of you who identified yourselves as overweight. It seemed that nearly all of you, no matter what your shape or size, had concerns or stories to tell about the bridal shop experience.

Today I thought I’d put together a few tips and ideas of how to make the whole experience of finding a wedding dress less of an ordeal.

Make an appointment

While there’s nothing wrong with popping into a bridal shop if you see one on your travels, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to actually try anything on without an appointment. Some smaller shops will only have an assistant per appointment, so without one you might not have anyone to help you even look at the gowns on the hangers. Bridal shops can get extremely busy at weekends, so if you are able to visit or make an appointment for a weekday then you may well be given more time and better service (as they won’t all be rushed off their feet!)

Arrive in plenty of time

Being punctual is also super important. You don’t want to get off to a bad start by making the assistant wait. Your appointment will likely be limited to a fixed amount of time (i.e. an hour) and especially if they have a busy schedule of back-to-back appointments, you won’t be able to have your slot run over because you were late.

Photography Credit: Claire Morgan Photography (full wedding coming soon)

Ask questions

If you book an appointment over the phone, be sure to ask any questions to clear up anything you are not 100% sure of beforehand – i.e how many friends you’re allowed to bring, if you can eat and drink during the appointment, what to bring with you etc… Educating yourself beforehand is the best way to feel as stress-free as possible before you get there. Most misunderstandings or bad feelings between bridal shops and clients is through a lack of communication (from both parties!)

Listen to their advice & be open to possibilities

Although we’ve heard horror stories, not all people who work in bridal shops are witches! Most of them are experts in their stock and what styles suit which body shapes.

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Weight Loss and Weddings

Photography Credit: Made U Look Photography

Fat, fat fat fat fat!” read Martha’s Facebook status. I’d seen updates about her diet plan and weight goals over the past few months and it irked me. In fact anyone talking about weight loss and dieting makes me feel uncomfortable… it’s just one of those things I don’t like being thrust in my face. Diets can be dangerous things. I’ve had personal experience.

But Martha’s statuses upset me particularly because I knew for a fact that only reason she was dieting was to fit into that size 10 Ian Stuart number. Yes, Martha is trying to lose weight for her wedding.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with wanting to look your best on your wedding day, and I’m sure most brides, whatever shape or size, worry about how they’re going to look. I am also well aware that many girls would like to lose weight regardless and that a wedding provides a convenient motivation. This is fine and it’s great to want to be healthy and happy, whatever your shape or size. But the thing that upsets me the most is the way the wedding industry perpetuates the lie that you have to, or should at least consider, losing weight before you walk down the aisle.

I’m expecting this article to ruffle some feathers. But you know what, screw it, sometimes the old birds need to be ruffled. Let’s look at some examples…

Wedding blogs providing weight loss tips and exercise regimens… wedding magazines favouring ‘size 8-10, pretty brides’ for their real wedding features (yes, I heard that from the editor of a wedding magazine with my own ears)… bridal shop owners asking girls if they plan to lose weight before their weddings and allowing them to order dresses 2 sizes too small… or even worse, telling them to not expect to be able to try on a sample dress over a size 12… TV shows dedicated to slimming for your wedding… companies set up with the sole purpose as to ‘help’ brides-to-be slim down… bridal bootcamps… wedding workouts… ‘brideorexia’…!

The whole thing turns my stomach. And I’m not even talking about the extreme examples here – the bridalplasty TV shows or the girl who drip fed herself in the run up to her wedding. Christ no, the ‘accepted’ norms of what is OK to promote related to pre-wedding weight loss are scary enough.

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