“Always the bridesmaid, huh, Kat?”
I was waiting for the comment, dreading it actually, but I knew it was bound to come. Why? Experience. I was a bridesmaid in three weddings last year, and attended seven ceremonies in all. And I was single.
Weddings, wonderful as they are, can also be one long stress session that can have you worrying about how you’ll fit into your dress, how you’ll look compared to everyone else, how you’ll keep from overeating and drinking, how you’ll respond to comments like the one I just mentioned, and in general keep your emotions in check when the day is all about emotions.
And that’s just being a guest. If you’re in the wedding … sigh.
That moment when a friend asks you to be in her wedding is so exciting. You feel honored that you made the cut. You’re on the VIP list! You’re special, you’re important to someone else, and that makes you feel great. And then…reality sinks in and thoughts start swirling in your mind: Someone else will choose what I’m going to wear; I’ll have to stand next to people who are thinner than me; I’ll have to take photos in my swimsuit at a bachelorette party; I’ll be the only single one in the bridal party. For all three occasions, the anxiety consumed me, but I masked it with a smile.
As usual, I made plans to lose weight by a certain date, but as usual, that pressure didn’t work. As my friends’ wedding events approached and I still wasn’t at my goal, I started panicking. How could I go to a wedding at the Ritz-Carlton at my size? How could I go to, OMG, that beach resort at my size?
And worst of all: How could I possibly look as great as the other girls in those bridesmaid’s dresses at my size?
The answer: Quite easily, it turns out.
I decided to be honest with myself, and that made all the difference.
Throughout this bridesmaid process, I realized I was putting up barriers out of fear of a comment or a side-eye from another girl or a stranger. My friends love me for who I am, not what I look like—and for the record, I do look pretty great. I learned that people of any size—not just those who look like Jennifer Lopez—can go to a pool party in Miami by day and sip on cocktails at a lounge at night.
I learned that it can be fun getting ready for a black-tie wedding at the Ritz. I can put on some fake eyelashes and get a fierce smoky eye and look the most gorgeous that I’ve ever looked. I can dance the night away at a wedding even if I’m single, because it’s just what I enjoy doing.
How can I do all this? Because I started loving who I was as a person.
And these lessons have stuck with me in 2016. When I was invited to yet another bachelorette party at yet another beach resort this year, I didn’t hesitate to say yes (I know, my jet-setting life is fabulous). I didn’t think about how the other girls looked—they are rail-thin model-types, by the way—because I didn’t want any negativity to get in the way of sharing these special times with my friends. I’ve become more positive about my body, about myself, and about my life overall.
And because of this positive attitude, guess what? I’m not single anymore. In fact, I’m getting married next June! When I made the vow to myself to be positive in 2016, I wasn’t kidding. I knew that I had to keep an open mind and an open heart—and that led me to a wonderful, smart, generous man, Marios. Unfortunately, when I started dating my now-fiancé, I kept an open mouth, too, and indulged quite a bit during our relationship, gaining the “happy weight.” But when he proposed, and I said yes, I felt my lightest. In that moment, I felt so free to be loved by someone who sees the true me, not the imperfect version that I sometimes see.
And now, as I’m making my own wedding plans, assembling my entourage, figuring out a bachelorette party destination, shopping for a wedding dress, I have to say … my old anxieties are creeping back in.
I won’t let them take over. Instead, I’ll make a plan. I’ll start tracking. I’ll start sleeping more. I’ll start walking again each morning. I’ll find a way to control my insecurities while getting in control of my life. I want my wedding to be the best day ever. I don’t want to worry about what my best angle is, or what others think. I want to look and feel gorgeous in every moment, because finally, I found a man who loves every single piece of me.
I figure, let everyone else be stressed for a change. I have a wedding to enjoy.