Ah, weddings – a day that so many people dream about. It’s a special day when a woman is entitled to feel like a queen. With everything from the dress, the rings, the photos and the venue – there is a lot of pressure for everything to be perfect. More often than not, the bride is usually the one feeling the weight of all that pressure from the first day of planning all the way to the I do’s.
Self Love Beauty Ambassador Ashley Stein is getting married! She has been no stranger to this pressure – especially the pressure to look her absolute best. Throughout her planning, she soon realized that she was starting to pick at every single one of her flaws and it was really starting to take away from her experience. Read on to see how Ashley finds confidence and makes self-love a priority in this crazy, exciting time in her life!
I’ve never been happier and more self-conscious all at the same time.
When my fiancé proposed this past spring I was overflowing with love and joy. His proposal was something I thought of over and over again in my mind, because it made me smile uncontrollably each time. I couldn’t wait to start planning our wedding.
Over time though, I noticed my unhealthy obsession with my body image creeping back into the forefront of my everyday thoughts. Most of it started when I began thinking about my wedding dress, and only continued to grow as I scrolled through images of models in the dresses I wanted to wear.
“… The wedding dress will only show my upper body, so no need to worry about my legs and stomach.”
“… Since when do I have armpit fat? What workouts will get rid of that?”
“… I need to Google how to get rid of my double chin.”
“… Will a spray tan make me look skinnier the day of the wedding? What wedding dress style will cover the fat on my arms?”
Suddenly, all I could think about was becoming the most “beautiful version of myself” on my wedding day. However, as you can see above, my thoughts have not been as focused on internal beauty as they have been focused on physical beauty.
My Journey with Self Love
I don’t think I’ve ever been 100% confident in my body. Either I was underweight and trying to gain weight, overweight feeling ashamed, or at a normal weight unable to recognize it
When I met my fiancé, I was recovering from a mix of health issues that caused me to become severely underweight and deal with several mental health issues. For example, I was weighing myself multiple times a day in the hopes of seeing the scale slowly move up in the right direction. I’d eat something and immediately go weigh myself trying to keep the number I saw growing.
Since then, he’s seen me at my weakest, seen me at my strongest, and seen me everywhere in-between when dealing with my body image. So when he proposed it wasn’t about what I looked like or what he looked like, it was about the unconditional love we had for each other.
Ways to Remain Confident While Wedding Planning
I’m tired of feeling so unhappy about my body during the time I’ve looked forward to my whole life. From now on, I am committing to the following ideas during my wedding planning process – and I encourage any future bride to do the same!
- Bring Your Self-Love Army Wedding Dress Shopping – This is not an episode of, “Say Yes to The Dress.” There is no need to bring vocal relatives or jealous friends to the bridal salon. In my case, I’m strictly bringing just my mom because she is the one person who makes me feel beautiful no matter what. Think of the people in your life who make you feel beautiful inside and out – those are the ones you bring with you to the salon!
- Wear What Makes You Confident in Your Engagement Photos – For me, this means a fall wedding shoot where I can wear scarfs, long sleeves, and boots! Don’t try to dress like all the engagement photos you see on Pinterest. If you don’t like wearing dresses, then don’t! If you love how you feel in a t-shirt vs. a blouse, then wear the t-shirt. Your photographer is there to make you look beautiful, so your job is to feel beautiful during the process.
- Create Workout Goals Around a Calendar, Not Weight – It doesn’t hurt to do a little bridal boot camp before your wedding so that you feel good about yourself. However, rather than fixating on reaching a certain weight goal on a scale, I’ve started focusing my goals on how many times during the week I hit the gym. I feel way more accomplished knowing I worked out 4 times that week than knowing the number on my scale didn’t budge a pound.
- Your “Most Beautiful Self” Will Happen No Matter What – Everyone keeps telling me they’ve never seen an ugly bride. And even though it doesn’t feel helpful when you’re full of self-doubt about your body, it is when you show up the day of. You’re going to be beautiful no matter what, because happiness is the most beautiful quality you can have.
- Focus on the Love that Started Everything – It sounds corny, but your fiancé proposed to you not because of what you look like, but because of how much he/she loves you! You both will see ups and downs in your physical health during your marriage, so don’t start fixating on something now that never affected your relationship before.
Helpful Tools for Maintaining Self Love
As I stated above, it’s OK to set goals for your body during this time, but don’t let your mind become consumed by them! Below are a few helpful tools I’ve found during this time that make me feel strong, beautiful and confident.
- Say Yes to the Dress, Randy Knows Best – While most of this show doesn’t always portray body-positivity, Randy is the one part that ALWAYS does! Watch his Randy Knows Best series when you’re feeling doubtful about the wedding dress shopping process.
- Perfect Bride Arms Workout – I LOVE this video! It’s an easy workout that makes me feel strong and good about the body I have. I focus on doing this workout 2-3 times a week on top of my other workouts, rather than dropping weight and seeing a physical change in my body.
- ThinkUp: Positive Affirmations – Download this app and start turning to it each day. Reading about body positivity only helps reinforce it.
- Meditate and Positive Thoughts – This one is hard, but SO important. If you’ve ever read, “The Secret,” by Rhonda Byrne you’ll know where I’m going with this. In order to become beautiful (in and out) you have to believe you already are. Meditate each day and think to yourself, “I am beautiful. I am strong. I am amazing,” and envision the most perfect you. The more you do this, the more you will believe it to be true. Your mind is a powerful tool – use it!
When you show yourself love while planning your wedding, it helps make the process fun for both you and your fiancé. However, outside factors, primarily the budget, can still add stress even after you’ve given yourself the love you deserve. Don’t worry though – we’ve got you covered. Check out our ultimate wedding budget guide!
Want to learn more about Ashley? Visit our Ambassador page!