In June 2015, as the sun set over the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, my boyfriend Justin dropped to one knee and asked me to marry him. I was the happiest girl in the world!
Following the fan fare and excitement of our engagement I began searching for a dress. I trawled through wedding magazines, Instagram and Pinterest and formed a clear idea of what I wanted – something that was stylish, slim lined and elegant with hints of old world lace.
I quickly discovered that not many places in Brisbane stocked plus sized gowns; it was awful walking into stores and being told that they weren’t able to help me.
When I did find places that stocked my size I was met with disappointment. The styles were limited – often strapless with a huge skirt that did nothing to flatter my shape!
Then there were the gowns that were available in my size but were not actually in the store. In order to visualize what they would look like on me I was forced to hold a smaller size in front of me or try and squeeze in to it and parade out in front of everyone with the back gaping and everything showing!! I remember one particular visit where I had to get one of my bridesmaids to try the dress on – mortifying!
Determined not to give up I decided if I couldn’t find a dress in store, I would get one made! I approached a well-known designer about making me the dress I so desperately wanted, but was told that he designed only for women up to a size 10! I was absolutely heartbroken. There I was six months out from the wedding convinced that I was going to end up in a position where I had nothing to wear! I was panicked and upset and felt different from other girls getting married.
Everything changed the moment I went to see Wendy Makin – one of Australia’s best bridal wear designers. Wendy spoke to me about what I wanted and made recommendations on what type of style would suit my shape. I was able to try on a range of dresses and was never made to feel different from a regular sized person. I was finally able to say yes to a dress!
Like all ‘brides to be’ I wanted to look the best I could on the day and set about losing weight. My first fitting took me completely by surprise, instead of sucking in my tummy and trying to look as skinny as I could, I grinned from ear to ear – my dress was exactly what I wanted and I loved how I looked!
My mindset completely changed … I may not have had the body featured in all of the magazines or on social media but I was confident! I also believed that despite being plus sized I could still look beautiful. I continued to eat really well but it was about nourishing my body rather than punishing it for the size it was.
Our wedding day was everything I dreamed of and more. Thanks to Amanda Barnard (make up) and Hare’s Hair (hair) I was so happy with how I looked and felt incredible.
I’m happy to say that every time I look at our wedding photos I smile. They probably won’t be splashed across our photographers Instagram or featured in any wedding magazines but I was everything I wanted to be …