wedding planning: the dress fitting

Last week I opened up about some of my core issues on my guest post at VMac and Cheese.  The positive response was overwhelming, including gracious comments and heartfelt emails.  So ya’ll, this blog is about to get real.  And when I say real, I mean I am going to be honest and forthcoming with you.  If you have been following along with the Buckets and Bunches, you know I had to change my wedding date because of “life.” Life this year included hitting rock bottom with depression, anxiety, self-harm, and an eating disorder that I have been struggling with almost my entire life.  It was almost exactly a year ago when David made a call to my parents and they began staying with me while he traveled and together we started looking for a solution (again).  I lived in terror of the world and myself.  Looooong story short, I checked into an inpatient program near Philadelphia at the end of February and began a difficult journey to recovery.  I stayed in Philly for six weeks, spent another four weeks in a day program in Dallas, and finally returned to Houston for an Intensive Out Patient program focusing on dialectical behavior therapy.  And somewhere around the end of the summer, I began to see changes.  Or rather, I began to make changes.

the dreaded dress fitting

I picked out my gorgeous dress soon after getting engaged.  My mom and sister came into Houston and we spontaneously went to check out dresses, not expecting that I would find my dress that day.  When we did, I was over the moon happy.  When I returned from treatment, however, I sobbed thinking about how my body would ruin this dress.  I had gained a substantial amount of weight since October 2010.  I don’t know how many times I said that I thought people would say, as they watched me walk down the aisle, “Oh, what a pretty dress.  It is too bad she looks disgusting in it.”  In case there are other readers  struggling with eating disorders or bad body image, I will leave out some of the nastier self-talk and just say that countless therapists have told me negative body image is one of the last things to go in recovery.  So, since June 2011 my dress had been sitting in the bridal boutique waiting for me to come in for my fittings.  Here is how I handled it, and here is what I would do differently:

When terrified of trying on your wedding dress DO NOT:

  • Put it off for months.  Seriously, I stopped sleeping and gave myself endless amounts of anxiety.
  • Force your best friend to look at your arms on a daily basis and tell you if you could really wear a sleeveless dress. Sorry, Michelle.
  • Stay up until two in the morning in hysterics only to buy a Canadian arm toning system promising to give you “Michelle Obama arms.”  Though, now that it has arrived, I’ll admit I’m curious.
  • Torture everyone around you with your procrastination.

When terrified of trying on your wedding dress DO:

  • Call the salon, and express your fears.  Honey, they have seen it all.
  • While on the phone with the salon, make the damn appointment for the fitting.
  • Have a support system with you for the day of the fitting ( I took my mom, and she was fabulous; “No Chelsea, you are not going to throw up in the salon because you are nervous; but if you do, it’s going to be ok”).
  • Think about the situation you are in.  You are about to marry the love of your life. YEAH!  How exciting is that?

In the end, my dress fit!  It needs alterations like any dress, but the whole experience was fairly easy. I slept straight through the night afterwards for the first time in months.  If you know the realities of your situation and don’t think the dress will fit, don’t freak out.  Tailors that work on wedding dresses are amazing.  They can work wonders.  If that silhouette isn’t flattering or you are scared of your arms, make a plan B.  Knowing that you can quickly get a dress that you would feel comfortable in is reassuring.  I know it was for me.

So good luck brides, future brides, or anyone facing a fear.  Sorry to bombard you with my own thoughts today; if this is not what you want to see over on this space let me know. Email me if you want to know where to find fabulous back-up dresses. xo



  1. Thanks so much for opening up about all of this. It’s good for people to share because so many people go through the same exact thing. Glad that you’re doing better and thrilled for you that the dress fits and that the experience was rather painless! xoxo

  2. Honesty is beautiful. You are beautiful. Thank you for sharing. Dresses are either painful or heavenly…so happy yours is still the latter. =)

  3. Thanks for opening up– I think your honesty about it will be helpful to many readers. I’m not engaged, but I an imagine feeling a lot of anxiety over the fittings as well.

  4. You have come so far in the last year. So happy and proud of you. Bless you for opening up and helping to erase the stigma of mental illness. My whole family thanks you! Can’t wait to celebrate with you this Saturday. Love and Hugs.

  5. Chelsea, you are an inspiration! I love you more than ever.

  6. Girl, I got married, moved across the country, and started a business all in three months. It was unbearably stressful. I completely understand. I am so glad you said something. LET.ME.KNOW.IF.YOU.NEED.A.SHOULDER.

  7. Katrina Bean


    This is an amazing post. Just like I told you on the phone last night, I am so proud and amazed of how far you have come over the past year.

  8. This is the first real post on a wedding-related blog I’ve ever read. Usually all you get is the excitement and glitz of it all, but there’s so much stress to deal with that nobody every discusses. Thanks for sharing! I’m glad things are getting better. One day at a time.

  9. Lissy

    I’m so proud of you Chels! Can’t wait to see you soon!

  10. Chelsea, thank you for being so honest. I’m not sure I’ve read any other wedding posts as honest as yours, and it’s true so many women have fears about the first dress fitting and so many women suffer some similar disorders. I’m glad you gave them a strong confident voice and offered your advice. I’m happy to hear you are recovered and are doing well. You are going to be a stunning bride and a wonderfully loving wife!

    xo tamra

  11. Oh Chelsea, I am so impressed by your honesty and courage. You did it, you went face to face with your worst fears!everyone has them and most of us sweep it under the rug. You sound like you’re in a great place and yes, keep it in perspective because you are SO lucky to have found the love of your life. Don’t forget that, not everyone does! And if you’re feeling down, think about the way he looks at you!

  12. dude. first, it is amazing to hear this after meeting your bright and beautiful self! just wish there’d been more time to visit. and, second, i STILL haven’t fully recovered from the stress and anxiety I CAUSED MYSELF from our wedding. while it’s trite to say “just enjoy yourself – everything will be perfect and exactly as it’s supposed to be,” it’s so so true. the only one thinking negative thoughts will be you (if you let yourself – so, for the love of all things holy, don’t!) the day isn’t really about all of that anyway, right?? and, third (because this comment doesn’t quite qualify as the longest in history), what a battle you’ve fought. it’s a hard one. i think we all fight something. and you’re an inspiration for talking about it!! thank you for your vulnerability and candor, love. oxoxoxo

    • Oh Tobe, thanks you so much. It is hard to think that I am probably the only person obsessing over how big my arms are, but I know you are right. It is the disease! I wish I could have seen even more of you at Alt, but we will just keep in touch! xo

  13. Lori

    I am so impressed and proud your bravery and honesty. Your wedding will be amazing and you are going to look fabulous!
    I love you so much and I’m so, so happy for you and David.
    Can’t wait to see you Saturday!
    Love you! xxxooo

  14. Just the other day, one of our directors said (across a room full of people), “You know Lena, you’re looking awfully thin to me. Are you eating?”

    It took everything in my power to say, “I’ve been recovering from an eating disorder for years. I’m happy to give you an itemized list of everything I’ve consumed for the past 5 days, if you like.”

    Thank you, darling, for being so honest and for sharing an experience that I know more women struggle with than they’d care to admit. I knew there was a reason I connected with you so instantly, besides you simply being one of the most warm, delightful people I’ve had the pleasure to “meet”.


    • Oh Lena, I love your honesty in your comment. I just love it when people offer me diet advice. I know that it is with the best intentions, but it can be devastating and triggering. I just can’t wait to talk to you even more. Oh, and I talked about you at Alt! I just heart you that much.

  15. Thank you for opening up gorgeous, it’s great to hear the real side of our lives sometimes. You must be so proud of what you’ve accomplished. Enjoy every moment of your wedding. It shouldn’t be a scary time. X

    • Oh, I really appreciate that. And I am so glad to have you over here commenting. I am proud, and at first that felt weird to say, but now I am kinda shouting it from the rooftops. xo

  16. I heart you and am so proud to call you my friend. Love and hugs, sista!

  17. Karen

    You have come a long way in the past year, Sweetie. I know that your struggles have sometimes seemed overwhelming, but I am so proud of the way you have kept on keeping on. You are brave and awesome to open up like this. And…You are beautiful, David is wonderful and your wedding will be fabulous! Can’t wait to see you. Mom

  18. It’s been an emotional journey for you, but you are a brave lady!! The wedding dress is beautiful, and I am pretty sure you’ll make an extremely beautiful bride no doubt :)

  19. Dad

    It is hard to put in words how far you have come since Pilly but I am so proud of you for making the long journey.You have come out of the dark and into the light ” brave heart ” I am looking forward to seeing you at the alter- standing tall and beautiful but it’s not the dress It’s YOU that’s BEAUTIFUL .

  20. Holly LeMay

    I found the blog too! :) It was great to see you Saturday! Can’t wait to help celebrate your BIG day! Life is all about making lemonaide out of all those lemons, Honey! You are talented and beautiful! I am so very proud of you!

  21. Amy

    Thank you! As someone who was hospitalized for anxiety and depression – it is wonderful to read your story. I feel the stigma of mental illness much of the time, and while I’m not yet brave enough to open up to everyone in my life about it, your experience and your candor is a reminder that I have nothing to be ashamed of.

    • I am so honored that my writing could be uplifting to you. I am sending you all the virtual support I can. I hope that you keep coming back, this is something I am talking about more and more. xo

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