I didn’t like my wedding dress when it first arrived. After Aaron & I got engaged, I immediately started searching for my wedding dress. I scrolled through hundreds of pins on Pinterest and multiple pages on Google, searching for the perfect dress. At first I thought finding an affordable, modest dress was an impossible task. But finally, after stumbling onto several modest wedding dress sites through someone else’s blog post I found two dresses I really loved. After going through my list of pros and cons I finally ordered my dream dress. It was a ivory a-line lace gown with a chiffon skirt and train. Because I ordered it online there were still several months before it would arrive. I kept on working on wedding plans and kind of forgot about my dress.
Finally, several months later, I came home one afternoon and found my dress sitting in my bedroom. I slipped into my sister’s room by myself, unzipped the dress, and slipped it on. I stood before the full length mirror in my wedding dress for the very first time and I felt disappointed. My heart sank as all my dreams of feeling like a beautiful princess came crashing down. It was a beautiful dress but I didn’t feel the way I had always imagined I would. I was an in-between size which caused the shoulders and neckline to gap a little instead of fitting like a glove the way I thought it would. I didn’t like my dress.
After talking with my mom we figured out what caused the gaps and I decided to call a local bridal shop to see if they had an alteration opening. After pushing it off for several days, I finally made the call. I was immediately glad I called because it was right over spring prom season and they were super busy. I scheduled an appointment to talk about the alterations and then several days later I went to the shop. The shoulders needed to be taken in and it needed hemming but because of prom season it would be close to one to two weeks before the wedding by the time it was finished. It was my only option this close to the wedding so I left it in their hands and hoped for the best.
Just a week before the wedding I got a call letting me know that my dress was ready to pick up. I stopped in and tried it on one last time to make sure everything fit well. As I stood in the little room surrounded by mirrors, my eyes picked up every little flaw. It fit much better and the length was perfect but because I had envisioned a certain look in my mind, I felt disappointed when it didn’t measure up.
My sister and I drove home and I hung the dress in her room. As we sat on her bed, I told her everything. I told her how I had expected to feel different, to feel beautiful, but it felt like just another dress. I cried big snotty tears and she just sat there and listened. Finally, she told me words I knew to be true but hadn’t wanted to admit. “Karen, you make the dress, not the other way around.”
I learned a powerful lesson that day. I have grown so much in the area of body image and how I viewed myself but that day it finally sunk in. “Mirrors only tell us what we expect to see.” As I embraced who God made me and was able to trust that was enough, I felt a new excitement for our wedding day and to actually wear my dress.
Our wedding day came and as I slipped into my dress, I never felt more beautiful. Yes, I had my hair and makeup done and everyone was ‘oohing,” but the excitement I felt came from knowing that I was enough in the eyes of God and that I was finally going to marry the man who always thought I was beautiful whether I felt the same or not.
I realized I could wear the most beautiful dress in the world, have my hair and makeup done by top professionals, and be in the best shape possible but if I didn’t feel like I was enough because of who I was on the inside, I still wouldn’t feel beautiful. But instead if I could rest knowing I was enough because God, the creator of the universe created me as his masterpiece, outward material things would only enhance that beauty instead of it being what made me beautiful.