There seems to be this acceptance that a woman will starve herself, exercise until she passes out and basically do anything she can in order to fit into a smaller wedding dress. While I started out thinking I would diet and work hard to lose weight, the stresses of wedding planning (especially for a wedding that was in south Devon while I was in Leeds), work and general life got in the way.
After a while though, it didn't really matter to me as I knew I would feel amazing on the day. A lot of that was down to the dress.
This left me feeling like I was going to be able to find anything that fit me, made me feel good and - most importantly - represented who I am. I was left deflated before even stepping foot in a wedding dress shop.
When it came to actually booking in to try some dresses on - which I did nine months before my wedding as it just happened that my parents came to visit before Christmas - I actually had to check that they had plus size options. Some shops were really unhelpful, saying that they only had one or two styles that were plus size, whereas a couple were amazing; assuring me that all dresses could be made in my size.
In the end, I headed to Berketex Bride in Leeds (I also went to The Bridal Shop but was so unimpressed with their service, my mum and I walked out after 20 minutes). The assistant who helped me out at Berketex was really friendly and got me to explain a lot about my wedding theme, the styles I liked and how I wanted to feel. This put me at ease and actually made me excited to try stuff on.
She totally understood how I wanted my body to look and the best ways to flatter me shape - she talked me out of straps and buttons, which I'm so happy about. She also understood that I wanted to look like a princess.
My dress was almost the complete opposite to what I originally wanted. It was a corseted top with a deep sweetheart neckline. The train was massive and it had a meringue feel due to the pick-ups throughout the skirt. It was basically what you would think of when imagining a Disney princess gown.
I have to admit, I did what I didn't think I would do when I picked my dress up for the first time - I cried.
I ended up getting married at almost the same size I was when I picked my dress out, and I felt amazing.
My husband later said that he was glad I didn't totally transform myself for the wedding and walk down the aisle as someone I wasn't - I think the pink hair and pink Dr Marten boots also helped.
On the wedding day, no one said that I would have looked nicer if I had lost weight. All I had were genuine compliments. I was still worried about the photos though, but I didn't need to be as I don't think I'd ever looked so good in pictures before.
While there were a few comments from petty people online about my weight and how I should have lost weight for my wedding, they didn't get to me, which is a huge step for me. I refused to let anything ruin what had been the perfect day, as well as the day that helped me feel great in my swimsuit on our honeymoon.
Now the advice I can give to plus size brides is that you should wear what you want on your wedding day and be comfortable. Don't bring yourself down by working to change your body if that's not what you want to do. Other people shouldn't have a say on how you look on a day that is all about you and your partner, so screw anyone who thinks they have a right to dictate.