Whether you were a past, present or future bride, in relation to my one year wedding anniversary, I felt compelled to write this little post to encourage other women who have, are or may go through what I have.

It’s no secret that our society’s standard of beauty has gotten completely out of proportion. It’s almost virtually impossible to adhere to the cosmetic expectations.
I have fortunately not fallen under the spell of being self conscious about my physical appearance.
I say this not to brag, but because it’s a challenged I already faced and have overcome. There are many challenges I have not yet faced, or perhaps I am currently facing some as I write this.
Struggling with my self image is not one of them at this time of my life.
However, I will say over the coarse of this year, that I have fallen short of either my own unrealistic expectations and the expectations society has planted…

I have struggled with simply enjoying and looking at my wedding photos simply because,
I think my makeup could have been better
I think my hair could have been better
I think my arms could have been more toned
I wish I had picked different shoes
I wish my eyelashes had been nicer.
I’m simply not photogenic

There I said it.
For any other bride that has struggled with the same thoughts, insecurities, feelings, doubts and regrets, this post is to encourage you.
Your not alone.
Reflecting back on the beautiful photos that were taken by our wonderful photographer was hard simply because I felt I could have done better, I could have looked better.
Because I am sure so many brides have gone, are or are going to go through this, doesn’t mean its OK.
I empathize, I too have struggled with this, but it isn’t OK.
The reason it isn’t OK is because every bride truly is beautiful.
The word bride literally means; “A woman on her wedding day or just before and after the event.”
That’s it, a woman to be wed. A wife, a marriage partner, a newly wed.
The word bride literally does not insinuate anything about makeup, hair, flowers, dress, shoes, nails etc.
It’s the pressure, options and expectations that are out there now that is the catalyst to so many girls being disappointed with the way their hair turned out, not getting “that” dress, not being able to afford “those” shoes, not losing enough weight and so on.
It’s sad, at least it made me sad.
I should be reflecting on how amazing it was that so many people showed up, gave gifts, time, money and all came together to celebrate two people becoming one. Shouldn’t it?
It hit me this year, being my first anniversary, what emotions I was going through when looking at wedding photos.
They were very critical thoughts solely based on my appearance.
I had to take a couple days to figure out the source which is a mix of personal and social reasons.
Next I had to just stop myself because it’s such a trap women, I myself included, unfortunately fall into so easily.
If I ask my husband what he felt I should have changed, fixed, altered or instead of” as far as my appearance goes on our wedding, he responds with , “nothing”.
Men don’t notice things like women do in the same way.

Here is a picture I felt like sharing. It’s not the best of me. There are so many things I could say about this photo that I do not like about myself physically. I probably purposely did not upload this onto social media when sharing my photos, simply because I didn’t feel I looked good enough.

Photo From our wonderful photographer: Sharalee Prang

However, instead, I am choosing, today, to look at it as me enjoying myself at my wedding and laughing over something funny my friend said in her speech.
I took a big breathe and went through all my wedding photos, yes every single one.
Every time I thought to criticize the way I looked; “Erin why would you make that face“, “Your hair is out of place in this photo” , “You can really see your arms need to be more toned here“, “Your eyelashes don’t show up nicely in photos, too bad you didn’t get them done differently“, I nipped all those thoughts, I found one funny or positive thing about each photo.
The truth is, there may be girls out there that agree and don’t think I was on my A-game for looks, some may even be jealous and compare themselves to me, either way, as women we tend to compare ourselves either by putting ourselves or others down.

So, I encourage all you BTB’S (Bride-to-Be’s), past brides and future brides to not be too hard on yourselves as far as appearances go.
Marriage isn’t about how good you look, the great photos you got, what cool wedding favors you got or what kind of band you had.
Brides, your all beautiful, we are beautiful.

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