Plus-size model reveals how she achieved body confidence before her wedding day
Looking back, it seems as if the notion of needing to have the perfect wedding was pretty much instilled in us since childhood. After all, we were always given big white gowns to play dress-up in, and every fairytale we ever watched or read seemed to end in a marriage.
So, when we finally come round to the big day (that is, if we choose to have one at all), it's no wonder that we feel a great deal of pressure to look practically perfect.
Caralyn Mirand, a plus-size model from New York, understands this more than most people - as she's getting married in a matter of weeks.
"Without a doubt, there's an unbelievable amount of pressure to look a certain way on your wedding day," Mirand says in an op-ed for Martha Stewart Weddings.
Even though she's used to looking her best for her job, Mirand says that she has struggled more than usual with the expectations for her wedding day.
"As a plus-size model, my job's success rate depends on my looks, and I am constantly being made aware of my body. I'll be the first to admit that I can be incredibly hard on myself, setting high and sometimes even unattainable standards. When it comes to my own big day, I've internally battled with how I want to look and feel."
Most prominently, she found that the process of planning her big day made her feel like she was expected to drop a dress size or two.
"What's most upsetting to me is that, after getting engaged, my initial thought was, 'I need to lose weight before my wedding,'" she said. "And I'm sure that's something many brides-to-be can relate to."
However, through her work, Mirand has come to realize that there's no real reason why women should drastically change the way they look for the sake of one day.
"This ideology of needing to lose weight for a wedding has been placed on us by society, but no one should have to live by these standards," she wrote. "After all, it is your day—you should look and feel how you want."
"When you think about how you look on your wedding day, remember what's really important. It's your wedding, and you're marrying the person you love. As a bride, you're bound to look great no matter what—there's just something beautiful about a woman radiating happiness from within.
"That's why I know that, no matter what the scale says, I will be one happy woman on my wedding day."
Essentially, the key to Mirand's success was simply learning to love her body the way it already is.
"I began my body confidence journey on my Instagram account well over a year now. The most important thing that I have ever learned along the way is that it is a journey, not a destination," she explained.
"There are a few things I've learned on my journey: I will always have full hips, thighs that touch, and a round stomach, and my body was made for wearing items that showcase curves. To be a bride means to be a woman—whatever shape and size that may be—not a supermodel. To me, being a bride means being who I really am, from the inside out. And I'm learning that woman is quite alright."
If you're planning on tying the knot someday - or even if you aren't - hopefully Mirand's insight into being plus-size will help you assess the relationship you have with your body. It's fine to want to change for healthy reasons, but, as the bride-to-be says, you shouldn't have to lose a ton of weight just because it's expected of you.