Fat Bride WeddingWe love girlfriends who are brave enough to share a difficult story. Our amazing girlfriend Feoshia Henderson tells this lovely story of friends helping her find her true beauty for her wedding day!

September is a special month around Girlfriendology – it’s International Women’s Friendship Month (aka: #FriendshipMonth) and we’re celebrating with 30 great guest blogs filled with fabulous girlfriend advice and wisdom. Today we have great girlfriend advice from guest blogger FEOSHIA HENDERSON  – to love ourselves exactly as we are.

I remember the moment when I truly realized my dress wasn’t going to fit in time for the wedding.

It was about four months before the ceremony. I went into the bedroom and tried to zip it.

I looked into the mirror, turned around and saw an at least 8-inch gap in the fabric going up my back. There was absolutely no way I would be able to wear this dress by the fall. It was nowhere near being able to fit. I dissolved into tears and put it away. What am I going to do now? I thought.

On a budget, I’d bought the dress months before at a consignment shop in Northern Kentucky not far from where I live in suburban Cincinnati. I couldn’t take it back. At the time I was convinced that I could lose enough weight before the wedding to fit into it.

I’d lost the weight before. In fact, just three years earlier I was 60 pounds lighter. Devastatingly, I’d regained most of it after taking a generic medication I’d switched to after losing my insurance. At the time I didn’t link the weight gain and to the meds, but since I’ve switched to a different one the weight gain has stopped.

Unfortunately, that realization didn’t come in time for the wedding. So, here I was at over 200 pounds. I’d bought a wedding dress that I couldn’t fit into, and was going to be a fat bride.

Fat bride.

Those words rolled around in my head for days and days afterward. No one wants to be a fat bride. You’re supposed to look perfect on your wedding day, and fat isn’t perfect. I tried to talk my then-fiancé into postponing the wedding until I could lose weight. He was against it. We’d already postponed once and he didn’t want to do it again.

So here I was, feeling stressed, desperate – and fat.

I lamented my state on Facebook where many friends knew about my struggle. Everyone was supportive, and insisted I would be beautiful no matter how much I weighed. But inside I felt miserable.

Amid all the well wishing was a note from an old college friend that I’d recently reconnected with.  Don’t force your body into something that doesn’t fit, she’d written. Sell the old dress and find something you like that fits.

A burden lifted. I don’t know why I didn’t just think of that before. I’d become so obsessed with fitting into “the dress” that it hadn’t even occurred to me to try something else. So that’s what I did.

I took my dress to another, closer consignment shop to sell it. With a girlfriend there for moral support, I started trying on other dresses. The first one was too small. So was the second. I kept going up, and up, in sizes until I got to the size 20. I know wedding dresses fit small, but I was in a size 10 just a few years back and wasn’t prepared for that. Still, I grabbed a few dresses and tried  them on.

Then I found the perfect one.

It was sleeveless, and fitted at the waist. It was covered in intricate beading and had a long, flowing train. This dress was 10 times more glamorous than my original, plain, size-14 dress. The new one fit me perfectly and made me feel beautiful. Everyone raved.

I bought it.

In the weeks that followed I had a few alterations made to the dress, and finished up the final wedding plans, confident that I now had a gorgeous dress that fit the body I had, not the one I wished I had.

Fat bride wedding dressWhen the big day came, I felt nervous, excited, and happy, all those things that every bride feels. I spent the morning getting ready at home, along with the same girlfriend who helped me find the second dress. We drove to the park and I went inside the house — turned event venue — on the grounds where we’d have the reception afterward.

In the minutes before the ceremony I put on the dress, I walked inside the large powder room where I finished getting ready. The last thing I did was put on the dress. I stood while my maid of honor zipped me in. It was a tight, but beautiful fit. I looked into the mirror, smiled and my maid of honor took a picture. I stood by myself for a few minutes, and prepared to walk down the aisle.

I had an outdoor park wedding in October and it was unusually chilly that day. As I waited for my cue, I was nervous and told myself to remember to smile. I walked out the house’s back door and came around the corner into the courtyard. My friends and family smiled as I walked toward my soon-to-be husband who got his first glimpse ever of my dress. When I looked into his eyes, he had tears in them.

In his eyes wasn’t any of the disdain I’d had for myself. In his eyes, I was the perfect bride.

FEOSHIA HENDERSON is a former daily news reporter turned blogger and freelance content provider. She lives in Cincinnati with her husband and two cats. You can follow Feoshia on Twitter @feoshiawrites www.twitter.com/feoshiawrites.

What great girlfriend advice Feoshia received from her college friend – to love ourselves as we are. Wow. That goes for you too girlfriend!

By the way, we LOVE guest blogs here at Girlfriendology. Have a great girlfriend story to tell? Want to celebrate your fabulous female friends? SHARE! (And, we also have Girlfriend Gurus – check that out to be featured on Girlfriendology!)

Note: It’s September – International Women’s Friendship Month (#Friendship Month) and we’re celebrating all month long! From this interview and guest blog by Miss America, to a month of women’s wisdom and 30 guest blogs, to our Newsletter Sign-up Contest and Facebook fun, and more! Don’t miss out on any of it! SIGN UP for our Newsletter and ‘Like’ us on Facebook to stay up to date with all the fun friendship festivities and more!

Our September Friendship Month Guest Blogs so far …

Wedding photo of Feoshia Henderson and Jason Davis by Mallory Matson/LiveinLove Photography.