Tags: Blogs

My perfect wedding dress caused stress, anxiety and my first panic attack

20 Jun 2019

Florence Battersby discusses the stress of finding her dream wedding dress and the pressure to look perfect on your big day

(Wedding images: Courtney Louise Photography)

Image gallery

Image gallery

When I became a bride-to-be, I couldn’t wait to start planning. I was so excited to hunt for venues, begin building rustic wedding favours, and most of all find the perfect wedding dress.

I had watched years of bridal television shows to know that I wanted the ultimate bridal experience, so a year before the wedding I began looking for my dress.

I learned very quickly that the experience isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I was rushed in and out of appointments, pressured to commit to dresses and asked if I was going to lose weight. It’s funny because no other shopping experience would warrant that question, yet for some reason when it’s your wedding, the question is acceptable. Perhaps I was unlucky with the bridal shops I chose. 

I went to multiple wedding stores, tried on many different styles and silhouettes and eventually found my perfect dress. It was a beautiful fit and flare lace gown which hugged every part of my body. I had always felt very insecure in my own skin, never embracing my curves, yet this dress made me for the first time feel proud of my figure and ready to embrace it. I wanted to feel 'wow' on my wedding day and this dress made me feel 'wow'.

my-wedding-dress-caused-stress-anxiety-and-my-first-panic-attack-8

I now had 12 months to wait to wear my 'perfect dress'. In that time, I experienced many stresses: I bought a house, my grandfather passed away and my whole routine was up in the air. I was stressed, and when I’m stressed, I eat.

I also have an unhealthy relationship with scales. I had been trying to avoid them to break the habit, and had, therefore, become blind to my weight gain. When the fitting day finally came around, I stepped into my beautiful wedding dress, and it didn’t zip up. It barely went over my bottom, I was simply too fat for it. I was heartbroken. The dress that had once made me feel so beautiful suddenly made me feel my most ugly.

The next few months, I spiralled. I cut out all carbs, was eating only vegetables and protein and was hitting the gym. I was completely focused and all I was thinking about was the dress. However, the humiliation of my fitting failure consumed me and resulted in my first ever panic attack.

After eventually speaking out to my family members about my first fitting fiasco, I was advised to try on other dresses. They didn’t want my wedding experience to be tainted because of this one experience. We made the decision to go to WED2B and we found another dress, a beautiful dress.

my-wedding-dress-caused-stress-anxiety-and-my-first-panic-attack-9

my-wedding-dress-caused-stress-anxiety-and-my-first-panic-attack-6

my-wedding-dress-caused-stress-anxiety-and-my-first-panic-attack-5

Then came the day where I had my second dress fitting. I still hadn’t decided on which dress I wanted to wear but I was feeling a bit better. At least I had options. When I stepped into my first dress, my anxiety began to build. The dress went up over my bottom and zipped up with room to spare. I had lost the weight and the dress fitted… but it wasn’t my dress anymore.

I had felt so beautiful and then so ugly in that first dress that I couldn’t revert back to that original feeling. My loyalty had now transferred to my second dress and I loved it. For the first time in a long while, I felt beautiful. I was ready to get married.

my-wedding-dress-caused-stress-anxiety-and-my-first-panic-attack-4

However, just because I eventually found my wedding dress, it didn’t mean my anxiety or panic attacks disappeared. I still felt tight in the chest and would have nightmares about not being able to fit in my new dress. My irrational fears were still very much at the forefront and I couldn’t shake them off. 

On the day of the wedding, 28th May 2019, I was nervous but I was desperate to push all of my fears down in to my stomach. I had to be calm and I kept telling myself: “Just be calm, don’t worry, it will fit”. It wasn’t until I stepped in to my wedding dress for the final time that I felt somewhat at peace.

I couldn’t wait to see my soon-to-be husband, Ashley Bates, who had supported me throughout the whole process. 

As I heard the music play, my chest was tight again and my anxiety began to build. My father took me warmly by the hand and began guiding me in to the room. It was at that moment something changed in me. I truly was calm and all I wanted to do was marry my best friend. 

my-wedding-dress-caused-stress-anxiety-and-my-first-panic-attack-3

my-wedding-dress-caused-stress-anxiety-and-my-first-panic-attack-7

To find out more about Florence’s story, see her full wedding dress journey

Related content

supplier finder

Get a quote

Looking for that perfect local supplier?
Let us know what you need and we’ll start looking for you.

supplier finder

Find a supplier

Search over 200,000 Suppliers in the UK.

or

Leave a comment

Comments

There are no comments to display, be the first!

bride

Everything for your wedding

Wedding Photo of the Week: Miki Studios

Each week we’re inviting all wedding photographers to submit their images to be Bri...

Bride Debate: When should you go on honeymoon?

Bride editors Amanda Griffiths and Sarah Harris offer their opposing views  Imag...

A wisteria-filled wedding shoot in Northumberland

Entitled 'In a Class of its Own', this wedding shoot showcases the setting and surroundin...

Alternative ideas for your wedding centrepieces

Your wedding centrepieces don't always have to be bunches of flowers and ornate candelabr...

10 showstopping geode wedding cakes

We've scoured Instagram for some of the best geode wedding cakes you'll ever see Imag...

Looking for that perfect local supplier?
Let us know what you need and we’ll start looking for you.

the wedding show

Sun -Sun 14
Glenfall House Wedding Fayre, Cotswolds find out more »
Sun -Sun 29
Prested Hall Wedding Fair, Essex find out more »
Sun -Sun 03
New Place Hotel Wedding Fayre, Hampshire find out more »
Sun 01
Guildford Harbour Hotel Open Day find out more »
Sun 01
Audleys Wood Hotel Wedding Fayre, Hampshire find out more »
Sun 01
Elizabethan Suite Wedding Show and Open Day, Bury find out more »
Sun 08
The Hythe Imperial Hotel Wedding Show, Hythe find out more »
Sun 08
The West Midlands Luxury Wedding Show 2019 find out more »
Sun 08
Wedding Spectacular at the Holiday Inn, Hampshire find out more »
Sun 08
Solent Hotel Wedding Fair, Hampshire find out more »
Sun 08
The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Swindon Wedding Show find out more »
Sun 08
Crowne Plaza Wedding Show, Reading find out more »
Sun 08
Crowne Plaza Hotel Wedding Fair, Reading find out more »
Sat 14
Lymm Village Wedding Fair, Cheshire find out more »
Sun 15
Ashford International Hotel Wedding Show, Ashford find out more »
Sun 15
Cow Parsley Wedding Fair, Wiltshire 2019 find out more »
Sun 15
Boutique Wedding Fair, Guildford find out more »
Sun 15
Worsley Court House Wedding Show find out more »
Sun 15
Trunkwell House Hotel Wedding Fair, Reading find out more »
Sun 15
Bride: The Wedding Show at Milsoms Kesgrave Hall, Suffolk find out more »
Sun 15
Trunkwell House Wedding Fair, Reading find out more »
Sun 22
Abbots Barton Hotel Wedding Show, Canterbury find out more »
Sun 22
The Grand Hotel Wedding Show, Folkestone find out more »
Sun 22
Rhinefield House Hotel Wedding Fayre, Hampshire, 2019 find out more »
Sun 22
De Vere Wokefield Estate Wedding Fair, Reading find out more »
Sun 22
Bride: The Wedding Show at Dunston Hall, Norfolk find out more »
Sun 22
Aztec Hotel and Spa Wedding Showcase, Bristol find out more »
Sun 22
Rushton Hall Wedding Show, Northamptonshire find out more »
Sun 22
Missenden Abbey Wedding Fair, Buckinghamshire find out more »
Sun 22
De Vere Wokefield Estate Wedding Fair, Reading find out more »
Sun 22
Berkshire Late Summer Wedding Fayre find out more »
Sun 22
The Yorkshire Wedding Mill Open Day find out more »
Sun 22
The Yorkshire Wedding Mill Launch Day Wedding Fayre find out more »
Sun 22
Chester & Cheshire Wedding Fayre find out more »
Thu 26
The Tytherington Club Wedding Open Evening find out more »
Thu -Sun 26
Maria Modes Sixpence Sample Sale, Cheshire find out more »
Sun 29
Winchester Cathedral Secret Garden Wedding Fayre, 2019 find out more »
Sun 29
Botleigh Grange Hotel Wedding Fair, Hampshire find out more »
Sun 29
The Oakhouse Hotel Autumn Wedding Fair, Somerset find out more »
Sun 29
South Hill Park Wedding Fair, Reading find out more »
Sun 29
Taplow House Hotel Wedding Fair, Reading find out more »
Sun 29
Titanic Hotel Wedding Show, Liverpool find out more »
Sun 29
South Park Hill Wedding Fair, Bracknell find out more »
Sun 29
Taplow House Hotel Wedding Fair find out more »
Sun 29
The Oakhouse Hotel Wedding Fair, Somerset find out more »
Sun 29
Festoon Event Planning Autumn Wedding Fayre find out more »
Sun -Mon 29
Wasing Park Wedding Open Days, Berkshire find out more »