weddings

'I got shamed for my wedding dress online by a person I have never met.'

I got married in June 2018. In November of that year, a woman named Erin posted a photograph of my husband and I walking down the aisle after saying “I do,” with the caption “No… just, no.”

To this day, I sometimes wonder who this woman is and how she got a photograph of my wedding. The rules of the Facebook group state that you must block faces unless you have sourced the photograph from a public source… and our faces were scribbled out. Had they not been, I would have assumed she took the photo from my public Instagram page or my public Twitter, and I wouldn’t have thought twice about it.

Clare Cullen
Image: Facebook/Clare Cullen.

However, the scribbles tell a story. They tell me that Erin got my photograph either from my private Facebook page or from someone I know. The photograph she scribbled on also has no filters on it, so that rules out the version posted on my private Facebook page. Neither I nor my husband are friends with her on Facebook. I often wonder how she got my photo and who she is.

I have no ill feeling toward Erin for shaming my wedding dress, and I am not upset that it wasn’t to her taste. Even still, I have unfortunately found that the post has stuck with me.

Watch: Things people at weddings never say. Post continues below. 

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Erin didn’t specify what her issue was, so the commenters offered up their guesses as to what her “no” was in reference to. There was a varied discussion, from people arguing that the photo wasn’t deserving of a “no” to comments so wonderfully worded they made me laugh, like: “The cape is cute, but that dress can f*ck off back to whatever 90210 prom episode it was inspired by.”

Perhaps surprisingly, some of the nicer comments have, in the long term, proven the most cutting. Rachel described my dress as “f*cking cute” but added, “it probably could’ve fit her better.” Jenny agreed, writing, “the bodice needs some more thought.”

Jessica softened her first blow, describing my dress as “a beautiful blue,” adding “I love the cape,” but then landing a right hook with, “but that dress design isn’t very flattering imo.” Andrea followed suit, commenting, “Love love love the cape… the colour is stunning… both fit the setting… but no, the dress cut does not flatter her.”

Allison summed it up as, “I’m all for interesting and unusual dresses, but I think this misses the mark,” which, almost two years after the wedding, is how I have to try not to feel about the photo Erin shared.

I wore a blue wedding dress to get married. I was always iffy about the implications of the “white wedding,” and I finally got the courage to wear blue when I found an old photograph of my late mother, on her wedding day to my dad, wearing blue-green velvet. I love two-piece wedding dresses, and I did try to get a more traditionally acceptable dress. But I spotted my dress (“Dolores”) on the Etsy designer’s Facebook page about eight months before the wedding, and I couldn’t sleep that night for thinking about her.

Image via Wardrobe By Dulcinea on Etsy.
Image via Wardrobe By Dulcinea on Etsy.

I am a relatively fit individual. I play a lot of sports, I enjoy working out, I try to eat clean six days a week. But I also like to live my life. I enjoy my cheat days, and I drink wine, sometimes cider. I fluctuate between 48 and 50 kilos, depending on my routine.

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When I was getting married, I was the fittest and strongest I’d ever been, as I was training six days a week to play a noncontact rugby discipline in the World Cup shortly after the wedding. However, I’d put a hold on training not only because I was so busy with wedding planning, but also to avoid injuring myself before the big day. So, for two weeks before the wedding, I let my fitness regime slip. I felt great and confident on our wedding day — but those comments still make me wish I’d done more side crunches the week of the wedding.

I was not overweight, not by any shot. But I had the cheek to wear cut-out sides when my body didn’t have totally flat sides. I am also a very short person, so the bodysuit top rode up a little and looked almost too big. Having never worn a wedding dress before (or that many bodysuits!), I didn’t realise that I needed to pull the bodysuit back down if it wasn’t flush to my skin. Honestly, I didn’t even notice until the pictures came back, as I was having the time of my life. It’s only in retrospect, through that Facebook post, that I even noticed. Unfortunately, it’s very hard to then forget about it.

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I know that Erin doesn’t even remember posting this. I also know that there were just as many comments in favour of my dress. However, I can’t help but wonder what Erin, Rachel, and the other women might have thought if they’d seen a different picture or a different angle, or if they’d seen the big smile on my face behind the scribbles.

A year after our wedding, we were featured on One Fab Day, an Irish wedding blog. They described our wedding as “totally unique” and “laid back,” and said they were “charmed” by the details of the day. The only mention of my dress was the writer calling it a “gorgeous creation,” and highlighting “how happy” I looked wearing it. I often wonder why this feature didn’t stick in my head the way Shawna’s assertion that “the dress is not flattering to her shape. It hits her body in the wrong place” did.

I knew my dress wouldn’t be for everyone. I knew our glamping venue, with its kitschy decor, wouldn’t be for everyone. It was for me. And I loved everything about our wedding with all my heart. It was the perfect day. So I try not to think about Erin, or the other commenters, or their criticisms of my relaxed regime, or my less than rock-hard abs.

Instead, I try to remember Mary’s closing comment. “Whoever shits on this wholesome wedding, your mom’s a ho.”

This post originally appeared on Medium and has been republished with full permission. 

Clare is an Irish content creator and journalist. You can read more from her on Medium or follow her on Twitter @ElectricHack

Feature Image: Getty.

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