Plan a wedding they said... it will be fun they said.
Most people congratulate us on our engagement then follow their heartfelt wishes with "Enjoy the planning; planning the big day is the best part."
These people clearly didn't have psoriasis to contend with.
Since getting engaged in October 2015 I have trawled wedding exhibitions, researched, visited and compared endless venues, florists, photographers, pipers (well, it is a Scottish wedding) and bands. We want to get married quickly and we have opted for October 2016 as our wedding month so planning has to be military-esque because in wedding years, doing everything in under a year is deemed as a very quick turnaround. The list of things needed for a wedding these days seems to be never ending and everything seems to be booked at least 2 years in advance. So with time against me, the one thing I worry about most is finding The One - nah I've got him, I mean THE dress!
Not only am I trying to find my dress with less than 8 months to go; I have my spotty skin to think about too.
I am obsessed with poring over bridal designers on Pinterest, following inspirational accounts on Instagram as well as having a nosey at real life weddings in magazines. I might mention I did all of this before getting engaged too, but please don’t judge me, everyone is allowed a guilty pleasure. Even my viewing habits are all about the bridal wear. My television is more often than not blaring out "Yes to the dress" as my other half mourns the football on the other channel
But throughout my endless research of which there has been a lot. A LOT! I am yet to see one bride with a skin condition. Not one! They barely have a single blemish never mind redness, plaques or spots. Perfect day seems to equate to perfect skin. And I can't help but wonder, is that because brides with less than perfect skin cover it up or because brides with a skin condition choose to wait until their skin is clear to get married? Or sadder still, do engaged sufferers choose to hold off getting married indefinitely because of their skin problems?
To be honest the pressure to have a perfect day brings out my psoriasis. And it is a constant worry that on the day of my wedding, my stress-induced psoriasis will have the ideal breeding ground of nerves, excitement and adrenaline to flare like a mother-in-law in a bad mood. So for me choosing a dress is crucial. Here are my tips on what to consider.
Give yourself plenty of time and be upfront about your psoriasis
I started dress shopping before Christmas knowing that time was against me and I had the same mind set in every shop. I don't want my psoriasis to dictate my choice of dress but I am yet to try on a gown where my psoriasis is not showing. The first thing I blurt out in each shop as I get undressed is “I have psoriasis!” I am a confident person and I would rather talk about it openly and on my terms than put up with awkward glances whilst being forced into ugly dresses that cover me head to toe like a leper blanket.
Try different colours and styles
For most brides the biggest deciding factor is body shape. Unless you are lucky enough to have the body of a Pinterest worthy model it is important to choose a dress that flatters your assets and hides your flaws. For psoriasis sufferers however, this is where the tricky bit begins. Because if like me, your psoriasis feels like a flaw and your best bits are no longer looking their best this becomes the biggest quandary.
Do you choose a dress that covers you up to hide your psoriasis or get the dress that looks good for your body shape but shows off some skin? How do you choose?
You may naively think that all wedding dresses are the same and your only option is to choose white or ivory. Oh dear, oh dear, how wrong you are. There are numerous shades of white and ivory to choose from with blush pink now being added to the options these days. Then choose the desired shape. The bottom of the dress can be A-line, princess, mermaid, trumpet, ball gown, tea length, sheath, dropped waist, lace, tulle, satin....the list goes on. The top half has just as many options! Sweetheart, plunge, strapless, backless, spaghetti straps, cap sleeves, long sleeves, no sleeves!!! See what I mean, so many options and that’s for the average bride who doesn’t have psoriasis thrown into that mix.
Well, I say I DO to showing off my skin. I am going to be a bride who dares to bare. Here's how I look at my options...
Firstly the person you are marrying knows about your psoriasis. They also know about all your other flaws, psoriasis can’t be your only misdemeanour, come on, I bet you have plenty of other bad habits too and look, they still want to marry you! Duh, you wouldn't be planning a wedding and looking for a dress unless they had already taken the plunge and asked to marry you. (If you are reading this and looking for a dress before being asked then you have way bigger issues my friend!)
Secondly a wedding is the one day you are completely surrounded by people who know and love you both. Your friends and family know about your psoriasis and no doubt they know first-hand the trials and tribulations you go through on a daily basis with your skin. They don't care about your psoriasis. It will probably not even cross their minds as they will be so busy worrying about their own outfits and how they look and how much booze they can sneak into your venue and how they’ll get home! They just want a good party and to see you happy.
Thirdly if your current treatment isn’t helping your skin to clear then the power of make up these days will be a God send. If on my wedding day, my treatment hasn’t helped and my skin chooses to play up before I put my dress on I will be turning to camouflage make to give me a confidence boost. There are a multitude of innovative make up brands out there constantly perfecting their concealers and foundations that would cover the blemishes on a Rhinos skin to make it look good. Heck, maybe I have seen brides in magazines and shows with skin complaints but it’s not been obvious because they have done such a good job with cover up.
And lastly your wedding day is all about you, your skin is you, therefore your psoriasis is you. So what if a bit of spotty skin is seen on the day, who cares. So what if your psoriasis flares on the morning of your wedding, it’s just another day, you’ve got through every other day with psoriasis, you can get through your wedding day too! The point is, getting married is about the love shared between 2 people and creating a team that will grow together through better or worse, in sickness and health. It's right there in the vows.
Good or bad skin, if you love each other; go get married already. Wear a tracksuit if it makes you comfortable. Pick a style of gown that you think will highlight your best bits. Try on plenty of dresses and choose a dress that you feel fabulous in and you would be comfortable to wear all day. If it covers you up and that makes you feel more confident go for it. If you want to bare your skin and people might see some spots, bring it on. Worst case scenario, I'll be wearing a tonne of camouflage make up and concealer but I'll be wearing whatever dress I want!
Fingers crossed by my next post I will have chosen The One and whether my skin is clear or covered in psoriasis it will be a dress that makes me feel most fabulous when saying ‘I Do!’.
UK/IE 2013b/00118. Date of Prep: February 2016