Wedding Day Jitters

Wedding Day Jitters

Style Advice is fine, but it’s best to let your inner beauty shine on that big day

By Patti Carmalt-Vener 06/25/2014

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Dear Patti,
I’m 27, getting married in three weeks and I’m very excited. There’s no doubt in my mind that this is the right time, the right situation and definitely the right man. I’m very happy about my life right now. I run a horse-training facility for racing and there’s nothing I’d rather do career-wise. My fiancé, James, works in finance and has become quite a sophisticated dresser. He looks beautiful to me and will look really handsome at our wedding, no doubt about that.

I have short-cropped curly hair, don’t do much with it, never wear makeup, am small and have a nice figure due to constant workouts in my job. James said recently I could wear any bridal dress and look gorgeous because I have such a killer body. I already bought a simple dress with clean lines and I love it. James hasn’t seen it yet.

The wedding has become much bigger than planned due to our respectively large families, important work contacts and friends. The problem is that my brother’s wife, my two sisters and my mother-in-law are pressuring me to dress up more “like a bride for a big wedding.” (My own mother is staying out of it, thank goodness.)  I don’t feel comfortable with them hustling me off to hair and makeup artists and pushing me to wear just a little lipstick or mascara, accessorize with lots of jewelry, and wear my hair swept up with flowers stuck in it. I don’t like any of that and want to wear my hair like I always do, carry a simple bouquet of flowers and put tiny pearl earrings in my ears. James says he doesn’t care at all; he’s proud that I’m so naturally beautiful and doesn’t think I need much adornment. Although he wishes I could have more fun with primping and all, he accepts that it’s just not me.

Lately, though, I’m getting jitters as our wedding day draws closer and am worried that maybe I’m dressing too plain. I’m a little afraid our nuptials will be this big formal occasion and when I walk down the aisle I’ll be a letdown. What if the women in my family are right? They’re only trying to help. 

— Micki

Dear Micki,
Many a bride has caved to the very pressures you’re experiencing and become dressed up in a way that’s unnatural. The result? They end up feeling trussed up and not looking like themselves. You’re absolutely right to stay true to who you are and rely on your natural beauty coming through. You’re 27, not 18, and are probably very clear about your own style by now. On your wedding day, all your loved ones will want to see and recognize the Micki they know and love. 

On the other hand, I want you to question if there’s any rigidity concerning your appearance. It’s great to dress naturally and simply, but if you saw a beautiful bracelet you loved or if you wore mascara for the professional wedding pictures, I’m concerned that you’re so rigid you wouldn’t feel pretty even with these small changes. If that’s the case, rigidity often comes from trauma. Were there times you were hurt in some way by being in the more “feminine world?” If so, process these feelings so you can be more flexible if you choose to do so.

You might want to privately try on a few small adornments that you really like, wear them around the house and see if you feel more comfortable after a while. If not, let it go. If you can’t make a decision about what to do one way or the other and this concern takes on way too much importance, it could be a symptom of anxiety. If you release pent-up feelings — like having a heart-to-heart talk with someone close or having a good cry — your anxiety will most likely lessen and it will be easier to make decisions. Make a decision about what is best for you and don’t let others scare you anymore. Let your inside shine out — which sounds like what you normally do! Congratulations! 

Patti Carmalt-Vener, a faculty member with the Southern California Society for Intensive Short Term Psychotherapy, has been a psychotherapist in private practice for 23 years and has offices in Pasadena, Santa Monica and Canoga Park. Contact her at (626) 584-8582 or email Visit her Web site,


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