Dia&Co customer Nikki Wyatt Williams’ journey to the altar was smooth as can be—she was marrying the love of her life, she had two amazingly supportive daughters, and she was finally able and ready to have the wedding of her dreams. The only snag? Her mother-in-law had a lot to say about what dress she should wear. So, Nikki turned to the Dia&Co National Community Facebook group to build up the courage to follow her heart and get the dress she had been fantasizing about. Keep reading to find out what happened…
Written by Nikki Wyatt Williams
I was very, very, very anxious about going shopping for a wedding dress because the first time I went shopping for a wedding dress, there was hardly anything available for a plus-size bride. If I found a dress that fit, that was the one I had to get because there was nothing else. This was in 1990—that was the first time I was married. So, the apprehension about going out shopping for a wedding dress was real, and I was very concerned that I was going to face the same situation.
I had picked out one dress, and I looked at the pictures and was not happy with what I looked like. So I changed dresses and I chose a little tea-length dress, which looked nice. My mother-in-law said, “I hope this one is more age-appropriate than the first one you picked out.” It felt like she was shoving daggers into my heart. All I could think was, “Age-appropriate? What does that mean?” I mean, I’m 46, so what does an age-appropriate dress mean for a woman my age? Does it mean that I’m supposed to wear pants? Does it mean that I’m supposed to wear a regular, simple dress?
At this point, I still couldn’t convince myself to get the dress that I ultimately would pick because it was just so grand and so beautiful. It took my breath away. My sister had been telling me, “I think that’s your dress. I think you need to go ahead and buy it.” I had my mother-in-law’s voice in my head telling me it wasn’t age-appropriate, so I went to my dear sisters in the Dia Community to ask them what they thought. I posted, “This is the dress I’m thinking of wearing, but my mother-in-law is saying I need an age-appropriate dress. What are your thoughts?” And boy, it went crazy!
There were so many people who were saying, “Hey, stop worrying about what that crazy lady said because she’s just old-fashioned. Just keep being you. You have to be you.” It was just reinforcing what I already knew, but sometimes you get lost. You get bogged down in other people’s comments. They gave me the courage to go back to the bridal shop and buy my dream dress. Now it’s the dress I’m wearing. I spent three times as much as I planned on spending, but I’ve waited a lifetime to get married to the love of my life, so why the heck not?
There are other women out there who can help you see yourself in a better light and learn that you’re beautiful just the way you are. My dad always chastised me. I had a sister who’s naturally very thin, very small. She was a model and was constantly looked at as being very, very beautiful. I was not. I was belittled because I was fat, always on a diet, and never good enough. It’s nice to have a community where I’m loved, just as I am. No one’s trying to better me, no one’s trying to tell me that I’m not good enough. Sometimes you can learn to better yourself once you learn to accept yourself where you are.
I’m also a member of the Dia&Co Wellness Community. I read the posts, interact with some of the other people, and I try to boost other people up—because it helps lift me up, too. There are other ladies who talk about how they don’t like their bodies, or they feel insecure about certain parts of their bodies. I know how that feels, and it’s just tough. Having this community where you can talk about that, in a judgment-free zone—in a zone where other people will say, “Yes, I know what you’re feeling, but I love you anyway”—that’s beautiful.
I don’t think that I would’ve even been able to be where I am now, to choose the dress that I chose, even a couple of years ago. I probably would’ve picked some “age-appropriate” dress for $99 off the sale rack or something. I was raising my girls by myself and I did not have the ability, budgetarily, to have any real sense of style. I had to buy the cheapest clothes that actually fit me. It took a while for me to start realizing that the way I dressed affected my moods and made me feel negative.
It wasn’t until I got my first Dia Box that I started trying things that I was always afraid to try. I stepped outside my comfort zone and started trying really new things. Really new. People started noticing at work. I just started holding my head a little higher and holding my shoulders back. It just changed the way I looked, the way I felt. Now I spend time before I go to bed at night putting my outfit together so that I don’t have to do it in the morning. I just feel so much more put-together. Even my bosses say, “Wow, you look so much better. What are you doing?” I’m just dressing better. I just care more.
This is my second wedding, but it’s also my last—so I’m gonna do it right. I got married at 19 my first time, and we had to make do with a lot of things. When you’re 19, you’re kind of stupid. You don’t have much money, Dad’s paying for it, yadda yadda. Well, this time we’re paying for it and I’m going to get exactly what I want. I got the man I want and I’m getting everything else I want.
I am most excited about seeing my fiance Kevin’s face when he sees me in my wedding dress. He’s not seen it yet. He doesn’t have a clue. I can’t wait to see his face when I’m standing there at the end of the aisle and walking down toward him. I just can’t wait. It’s about us, you know? The two of us joining our families together. I’m not interested in any of my mother-in-law’s old-fashioned ideas. She doesn’t know me as well as I know me. I’ve got a big tiara and a giant dress. If I’m gonna be queen for the day, you better believe I’m gonna play the role.
Nikki Wyatt Williams
Dia&Co Customer, Academic Advisor, Novelist & Bride-to-Be