Psoriasis and Wedding Planning

This week I found myself stood in the middle of a shop almost naked. Twice.

As a person with psoriasis, public nudity is usually very low on my list of things to do, but as I need a dress for my wedding, I need to get on with it.

Wedding dress shopping is one of the strangest experiences. As a more mature bride and the proud but exhausted mother of three spritely young humans, I struggle to match the enthusiasm of the shop assistants. Are the bridal boutique staff really that excited I am getting married or are they on commission? If they are on commission, I understand. The average wedding dress is £1,385 in the UK1 (around $1,814 US), and in the US it is $1,564.2

Shopping for a wedding dress with psoriasis

Is it really about the dress?

I want to say no. I do. However, it is the first question fellow females ask me when I tell them I am getting married, after ‘do you have a date’ which I think is so they can match the dress description to the anticipated weather conditions. I think people should ask more wholesome questions but in reality, seeing the dress is the thing I look forward to the most at other people's weddings.

Dress stress

It is this anticipation of my dress that is causing issues for me now. The pressure of getting it right. I believe that no one will notice my skin if I have the right dress, and it is not unrealistic to anticipate a stress-induced flare as the big day dawns closer. If the dress is too ‘blah,’ then people will see me! So maybe I need sequins after all. A feather boa… is that too much? It certainly would be useful as a tool for distraction. I should probably add that I am introverted by nature, and slightly publicly awkward if I am the center of attention.

I am already asking for trouble because I have decided to go against tradition. I am going to ask my son or my sister to walk me down the aisle and send my lovely father down with my mum. I do not know if my issue with the patriarchal ‘giving away’ of a daughter is my own or a result of my furious experiences with the patriarchal approaches I have been subjected to throughout my lifetime of oppressive consultations with dermatologists but it is embedded in my psyche, and it is going to impact my "special day."

Saying no to traditional wedding photography

I do not want lots of wedding pictures, posed group photos are not my thing. Neither are generic photos of people standing around chatting. I keep being told I will regret it, but I am thankful Smart Phones did not exist in the 80’s and 90’s when my skin was stained with coal tar, and I had yet to learn what is meant by ‘personal style.’ Posing for photographs when you hate the appearance of your skin is not ideal. Sometimes less is more. I instead like the idea of taking a few photographs of my husband and children before the ceremony in private and leaving it at that.

Photoshop is also an option, that handy eraser tool to remove the dark circles under my eyes and the errant psoriasis plaques that will almost certainly decorate my décolletage. A few spots in photos are ok, and for goodness sake, I am not paying anyone if they don't remove my wrinkles but removing more than a few plaques from a photo feels like a lie, a bit of a con. Is it better to record the day in my mind? Or the hazy photographs to be taken by relatives, where my smile is genuine and full of warmth and love?

Dividing "the I do's"

The doctor tells me I get tired easily because living with psoriasis is a burden; he also suspects I have mild depression for which tiredness is a common symptom. All I know is that the excitement of getting married dissipated about five years into my relationship when I realized it was never going to happen. As an introvert the thought of having to talk to 150 people (even individually) fills me with dread, and what is even more dreadful is I know 149 of them will feel the need to tell me that my skin looks great and that they ‘almost didn't notice my psoriasis’, which will make me want to leave (or ask them to leave). Pretending that conversation is OK will take more energy than I physically possess and therefore I have insisted we split the wedding into two.

We have an intimate wedding with my immediate family and closest friends in December. A very traditional British wedding in a church, followed by a candlelit walk to the country house at the bottom of the hill to have a long dinner with our closest family and friends. In the springtime, we will clear out one of the barns on the farm, have a big knees up and invite everyone we have ever met. I will not wear my dress and therefore not have to endure small talk that inevitably involves a focus on my appearance.

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