A Self Conscious Smile ~ A Case For BridalPlasty?

Good morning folks 😉 Once again, I have invited an industry colleague, this time Emma, the Wedding Reporter, to contribute a discusion post on body image, for my Laid Bare themed week.

Emma tackles the issue of changing your appearnce/learning to become happy with your sense of self-image in time for your wedding day.  And you might want to 'brace' yourself for this one. It's quite descriptive! Please also take  a moment to visit Emma's genius-of-an-idea for weddings webisite and leave your comments at the end of this feature.

Over to you Em…

♥     ♥     ♥


A fountain of blood spurted out of my mouth like a crimson ribbon and landed in a puddle on the bib covering my chest.

“Oh dear”, said the dental nurse in a voice of uninterested concern. “I think we’d better stop for a moment.”

I stared up at the fluorescent lights of the orthodontist’s surgery and waited for people to stop filling my mouth with cotton wool to stem the blood flow. I had been waiting precisely 2 years, 1 month and 22 days to have my brace taken off. Now that the day was upon me I wanted to cry with the pain. It wasn’t the victory I had quite imagined.

A whopping two and a half hours later I got out of the dentist’s chair and went home with my newly liberated teeth and perfectly aligned smile. The fact that I couldn’t express my relief because my mouth was too sore to talk got me thinking. Was it really worth all this trouble just to make sure I didn’t have wonky teeth in my wedding pictures?

It was in Egypt in 2009 during the summer of my engagement when I took my best friend and bridesmaid on holiday that I realised something had to be done. We guffawed our way through our holiday snaps and then looked through them with horror; she at the gaps between her teeth and me with the opposite problem of appearing to have so many of the damn things that they were fighting to get to the front of my mouth and taking over the photo.

Too many teeth
Somewhat naively, I went and asked our family dentist whether he might be able to take out a tooth further back in order to give all the other little blighters chance to sit back and relax. He didn’t exactly laugh in my face, but suffice to say I came out knowing that orthodontistry was the only option.

“Why are you interested in having this procedure done?” asked the kindly Welsh woman that I subsequently chose as my orthodontist. Apparently pre-treatment counselling was all part of her job.

“Well, without meaning to sound completely vain, I initially thought it’d be simple enough to get them fixed so that I don’t have a hideous smile in my wedding pictures,” I admitted and she nodded knowingly. “But then, more importantly, my dentist said that because my wisdom teeth are impacted and my jaw is already overcrowded my teeth are just going to carry on pushing forward and will stick out more throughout my life. I don’t want to end up looking like Janet Street-Porter.”

“I want to look like me, but the best possible version of me”


Two weeks later, I was having four perfectly healthy teeth ripped out and an amalgamation of wires and metal cemented to the inside of my mouth. There wasn’t time for my smile to be perfected in the 12 months before my wedding, so I opted to have the (vastly more expensive) incognito brace fitted internally so that it wouldn’t be visible for the 24 month duration of its residency.

I learnt to speak around a mouth full of metal. I conditioned myself to cut all my food up into tiny pieces that were easier to eat. I bemoaned the lack of tough, crunchy morsels in my diet. I started relying on Nurofen Express to numb the pain of subsequent tightening appointments. I moaned. A lot.

The wedding day came and in a blur of love and emotion I felt beautiful. Throughout the whole process I had told anyone who would listen that I wasn’t radically altering my appearance specifically for the wedding because I still wanted to look like me, just the best possible version of me.

I talked so much on our wedding day that I completely lacerated my tongue on my brace, covering it in ulcers and leaving only a thin strip of taste buds down the centre. I begged our evening guests for paracetamol and didn’t speak to my new husband for 48 hours until we landed on our honeymoon when I could finally use my mouth again.

We got our wedding photos back and they were glorious. I had smiled without inhibition all day long and our happiness was evident in every frame. There was no hint of my brace in any of the images and my teeth all stood to attention precisely where they were supposed to be, held in line with a contraption of torturous consequences.

You couldn’t see the gaps where my teeth were yet to spread into to fill the missing four. You couldn’t see the glint of metal. You couldn’t see the strange way I sucked my cheeks in and moistened my lips. You could only see a beautiful, beaming bride…

Love My Dress Wedding Blog – Photograph Copyright (c) 2012, Source Images

All of this flashed through my mind as I lay in the dentist’s chair for the last time with blood pouring through my mouth. Was the fact that I had been unable to devour two Christmas dinners acceptable because I had peace of mind that I wouldn’t head into old age looking like Bugs Bunny? Was it ok that I could only manage liquid food for days after an appointment because I got the wedding photos I wanted?

I’m still not sure. There are certainly more fun and less painful ways to spend several thousand pounds. I am very grateful for the fact that I am no longer self-conscious about smiling in public and that my brother won’t refer to me as ‘shark face’ anymore. In hindsight however, I also know how blissfully unaware of everything I was on my wedding day, so I suspect that what my teeth looked like wouldn’t have even crossed my mind.

The fact of the matter was that it was my vanity that drove me to put myself through two years of discomfort. If I hadn’t have been getting married and had the pressure of all those people looking at me, I probably wouldn’t have decided on the course of action I took. As such, I do understand the insecurities that drive girls to want to lose that bit of weight, sort their skin out, fix their teeth, get rid of that extra roll, change their nose and on and on. But where do you draw the line? Bridalplasty?

The ridiculous thing is that my husband couldn’t give a hoot about any of it. He’d have married me no matter what and probably would have been much happier not having a two year running commentary about everything inside my mouth that ached. No matter how important your wedding is, don’t let the fear of judgement impact on the way you live the rest of your life.

Have you gone to any effort to change your image for your wedding day? Was it worth it?  Do you think we're all under too much pressure as brides to be to ascertain that look of perfection for our big days? And how far would you go to achieve it? Please discuss…

Emma, aka, The Wedding Reporter



Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Founder of Love My Dress. Passionate Podcaster and Editor. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters and menagerie of furry hounds. She loves photography, meditation, walking, being outdoors and star gazing. She is fierce when it comes to championing talent within the wedding industry and when she's not working on Love My Dress, she supports her husband Philip in the running of the family's sustainable flower farm and floral design business, Moonwind Flowers. In 2013, she became a published author.