Question: Hi Ms. Rose! I really like the series of articles on wedding. I hope you can share your tips on how you were able to preserve your wedding gown, and how you were able to wear it on your silver wedding anniversary. Thank you in advance and more power to you! :-) – Joy via RaisingPinoyBoys.com
Answer: Hi Joy I’m glad you’re enjoying the series. I’m sure by now you’ve also seen all those beautiful gowns worn in recent celebrity weddings such as those of Marian Rivera, and Heart Evangelista.
As what my niece shared in Funding Finding & Fitting into your Wedding Dress, girls dream of being a princess on their wedding day wearing a beautiful gown. But a beautiful gown costs a lot. Marian’s was reportedly P2 million and I’m sure Heart’s wouldn’t be any much lower than that. Even if you’re not a celebrity and opt to wear a gown beautifully made by your friendly dressmaker, this would still eat up a big percentage of your wedding budget. A lot of men can’t understand why we spend so much time and money on a dress that we only wear once!
We may argue that it will be a family heirloom, that our daughters will also wear this gown and so on. But what if you end up with no daughters like me? You can’t force that on your future daughter-in-law. Gosh, you can’t even force that on your own daughter! So here’s my challenge to all brides out there. Wear your gown again, and again, when you renew your vows on your milestone anniversaries, or even non milestone anniversaries if you like!
The decision to wear my 1989 wedding gown
Our family believes in the importance of celebrating milestones (Read Marking Milestones) and of course, the silver wedding anniversary was one very special milestone to us. Two years before our anniversary, I fell in love with the simplicity of the maid of honor gown of Pipa Middleton, the sister of Kate, now the Duchess of Cambridge. I dreamt of wearing something as simple as that and decided to seriously work out because I knew that that gown was only beautiful because it hung on the well-chiseled body of Pipa. So I started a serious workout complete with a personal trainer whom I paid to torture my body three times a week!
Before I could unravel my abs and toned arms, I quit the serious workout and just decided to do my own walking/running on the treadmill, stretching, light weights exercises in morning, at least three times a week. There was really no pronounced improvement in my physique because as my sons observe, “Ma your exercises are too ‘chill,’ you don’t even perspire!”
Several months before our anniversary, we started planning and I brought down my wedding gown from the attic. It was made by then sister-act tandem Vicky & Letlet Veloso. I remember having fun planning and fitting my gown with them when they still had their shop at the San Antonio Plaza in Forbes Park. They come from a family of designers. Their grandmother was Marina Antonio, and their mom, who’s still very active, is Malu Veloso. Of course, their grandfather is national artist for architecture, Pablo Antonio.
So I opened the box that I sealed with the industrial version of “glad plastic wrap.” The gown still looked so beautiful – a pure lace gown with beadwork. As I looked at it I couldn’t help but admire the amount of work, the number of hours some pairs of hands must have put into it. This, together with a gush of memories of the past 25 years, definitely made the gown look more beautiful than it was the first time I wore it. Then I started to have second thoughts about my Pipa Middleton inspired simple no beads gown. What more, there were no abs unraveled and super-toned arms to show off.
With a bit of nostalgia, I put on my old wedding dress, and voila, it still fits! It thrilled me to realize that I could still get into this piece of art after two and a half decades and three pregnancies. But I cringed at the sight of the puffy sleeves that almost all wedding gowns had during our time when we were so Princess Diana-inspired. But it was the vote of my sons that convinced me, “Ma, who fits in her wedding gown after 25 years? You should wear that!”
And so I brought the gown to Letlet Veloso who now shares the shop with her mom Malu at the basement of Podium. It was a happy reunion with her and she was so thrilled to rehash my gown for the big day – we decided to get rid of the puffy sleeves and make it into a bridal pouch and use the extra lace for the edges of the simple see-though long sleeves. She also replaced the rhinestones, whose metal casings have turned black, with Swarovski beads with no metal casings. During my visits, she would always announce to whoever was dropping by at their shop that she was only redoing the sleeves of my gown and not altering the fit. She was so happy for me and again, I felt like a first time excited bride.
So what should a bride do after “I do” so she can still say “It fits!” after 25 years?
Honestly, I didn’t plan for this to happen but I’ve collected my thoughts on what happened to me after I do, after delivering three bouncing baby boys all weighing above seven pounds at birth, after observing that over the past decades I seem to eat more than my husband (except if the ulam is crispy pata). Here are some of the tips I wish to share:
- Observe and understand your body. Early on I noticed that my body gave me signs when to eat less and when to eat more. When I was gaining weight and inches, I lost a bit of appetite because I felt heavy and bloated. When I was getting thinner, I had more appetite and enjoyed eating more. However, as I got older, I had a harder time hearing the signals. Now, I have to deliberately listen to my body after each meal. Does my tummy feel bloated and abused? Or is it just happy to be fed a good meal?
- The power of the measuring tape. I’m not a fan of the weighing scale. Sometimes it’s misleading. It shows you gained a few pounds just because you drank a lot of water, or you converted some of those body fat to muscle. So I don’t really watch my weight but my measurements.
- Watch your waistline. To simplify things further, I just watch my waistline using my measuring tape inside my drawer in the closet where the mirrors are. Our midsection is the ultimate predictor of our health. Your waistline limit should be your height divided by 2. (Example: If you’re 5 ft. tall, that’s 60 inches. Your waistline should not go beyond 30 inches); otherwise, you are at risk to have many diseases. Mind you, that’s just a medical limit, so remember your wedding day waistline plus maybe an allowance of 1, 1.5 up to 2 inches for loose skin after childbirth and some “happy hour.” Moreover, the waistline is the first to expand so watch it so you can arrest it there before the “expansion” spreads throughout the entire body.
- Avoid wearing dusters at home. A neighbor once said when she found out that I decided to be a full-time homemaker, “Don’t wear dusters (day dresses that are loose) at home, you’ll never know if your waistline underneath is still 24 or already 42!” Well, I still like loose house clothes but I think it helps reinforce no. 3.
- Never ever buy new clothes when you’re not in your normal size. After I gave birth to our first son, I thought, “Here it goes I’ll be in mommy size clothes.” so before I ended my maternity leave, I bought a few sets of corporate outfits which were a size bigger than my pre-pregnancy days. But I guess because I breastfed and was quite disciplined about food intake, I went back to my pre-preggy size, and had to give away my big clothes. So when I experienced it for myself that it was possible to go back to your original size, I did not buy post maternity clothes anymore after my second and third pregnancies. When I was still a bit bigger right after delivery, I made do with my first trimester clothes. Then afterwards, whenever I would gain a few inches in my midsection and felt the urge to buy new clothes, I held back. Imagine this, if every single morning while in a rush dressing up, you would always find yourself looking like suman in front of the mirror, or if you’re wearing your favorite jeans and you’re like an oversized muffin (but buying new clothes is not an option), you would definitely do something about it, as I did and still do to this day.
- How about buying clothes in your ideal size? My answer to that is No! Even if it’s on sale. Almost everyone I know who does that ends up not being able to wear the “ideal size clothes” at all. Plus, and this is the bigger deal for me, girls derive a satisfaction from shopping so don’t even give yourself that satisfaction as you don’t deserve it yet. Go back to your normal size, and then shop. That would be a more satisfying experience, plus, it’s not a waste of money.
- Never skip breakfast. I grew up in a household that forbade skipping breakfast, no matter how late we woke up. It was a good thing that I developed this habit. In fact, even if I have a breakfast meeting, I still eat breakfast at home, just in reduced quantity. Here’s the thing, if you train your body to go without nourishment for a prolonged period of time, it will adjust and store more body fat in order to survive the fasting period you always subject it to.
- Eat snacks in between. I used to eat four to five times a day, but these days I sometimes miss on my snacks. Again, it follows the same principle. If your body is trained that nourishments come in shorter intervals, it will not adjust itself to store fat. Some weight management books even recommend eating six times a day – the three main meals, snacks in between breakfast and lunch, lunch and dinner, and before sleeping. The only danger in too many snacks is if you get carried away in the quantity. So plan your snacks well.
- Drink lots of water. We all know the importance of this, but it’s always neglected. So always have a pitcher or coleman filled with water so you can do this every hour and drink your required minimum of 8 glasses of water everyday.
- Drink buco juice everyday. Several years ago, I hooked up with a high school classmate and she shared with me how drinking buco juice everyday helped her get rid of cysts in her breasts. According to her, she had a mammography that showed cysts but she refused to have an operation. She researched about it and found out that it’s one of the wonder coconut’s health benefits. After several months her repeat tests showed no more cysts. She also shared that a wonderful side effect was that she lost inches. Since I love buco juice and also had cysts in my mammography earlier, I started drinking it in its pure form every single meal when I’m at home and I notice that it also helps in proper elimination of body wastes.
- Entertain the call of nature immediately. This might sound difficult when you’re not in the comforts of your home, but it helps you have a sound digestive system. Imagine your body as your home, or maybe your computer device (phone, tablet, PC). You put so many things into it every single day. The more often you clean it up, the more efficiently it will function.
- It’s still the right food choices. When I became an adult, I sort of tried to eat fruits and vegetables in each meal, but more as sidings because the rice and meat viand were still the superstars. Recently, my mom’s condition has made me research and I learned about Gerson Therapy, a method developed in the early 1900s by Dr. Gerson allowing your body to combat diseases such as cancer by detoxifying and fortifying it with the proper nutrients. The therapy seems to be working well for my mom, and we’ve also acquired some of the principles behind it. We now eat organic vegetables in almost every meal. This time not as sidings but as the superstars. My friend Gejo Jimenez, who owns Malipayon Farms, supplies us. I don’t know if it’s just psychological, but we (including my sons who at first didn’t approve of the idea of salad everyday) find eating the organic veggies more enjoyable. Guess what? They now look for their daily dose of salads. We still eat non organic veggies if we run out of our Malipayon supply but we soak them in water with salt for a few minutes. The side effect: smaller waistline, especially if you ditch the rice. What they say must be really true: Abs are made in the kitchen, so I’m still hopeful that maybe someday, I will finally unravel them! Note: I haven’t totally ditched the rice. How in the world can you enjoy your kare-kare without rice? You just can’t.
- Cut down on sweets. I’m a typical girl who needs her dose of sweet dessert to really call a meal a good one. But I always share it with someone. Here’s a tip when travelling. I bring a small plastic container of M&Ms in my bag. Most of the time when we’re travelling, I really eat until I’m really full. And if I order dessert, I make myself even fuller. So what I do is I just pop a few pieces of M&Ms and I get my needed dose of sweets. I even save on cash. This also works well if I’m eating alone or with someone who doesn’t care for desserts. The good news is since last year, I haven’t been putting sugar in my coffee. Choose a good tasting coffee and you can get away with sugar. (Caution: Avoid using artificial sweeteners in your coffee and other drinks. The idea is to avoid anything artificial as much as possible. The closer the food is to its natural form, the better.)
- Drink tea. Together with eating salads everyday, we now drink tea after dinner and continue our family conversation. It’s not just good for our digestive system but also for our family bonding.
- Have a compelling reason to be in your ideal body size. Do you want to be there for your children’s graduation? Wedding? See your grandchildren? Or look great during your milestone reunion? Or wedding anniversary? It might be hard to do that when your midsection is way beyond half of your height.
- Exercise. Our heart needs to reach a certain pump rate regularly in order to keep its efficiency. Exercise helps us do this. Find something that’s enjoyable to you.
- Don’t count on fad diets and expensive procedures. Maybe using a strict but healthy diet that could jumpstart your goal to achieve your ideal weight is okay. But please do not overuse drastic measures. They’re drastic and definitely cause shock and harm to your body when used over a prolonged period or used several times. Choose something simple and sustainable. And please stay away from those pills that promise drastic weight loss. They can cause irreversible and fatal harm. As for surgical procedures, not only are they expensive but let’s remember that any surgery is a risk. Maybe the thing to figure out and ask yourself is this: What makes me go back to my unhealthy habits? There is always a trade-off. We do something because we gain something. Most of the time, it takes some soul searching to remedy weight problems.
- Never use your inherited genes as an excuse. I usually get this, “Hindi ka naman kasi tabain e.” Although I don’t deny that genes may have played a role, I think I would have also gotten bigger if I didn’t do my part (all the items above). And I must mention that I had an aunt (my mom’s sister) who was as big as Dabiana or Ike Lozada, so I also have the genes of getting fat. My aunt was really huge that in the province the kutseros (calesa drivers) sometimes refused to take her as a passenger, “Dyac cayat nga alaen ni Lukmeg. Caasi toy cabalyoc!” (I don’t want to take the fat one! I care for my horse.) Inherited genes should be considered very much like accepting the cards we’re dealt with in life. Know your roots and work with your body make up and tendencies. It’s also like inheriting wealth or poverty. You can easily blow up a big fortune, or you can also get out of poverty, and your fate ultimately hinges on the life choices that you make.
- Nobody gets fat overnight! Just as nobody falls out of love overnight, we should bear in mind that no one gets from small to extra large overnight. Again, it’s in the daily choices we make in life that gets us from point A to B. I know this is not politically correct to say but maybe it’s time that we face obesity seriously. I once read from an American author this line of thinking: How come when we see someone smoking, we can say it to his face, “Stop that, it’s bad for your health!” but we can’t do the same when we see someone eating as if it were his last meal? We should remember that gluttony is a sin. In the US, where obesity has shot up to epic proportions, the F (as in fat) word is already forbidden and we’re following their lead. A lot of people complain when they’re given that remark, “Uy ang taba mo ngayon a?” and are so ready to unfriend that tactless but honest friend. Sometimes, they even have witty comebacks such as, “At least hindi ako pangit!” insinuating that the friend who uttered the F word is ugly. But it’s okay to say “Hey you look stressed” or something. My fear is as we tiptoe too much around this F reality, we allow the number of obese people to grow. And this is not just about vanity and looking good, it’s about health.
- Our body is the temple of God. When we truly live this principle, there’s no other way to treat our body but with utmost respect. And just as we acknowledge our weaknesses, we should not get tired of rectifying things. We overeat today, we make up for it the next day. And let’s not get mad at our brutally honest friends for telling us the truth. The best revenge is to get in shape.
Whew! I just went on and on. Maybe because I’ve been wanting to share these simple ways to stay in your old frame. The thing is, most people, are not interested to listen to the simple laws. Simple and natural are corny. There’s more thrill in listening to this and that diet, or procedure or pill or some kind of expensive water. It’s so much like the basic laws of money. It’s not a secret but we still get scammed. How to stay fit is also not a secret but somehow we still get scammed and go for those risky and expensive methods.
To sum up and simplify there are also basic laws in keeping your figure and fitting in your wedding dress when you celebrate your Silver Wedding Anniversary:
- Watch what you put in your mouth.
- Watch your waistline. (And don’t buy clothes when you get out of your ideal yet comfortable size.)
- Watch what’s happening inside you. (Understand your body type and what triggers you to make the life choices that you make.)
There you go Joy. I hope you learned something and I look forward to seeing you wear your wedding gown on your anniversary! Cheers to staying in shape!
Attribution: Photos from #DongYanWedding and #ChizHeart21515 on Instagram, Dailynews.com and the author’s personal album.