In case I haven’t gone on about it quite enough lately: me and my fiancé took a trip to Porto a couple of weeks ago and the main reason for heading over was for a wedding. Due to the usually astronomical costs involved in that sort of thing, I haven’t been able to attend a wedding outside of the UK before, so it was extra exciting that we were able to make it work.
As much as I thrive in the sunshine, anything over about 25ºC (77ºF) causes a flare up for me, especially if it’s humid too – and the forecast hinted at it reaching 30ºC (86ºF) in Porto for the week we were there! I knew that I needed to assemble some kind of survival kit to get me through not only the week in general, but the wedding day too.
Here’s what I put in my plus size wedding guest abroad survival kit, and I’ve added some advice for my fellow spoonies too.
First on the list to sort out was a wedding guest outfit that was going to not only look great and be appropriate for the Catholic ceremony, but would also keep me cool and comfortable.
I came across this lovely olive green pleated dress from the Katie Piper collection for Want That Trend, which ticked all the boxes for me. I love that it’s such a classic shape, with a gorgeous plisse texture and the material is pretty light – not to mention it’s an absolute steal at just £28.00. This is the first piece I’ve ever tried from the Want That Trend range, but since I was made aware of the brand at last years Curve Fashion Festival I was keen to give them a try… and I’m very pleased that I did.
Plus Size Picks Perfect For A Summer Wedding [affiliate links]
In the description of this dress on the Want That Trend website it’s listed as being true to size, which I would definitely agree with to a point, but I’d even go a little further by saying it’s on the generous side. I went for my usual size, and it affords a very roomy fit which I’d say for this style of dress is ideal. Plus, as it turned out, wearing something with a bit of extra room to accommodate my belly after all the delicious food we were served up at this particular wedding was an especially good choice!
The neckline is oversized, I chose to wear it off one shoulder, and the belt it comes with is long enough to wrap around the waist twice and then tie, which is a detail so often overlooked. I’m sick of buying plus size dresses which for some strange reason come with straight size belt attached!
The one downside to this dress is that all of the edges are raw, so the hem, neckline and sleeves are not hemmed. Due to the nature of the material I wouldn’t have imagined that this will cause fraying or runs, but it struck me as a little unusual.
As usual, I went with gold accessories and I feel like they really set off the warm toned olive green of the dress well. The gold ruffle clutch bag, which has now sold out, was from ASOS and has been so useful this summer so far. I’ve taken it out with me so many times as it seems to be just the right size for the rubbish I cart about.
The flat crossover sandals are from Primark, and although they are not technically wide fit, I’ve found them to be more than accommodating for my wide feet and extremely comfortable.
This brings me on to the second item in my survival kit: an extra pair of comfy shoes. By around 7pm on the day of the wedding I had switched the gold shoes for a pair of super comfy trainers that I’d brought along ‘just in case’ and I’m so glad I did, as I really needed them. The venue was BEAUTIFUL, but was spread across multiple levels which absolutely did me in.
Comfy But Beautiful Wide Fit Wonders [affiliate links]
Next up are a good quality pair of anti-chafing shorts [gifted], which are often affectionately named ‘chub rub shorts’. I’m going to level with you here: I hated the idea of ever having to wear something like this in my life ever. I’m staunchly anti-shapewear because I hate the stifling feeling of being restricted, so I had never tried them out until just before this holiday when I was sent some by a brand.
Well the shorts are a revelation! For a long day in the heat, at an event where moving around is mandatory and there is a lot of standing up then sitting down, the ones I wore got me through the full day. I was extremely happy to not have to add chub rub to my list of aches and pains.
I know, this sounds obvious: but don’t forget your meds! Because I completely forgot to bring mine in the rush to leave the hotel on time, and it sucked. Even if you don’t take regular or daily medications, pop your painkillers and a bottle of water in your survival kit – which for me was just an extra tote bag that my partner carried between venues.
I appreciate that this is not optional for so many with chronic illnesses, but if you are an occasional user of mobility aids as I am (I rely on a stick to walk sometimes) regardless of whether you feel you can cope without it when you set out, take it if you can. Whilst a large portion of the day at a wedding will be spent sat down, there are other factors that you can’t control, for me it was all the stairs at the venue.
By their very nature, most weddings abroad are going to be hot hot hot. And if you’re anything like me, as your body temperature rises so does your pain levels. Chuck some deodorant, cooling spray, fans, floppy hats… literally whatever you need to have to regulate your temperature. Being able to freshen up and cool down when needed on a long, warm day is a must.
This tip is one that I need to acknowledge more myself, to be honest. I’m still coming to terms with my new set of limitations and will often put myself in pain and discomfort so as to not become the centre of attention or ‘make a fuss’. If this is something you’re doing too then, we’ve really got to stop it. If you need to tap out early, just do it.
For any big celebration or event, weddings especially, there is so much going on and so many people around, that leaving an hour or two (or even four) before others isn’t going to be a big deal. Plus, it’s worth remembering that the people you are there to share the day with would much rather you didn’t try to overdo it and put yourself in physical discomfort.
So, there we have it, my plus size wedding guest abroad and spoonie survival guide. I sincerely hope it helps if you’ve been looking for tips, to be honest a lot of these points will be applicable in traditionally cooler climes too if we see another heatwave. Some of the above points may seem incredibly obvious, but I also know that preparing for a 16+ hour day out in the heat with a chronic illness can be such a massive performance that things can just slip your mind – I forgot my bloody painkillers after all!