Everybody has at least one thing about their body that they simply don't like. For me... I don't like my arms.
There are times when I'm really proud of my large shoulders and arms! When I'm lifting more weight than any other girl in the gym and when I'm leading a swim clinic as Chloe Sutton the Olympian, I appreciate my incredible body for all that it has allowed me to do! However, I just don't like the way my arms look in pictures.
When I first started going wedding dress shopping, I was looking for a long sleeve dress that would hide my shoulders. I also am the type of person who really appreciates simplicity. My Pinterest board was full of sleek and simple long sleeved dresses that would hide my shoulders, yet hug my curves.
My mom scheduled me for several really fancy wedding dress shops where I tried on dress after dress with long sleeves and sleek skirts while sipping champagne. I loved many of them, but they just didn't feel like wedding dresses. They were the type of dresses that I would wear to any formal dinner. On my wedding day, that's my one chance in life to go big.
One day, my mom and I decided to stop at a Bridal Consignment Shop with discounted dresses: The Alter. We were the only ones in the store and the shop owner, Mary, was helping me put on all the long sleeved dresses she had.
Eventually we ran out of long sleeves, but we were having too much fun! We decided that I would try some things that I would have never tried on before. We started getting goofy and trying on weird and silly dresses, when I tried on the most beautiful and expensive feeling strapless dress. The body hugged me in all the right places and I felt like a princess. I fell in love. The best part was that it was on sale for about 20% what it was worth and about 30% of my budget.
So, through my expeirence, my best advice for brides is:
Jake, if you're reading this - I picked a red potato sack for my dress! (shhh... nobody tell him)
In all seriousness, I can't wait for Jake to see me in it. :)
Ever since Jake and I knew we were going to get married (only a couple of months into dating), we have talked about just having family at our wedding and getting married in Italy. After Jake proposed and we had to find a venue, I realized two pretty important details that I hadn't previously thought about:
After a brief panic (ok maybe not so brief...), I set to work doing some searches. I looked in California... but we would have the same issues with planning as Italy! Plus, Jake and I have been to CA once, but it's not where most of our happiest memories are. Jake and I fell in love in front of the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. We fell in love in Colorado.
I began to look at wedding venues and I found something even more perfect than anything I could have ever imagined anywhere in the world... and it was only 20 minutes south of Jake's house. I found a European style castle with a rich history and a 180 degree view of the Rockies. You can see from Pikes Peak all the way to Downtown Denver.
Visit our Venue page to read more about Cherokee Ranch and Castle in Sedalia, CO!
When I was 6 years old, I got out of my first swim practice and told my mom that I was going to go to the Olympics someday. I have always known that I was destined to be an Olympic swimmer, however, I have always known even more so that I was destined to be a wife and mother.
However, my path to Jake was not easy. Neither was his.
I always thought that as soon as I retired from swimming, I would be able to jump immediately into marriage and starting a family. I never imagined that dating and relationships would be more challenging than swimming 62 miles per week. I believed that I could put the same hard work and dedication into finding a spouse that I did into swimming, but boy was I wrong. I learned over time that you can't work hard and force a relationship. Love isn't as simple as swimming.
I have spent a lot of my life isolated as a swimmer with my face always in the water. The isolation didn't end when I stopped swimming. I had a lot of lonely days and nights. I also experienced a lot of heartbreak and frustration in dating and relationships when things didn't work out. I have been cheated on, rejected, and had my heart broken many times.
In 2015, I got serious about prayer. I saw the movie "War Room" which is all about the power of prayer. I cleared out a closet in my house to designate as my "war room". I wrote down exactly the qualities in a man that I was looking for and I wrote down a prayer for God to prepare my heart and send him to me. I would go into my "war room" every day and pray.
It was at this point that God started by sending me to Deer Creek Camp (my Christian Swim Camp) which was the first step to me learning about what love really meant and the importance of keeping God first. I could feel God shaping me and helping me grow so that when my soul-mate came along, I would be ready for him. I went to Deer Creek Camp every year and each time I felt as though my heart opened a little bit more and I began to run faster and faster in the direction of God.
My biggest fear that I was going to miss my chance to have children. I knew that I had to put my faith in God, but I also had to keep searching. I downloaded the dating apps (all of them) and began swiping. For the next two and a half years, I would go on at least one, if not more, dates per week. I would go out most people just once, I would very rarely like someone enough to schedule a second date.
In November of 2017, I flew to D.C, to attend my friend Jamie Fischer's wedding. She had been my single friend and we would share our dating horror stories together. We had always bonded over being single and wishing we could get married. I was incredibly happy for her, but sad that I was losing my single buddy. At that point, I had been on a string of really bad dates with some disrespectful and mean men and I was feeling very down on myself.
When I arrived in D.C., the day before the wedding, I decided to have a "Treat Yo Self" day where I went to the mall and I got a pedicure, got my hair done, and bought myself a new outfit. At the wedding I felt a new confidence and when I came home, I had a new match on the dating app "Hinge". A handsome young man named Jake.
There are an infinite number of examples in both Jake's past and mine, that demonstrate how God was leading us together. He was shaping us and preparing us to be ready to enter into the kind of love that neither of us knew was even possible.
The message that I would like to give to all single young women out there who want to get married and are losing hope would be to pray and have faith that God is putting pieces together. Just like in swimming, everybody has to go through the pain of defeat before you are ready to truly appreciate the victories. All you have to do is "just keep swimming".
My name is Chloe Sutton and I am the bride to be! I am an Olympic swimmer, Christ-follower, and the VP of Fitter and Faster. Here is where I will blog about the wedding planning process!