It seems as if a requisite for planning the perfect wedding includes shrinking your body to look like the perfect, thin bride. I opted out of trying to lose weight before my wedding, and felt happy, present, beautiful, and confident on my wedding day.
When I first got engaged, I started noticing all the advertisements for bride weight loss programs like “Bridal Bootcamp,” “Buff Bride Program,” and “The Bride Diet.”
On social media, I noticed brides were sharing their wedding weight loss journeys with hashtags like #sheddingforthewedding. Whenever I looked for inspiration on Pinterest, wedding weight loss plans always popped up.
In wedding magazines, the majority of advertisements for wedding dresses showed very thin, tall women. The editorial content in wedding magazines also featured thin women.
It was a lot. I get why women feel pressured to lose weight before their weddings. It seems as if a requisite for planning the perfect wedding includes shrinking your body to look like the perfect, thin bride.
It’s all part of diet culture’s message that thinness is beautiful and desirable.
According to a study of mostly white brides to be, 90% engaged in diet behaviors 5-6 months before their wedding day. (Psychology Today)
90%!! It makes me really sad that so many women feel like they need to change their body for one day.
As I started to think about our wedding day, I knew that I wanted to feel like myself as I was at that point in my life. I wasn’t the thinnest I had ever been. In fact, I had gained weight over the two years before we got engaged because I stopped engaging in dieting behavior and I stopped overexercising.
After so many years of feeling miserable about myself and my body while dieting and doing intense workouts, I knew that I didn’t want jump into a restrictive diet or intense exercise program in the months leading up to our wedding.
Wedding planning brings up enough stress. I didn’t want to create even more stress by becoming obsessed with shrinking my body.
I wanted to enjoy the wedding planning process, and I was positive that dieting would not lead to enjoyment. There are so many fun events that happen during wedding planning…an engagement party, a bachelorette party, cake tasting. I didn’t want those events to feel stressful or be tainted with food guilt and shame.
I also realized that our wedding day was just one day. Yes, I wanted to look and feel beautiful. But I knew that I could look and feel beautiful at any size. Thinness isn’t what makes me feel beautiful.
Leading up to our wedding, I asked myself a few specific questions so that I could cultivate the feelings I desired on my wedding day. Here’s how I shifted my focus away from my weight and how my body was going to look on my wedding day…
- I asked myself how I wanted to feel during the wedding planning process. My desired feelings for wedding planning were to feel present and relaxed. Tracking weight, food and workouts is not relaxing. Being consumed by changing my body wouldn’t allow me to be present. So I made non-weight focused self-care a priority during wedding planning. I practiced meditation and yoga, I gave myself at-home facials, I kept our wedding plans organized, I went on walks, and I made time for relaxation. Focusing on being present and relaxed helped my husband and I stay connected during the wedding planning process, and have fun.
- I asked myself how I wanted to feel in my wedding dress. I knew I didn’t want anything too form fitting because I didn’t want to wear Spanx and I wanted to feel free to move. I wanted to feel feminine, beautiful, and comfortable. I bought my dress at a local wedding dress shop called Hello Beautiful and, I didn’t know it when I booked my appointment there, but the owners are totally body positive when it comes to helping brides find their dresses. It was such a positive and uplifting experience.
- I asked myself how I wanted to feel on my wedding day. Again, I wanted to feel really present. I wanted time to feel as if it had slowed down. I wanted to be in each moment. I knew being obsessed about how my body looked wouldn’t allow me to do that. So the year leading up to our wedding, I did a lot of work around having compassion for my body, respecting my body, and nourishing my body in ways that weren’t focused on weight-loss.
In the end, I really enjoyed the wedding planning process and I absolutely loved our wedding day. It was so beautiful and I was able to cultivate the feeling I wanted to have that day. The day seemed to move slowly and I soaked in every moment.
I felt absolutely gorgeous, and also felt comfortable all day.
The day was so beautiful and magical that I wanted to do it all over again when it was over.
Photographer – Deana Johnson Photography, Omaha, NE
Hair/Makeup – Amy Merritt Hair and Makeup, Boulder, CO
Here are other posts about our wedding: