My wedding is six months away and the pressure is on. In addition to finalizing my guest list and perfecting venue plans, there’s only a few months left to get in the best shape of my life. To become my best self. But at what point did my best self become synonymous with my smallest self? Did I miss a societal memo that declared a lower number on the scale would mean I was worth more on my wedding day?
No one has told me to lose weight for my wedding, but at the same time, everyone has. The wedding industry is a powerful multi-billion-dollar force that can persuade brides into thinking they need certain things to make their wedding day perfect—one of the most dangerous of those things is a new body. Brides-to-be are swarmed with advertisements for “bridal bootcamp” and “happily-ever-after arms.” There was even a competition show by The CW called Shedding for the Wedding, which thankfully only lasted one season. On a personal note, even my beautiful wedding agenda has “begin exercise routine” listed under the six-month to-do list.
To put it bluntly, the wedding industry (and the industries that support it) make a profit from making brides feel like they need to become the best versions of themselves for the big day. And by best versions of themselves, I mean the most aesthetically pleasing version of themselves because trust me, I am not the best version of myself when I’m hangry.
Pictured here, the author tries on wedding dresses on what should be one of her most exciting days leading up to the wedding. But there was more to the story.
When I ordered my dress and got measured, I was asked “Do you plan on losing weight for the wedding?” I remember stumbling over my words in my reply. I hadn’t really thought about that—yet. I’m an avid runner and I don’t worry about restricting foods, but this question triggered insecurity for me.
It’s like someone asking you if you plan to redecorate your living room when you never mentioned it in the first place. My initial reaction is to assume you don’t like the room as it is. Immediately the questions started in my head. How much weight was I going to lose before my wedding? What if I gain weight? Do I need to redecorate my body before I’m worthy of walking down the aisle? Worthy of marrying my spouse?
"No one has told me to lose weight for my wedding, but at the same time, everyone has. The wedding industry is a powerful multi-billion-dollar force that can persuade brides into thinking they need certain things to make their wedding day perfect—one of the most dangerous of those things is a new body."
Approximately 14 of my friends are engaged right now. And while they are the dearest friends and we talk about everything from wedding venues to florist costs, we seem to avoid the elephant in the room. Losing weight for the wedding is like this unspoken pressure we silently deal with as we run beside each other on the treadmill in fitness class.
But for me, the silence needed to end. I reached out to the other brides-to-be in my life to see if they’ve felt the same weight on their shoulders as I have the last few months. Their responses weren’t surprising by any means, but as my feelings were echoed back to me, my heart broke. In what is supposed to be the happiest moments of our lives, we’re skipping date night to work out and feeling guilty for days after cake tastings.
A common thread through my entire experience wedding planning thus far is that the industry works really hard at trying to make you forget why you’re tying the knot. In 30 years from now, my husband won’t care about what size was on my dress tag or how toned my biceps looked in photos. We’ll sit back and remember the happy moments of our engagement and wedding day—the happy moments that would be almost impossible to create if you’re miserable stressing over dieting and sweating for the wedding.
So six months to become my best self? That’s bullshit. I have my whole life for that transformation and the most insignificant, fluid aspect of that transformation will be my body’s appearance. I like my living room as it is, thank you, and I plan to keep making space in it for the moments I collect.