In about 4 months, I’m getting married.
I’m expecting a call within the next few weeks notifying me that my dress has arrived, at which time I’ll have an appointment for alterations.
I’ve been told a common question at wedding dress alterations is “how much weight are you expecting to lose?”
I hope I don’t get asked that question, but if I do, my answer will be: none.
Not losing weight before a wedding is going against the grain. I did a quick Google search regarding weight and weddings and these top three questions came up:
“How can I lose weight by my marriage?”
“When should I start losing weight for my wedding?”
“How can I lose weight with my wedding dress?”
Basically, weight loss and weddings seem to go hand-in-hand.
I’m going to be honest here - losing weight for my wedding has crossed my mind too. As far as I’ve come in accepting my body, I still grew up in diet culture, and diet culture thoughts pop up from time to time - especially when the pressure is on to “look good”.
There is a lot of pressure around weddings to look our best. We are told that this is one of the most important days of our lives. It’s a day where we likely hire a photographer to capture every little moment. And damn if we’re not going to look our best!
For women especially, the pressure is intense. Women in our culture are objectified by others, and taught to objectify ourselves. We’re trained that our worth and our value are contingent on our appearance. And the ideal appearance we should be striving for is: youthful and thin.
Let’s face it - our culture is not very supportive of bodies. We deem acceptable a narrow range of bodies, and that range narrows even further when it comes to what bodies are considered “beautiful”. And isn’t the day a woman is supposed to look her most beautiful, her wedding day? That’s the message we’re sold at least.
It’s a lot of pressure, and I find it sad.
I find it sad that brides-to-be everywhere focus so much of their time and energy trying to make themselves smaller before the “big day”. I find it sad that brides experience so much worry and fear about how they look. And I find it especially sad that underlying the effort to lose weight before the wedding are the beliefs - “I am not good enough, I am not beautiful enough, just as I am”.
I’ve heard stories of brides who barely ate leading up to (and on) their wedding day, because they feared not being able to fit into their dress. Brides who at their reception didn’t even enjoy the food they paid a sweet price for. Brides who weren’t fully present during the day because of the mental haze they experienced from not eating enough food.
It’s not only the desire to “look” thin on the day that drives this - it’s also the wedding dress itself.
During my wedding dress consultation there were two types of dresses: straight size and plus sized, (and I’m lucky the shop even had plus size dresses!) The plus size dresses all fit on one rack, in comparison to the multitude of straight size dresses found on all the other racks.
As if seeing the plentiful straight-sized options wasn’t daunting enough, the wedding dress trial clinched it. Trying to squeeze myself into a straight size sample dress made it very clear to me why for many women, losing weight to fit the dress seems like a very good idea.
Trying on the plus size sample dress was like a dream to slip into. And yet, I was thinking about all the larger women for whom the plus sample size would be painfully too small.
This begs the question: why are we changing our bodies to fit a dress? Shouldn’t we be demanding that the dress fit us? It’s an awful lot of power we give to a piece of fabric.
I knew in order to prevent myself from entertaining any weight loss thoughts, I needed to start showing myself images of brides of larger sizes. I started following the hashtag #plusbride on Instagram just to expose myself to images of larger, beautiful women in gorgeous dresses, because of the majority of images we are exposed to, they are few and far between.
The truth is, there is nothing wrong or ugly about being in a larger body. And just because our culture tells us so, doesn’t mean that it’s true.
The act of losing weight before a wedding implies that there is something wrong, undesirable, or shameful about being bigger.
And that is a narrative that hurts us all.
So, I will absolutely not be pursuing weight loss before my wedding. I will show up on the day exactly as I am, having lived my life as I have up until that point, because it’s an accurate reflection of me in that moment of time. I don’t want to erase myself by pretending that a different version of me exists, or that only a fraction of me is worthy of love.
After all, this day is about marrying my partner, the person whom I love and want to share my life with. The person who has been my cheerleader and source of incredible support along my body acceptance journey. He fell in love with all of me, not just a fraction of me, and all of me is who will be showing up that day, just as I am.
If you’re ready to develop a more positive relationship with your body, learn about my one-on-one coaching program here.
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[Image description: 12 different wedding dresses, in various shades of white and textures, hang side by side on a black metal rail.]