You Don't Need to Lose Weight For Your Wedding
Since getting married a few months ago, I’ve had some time to step back and reflect on the wedding planning and preparation process. I think we all know that planning a wedding is stressful. There are just so many details to keep in mind from location and venue, to the food, decorations and dress. It’s a lot. Then somewhere along the way, the pressure to look a certain way for your wedding can start to creep in. Whether it’s from trying on dresses, comments from friends and family or articles you’ve read online. The pressure to shrink your body for your wedding is a real thing.
Getting married is a super significant and sacred life event. It makes sense that we would want to look our best and feel beautiful on that day. But we shouldn't have to focus on weight loss for that to be true.
The pressure to lose weight and look a certain way for you wedding is a product of the diet culture we live in. It stems from the idea that thinner=better and more beautiful and we should strive to achieve that by any means necessary. There are so many companies devoted to selling brides on diets and workout plans, letting them know they aren't good enough to get married just as they are. But that's not the truth. Your future spouse should love you for who you are regardless of your body size. We don't need to change our bodies just because the diet culture is telling us we should.
That’s not to say taking care of our bodies in the name of health is a bad thing. It's definitely not! In fact, focusing on health promoting behaviors before your wedding will probably help ease the stress of the planning process. But there is a difference between taking care of ourselves and the pursuit of intentional weight loss. Having the ability to care for our bodies with nourishing foods, hydration, movement we love, and adequate sleep is a huge privilege. They’re all positive things that can be incorporated into your lifestyle at any point.
Intentional weight loss through diets, restricting calories, or excessive exercise almost always leads us down a negative path. It puts us at risk for developing an eating disorder, weight cycling, restricting/bingeing, guilt, and an isolated lifestyle. We can pursue better health by taking care of ourselves-without the dieting and weight loss piece.
I have so much compassion for you if you’re in that season and wrestling with that desire to lose weight. It’s so, so challenging and ingrained in our society. If you’re hoping to go another direction and simply take care of yourself before your wedding I have a few tips that may help! Below are 4 ways to arm yourself against the diet culture messages before your wedding.
Diversify your social media- If you’re looking for photographers, dress ideas or other decor ideas on Instagram or other social media platforms, try to find users who are sharing a diverse representation of brides and wedding parties. Brides come in all shapes and sizes.
Shop for your dress at a store that will cater to your body size- I can tell you from personal experience (as a thin person with lots of body privilege) it’s no fun when you go to try on wedding gowns and the sample sizes are too small for you. While stores should cater to all bodies sizes, some obviously won’t. Consider calling or checking online before heading to the store, to be prepared and know whether they will have sample dresses that will work for you.
Guard your heart against harmful messages- People may make comments about your body during the planning process. When you expect it and know it’s coming, the comments will be easier to combat with truth. Keep a list to remind yourself of what you know to be true about yourself and your body. I found it helpful to keep bible verses about body image handy during that time (I liked Psalms 139:14, Genesis 1:27, Romans 12:6 and Ephesians 2:10). If you resonate more with health mantras, look a few up and keep them on your phone!
Remember that your wedding is only one day- When planning for your wedding it can be easy to lose sight of the purpose behind the day. You plan for the wedding but the wedding is only the beginning of your marriage. While you want to look great and have fond memories of your wedding day, don’t forget why it’s all happening. Keeping everything in perspective can be a great way to avoid falling into the diet culture trap.
Hopefully these tips are a helpful starting point for you during this season! Just remember that you’re not alone in the process and this work isn’t easy. Have lots of grace for yourself and others during the months leading up to your wedding and try to enjoy the process!
Pictures by Holden & Jessie