I feel like this wedding column has been a bit of a downer. I don’t want you to feel like I’m not excited about my wedding, or about getting married, because I really, really am. But there are so many articles about weddings joyfully written and squee-fully devoured and I think it’s important to give another side. Because amongst all the excitement and the planning, there is an insidious side to the wedding industrial complex that whispers in your ear throughout, questioning your worth.
It’s the done thing
No doubt if you have ever been engaged, you will remember the immediate barrage of wedding diet adverts and articles that are targeted to you as soon as you make the announcement on Facebook. Losing weight is seen as an inevitable part of wedding planning. Friends of mine talked openly about daily gym sessions, 5:2 diets and as much hot yoga as they can stand in order to get slimmer for their wedding. The talk is all about fitting into the elusive wedding dress, which begs the question: why not order it in the size you are? Why not indeed. To be at your skinniest on your wedding day is the goal, and so often it seems that this is the case simply because it is the done thing. It is expected that you will want to lose weight as soon as that ring goes on your finger, regardless of the size you are to start with.
Problems of a bride-to-be
I am lucky: I have naturally been around a size 10 all my life, and I have always been quite happy with that. I imagine it is easier for me to attempt to shrug off the idea that you should lose weight for the sake of it when it comes to your wedding than someone who struggles with their body image on the regular. But even I, as someone who usually considers themselves pretty confident, found myself in tears in front of the mirror just last week. All because of a strapless bra and a bit of back fat. It seems silly to me now, a few days later, but at the time it was the most pressing issue I have ever dealt with. My wedding is 10 weeks away and I have back fat problems. My dress will not lie smooth as a result and it shall be revealed to all my friends and family that I did not have the willpower to starve myself in the run up to my wedding so that I could avoid just such a problem. Of course, once you start noticing one thing then everything snowballs – legs, arms, stomach, butt, no body part is safe from the gaze of a distraught bride-to-be taught by the wedding industrial complex to spend all her time and money bringing those parts into line.
I call bullshit
Why is it that women are conditioned to want to be smaller? To take up less room. To control our bodies so they don’t do what bodies do – squidge and roll and jiggle. When you start to pull it apart, it is distressing. Our ability to reach some impossible ideal feels like a marker of our worth and at no other time is this more acute than on our wedding days, when all eyes will be on us and the photos will be preserved forever in family albums passed down to our grandkids. I want to say fuck it. I am the size that I am and I (and my pre-husband) have always been perfectly happy with that. Any woman (or man) who has ever cried in front of a mirror knows that it’s not that easy.
People talk about how weddings are stressful, imagining bridezillas in tears over the colour of place settings, but they are stressful for reasons much more serious than that. They draw out some of the worst issues that women face and place them front and centre, quite literally. So whilst I am very excited about throwing a big party for all my friends and family, and promising commitment to a pretty awesome man, I am also very aware that weddings aren’t all sunshine and rainbows –especially for the bride.
Join our tribe
We promise to pop a whole host of good stuff into your inbox every Wednesday to brighten up your week. Can't say fairer than that now can we?