This is a title I’ve had in mind for months but it made me feel too annoyed to write the post around it every time I saw it. But I’ve finally decided to actually get on with it and get my thoughts on paper about getting in shape for your wedding. So I suppose my answer to the question “do you need to get in shape for your wedding?” is no. It’s a big, fat, shiny with candles on top, no.
The pressure from our society to lose weight is constant. And that’s not just for people who are overweight. It’s for those that are a healthy weight. It’s for those that are underweight.
Scroll through Instagram, flick through a magazine, browse Pinterest – you’ll not just have spotted a couple of ads highlighting weight loss products and people selling fitness apps, but you’ll have subconsciously been subject to a barrage of images of an idealised lifestyle that we’re all conditioned to want to aim to. Of toned, tanned, slender bodies. But that’s not news to any of us.
As soon as you announce that you’re getting married, in real life or online, the barrage becomes a bombardment. Friends and family might joke that the reason you didn’t have a dessert was because you’re on a diet for your wedding; targeted ads online suddenly start showing you juice diets, personal trainers and protein shakes.
Everything about a wedding day means all eyes are on you, especially if you’re the bride. You hire someone to prettify your hair and make up; you choose colours to suit not only your bridal party, but to flatter you; you’re encouraged to pick out a dress that makes you look good. And from the many articles I’ve seen, you’re encouraged to buy a wedding dress that’s slightly too small to challenge you to lose weight to fit into it by the wedding day.
The overwhelming message when you’re getting married is that you must look good. And to look good, you must lose weight. There are articles telling you what to eat (or more specifically, what not to eat) in the 2 weeks before your wedding to lose 10lbs. There are articles explaining, in great detail, Pippa Middleton’s gruelling workout regime that promises to make you look like her for your wedding – if only you had every hour of every day free beforehand to complete this regime.
I’m sure this message has been said a thousand times, but a wedding day seems to have become just another way to show how Instagrammable or Pinterestable you can be. And I’m not going to deny that I don’t have all the aims to have a fully Instagrammable wedding! And I won’t deny that I’m not mentally battling with the idea that I need to lose weight to look better in a wedding dress – it’s conditioned into us after all.
But that’s not what a wedding is about. Your wedding day is supposed to be the celebration of a marriage; of two families coming together and two people declaring their commitment to one another. I can totally understand wanting to look nice for it, but I wish that “nice” didn’t equal toned, skinny and tanned to just about every media outlet out there, no matter what the cost – starvation, injury, exhaustion.
If I don’t look my skinniest in my wedding photos, will that ruin the day for me forever? No, because I’m not going to be looking at my body, I’m going to be looking at my face and the emotion captured in it – like our engagement photos, I can’t tell you how my body looks in those because all I noticed was my face creased with laughter and the love in my eyes as I looked at Ben. I’m going to be looking at my friends and family having fun. I’m going to be looking at us enjoying a day that we’ve designed especially for us.
Personally, I’ve got plenty more to think about in the run up to the wedding than just losing weight and feeling miserable. And our wedding day is about so much more than just looking good to me.