Last week, my lovely husband (or The Boy, if you prefer) and I celebrated one whole year of being married. It was lovely. We went to Yorkshire for the weekend and had lunch at our wedding venue, which brought back some great memories. And some slightly annoying ones, like the venue’s sign in process and the joy that is the M25, but I digress.
It also reminded me of the insane amount of pressure to lose weight when we first started planning our wedding. It felt like every second person was subtly, or in some cases not-so-subtly, asking me about my pre-wedding diet plans. Not whether I had one, you understand, but which one I was doing. And of course, there was the person who was heard to criticise me for *gasp* still going out for dinner, even though I was getting MARRIED. It was like I didn’t even care that I was going to look like myself on my wedding day!
It makes me so angry that a whole industry has built up around the idea that looking like you on your wedding day isn’t good enough. Despite the person you’re marrying loving you for you and your loved ones in attendance loving you for you. And although it’s only 12 little hours of your life (12 ruddy awesome hours, it’s true, but still), you’re made to feel ashamed for not wanting to change as much of you as possible.
For me, it started in a bridal shop that only carried teeny tiny sample sizes that didn’t fit me even a little bit. As well as being made to feel a bit shit, I was expected to use my imagination to picture how a dress in my actual size would look. I have a pretty vivid imagination, but even I struggled with that one.
No, wait – it started with the wedding magazines I bought just after The Boy proposed. They were full of ‘helpful’ diet tips that I should ‘definitely start following immediately’ (but really I should have started six months ago, because, weddings). I also started following a few different wedding publications on social media, and it felt like every other post was about losing weight. Even in ‘10 things every bride should do before the wedding’ articles, I can guarantee the first point was always be a version of ‘Lose weight and tone up, or you’ll always look back on your photos with regret’, and it ticked me off.
There was even a show in the US called ‘Shedding for the Wedding’. Full disclosure, I caught maybe half an episode of this once, so I can’t comment on its content, but for me, it’s a hideously exploitative concept. Ugh.
Then of course there were all the random diet reps who tried to add me on social media. I was getting married and therefore must be desperate to drop three dress sizes in six weeks (read my previous article on that here).
I’ll admit that I did get sucked in a bit. I joined Slimming World six months before the wedding, and lasted three (maybe four) weeks before deciding that I had more fun things to do on Tuesday evenings. Like the table plan.
The closer it got to the wedding, the less I cared about the suggestion I should be trying to lose weight. My regret is that I was finding wedding planning stressful enough (seriously, table plans. The work of an evil genius), so instead of telling them to stop, I bit my tongue and smiled politely.
For me, pre-wedding weight loss is nonsense. And any industry that’s created around the idea that being you isn’t good enough is nonsense. Fellow She Might Be contributor Jo wrote a great piece on body shaming, and I agree wholeheartedly – let’s build each other up, not tear each other down.
And personally, I think anyone who says anything to a bride or groom-to-be that isn’t ‘It’s your day – do whatever the hell you want’ should be given a Paddington Bear Hard Stare. Because, they’ve clearly forgotten their manners.