About 2 months ago, Michael and I got engaged, and ever since, there have been tiny little ads and articles popping up. Perhaps I’ve just been noticing them now, and they’ve been here all along.
“Lose weight for your wedding”,
“Slim down for the big day”
“Lose the weight, fit into your gown”
“Avoid heavier ever after” (I don’t really even know what that means.)
Ahem. How about just buying a gown that fits your body? I just stumbled across this post (hilarious), in which one woman is quoted as saying: ‘I’ll get married in a blanket before I buy a size-16 gown!’ says the 5′ bride.” [For the record, it’s distinctly possible that I will wear a size 16 gown, depending on sizing, and I would way rather wear that than a blanket…in fact, I’d be thrilled to find a dress I like at all]
Really? That’s the biggest concern that women have about getting married? The size of the dress they wear? How they’ll look in photos? As that post mentions, none of this is for reasons of health, just aesthetics. I find this to be incredibly sad and frustrating. I have NO intentions of losing weight before we get married. I plan on continuing to enjoy my life, and marrying this wonderful man who loves me just like I am. If I gain or lose weight before some specific date, this is not somehow going to ensure that we will have a nicer wedding, or a better marriage. What will trying to lose weight (that I don’t ‘need’ to lose, because I’m already healthy) ensure? That I will be stressed/unhealthy/running ragged/cranky/possibly injured or sick by the time we say ‘I do’. Not to mention, it will cause me to feel like I must meet some external goal in order to be deserving of a wedding or my husband. I will then gain it back on our honeymoon, and feel like a failure, and who doesn’t want to feel like a miserable failure then? This guy! If the man I’m spending my life with does not love me, appreciate me, and think I am beautiful just like this, then I wouldn’t be marrying him.
Getting married, planning your life with someone, having your friends and family there to cherish this time with you; these are beautiful things, and they are privileges at that. This is supposed to be a celebration of LOVE and a time to be grateful. Torturing your body, neglecting your health, starving yourself, etc; those things are not what you do to someone you love nor when you are grateful for what you have. If a wedding is a celebration of your love together, then it should also be a celebration of your love for yourself. In my experience, you cannot fully love anyone unless you love yourself.
If we’re practicing radical self acceptance, then it’s a beautiful thing to open up and extend that to our partners as well. I accept Michael just the way he is, as I would if he ever gained or lost weight. I want to be with someone who is just as accepting of me (and he is). I cannot imagine spending my life with someone who had a conditional love for me. If I were ever told that I had to slim down to get married, I would like to think I would walk away. I understand that most of these women, and sometimes men, put these stringent conditions on themselves. It’s usually not the significant other doing it, but I also think that it does happen sometimes. In my mind, it’s the same, if I put those rules on Michael, it’s just as bad if I’d do it to myself.
I have a lot of compassion for people who feel like it has to be this way. It is the same compassion I have for people who look in the mirror and think that they are willing to do anything to lose weight (including taking diet pills, starving, killing their body by working out well beyond healthy means, endangering their lives for plastic surgery,etc.). I am not here to judge, and I’m certainly not saying my way is the best way. It is the best for me. I know what will make me happy, and that is acceptance, unconditional love, and transparency. My heart goes out to the girls who buy a smaller dress, and vow to lose X amount of pounds to fit into it. I even saw one article that said that if you don’t lose the weight in time, you might want to postpone your wedding. Postpone?! Crikey. There will most likely be family members, friends, and acquaintances who will be witness to how you look on this day. There will probably be pictures, maybe even video to remind you of how you looked on that one day, and that can be a scary thought. But wouldn’t you rather have an accurate record of you, at that time? If you keep wedding photos around of you at an unrealistic weight that you fought tooth and nail to arrive at, is that really the best reminder to see every day of your life?
Here’s the thing about losing weight for your wedding…it’s just one day. Of all the days, in all of your existence here on this planet, in this body, your wedding is just one day. You can work your ass off and starve yourself for months so that in your mind (because honestly, that’s where this all takes place) your family and friends will think you look perfect. Or, you can spend that time figuring out the best representation of your love, and the most fun way to celebrate that. I cannot recall ever attending one wedding where I thought, or said, ‘Gee, if that bride had buckled down and lost a few pounds, she’d really shine today’. No, it’s a wedding, it’s a joyous celebration, and you will be bright, shining and beautiful, without having to lose any weight at all. You’re already beautiful. Say it with me: I’m already beautiful. Anyone who gets to marry you is lucky, and will be honored to have you on their arm. You don’t need to shed weight to be worthy of anyone’s love, I swear. People will be looking at your glow, the sparkle in your eyes, and admiring the love you two have for one another. They will not be looking at your waist size. If they are, fine. It’s their loss to be focusing on something insignificant and petty, when they could be partying with you. There is nothing wrong with getting married just as you are.
If you want to look good in your pictures, spend the time leading up to your wedding figuring out what makes you glow. Get some fresh air, a little bit of sun, some exercise. Splurge and buy yourself something to wear (that fits!!) that you love and feel amazing in. Spend your wedding day soaking up every single ounce of love that is there from the support of your family and friends. If you do these things, I am sure that people will do nothing but talking about how gorgeous and happy you look.
We are spending our time still figuring out what we want from a wedding, and I’m sure I will post some things on here as I pinpoint our plans. I would much rather spend this time planning our future, our family, our home, even our honeymoon, than I would planning how I’m going to get rid of as much body fat as possible to ‘impress’ the people who already love me, just like I am. I’m ready to get married, just like this, and I know it will be a beautiful day.