Ever since I got engaged nine months ago, I’ve noticed a strange trend. I mean besides the constant “It’s raining on my wedding day” nightmares that keep me up at night and the ever-present fear that by the time I’m hitched I’ll have less than $10 in my bank account. I’m talking about the constant messaging telling me I need to start “shredding” or “shedding for the wedding”. Every day I see a new article about pre-wedding juice cleanses and wedding diet plans, and I’ve pretty much had it. The idea that women need to hit a certain weight or look a certain way on their wedding day in order for it to be “the best day ever” is an outdated concept rooted in sexism. Here’s why I’m 100% OVER shedding for the wedding, and why you should be too.
It Feels Like Society’s Beauty Expectations Of Women, On Steroids
Women have been held to unrealistic beauty expectations since the beginning of time, but since getting engaged, I’ve found that this expectation of having the perfect body (whatever that means) is on a whole other level. Whenever my friends got engaged they would all say, “My wedding diet starts now”. They were literally getting engaged one day and counting calories the next. I didn’t quite understand their reaction, but now, I totally get it. I’m constantly inundated with wedding content about workout regiments, foods to avoid and skincare routines (apparently I’m months behind on this). It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re engaged, if you’re a human woman who goes online, you’re no stranger to the expectations society has for us. The only difference is that when you’ve got a ring on your finger, there’s an impending deadline to achieve the aforementioned perfect body, and it’s your wedding date.
It Feels Like A Prerequisite For Getting Married
Look, I understand wanting to look and feel your best on your wedding day, I know I do, but that means different things to different people. You may have a goal weight you’ve been trying to hit and the wedding day is a good motivator, or you may feel perfectly comfortable in your own body and not feel the need to do anything (more power to you). But whatever your situation is, losing weight shouldn’t feel like a prerequisite to getting married. Content about what you should and shouldn’t be eating before your wedding and articles that claim the hardest part of wedding planning is your fitness routine (has this person ever made a seating chart?) might make you question if something’s wrong with you if you’re not dieting or amping up your workout (myself included). If you find yourself thinking like that, try to block out all the social media noise and focus on doing what makes YOU feel like your best self. I know it’s easier said than done, but maybe unfollow the #weddingworkout hashtag for a while. Don’t worry, you can still get a marriage license even if you’re not going to bridal boot camp.
Designers Are Becoming More Size-Inclusive
You shouldn’t have to feel like you need to drop weight in order to fit in a wedding dress. Cookie cutter dresses are a thing of the past, and bridal designers today are making wedding dresses for all body types and sizes, not just the stick-thin models who debut them on the runway. Supermodel Ashley Graham recently teamed up with Pronovias to launch her own size-inclusive collection, while Fame and Partners launched a capsule collection for the modern woman with David’s Bridal and new wedding dress company Floravere has gowns up to size 26, ensuring women of all sizes they’ll be able to find something that makes them feel like a million bucks. If you’re worried you’ll have to lose weight to find a gown that fits you, you can kick that fear to the curb, because it’s become much easier in recent years to find the perfect gown, no matter your body type.
Grooms Are Held To Different Standards
After being inundated with ideas of ways to change the way my body looks in time for my wedding, I asked my fiancé if he noticed anything similar. He hadn’t. I can’t say I’m surprised that there’s not this insane pressure on men to look a certain way for their wedding day, but it was disappointing to hear nonetheless. I wanted to see if there was any content out there aimed at the groom’s physical appearance on the wedding day. Come to find out, there is, but it’s scarce. I found a list of things grooms should do leading up to the wedding, and the only appearance-related tip was for them to get a haircut. And on their 12-month checklist? Apparently all they need to do is whiten their teeth. No gyms advertising groom boot camp or weight loss tips for men before they go tux shopping. Sure, not all men care as much about their appearance as Tom Sandoval, but why are only the brides being told they need to shed for the wedding in order to “look our best”? I’m exhausted just thinking about all of the things I’m supposed to be doing to my body to get it “wedding ready”, meanwhile my fiancé’s downing fried chicken and playing video games not worrying about what the f*ck he’ll look like six months from now. Ugh, to be a man.
It’s Time To End The Madness
Look, I’m not saying that dieting and exercising before your wedding day is a negative thing, but I’m tired of reading articles that imply feeling your best on your wedding day means you have to be working out and dieting beforehand. Shouldn’t you feel your best on your wedding day because you’re marrying the love of your life? Or because you’re about to attend the best party of all time? Why is weight loss so intrinsically tied to how we feel about ourselves, and why is that link only reserved for women? Your physical appearance might be a part of your wedding day journey, but it shouldn’t hijack what the day is really all about. So, let’s shatter the notion that those surface-level things are in any way the key to having a happy and joyful wedding day. It’s time to say f*ck it and halt to a stop on our never-ending journey towards unattainable beauty standards. The best way to get “wedding day ready” is to be 100% you.
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I’m almost 30, so I’m basically a wedding attendee expert at this point. With attending so many weddings (seriously, why is my life becoming more and more like Noah’s Ark with everyone pairing up?!), and being part of the bridal party in a few of them, I’ve often looked to The Knot for guidance. They know everything about weddings and wedding etiquette. It’s nice to have some reference for what is considered an acceptable wedding gift when you already had to buy a $300 tulle dress you’ll never wear again. Being the expert on weddings, The Knot has their 2019 Real Weddings Study ready to tell us how generations are changing their wedding habits, and it actually seems to be more for good than evil. According to The Knot, couples care more about “inclusivity, sustainability, community and purpose-driven details” than ever before. Here are just a few things changing in our generation’s wedding planning:
Weddings are now “fusing a variety of cultural and religious backgrounds”, because 51% of couples are marrying someone of a different background, according to The Knot. This means couples are doing much more diverse ceremonies that aren’t necessarily religious, or combining two religious ceremonies to reflect both partners’ beliefs. I think this is really cool that couples are taking charge of what’s important to them. I’ve even been to a wedding where they did a medieval sword ceremony instead of a religious one, and it was awesome. The bottom line is, you shouldn’t feel like you have to stick to tradition if it doesn’t fit in with your values (or you like, just don’t want to).
As a society, most of us care about the environment and are trying to go green everywhere we can. From sustainable fashion to travel to those damn paper straws, millennials and Gen-Z are big on not f*cking up the planet, and The Knot says, “weddings are no exception”. According to their 2019 Real Wedding Study, one-quarter of couples now source locally and repurpose wedding details instead of just throwing their decor out after one use. 14% even do eco-friendly alternatives, like chalkboard seating charts, bamboo place settings, and digital RSVPs. Couples are also spending less on their weddings and considering budget to be important. On average, couples are now covering half of their wedding costs, so they are more aware of budget now that we don’t just charge everything to Bank Of Daddy.
Standing Up For Themselves
Couples are finally ignoring what their families want and are doing what they actually want to do for their weddings. I’m sure it helps that they’re footing their own bills now, which means they can’t be bullied into inviting their dad’s fourth cousins they’ve never even met. The Knot says this includes, “making intentional vendor choices, like choosing a venue with meaning (think, an art gallery that supports female artists or town hall that has made strides for the LGBTQ+ community) or making a statement about gender equality by walking down the aisle together.” Couples now even donate decor or have a charity donation as their registry! You love to see it.
Couples now are saying f*ck gender roles and are having their bridal parties include all their best friends—regardless of gender. I have seen this in so many weddings recently, and I LOVE IT. Why do we segregate our friends based on their genitals anyway? The Knot says, “nearly 4 in 10 couples (37%) embrace coed wedding parties”, with groomswomen and bridesmen! I mean really, why was gender ever a consideration for who gets to stand up there with you on your wedding day? It should just be about standing up at the altar with the people you care about.
Wedding traditions may be changing, but it’s definitely for the better. These stats from The Knot just show that you can do whatever the f*ck you want on your big day and everyone else can shove it. See more findings from the Real Weddings Study at The Knot.
Images: @alvarocvg / Unsplash, Kumar Saurabh / Pexels, @clemono2 / Unsplash, Michael Morse / Pexels; irbis pictures / Shutterstock.com