“Shedding for those wedding bells, I see!” said an oblivious male trainer friend of mine the last time I was at a gym (which feels like 200 years ago), distracting me from a personal best I was about to make. Because we have a personal relationship, I said straight to his face, “excuse me, that was incredibly rude,” and we moved on. But, truthfully, rude doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of how problematic this assumption is.
Shedding for the wedding has somehow become a cultural phenomenon that not only requires a bride to put on the most expensive party of her life, but also forces her to spend the months leading up to the wedding (that should be spent drinking champagne and shoving her hand in people’s faces) hangry and stressed. Disclosure: I am talking about female-identifying brides, as I rarely hear about grooms training specifically for the big day, but for the record, body shaming harms everyone.
First, let’s break down how little sense the idea of losing weight for your wedding makes. You’re marrying the love of your life, who loves you for you. Now you want to go and crash diet and/or binge exercise to drastically change your appearance for one day? There’s no reason to make yourself miserable in preparation for what’s supposed to be the happiest day of your life.
One could argue that the ritual ceremony of a wedding itself symbolizes entering adulthood. For me, it definitely does in a much more real way than graduating college or doing my taxes for the first time ever did, and for some, that can be a call to consider their health seriously for the first time. That is not inherently a bad thing, but the problem with the wellness industry as it stands is that it conflates health and well-being with beauty. That notion of “beauty” is further limited to Eurocentric features, so it’s problematic in multiple ways. True health and well-being aren’t as sexy to promote on Instagram, though, because it’s tougher to market what we can’t see from the outside, but diet culture has officially infiltrated the spaces we look to for health information.
Diet culture is the belief that thinness = “health” and status. This is dangerous to us all, but especially to women, BIPOC, people who are differently-abled, anyone over size 6, the trans community—basically anyone society “others”. It sends the implicit message that if you don’t look like the imaginary health ideal—which, according to stock photos, is exclusively thin white women (who can usually be found laughing at salad)—you’re not only unwell, but a whole slew of other unconscious judgments that come along with it (lazy, unmotivated, etc.). Wellness becomes inherently political in this regard. It is impossible to talk about health without addressing the fact that we all have varying levels of access to wellness resources and that we continue to glorify some bodies as beautiful and others as not—which lurks somewhere deep in our brain when we think about what would make us look *perfect* on our wedding day.
I so, so, so get wanting to look your best for the big day. These are photos you’ll have forever, after all. And yes, you better believe my skin care regimen is 234209243 steps long, and I’ve obsessed about the hair and makeup and the dress, but the idea that we need to lose weight to be and feel beautiful is sexist, and while we’re being honest, it’s racist. At the same time, I fully support your right to be autonomous with your body, in every sense of the word. If you want to lose weight to feel special on your special day, that is entirely your right and you shouldn’t feel shame for that—but you should know where that desire comes from, because I’m willing to bet my dream honeymoon that the desire to lose weight comes from a hope that we will be more worthy, better versions of ourselves once that finally happens. The thing is, though, losing weight doesn’t usually accomplish that. If you aren’t armed with this information going in, you’ll probably be disappointed when you get to that final dress fitting and you don’t feel as changed as you thought you would.
To be clear, I am not against having fitness goals! But by fitness goals, I mean actual fitness—not physique goals. A fitness goal is “I want to run a marathon” or “I want to carry this overpacked suitcase without breaking a sweat.” A fitness goal is not, “I want to lose x pounds or fit in this dress”. Personally, my biggest “wellness” goal is staying sane in 2020 and making it to my wedding alive amidst a GLOBAL PANDEMIC, PEOPLE.
As a bride and pilates instructor (with no wedding date in sight), what I am doing is continuing to do the exercise I enjoy because it feels good and helps me deal with COVID-19/wedding/2020/self-employed stress. Listen, movement is objectively good; I’ve literally made it my career and can personally vouch for the life-changing magic of moving your body every day. The problem is, shedding for the wedding puts the focus on changing your body for aesthetic purposes only, instead of enjoying it or even focusing on health itself. Not only can that get punish-y and dangerous, but it’s also just not fun.
I move my body regularly, whether it’s a full workout or a sanity walk around the block, because it feels good and also so I don’t lose my sh*t when my dress is indefinitely delayed or trips get canceled. Choosing to exercise in appreciation of your body and as self-care increases body satisfaction and helps you be nicer to your reflection, which, wedding or not, is always welcome.
Unfortunately, you’re not likely to get through your engagement without hearing the phrase “shedding for the wedding”. So what do you do when someone puts their nose where it doesn’t belong? It’s actually quite simple: Call them out and remind them (politely or not, up to you) that it’s not only not their business, but it’s also harmful and promotes an outdated beauty ideal. Let them know that your wedding does not revolve around an arbitrary number of pounds lost or gained, but the fact that you found yourself a life partner. What a concept.
It’s time to cancel “shedding for the wedding” and start celebrating body diversity with the same fervor that we do one particular type of beauty. 2020 brides have had to sacrifice dancing, hugging, and uh, human interaction in general with the rise of stoop and Zoom weddings. But, we’ve also started to see an edit of superfluous traditions in favor of celebrating what’s actually meaningful about a wedding: the love! Maybe, *JUST MAYBE* we can make engagements about being engaged instead of dieting, and “shedding for the wedding” will go the way of the garter toss.
Images: Jacob Lund / Shutterstock
When the entire world shut down back in March, I’ll be honest, my fiancé and I were not concerned at all about our September wedding being affected. We were exactly six months out from our wedding day when quarantine began. I was much more hopeful back then, convinced that my fiancé and I would really get to spend quality time together, finalize some wedding plans, and then all this would be over just in time for our outdoor wedding in Connecticut.
Fast forward two months later, and not only does March feel like it was 100 years ago, but my fiancé and I have made the tough decision to postpone our wedding to June 2021. After hours of discussion, it became clear that this was the right thing to do for us, and now that it’s done, I actually feel relieved. Here’s why postponing my wedding doesn’t feel like the end of the world like I thought it would.
I Don’t Wake Up Filled With Anxiety
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Well, at least not wedding-related anxiety. When we began our quarantining, I remember saying to my fiancé, “thank God our wedding is in September! It’ll be back to normal by then.” HA, I was so young and naive back then. As time went on and stay-at-home orders lengthened, we realized that this wasn’t something that would go away overnight. When we began to understand how much of a crisis this really was, I began lying awake at night wondering if this would, in fact, impact our wedding. As the weeks went on and we had to cancel our engagement party, my fiancé postponed his bachelor party, and we moved the date of our joint shower, the lead-up to our wedding was becoming more about whether or not it would even happen versus celebrating the fact that it WAS happening. We both hated that what was supposed to be one of the most exciting times in our relationship had been hijacked by anxiety. Since making the decision to postpone, it feels like we’ve taken back control of our day. Now, we can plan confidently, without question and really soak in this (once again) exciting time.
We Were Able To Get A 2021 Date
When we started talking with my parents about the possibility of postponing, I was very adamant about waiting until July to make the decision. I was worried making this decision in early May was jumping the gun. I kept wondering, “What if things get better by July?” However, my mom was very adamant that we needed to make a decision soon in order to secure a new date. And, as always, my mom was right. When we started calling our vendors to see what kind of availability they had for summer 2021, it was already slim pickings. In addition to all the March, April, and May couples rescheduling, there were couples who’d gotten engaged before and during the pandemic who’d already booked their vendors. We were luckily able to secure the last available June 2021 date that any of my vendors had. Had we waited until July to make the call, we would’ve been sh*t out of luck and would’ve had to wait another two years to get married. And trust me, after two months working, living, eating and breathing in the same one-bedroom apartment, I’m unsure if we would’ve made it to the altar (JK, love you!).
Vendors Are Being Super Understanding
Another reason I was hesitant to pull the band-aid off and postpone was the headache I thought it would be to reschedule all of our vendors. Since we’re getting married outside, we have a different vendor for everything. From catering to rentals to planners, etc., we had to find a date that worked for 10+ vendors and we were unsure what kind of financial hit it would take on our budget. Would they make us pay another deposit to secure a new date? Would we still have to fork over the money based on our original financial timeline?
Thankfully, right now, vendors are being super accommodating and basically doubling as therapists. From the pep talk I got from our stationery vendor to the reassurance of my hair and makeup artist that this was the right move, everyone has been so kind and considerate. We were able to move everything from one date to the other without extra payment or hassle. They simply updated our contracts and sent them back to us. They’ve made this process so much easier than I expected, and it makes me even more excited to work with them next year.
People Have Stopped Asking Us What Our Plan Is
“What are you doing about your wedding?” was the new “So when are you getting engaged?” The wave of anger and frustration that came over me when people would ask me that question was reminiscent of when I would be asked about when we were getting engaged. Since I couldn’t necessarily snap back with, “whenever we damn well please” in this instance, I was forced to utter “I don’t know” with a fake smile in an effort to mask the anxiety I was constantly feeling. Now that we’ve set a new date, I don’t get antsy phone calls from family members or friends wondering what they should do about their plane tickets or hotel reservations. That in itself is reason enough to just bite the bullet and reschedule, IMO.
We Wanted To Have The Wedding We’ve Always Wanted
I know some couples have decided to get married on their original date with a limited number of guests and then plan to have a larger celebration later, and I am all for that. However, for my fiancé and I, we want it all at once. When my parents told us we could keep our original date, but we’d likely have to make some concessions, like getting rid of our raw bar or seating people six feet apart, this picture of what our wedding would look like started to change, and we didn’t want that. We want all of our family and friends on a crowded dance floor, mask-free, without worrying that they’ll get sick if they attend. We didn’t want our older guests having to decide between their health and our day, and that was ultimately what pushed us over the edge. We wanted the day we’d always dreamed of to come to fruition, without any limitations.
It’s Helped Us Put Things In Perspective
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Okay, don’t roll your eyes just yet. One thing that was hard for me to wrap my mind around was the fact that on September 12, our original date, we weren’t going to be getting married. I had this date in my mind for so long that I couldn’t move past the idea that it was no longer ours. I said this to my fiancé, to which he replied, “It’s not about the date, it’s about the day.” He talked about how when he pictured our wedding day, it wasn’t about it being on September 12. It was about having it exactly the way we pictured it, whether that’s four months from now or nine or 100.
It hasn’t been an easy road to get to this place of being happy with our new plan. I never expected this—but since when is life predictable? If you’re considering changing your date, I’d encourage you to do it and get some control back in your life. Yes, it sucks, but I promise you’ll feel much better after you make the decision—which I highly recommend chasing with a bottle of champagne to ease the pain.
Images: Shutterstock; betchesbrides / Instagram
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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Images: Jason Briscoe / Unsplash
When it comes to 2020 weddings, there are no rules. As a fellow bride-to-be, I’ve realized there are a lot of wedding traditions I’m not into. While you may feel guilty about not doing everything your mom did at her wedding, just think, there were probably some traditions her mother did that she boycotted (it’s a vicious cycle, you see?). For example, my grandma told me it used to be tradition that the bride changed out of her dress at the end of the night and put on a suit to go off on her honeymoon. Sounds miz, right? I’m assuming all I’ll want to do is change into sweats and PTFO. My mom sure as hell didn’t do that, and I bet yours didn’t either, so don’t feel guilty about skipping one of these seven wedding traditions that should prob be retired any way.
Gender-Specific Wedding Parties
Look, it’s 2020. Gender fluid, gender neutral, whatever you want to call it, we can all agree that the gender lines are blurring, and therefore, there’s no reason to be a stickler about your best friend from college standing on the groom’s “side” because of the gender he was assigned at birth. Mix it up and go half boys and half girls, have your brother stand on your side, etc. Nobody’s going to be sitting at the ceremony whispering, “oh my God I can’t believe she has a GUY standing on HER side,” and if they do, they’re a f*cking idiot and shouldn’t be invited in the first place. Plus, women’s pantsuits are so in right now, so if you’re a woman in the groom’s wedding party, just channel your inner Ariana Madix circa Tom and Katie’s wedding and own that sh*t.
Your Parents Giving You Away
This may have been a thing back in the 1800s when literal 14-year-olds got married because they were going to die by age 30, but now that you’re a grown-ass adult, there’s no need for mommy or daddy to “give you away”. The whole idea of them handing off ownership to your spouse is pretty objectifying, IMO. Not to mention, not every person has a great relationship with their parents, and this wedding tradition can just put extra pressure on an already tense dynamic. If you want to skip this one but still compromise, you can have them walk in front of you, or at the beginning of the procession with the groom’s family if they’re salty about you walking solo.
Advice for wedding dress style: wear whatever the fuck you want
— betchesbrides (@betchesbrides) November 10, 2019
IDK who invented the idea that couples need to give each other gifts before the wedding ceremony, but isn’t like, your marriage enough of a gift? Yes, I know that sounds cheesy, but when it comes to saving money, I will use all the cliches I can to get me out of buying a really expensive watch for my fiancé (sorry, babe!). Writing a personal note should be gift enough, since you prob just spent your life savings on this massive party. I am officially launching my campaign to end pre-wedding gift exchanges between couples. WHO’S WITH ME?! I’ll take this all the way to Congress if I have to.
Wearing a Veil
I know this is one I’ll catch a lot of heat for, and I’m ready for it. When I discovered the historical meaning behind why brides wear veils, I was appalled. Basically, wearing a veil was intended to keep the groom from seeing the bride until she got up to the altar so he wouldn’t see her and run for the hills. Wow, that is so thoughtful of the inventors of the veil to hide the bride’s face until it’s too late in case the groom didn’t like her looks. A more modern-day reason to pass on a veil is the cost. Do you really want to spend $800 on a piece of tulle? I’m sure most of you reading this think I’m a veil-hater and are probably still going to wear one, but I’m just here to tell you that if you’re on the fence and the notion of “tradition” is preventing you from doing you, I’m here to tell you that it’s perfectly okay if you don’t wear one.
Late night wedding ceremony and reception, brunch menu, open bar.
GIRL. Lemme write this down for future purposes.
— jaya. (@jayacancook) December 30, 2018
I’d venture to guess that the majority of weddings take place at night (mine will be), but if you’re not into the idea of a nighttime party, why not start it earlier in the day? My cousin is having a brunch reception that goes all day and I’m not going to lie, I am STOKED. The idea of eating brunch food, getting wasted, and being in bed by 7pm sounds like heaven on earth. Is that an over exaggeration? Probably, but let’s face it, I can’t stay up all night anymore and so the idea of getting the party started early, and ending it early, sounds lovely. Plus, all-you-can-eat brunch food? Hmm, maybe I should change my start time to 11am.
The only thing worse than being seated at the singles’ table is the dreaded bouquet and garter toss. As if a guy literally crawling up his wife’s dress in front of his entire family isn’t mortifying enough, think of all the single guests at your wedding you’ll humiliate when you toss a bunch of flowers at their faces. Also, someone could get SERIOUSLY injured. At my friend’s wedding last year she hiked the football bouquet like an NFL Pro-Bowler and almost took out half of her single guests. I mean, respect, but drunk people don’t have the best reflexes, so that could have been a massacre.
I'm not getting married but I might schedule some wedding cake tastings just for fun
— Betches (@betchesluvthis) February 3, 2020
My fiancé doesn’t like frosting (I know, he’s literally a serial killer) and I don’t want an icing-free cake at our wedding, so we’re not having one at all. We’re doing a donut wall instead because I’m #basicandproud, and that way people can bring their dessert on the dance floor. We also realized that at the last four weddings we’ve gone to, we didn’t eat the cake. It’s my personal goal to make sure every guest feels sickly full at the end of the night and they can’t get there with a small slice of cake, so bring on the dessert bar! If you want a cake just for the photo opp, your caterer might be able to whip up something small so you can at least have the picture.
The new wedding rules are that there are no rules, so don’t be afraid to do you. As long as you have good booze and awesome music, everyone will have a good time.
Images: IVASH Studio / Shutterstock; betchesluvthis, betchesbrides, jayacancook / Twitter
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The best part about getting married (other than the whole “finding someone to stand by your side during the good times and bad for the rest of your life” thing), is that for once, FINALLY, everything is all about you. Sure, in your head it usually is, but now? Now it’s for real. Estranged friends come crawling out of the woodwork clamoring for an invitation to the wedding. Acquaintances who are trying to make their calligraphy businesses take off DM you about place cards. Family members comment on how prominent your collarbones are. It’s the stuff of dreams.
And then it happens. The phenomenon that occurs when a bride is of moderate popularity and child-bearing age: One of your 4-12 bridesmaids has the AUDACITY to get pregnant.
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Whether she had been trying to get pregnant for years or this was a total accident miracle baby, you’re now faced with the fact that NOT ONLY is one of your besties jeopardizing all of your plans, but now she’s, dare I say, upstaging you? Before you throw her out of your wedding and wish ill upon her unborn child, take a deep breath and do your best not to jeopardize your entire friendship over something as small as bringing another human life into the world. If you want to ensure your friendship lasts beyond the second trimester, heed our advice and remember: Pregnant friends now make for great babysitters if you pop out a few of your own in the future. So if you do have a pregnant bridesmaid, here’s what NOT to do.
Don’t: Make Her Feel Like Sh*t
The most impressive thing my body has ever done is digest 14 breadsticks while hungover at the Olive Garden. Your friend is growing a human inside of her. Rumor has it, that sh*t takes work. Odds are, she’s already feeling bad. Between the morning sickness, backaches, and nightmares about having to take care of another human for the rest of her life (I’m just spitballing here), she’s already dealing with a lot. While it’s a bummer that she’s not going to be tossing back tequila in Cancun with you at your bachelorette party or partaking in some ceremonial puff-puff-pass after getting back to your Airbnb, do your best to love her in this stage. Take a million ‘grammable party bump pics and utilize your other friends for their overzealous alcoholic tendencies. Her ability to down Fireball like a fish may be gone for now, but her spirit is always with you. RIP.
Don’t: Expect The Same Level Of Commitment
Being a bridesmaid is like working two 9-5 shifts in a row and not getting paid
— betchesbrides (@betchesbrides) September 30, 2019
Before she started growing a person inside of her, there was a good chance your friend would have been right by your side (physically and mentally) every step of the way. Dress shopping, mother-in-law bitching, wine nights to stuff invitations that turn into party nights to complain about how your fiancé doesn’t seem to care which linens you pick—she was your go-to. Now? She’s going to the doctor twice a week (disclaimer: I have no idea how often pregnant people go to the doctor, but this feels like a solid guess), sitting with her legs elevated 24/7, and insisting she needs to go home by 9pm.
Instead of expecting her to perform at the same caliber as she would have been if she hadn’t
forgotten to use a condom gotten knocked up, use her condition to your advantage. Ask your other, less pregnant bridesmaids to do the heavy lifting and hide out with Preggers in the other room, catching up and whispering curse words to her fetus. Bow out of the extended small talk at your shower to “make sure your pregnant friend is okay,” while really just talking sh*t together in the bathroom. It might not be what either of you had originally pictured, but it doesn’t mean it’s going to suck total ass, either. It could be worse. I mean, YOU could be the one who’s pregnant, so praise be for that not being the case, amiright?
Don’t: Be Unwilling To Change Your Plans
Turns out, having a baby wreaks havoc on not only your lifestyle but your body too—who knew? Between swollen ankles, an exhausted body that is literally growing another body inside of it, and the fact that you’re not allowed to drink alcohol for the longest period of time since you were like, 16, it’s a f*cking lot. What, I imagine, would make it harder, would be to have one of your besties be unwilling to accommodate you in order to be a part of her special celebrations. Sure, it’s a drag that a bachelorette party during your friend’s third trimester might not work or that a trip to somewhere with Zika might be out. But, as you’ll quickly learn with wedding planning, things tend to not go as planned. You can either embrace it or you can be a total bitch and try to fight it. The first option causes less stress-induced breakouts.
What is comes down to is this: If she’s one of your day ones, and you can’t imagine not having her at as many things as possible, talk with her and be willing to alter plans and compromise together. Unless she’s a total see you next Tuesday, she’ll understand that some things you can’t change, but can compromise on others. At the end of the day, what matters more: having her with you or having the dream events you envisioned in your head? Bonus question: If she’s not there, wouldn’t it mess up your dream anyway?
Don’t: Compare Her Now To What Could Have Been
Before she got knocked up, there’s a good chance she would have been right by your side, throwing up tequila at your bachelorette party or getting drunk with you after your bridal shower and laughing at all of the weird gifts you got from distant relatives (thanks for the fertility herbs, Aunt Jenna). Now? She’s in bed by 10pm at your bach party, if she even went at all, and she left as soon as the gifts were opened at your shower because a wave of nausea hit her. It’s easy to judge and compare her to what your friendship was like before, but ready for some hard truth? Sh*t’s not the same anymore. Not for either of you.
You’re getting married and she’s about to push a human out of her vagina. Instead of dragging your feet and complaining about how you pictured it all to go, try to remember that if everything stayed the same you would still be crying at the club (yes, the club. You’d still be going to CLUBS) about some loser who didn’t text you back instead of getting ready to walk down the aisle. Embrace the changes and do your best to celebrate both of you, as annoying as it might seem in the moment.
Don’t: Make This Time All About You
Remember at the beginning when I said this time was all about you? Joke’s on all of us, because one of your besties failed to practice the ol’ pull and pray. Now, as all of your college friends rush to see your ring, they’re also elbowing their way to your friend to get a bump picture for the ‘Gram. Yes, it’s annoying. Yes, it’s unfair. No, you can’t be a total bitch about it. While in a dream world everyone’s special moments would fall at different times so you could all have your own undivided attention, it tends not to happen that way. It’s the curse of having lots of friends. Sorry, you’re like, really popular.
The key? To ensure everyone has times that are all about them (showers, food tastings, baby registry shopping, etc.) and to focus on their milestones. While your wedding might not be the year-long “all about you” celebration you always pictured (which is obnoxious anyway), it’s better than losing a friendship over a baby that could, potentially, hold your finger with its entire hand someday and cause your ovaries to explode from sheer cuteness.
Don’t: Bend Over Backwards 110%
Sure, she’s a goddess, a gift from heaven, and a glowing, gorgeous example of femininity. But, while her pregnancy announcement is big, your news is too. Compromising so she can be at the shower, understanding if she can’t stay over in your hotel room the night before the wedding, and accepting that standing at the altar for an extended period of time might be too much, are one thing. Her making this time ONLY about her is another. While brides can become bridezillas, moms-to-be can become future-momzillas. If you’re compromising, so should she.
Just like a marriage isn’t a one-way street, neither is friendship, especially when you’re both experiencing exciting, scary, and life-changing moments. You need to be there for each other by listening to the venting, not undermining each other’s fears, and cherishing these special moments without undercutting the other. It’s just as important that she’s on board to compromising because while this time isn’t all about you, it’s (shockingly) not all about her, either.
Don’t: Forget Why She’s In Your Wedding In The First Place
Unless you got wasted and accidentally asked her to be in your bridal party (been there, done that), odds are she’s a pretty important person in your life. Whether she’s knocked up or not, she’s been there for you through tears, triumphs, and most likely lots of bitching about the person you’re going to marry that she PROMISED to take to the grave.
So, as you’re adding “find a breast pumping room” onto your venue to-do list and changing your bachelorette party date to a time when she won’t look and feel like a total beluga whale, remember that this friendship is about more than just a bachelorette party, a picture-perfect wedding, and bridesmaids in dresses that make them look bangin’ but still slightly less hot than you. It’s about being there for each other through the highs and the lows, the wedding planning meltdowns and the post-birth vagina stitches.
At the end of it all, friendship means never having to say, “I’m sorry I was a total bitch to you when milk was seeping out of your nipples at my wedding,” or something like that.
Images: pyrozhenka / Shutterstock.com; betchesbrides / Twitter; Giphy; boredpanda
Giving the perfect speech at a wedding is like making a joke on Twitter in 2019: it’s difficult to think of something that reads as funny and original to everyone AND doesn’t offend anyone at all. You have to balance joking with being sentimental, make sure what you’re saying fits the whole couple and not just the partner you’re closest with, and please the bride/groom while pleasing the entire crowd as well. Your friend may think the story about the bride blacking out on spring break in Cancun sophomore year is hysterical, but the bride’s grandmother probably won’t. On top of all of this, a room full of both strangers and familiar (but not necessarily friendly) faces is listening to you. On the latest episode of the U Up? podcast, Jared and Jordana broke down the dos and don’ts of giving a great wedding speech that will make everyone ask YOU for help writing their speeches for the next wedding.
1. Don’t Speak As A Group
As a bridesmaid or groomsman, having others up there by your side seems like it would make the speaking process way easier and more comfortable, which would in turn makes for a more effortless-sounding speech. But it actually ends up making everything sound way less cohesive and even more awkward. Jared points out, “Every time you switch people, you lose momentum. We don’t even get used to the tone of the speech because it changes seven times.” A few drinks in, people won’t be able to keep up with the changes. Just as they all get warmed up to the person speaking, you move onto someone new and they’re left to readjust all over again. Your part will just blend in with the crowd. You don’t want your best friend’s annoying college roommate to taint the entire speech because of how terrible her part is, or worse, dull the effect of your part. Step off, Emily, she’s been my best friend since KINDERGARTEN.
2. Don’t Make It Too Personal
It feels nice to give the bride/groom a speech that is very specific to them and include inside jokes that make you feel special, but when you’re speaking in front of a whole audience, you need to keep them in mind. Whoever’s listening wants to feel like they’re in on the joke too, or else they won’t think it’s funny. Avoid the “had to be there” stories and stick to making references about the bride/groom’s personality that everyone in the room will understand and identify with, because that will get a reaction from the most people. If the bride is notoriously obsessed with her dog, write about the time she brought Fluffy to brunch and you guys got kicked out because she peed on the floor. (The dog, not the bride.)
3. Don’t Be Too Self-Important
It obviously makes sense for you to introduce yourself when starting your speech, but people don’t need to know every detail about who you are, how you met the bride/groom, what you do for a living, how far you traveled to get there, and what you ate for dinner last night. Everyone’s there to celebrate the couple getting married, not the weirdo who cares way too much about everyone knowing exactly who she is. Chill, dude. I know you want every groomsman to know you’re single, but there’s this thing called introducing yourself (which you can do later). Get the speech moving and keep the focus on the people the wedding is actually for.
4. Tell That “One Great Story” You’ve Told A Thousand Times
Everyone thinks it’s better to be original than repeat a story you’ve already told, especially because people get called out for telling the same story over and over again and you want to do something unique for this special occasion, but there’s obviously a reason you associate this one story with the person so strongly and have continued to tell it time and time again. Since you already know it backwards and forwards, you are able to determine what parts work people think are funny and build on those instead of using material that may or may not land.
5. Don’t Use Generic Jokes You Found By Googling “Wedding Speech Jokes”
As Jared pointed out, everyone has heard the line “Thank you for making me your best man, I hope I can be the best man at your next wedding, too” before, Not only is it not funny, it’s sooo cringeworthy. Whoever thought joking about how long the relationship will last at a couple’s literal WEDDING was a good idea? Using that line is a good way to make everyone feel uncomfortable and judge you. Just don’t be that guy.
6. Bring It Back To The Couple
No matter what you say, you always want to find a way to tie it back to how perfect the bride and groom are for each other. However funny or incredible your speech is, it’s not going to hit home with everyone unless it somehow connects both people getting married. How great the couple is together is something that every wedding guest can get behind (at least I would hope). Save the love fest for just your best friend until her birthday, when you know everyone is there for her and only her.
7. Don’t Overstay Your Welcome
Even an impeccable speech has a time limit. Everyone can only pay attention for so long, and especially if there are more people up after you, you have to be quick. Get in, say what you gotta say, and then GTFO of there. Short didn’t become associated with sweet for nothing!
For more of Jared and Jordana’s expert opinions on how to give the best wedding speech, listen to U Up? below.
Images: Alasdair Elmes / Unsplash; Giphy (2); Tenor (5)
Everyone’s always talking about how to cut costs for your wedding, and while it’s important to stick to a budget, there are certainly a few things you should have the green light to splurge on. Just think of it the same way you budget your normal life. Sometimes you have to use someone else’s Hulu account because you need to Uber to walkable destinations multiple times a week. Unless you’re as crafty as Lauren Conrad pretends to be on Instagram, you’ll never be able to DIY an entire wedding and make it actually fun. Here are a few areas of your wedding you really shouldn’t cheap out on.
I mean, if you’re going to spam our Instagram feeds with pictures from your “best day ever” on every Throwback Thursday until we die or an apocalypse wipes out our internet connection, they better be good. Even if a marriage doesn’t last forever, the photos will. Hire someone who knows what they’re doing and can find your angles, and not just your one friend with a DSLR and a mild Instagram following. Plus, everyone knows that in 2018, an event is a total waste if you don’t get good photos, so your entire wedding will be pointless if not documented properly. Sorry, I don’t make the rules.
2. Spray Tans
If you’re planning on getting a spray tan for your wedding, you better steer clear of every automated machine in town. Unless, of course, you have that photo of Ross Geller’s spray tan on your Pinterest board, in which case, I think we have bigger fish to fry. Spend a little more and have some chick with a handheld airbrush tool do it, because her skills are more reliable than your ability to count to three.
Oh, some girl from your high school writes #MUA on all her Instagram captions and is involved in a makeup multilevel marketing scheme? Don’t do it. Your wedding day is not the time to start blindly trusting people you vaguely know. Your wedding is basically just a long day of photographs followed by a long night of drinking with some sporadic crying mixed in, so hire a damn professional who can keep your lewk fresh for the entire event.
A bad invitation will have people talking shit about your wedding long before it even happens. I’m not saying you need to invest in a bunch of handmade silk boxes that doves fly out of, but try to avoid doing these yourself (you don’t want the extra stress, anyway). Look for a stationer with lots of paper options and printing methods, and you’ll be able to get a solid design for less than you think. And for the love of god, don’t even think about handwriting anything.
I know that like, every rom com in history has some joke about altering your body instead of altering the wedding gown, but like… why bother? Unless you’re super into the idea of sweating for the wedding (ew), just find a bomb-ass seamstress that can make your dress fit you perfectly. As a bride, you have enough pressure on you as it is. Don’t make it worse for yourself.
6. Cocktail Hour
If your reception is in a different venue than your ceremony, your guests will prob hate you forever if you don’t feed them well and liquor them up upon their arrival. You also better make sure they have appropriate seating, because everyone will either have uncomfortable shoes on, or like, will be old. There’s nothing worse than a bunch of uncomfortable, grouchy, hungry sober guests, so don’t scrimp when it comes to cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.
Speaking of uncomfortable shoes… don’t buy them for yourself. It’s okay to get a cheap pair to wear as a guest, but you really won’t want to have your entire honeymoon ruined because your feet are covered in blisters and you can’t wear cute sandals or have your feet in saltwater.
Images: Giphy (3)