I am getting married in just a few short months, and I couldn’t be more excited. I have honestly loved every bit of planning involved with the wedding, however I can’t say that I’ve loved my experience with all the vendors, advertisers, marketing, and media associated with the wedding industry. Weddings have become a huge business, and there’s an insane amount of pressure put on women as they prepare to walk down the aisle with regards to appearance: the decorations, the hair, the makeup, the dress, and especially “getting in shape” for the wedding.
Of course, I’ve spent hours daydreaming over the past few months about how I’ll get ready on the morning of the wedding. My “hair trial” is coming up soon, and I can’t wait to see how I’ll look when the beautiful hairstyles I’ve seen on Pinterest are on me. But in addition to hairstyles and dresses, the internet is overrun with advertisements for workout regimes, eating plans, and the one I see most often (totally throwing them under the bus because I think it’s horrible) is the “noom diet” which claims to ‘help you lose weight so you can look beautiful for your big day.’ I hate, HATE, hAtE, h8 that message in every way.
I have never once doubted that my fiance finds me beautiful. He also has never indicated that the only reason he is attracted to me is because if the size and shape of my body. The wedding industry teaches the exact opposite, though, and makes a big deal about looking perfect at the wedding because it’s one of the most important days of a person’s life. While I certainly agree with the latter part, weddings are significant because of the promise that is being made, not because of how the bride and groom look.
Even though I firmly believe this with every ounce of my being, there have been times when those thoughts have started to creep into my mind. I don’t think it’s possible to really live in our culture without at least entertaining the idea of those thin ideals and dieting inclinations from time to time. It would be unreasonable to expect the temptation to never arise. However, we are able to choose not to act on them, and what helps in doing so is focusing on filling our minds with what is positive, true, and honoring to the bodies we’ve been given, and meditating on the meaning of the marriage.
My prayer in these last couple months, and especially when it’s a struggle to keep my thoughts in check, has been that I would be striving to embody the fullness of Christ rather than trying to whittle myself down into a thinner body. In a reflective post by Kylie from ImmaEatThat, she writes, “On my wedding day I remember being unhappy with my weight. How annoying is that? How annoying that it’s even a memory I have of my wedding day.” I’ve taken to heart what she wrote, and in addition to my own beliefs about the value of my life irrespective of my weight, I am striving to spend my engagement preparing to be the best possible wife rather than the thinnest possible human. I don’t want to look back on this time with regret, but rather with joy, nostalgia, and gratitude.
Even though I’m not following the “noom diet” or whatever else type of ridiculous weight loss plan, I am taking steps to prepare my body for the wedding, which includes sleeping enough, resting when I need to, eating satisfying foods to fuel my days, and soaking up every minute I can laughing with my friends, family, and future husband. I want to be energized, at peace, and fully present in mind, body, and spirit when I commit my life to him, and create memories that are filled with joy.
When I was shopping for my dress and finally made my decision, the store had a chalkboard sign I could hold that said, “I found the one!” I loved that, because instead of the focus being on the dress or anything else related to my appearance, it directed me towards my fiance, and the fact that I was (and am) head over heels in love, and ready to commit to him in every way for the rest of my life. In my opinion, our love will be the most beautiful piece of our wedding day, and I’m doing everything I can to prepare to represent that beauty, the beautiful miracle of marriage, when I say “I do.”
Being a woman in today’s society is hard, and it’s made even more difficult by the pressures put on brides. But even though it’s hard, I also believe that fighting against the lies of diet culture will be 100% worth it.