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Bridal Body Pressures

I started 2009 in the most beautiful of ways. I got married.  Having just settled into being ok about being a Bridget Jones singleton forever, falling in love and getting married came as a surprise.  Planning the day was a great experience except for one small detail. 
How was I going to get skinny?
Like most women living in a western world I have not been immune to body image, dieting and weight pressures.  As a hopefully worldlier woman in my thirties, I now feel a considerable deal less vulnerable to such pressure, but being a bride sure did test my ‘worldliness.’
Shopping for my dress was an average experience.  I was not permitted to have much of an opinion about what suited me.  I was steered towards what I can only describe as meringues or frosted cake ensembles that were supposedly meant to ‘disguise’ my bottom and hip area. Hmmmmm.
In one upmarket boutique I was asked if I had plans to lose weight and in another it was ‘do you think you might tone up?’  The pressure was building as the wedding world convinced me that I needed to lose weight to look and feel my best on my big day. Every magazine, chat room or blog I looked at was saturated with dieting tips and articles on how to be a ‘hot and skinny’ bride.  It was difficult to resist and I started to linger longer in front of the mirror in the morning, wondering whether I needed to do something about what appeared to be a drastic situation.  I was not, and never have been, naturally thin.  Did the success of my entire day hinge on this?
While the marketing machine of the wedding world may have been trying to tell me so, the whole thing was of course insidious and nothing more than an attempt to get me to spend more money on things such as ‘Bridal Boot Camp,’ the ‘Skinny Bride Diet’ and various forms of expensive magic knickers that were supposedly going to help me lose kilo’s in an instant.  It was all very hard to resist but was superbly helped by finding a dressmaker who actually listened to me and what I wanted.
While I felt incredibly beautiful and happy on my day, it deeply saddens me that Britt Pulton, 29, will never experience her own, after dying from bulimia just months away from her wedding date.  Britt had suffered from a long standing eating disorder that was exacerbated by workplace bullying.  I can only assume that Britt’s anxiety was also not helped by her impending day and the pressure that society places on women to look nothing less than perfect.  I am incredibly sorry for Britt’s loss but wish to thank her and her family for inspiring me to write this blog post.
If you are a bride, a bridesmaid or simply on a journey to a big occasion where you want to look your beautiful best – here are a few tips.
Crash diets are disastrous and dangerous. They will make you hungry, moody, and sap your skin of vital moisture. They can also set you on a fast path to an eating disorder. Please avoid.

Have confidence that no-one knows your body the way you do. If you want a certain look, don’t let anyone persuade you otherwise.

Be wary of bridal magazines. They are expensive and while useful for ideas and inspiration, they can also be a source of insipid marketing designed to make you feel you must look, act and be a certain way to be a ‘real’ bride.

Remember that your fiancée is marrying you not for the way you look, but for who you are – your soul, your heart, yourself. They are lucky to have you.

Do remember that this is just one day of your life. It’s an important one, but don’t place so much pressure on yourself about your weight, appearance and that dress that you become anxious, irritable and upset. You are worth more than that.

The most beautiful brides and indeed people, are the ones that radiate love and confidence. Be yourself and you will be beautiful.

Lastly – this is me with my divine husband Glenn on our special day.  I think I scrubbed up more than ok with not a meringue or frosted cake in sight.

9 people have commented
  1. Claire Mysko says:

    Great post, Julie. And for the record, you looked amazing. I LOVE that dress.

  2. Elizabeth Patch says:

    a wonderful blog and a beautiful bride!

  3. Andrea says:

    Congrats newlywed! I can relate, my ED came in full force before my wedding to my first husband. I don't even recognize myself in the pictures anymore.

  4. Jenny says:

    What a wonderful post Julie. Thank you for reminding us all that we are all beautiful no matter was size or shape we are and that the person we marry is marrying us for our heart, soul and connection that is shared.

    You look so gorgeous, happy and at peace in your photo's. Congratulations!

  5. Robin says:

    What a great post! Very inspirational and makes you realize a marriage is not about the wedding. You look beautiful.

  6. Julie Parker says:

    Thank you to you all for your kind comments and feedback about this post and my blog as well. The encouragement is so appreciated.

    Julie xo

  7. serene bean says:

    I attended two weddings this year as a bridesmaid (I am already married, but didn't go through the hassle of a wedding, which was a bit of a blessing, really!). The first wedding, that of my best friend, showcased what you described… she had her dress handmade, but still took diet pills every day.

    The second wedding, that of my new sister-in-law, posed problems for me as a bridesmaid. It's tough when you have no choice of bridesmaid dress and are across the country and can't try it on first… just order what you hope will be the right size. At the time I was feeling good about my body, but knew I was going to have to fit into this dress since I couldn't return it in time for the wedding. So I hoped and prayed it would fit. Luckily it did, but with the help of "magic underwear" and I'm short, so I had to have about a foot of fabric cut off.

    Bridesmaids also have a ton of stress to face on the special day of those getting married…

    After seeing my distress, my next friend getting married decided she wanted to celebrate all her bridesmaids' unique shapes and decided we could pick our own dress as long as it was black… whew! Thank you!

    I think wedding woes about going on diets is a shame… we have more important things to think about on that special day, including being appreciated by the man who loves us for who we are!

    By the way, Julie, your wedding pics are GORGEOUS!!!

  8. Julie says:

    Serene Bean – Thank you so much. That means a great deal. LOVE the idea of getting bridesmaids to choose their own dresses. I allowed my one maid of honour to do the same.

  9. This is probably one of the best mentions of this topic I’ve seen in quite a while. It’s obvious that your knowledge of the subject is deep and this made for a very interesting read.. Just stumbled upon your website while doing a Google search. Great info BTW. great outstanding awesome.

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