Table of Contents
There is so much pressure put on women to look a certain way on their wedding day. So instead of enjoying this special time, a lot of brides-to-be (understandably) start to panic and begin trying to figure out how to lose weight for the wedding. If you’re experiencing this, you are not alone!
Given the culture we live in, rife with anti-fat bias, I do not fault anyone for deciding to diet leading up to their wedding. But if you are willing to sit with some discomfort, and go against the mainstream tide of wedding ‘advice’, it is possible to feel comfortable and confident on your wedding day – no matter what your body size. Read on for a roundup of body-positive tips, advice, and wedding content that does not focus on weight loss.
First things first: if you are engaged, congratulations!
Making this commitment with your partner is a really special time in your life together.
Unfortunately, from the second most people – especially women – get engaged, they are inundated with scrutiny from family, friends, in-laws, and the world around them asking a million questions and giving unsolicited advice about how their wedding day should be.
This is also sadly true when it comes to weight and body size. I recently had a client tell me that her wedding dress tailor asked her, “What size do you plan to be on your wedding day?” without any prompting from my client. Talk about weight bias!
Luckily, she had been doing a lot of work on her own body image and so she was able to brush off that unsolicited comment fairly easily. But still, especially when you are trying to move away from dieting, all of the ‘wedding weight loss’ ads, social media posts, or comments can be a LOT. (Especially the sneaky ones that claim it’s a “lifestyle change” or just “a tone-up plan” and not a diet.)
If you’re experiencing this, you are not alone! There can be so much pressure about how you are supposed to look for your wedding, and it’s unfortunately difficult to avoid the topic of wedding weight loss, especially when it comes to women getting married.
The good news: if you are working on moving away from dieting and are working on finding more body acceptance, there are a lot of resources available to help support you in not feeling pressured to lose weight for your wedding.
Not Dieting Can Improve Your Wedding Planning Experience
Planning a wedding is stressful enough as it is! Planning a wedding while hungry only exacerbates that stress. When you’re not adequately nourishing your body it can be much harder to focus on all that you need to get done. Not to mention that dieting generally takes up so much brain space, making it even more difficult to juggle the neverending list of wedding planning tasks.
Not dieting leading up to your wedding can allow you to be more present during this amazing time in your life. The wedding day isn’t the only part of the process that can be enjoyable. The entire planning process, while often stressful, can also be more fun when dieting or worrying about food is not on the table.
Everything from picking out the cake, the food, the flowers, enjoying the engagement party, bridal shower, bachelor/bachelorette party, etc. (Also, do you really want to feel guilt or shame when you have the opportunity to go taste a bunch of amazing cakes?!)
Body Positive Wedding Dress Shopping Tips
Dresses are supposed to fit YOU, not the other way around. Unfortunately, many wedding dress stores only carry dresses in a limited amount of straight (aka small) sizes, which can make it a really challenging experience if you wear anything over a US size 8-10.
As a straight-sized person, I do not personally know what it’s like to go into a shop and not find something that fits me. So I’m including links out to several articles below written by and for people who have larger bodies, with advice and tips on body-positive dress shopping.
A few other ideas to reduce the stress from your dress shopping experience:
- If you plan on bringing people to your appointments, choose people that you trust with you shopping. If you plan to involve a family member or friend that doesn’t align with your wishes, enlist the others that are joining to keep an eye on them and intervene on your behalf if necessary (one of the best parts about getting married is that so many people are happy to help with anything that will relieve your stress!)
- Set boundaries at the store. Make it clear when shopping for dresses and when it is time for alterations that you are not losing weight to avoid unsolicited comments and questions.
- Order a dress or outfit in the size that you currently are. Bridal dresses can take at least 6 months to come in once the order is placed. If you order a size smaller than what fits you, you may end up spending that time worrying about the unknown of whether the dress will fit when it arrives. When in doubt, go up a size and know that with a good tailor, it can always be taken in.
If you live in the Seattle or Portland area, I’ve had several clients who had a wonderful experience at Blue Sky Bridal, a size-inclusive bridal store with a large and unique collection of dresses.
If you know of any other size-inclusive bridal stores, please comment below and we can include them in the blog post!
Wedding Content That Does Not Focus on Weight Loss
A big part of planning a wedding is looking online for inspiration. Instead of traditional wedding magazines, Pinterest posts or Instagram accounts that can make you feel that pressure, here are some suggestions for other ways to diversify your wedding content that do NOT focus on weight loss.
Note: to the best of my knowledge, I have included only resources that are weight-inclusive. However, I am not responsible for the content on these pages so if you come across something that feels “off” or unhelpful, feel free to skip it.
Free Facebook Group: Fat Positive Wedding Chat, Planning & Support
Do you have any other favorite diet culture-free wedding resources? Share with me below in the comments!
Bottom Line: You Don’t Have to Lose Weight For Your Wedding
As another one of my clients said to me recently:
“There is part of me that wishes I could be thinner for my wedding day. But at the same time, I want to look like – and feel like – me on wedding day. I want to be able to recognize myself. And when I look back at photos, I don’t want to feel guilt or shame for no longer looking like that (since I know that weight loss is never long-lasting).”
Given the pressure that so many women face, I do not fault anyone for deciding to diet leading up to their wedding. But if you are able to sit with some discomfort (and have the support to do so), and go against the mainstream tide of wedding ‘advice’, it is possible to feel comfortable and confident on your wedding day – no matter what your body size.
At the end of the day, your wedding is about you and your partner – not about anyone else. The day is about celebrating your love with your partner. And remember, your partner is marrying you for who YOU are, not some other unrealistic “ideal” of what we are conditioned to believe women “should” look like.
Looking for more support?
Check out my Unapologetic Eating 101 Course, an online, self-paced program to liberate yourself from dieting and make peace with food and your body.
My team and I also offer virtual one-on-one nutrition therapy and body image healing support: learn more about our virtual nutrition coaching packages.
My book, Unapologetic Eating: Make Peace with Food and Transform Your Life, is also a great resource that includes information, research, and reflection prompts to help you move away from dieting and come back home to your body, so you can live your most unapologetic, liberated life.
This article was written and reviewed by Alissa Rumsey, MS, RD, CSCS, a registered dietitian and Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor. She specializes in weight-inclusive care, intuitive eating, body image healing, mindfulness, self-compassion, and healing from chronic dieting, disordered eating, and eating disorders. Alissa holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition and Exercise Science, and a Master’s Degree in Health Communications, and is also an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.