When C and I first met we were 21 years old. I was a recent college grad with severe self-esteem issues and some version of disordered eating meets overexercise meets major body image troubles. It wasn’t a great look.
Nevertheless, C seemed to see past these things and we pretty quickly fell head-over-heels. Despite a border between us (and a couple months of “self-exploration” on opposite coasts), we went from pen-pals to “official” after spending 10 days together. On day 11 he told me he wanted to marry me.
286131831 days later he finally asked…but who’s counting?!
Hindsight is always 20-20 and while I’ll admit that at times I wondered why C took 6 years to ask, I now totally understand why. When we met at 21 we had a lot of growing up to do. Together we’ve navigated 1st jobs, 2nd jobs, 3rd jobs, and me quitting my job. We moved in together, moved across the continent together and in between totalled a car together. We watched a dog for a year, got our own dog and have spent all 6 years resisting not buying a zoo (a pipe dream but who knows?!). C has supported this blog, worked for the blog and more often than not, has to be reminded to read the blog. But while these milestones are easy-to-remember, it’s the small moments that happened in between that remind me why it was important that we waited.
I’ll never forget crying into C’s arms one year on Halloween because I felt too fat in my dress (I was a completely delusional 114 pounds). Or when he took me home from the gym after 20 minutes because my body started to shut down on me. But especially when we lay on a hotel bed in Montreal and I explained to C how I finally was starting to feel comfortable in my skin, even as my body changed.
We have grown both emotionally and physically over the past 6 years, and through it all he has been by my side.
So when I think about our wedding day, a day I have been looking forward to since that cold Minnesota night when C first took me home to his family and he told me he was going to marry me, I want my physical body to reflect all of these experiences.
6 years ago I would have frantically gone on a crash diet to prepare for my wedding day, and probably spent all the days after wondering if I looked thin enough. I would have picked myself apart to a point where the fun and excitement of of getting to celebrate our love with our favorite people would have been lost.
But I’m not that recent college grad with severe self-esteem issues and some version of disordered eating meets overexercise meets major body image troubles anymore. While I certainly have my days, I’m far more confident in my own skin than even I could have imagined. I am a woman who feels far more compelled to take up more space than to push myself to extremes to take up less.
I’m the biggest I’ve ever been, but I’m also the happiest I’ve ever been.
I’ve also had 6 years of practice navigating our weight-phobic world. My fear is not for how I’ll react to the incessant pressure to be my smallest on my wedding day, but for the millions of women who haven’t had this practice. I know how to speak to a tailor about fitting to my body size now, not for some future size, or to look for a photographer who says absolutely nothing about my body. In the same way that I can ignore people checking their apple watches for calories burned or the fitness instructor telling me to crunch for that bikini body.
Some of you may not be there yet, or maybe you’ve never struggled with your body image but suddenly all the pressure from your upcoming wedding is bringing up these thoughts.
If so, this post is for you. So hear me out:
You do not need to lose weight for your wedding. You do not need to take up less space to be a beautiful bride.
Your wedding weight is whatever weight you weigh on your wedding day, not some arbitrary number you might as well have picked out of a hat.
You will look beautiful on your wedding day, no matter what weight you’re at.
So what will I be doing to prepare for my wedding day?
I’ll be working on reducing my stress. Weddings are stressful. There are opinions, planning and all sorts of logistics to finalize. And I won’t pretend like I haven’t cried at least 3 times about it. But I’m trying to remind myself that this is supposed to be a happy occasion and not just a relief after months of planning.
So instead I’m journalling, taking a self-acceptance course, spending time with C and Bodhi, going for facials to care for my skin, nourishing my body with everything from kale to wine and moving my body in a way that makes it feel awesome.
I’m taking care of me. I’m doing things that help raise me up, not tear me down.
I very well could put on 100 lbs before our wedding. And if that’s the case, so be it. It will be a journey C and I can navigate together. More likely, I will remain the exact same weight I’ve been for the last few years (I don’t own a scale so I’m guessing here) because I finally have found a lifestyle that is actually sustainable. A lifestyle that doesn’t involve calories or scales or last-minute alterations because I finally lost those “last 5 pounds”.
A lifestyle that I can share with the partner I chose, and who chose me for the rest of our lives.
*all photos by Bettina Bogar
Did you or do you feel pressured by the wedding industry? More than anything, please send this to a bride who could use this message!
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