There has never been as much emphasis on brides to make every detail of the wedding day "picture perfect" as there is in our present culture – especially in dealing with their own appearance. Pressure to look a certain way, to be able to fit into that "perfect" size dress, and to adhere to a specific standard of beauty continues to increase. Often times this pressure becomes extreme, leading to harmful behaviors to obtain that end result, including excessive exercise and severe restriction of caloric intake and certain food groups. It has become just as easy to access and sign up for the local "Bridal Boot Camp" and other fitness programs that support extreme weight loss regimens, as it is to find a florist, band, or photographer.
As a recent bride myself, I was shocked at how widespread this phenomenon is, even going as far as having its own hashtags (#shreddingforthewedding) trying to legitimize this often self-destructive behavior, all as part of an attempt to attain a goal that forgets about the love and beauty of the couple that is being celebrated.
To help brides-to-be avoid these risks and hold onto what is most meaningful during this planning process, discover these tips:
1. Steer clear of extreme dieting (i.e. cutting out entire food groups, reducing caloric intake to dangerously low amounts, etc.). This can compromise the immune system, affect mood and concentration, and cause irritability during a time in your life that's supposed to be fun! The bride is always the most beautiful person on the big day, no matter what.
2. Be cautious when engaging in exercise routines. It’s better to stick with whatever you were doing when you fell in love and decided to get married – it worked and it’s more important to sustain your energy and health than anything else! Try walking with friends a few times a week or attending a yoga class in your neighborhood. It will help you connect to your body in a healthy and positive way, without leaving you feeling depleted.
3. When selecting your wedding dress, focus on picking a gown that you not only love the look of, but also feel comfortable in! Bring your family and friends along to the dress fitting to have their support and positive feedback to help you with your decision and block out any negativity that might come from that process.
4. Surround yourself – and welcome advice – from the people who know you and love you. Be cautious of people who might just be trying to sell you anything that will lead you away from the fun, love, good company, and great memories that your wedding will bring.
Opening photo by Ahava Studios