A Washingtonian Wedding: Wedding Weight Watching

There’s this desire within women to be pin-thin on their wedding day. Whether it’s innate or runway-model-fueled is up for debate, but Emily knows she feels the pull.

I found my wedding dress on a Saturday morning, and that day I also found myself trying to talk down my wedding dress size. The bridal consultant wrapped me in a measuring tape and before I knew it sized me at an eight. Hmmm. In my mind’s eye, I was seeing myself on the wedding day as a size four. This eight business was just not going to go down.

I told the bridal consultant that earlier that morning I had gobbled a plateful of pancakes. My mom had been at brunch, and even she looked at me skeptically. So I tried another tactic. “Well, Mom, you know I’m training for a marathon, and whenever I train for a run, I get skinnier.” The bridal consultant—kindly, of course—replied that my rib cage wouldn’t shrink from a run or even fully digested pancakes. So that was that; they ordered me a size eight.

A friend asked in jest whether I was going to join the ranks of the brideorexics—a bride who diets drastically, even dangerously, in the months, weeks, or days leading up to the Big Day. A New York Times health blog I read quoted a study that found that more than 70 percent of brides-to-be want to lose weight before their wedding day, and more than one third of them would resort to fasting and diet pills. Yikes!

I have yet to meet a woman who doesn’t agonize over her body, or at the very least dislike some part of it. Combine this with the growing reality of a runway (the church aisle) with guests looking on and pictures that will find permanent homes in silver frames on mantles, and you can see quite clearly how the brideorexic is created.

One evening after work as I pounded away on the treadmill, I flipped to an article in Vogue called “The no-exercise diet,” which recounted an avid exerciser’s struggles in giving up workouts, quitting regimented fitness routines. The conclusion: little to no change in her body and a lot more free time to actually live life. The writer now seems to advocate just three workouts a week.

Women—American women in particular (me included)—tend to have unhealthy relationships with food and exercise. In the past and even sometimes now, I’ve had to fight the guilt that comes with eating or not fitting in a run or workout. It’s completely ridiculous, obsessive even, but I definitely can relate to brides who get fixated on their wedding-day weight.

I think it’s right to want to completely floor your groom with radiant beauty on your wedding day. Definitely. But he asked you to marry him. He loves you and thinks you are the most beautiful woman in the world. And it would be awful to begin a marriage with all these unhealthy eating/working-out habits you willingly inflicted on yourself. Why not instead start developing a healthy lifestyle for both of you?

The pretty spring weather makes it easy to be healthy. Drew’s been so patient in teaching me tennis and showing me the right way to pump iron, and we’re also running and hiking together, as well as experimenting with different foods in the kitchen. It’s been great, and a departure from the constant eating guilt and workout anxiety.

So by the time our August 30th wedding rolls around, I think I’ll be in the perfect-for-me, bride-ready shape to walk down the aisle to my man.

And, by the way, I’m no longer training for that marathon.


Emily, a Washington bride-to-be, writes every Friday about planning her wedding, which will be in Nashville this fall. To follow her adventures from the beginning, click here.

To read the latest Bridal Party blog posts, click here