I spend a lot of time dissecting the beauty industry (you know, by going to beauty school, making fun of their press releases, and so on). But if you’re in a certain mid-20s to early-30s age bracket like me and my friends, chances are you’re also spending a hell of a lot of time navigating the wedding industry. Which is its own very special breed of insanity. When I got married two years ago, I worried a lot about my weight, my teeth and my makeup. And my best friend Amy was the voice of reason about one thousand times. (Amy is also the deputy editor of ReadyMade Magazine, so you might remember her from this post last week, about my house.)
Now she’s getting married in almost exactly one month — yippee! — so it’s my turn to try to say helpful things.
And since we’re both magazine folk, this particularly unhelpful press release landed in our inboxes at the same minute yesterday and I told Amy she had to go to town on it, guest post-style, for y’all.
So here we go.
By Amy Palanjian of Things We Make
As someone who is a mere month away from my wedding, getting a press release that starts with these words in my inbox is enough to make me royally mad:
BRIDAL BOOT CAMP- DO IT IN 12 WEEKS OR DO IT IN 6, JUST DO IT!
You’ve got your dream man and the to-die for dress…now what’s left? That drop dead body you’ve always wanted. Your wedding pictures will go down in Facebook history so do yourself (and your body) a favor.
Let me start by saying that this press release came from a company that I, on any other day, would say that I really respect. They are big proponents of mind-body fitness and provide excellent spa services. I have paid them good sums of money in the past. But this makes me want to throw things.
As a bride, there are “worry about your body” messages coming from all sides. You get it when you’re buying your dress if you go the conventional bridal salon route. (Though it is possible to circumvent that — like if you’re willing to spend 120 hours embroidering your dress
… what? I like to sew.) You get it in every bridal magazine as you read about how to have perfect, flawless skin on your big day. You get it when buying shoes (will they elongate your calves? Help you stand up straight?), scheduling hair appointments, considering styles of photography. You can’t escape it. And it’s pretty much impossible to get through wedding planning feeling all that great about yourself — or at least, without succumbing to occasional doubts of blinding worry about how you will look in front of everyone.
But you know what none of that striving for perfection will address? What sweating your way to someone else’s definition of perfection won’t deal with?
How you feel, deep down, about yourself as you walk down the aisle.
How you feel, deep down, about the person with whom you are making your vows to.
Who, exactly, you are losing the weight for—and why. And what those answers mean for you and your sense of self.
How you will feel about yourself if you try to lose weight for your big day but either you don’t or it’s not as much as someone told you that you should be able to lose.
How to create a day for yourself and your betrothed that honors you both from the inside out. A day that will be amazing and loving, regardless of how many inches you will be able to say you had taken in from your dress at the last minute.
What happens after the wedding, when your marriage begins.
I’ll admit that I’ve had a lot of thoughts about how I will look standing up in front of a crowd. It’s hard not to go there. The bride is supposed to be the center of attention, after all! But even still, it is possible to make it about more than that. My fiance and I worked hard to plan an intimate ceremony so that the people who will be there are the people who love us most. I worked with a dress company
which handmade my dress (which is stretchy and forgiving AND beautiful) and which doesn’t have a size label on it at all. And I’ve been exercising to help myself stay calm and grounded, knowing that if I have regular physical exercise and I eat a balanced diet, I will look exactly how I am meant to look a month from now.
Because I have learned, from watching many close friends and family get married, that the thing I will really be paying attention to when I get to the end of the aisle are my vows. And being present in the moment when I will promise all sorts of hard and amazing things to the man I love. That is what I think will matter most.
Not how my triceps look as I hold my bouquet.
And I would love to find a way to filter out the media who keep trying to tell me otherwise.
Thoughts? Anyone else facing down the bridal boot camp pressure right now?
[Photo: That’s Amy making my sash look all pretty before my wedding, by Anita Soos. Soon we’ll have another picture just like that, except she’ll be the one in the white dress and I won’t be tying any bows because I’m not too good at that. PS. If you’d rather see a picture of Amy and her cute fiance, go here.]