How I’m Shedding For The Wedding

As a bride-to-be, I notice there is an insane amount of pressure for brides to look the best we’ve ever looked in our entire lives on our wedding day.

As much as I am on board with looking beyond weight and physical appearance for worthiness and happiness, I’ll admit that I’ve been feeling some internal pressure to look as good as possible when I get married in June.

That anxiety was amplified when a family member told me that if I kept working out the way I was, that “my arms wouldn’t look skinny for the wedding.” (Ouch.)

Suddenly I started to worry that maybe I should be working harder to get skinnier for the wedding.

Would I regret having noticeable arm muscles when I look at photos in the years to come?

Would I wish that I had tried harder to lose body fat by dieting before the big day?

Wouldn’t my dress look better if I had a flatter stomach or less fat on my hips?

Will I feel anxiety about my physical appearance on my wedding night?

Um, NO.

My fear took my thoughts in some really ridiculous directions, but luckily I was able to recognize quickly that no, my wedding experience would probably not be impacted whatsoever if I were to lose another few percentages of body fat.

There are some things that I DO want to shed before the wedding though. (And it’s not body fat.)

I want to shed PERFECTIONISM and any unreasonable expectations I have around the wedding and our relationship.

I want to relax about the wedding and realize that it may not go 100% smoothly, and that’s okay. The most important things that will make the day special are all going to be there – friends, family, and the marriage commitment itself.

Perfectionism during the wedding planning process is only going to make me nuts and probably won’t impact the enjoyment of the day for everyone, myself included.

Also, while my fiancé is an unbelievably incredible man… he’s not a cartoon Disney prince. He’s not perfect. Holding him up to an impossible standard of perfection is not only totally unfair to him but a quick way to feel disappointed when he falls short.

It also makes me feel like I have to be perfect too, despite the fact my fiancé has never pressured me in any way to change or be better or different than I already am.

Our wedding is not about me looking perfect, or my fiancé saying the perfect things to me in the weeks leading up to it, or having the perfect vendors.

Our wedding is about this amazing loving relationship we’ve cultivated over the past year, our commitment to spend the rest of our lives together, and the excitement of starting this new and exciting life stage with an incredibly supportive, kind, and loving man by my side.

So perfectionism needs to go.

I also want to shed IMPATIENCE.

Being in a yearlong long distance relationship from day one of meeting my fiancé has been rough. Every time a visit ends I seriously question how I’m going to deal with it anymore.

It’s exhausting trying to cultivate a deep relationship when you only see the person about once or twice a month.

Yet it is so worth the effort for a nourishing, healthy relationship. And it’s actually really good to learn how to connect with someone when all you have is the words you exchange via phone.

While I’ll love having quiet time with my future husband when we live together, knowing we can talk about literally anything and share our vulnerable thoughts and feelings has been the biggest blessing of this long distance, and probably the main reason I fell in love in the first place.

So even though I’m SO OVER the distance, I can be grateful for it and patient in the waiting. (And God knows I need to learn more patience.)

Most of all, I want to shed FEAR.

Fear says that loving and committing 100% to someone is too risky and that I’m better off alone.

Fear says that my body isn’t good enough and needs to be better to have the wedding of my dreams.

Fear says that my relationship will change once I’m married and we’ll no longer put the effort into maintaining our emotional and spiritual intimacy.

Fear says that somehow I’m going to screw this all up.

Having some fear before major life transitions is normal and arguably healthy – if you’re not a little afraid of making this type of commitment and life change, you’re probably not fully aware of the importance of the decision you’re about to make.

However unhealthy fear from the inner critic is only there to prevent me from taking risks, from being vulnerable, from opening myself up to the deep intimacy and love that God designed a husband and wife to experience together.

So while I’m not expecting to feel completely fearless and serene in the weeks leading up to the wedding, I want to acknowledge the fact that fear in transitional periods is normal, and not allow my inner critic to project that fear onto my body, my worthiness as a woman, my relationship with my future husband, or my excitement about the wedding day itself.

So that’s what I’ll be shedding for the wedding.

Perfectism.

Impatience.

Fear.

All of that to make room for more LOVE.

Are you a bride-to-be struggling with the pressure? Or, if you’ve already gotten married, how did you handle the stress of wanting to look perfect on your wedding day? What advice do you have on how to best enjoy the day?  

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  1. The months leading up to my wedding were so stressful (finishing my BS, job stress, switching jobs, getting ready to move, planning the wedding, family drama around the wedding, and the long-distance relationship – took its toll (after years of chronic stress). I was thrown into adrenal dysfunction (I didn’t know what was happening to me). Needless to say….I gained 12 lbs before my wedding. I still looked great though. It was what it was….I didn’t have control over what my body was doing to protect itself. So….I’m in full support of all the things you are focusing on during this time in your life.

    1. I feel you on the family drama… and I’m sure you’d agree that a long distance engagement isn’t for the faint of heart!

  2. I´m trying to recover from HPA-axis dysregulation and dealing with financial stress while planning a wedding so definitely feeling the pressure ! Not so much about my body looking a certain way actually, but just feeling afraid of what my health will be like in July when I´m getting married. I have been struggling with HPA-axis dysregulation for five years when I had a burnout (and another the year after) and while planning a wedding is sort of “positive” stress (I mean, I am very excited about it), it can still be overwhelming when the brain gets so easily overstimulated and I get physically and mentally exhausted. We´re having a simple and affordable wedding since we don´t have a lot of money but still a lot to think about. I´m just trying to focus on the positive, like how good I will feel on our wedding day, trying not to worry about not feeling well. The main thing is that we actually get married and that we and the guests are having a good time. Just hoping I won´t have a breakdown after the wedding is over 🙂 My fiancé and me also had a long distance relationship before he moved here last fall, so I know the challenges of that situation. But it will feel so good when you´re finally able to wake up next to him every morning <3

    I will try to focus on shedding those same things, that is something I really need. Good luck with the wedding preparations! <3

  3. Oh, the pressure to have everything about the wedding be perfect! My daughter and fiance’s wedding was in March. Neither of them stressed much over everything being perfect. Maybe because they were both a little older, a little wiser? Maybe because they grew up hearing their parents fondly and laughingly reminiscing about the screw ups that happened at our weddings? There will, inevitably, be something that goes wrong, something that doesn’t go as planned, some mishap that occurs. Thirty-seven years after our wedding, neither my husband or I could tell you details about the decorations or the food and we’re a little iffy on what flavor the icing on the cake was. But we can tell you what our song was….we danced to it at our daughter’s wedding. He will tell you that I was beautiful and I will tell you how handsome he was. He’ll tell how his mama cried and I will tell you how my father trembled like a leaf in a high wind as he walked me down the aisle. We will tell you how we promised to respect and honor and love one another for the rest of our lives and how we love each other exponentially more today than we did the day we wed. We’ll tell you about the funny screw ups during the wedding and reception and so will all of our friends and loved ones so were there and laugh about them.

    What you will never hear from us is that we weren’t skinny enough or too skinny. That we weren’t buff enough or didn’t have six pack abs. That we should have lost or gained a few more pounds. We loved each other just as we were then…..and just as we are today. We remember the joy.

  4. A superb piece of writing Laura, full of wisdom and insight. May your wedding day be everything you wish for it to be xx

  5. Love it!!! You are focusing on the important things. It will be amazing!! Lots of love to you and yours. 🙂

  6. You are wise beyond your years. The typical ‘bridezilla’ show shows an unhealthy fascination with the perfect fairytale. What happens when the fairytale ends and your prince isn’t what your perfect dream wished for? You are smart to focus on what really matters. Photos are great, music and food are fun, 20 years from now are you going to worry about them? Nope. But what I am thankful is that my husband puts me and our kids first. He cares for me during my many medical and mental health issues. He is faithful and true and love me 70 pounds heavier. . . No question I’d rather have a prince who sticks with me than a Prince Charming who really is a frog!

    1. There’s a lot of pressure to have a perfect wedding but I’m trying to keep my expectations reasonable! My fiancé is being so supportive through the whole thing that I even feel guilty being stressed sometimes! :-p

  7. Hello Laura
    As we get close to celebrating our milestone 25th year together (23 Married) your article has caused me to pause and reflect.
    We may stumble, we may at times come close to breaking, we may even questions why we are together at all, but at the end of the day knowing we are there for each other is the greatest gift I could ever have received. Each day I feel blessed to have met my wife and for the years that we have shared and what is ahead for us. For Example: As I write this I am in a Hospital bed after suffering a TIA. My lovely wife has just left after a visit, she has traveled 1 1/2 hours just to see me. Unfortunately I have had to do the same for her over the past few years. But for the one’s we love, its no chore.
    Cherish each other, enjoy each day with each other and when times are hard and you are fighting like mad, remember what drew you together in the first instance.
    Best Wishes for your upcoming big day.
    Sincerely
    David & Suzanne Meakin
    Tasmania Australia

  8. Amen, sweetheart. There is no such thing as perfection. The book I’ve been reading, titled, “The Best Yes”, says that “Perfection is an illusion.” And fear and impatience are it’s groupies. You’re beautiful just the way you are!

  9. I guarantee you that you won’t regret a single effort to “shed” your desire for perfection, impatience, and fear. But, knowing just a little of your back story and sharing some common ground with you (I’m also a functional medicine minded dietitian with a history of body dissatisfaction, etc.), can I just tell you something even better??

    As you grow in your marriage relationship, and let your man shower you with affection and affirmation, at some point, you’ll actually believe more of his thoughts about you and your body than your own. I remember being very newly married and my husband telling me, “Let me be your mirror.” And I did – or at least, I tried to….over time, I got better and better at it, and I’m so grateful to say that I have an entirely different and healthier-than-ever relationship with my body because I chose to believe his words rather than the voices I had allowed to dominate my thoughts for far too long.

    Exciting times ahead! Many blessings on your wedding and your marriage!

  10. Amen! Going through the same things myself. Wishing you a calm, happy, and gratifying next few weeks as you get closer to your wedding date, and that you’re able to be fully present during your big day to enjoy every moment!