The Day I Decided to Be a Fat Bride


Shedding hate, not weight

by Emily Hill

fat bride body image wedding

Today, I decided I am going to be a fat bride. Rather, my body has been deciding this for a few years, but today, I accepted that I am going to be a fat bride. I got engaged a year ago, and the whole time (as well as my entire teenage and adult life) I have been trying to lose weight. Sometimes I am successful; I have a stretch of a few months where I am eating a balanced diet and exercising a healthy amount. Last February after getting engaged, I lost around twenty pounds before our engagement party that spring. I continued to lose another twenty pounds that summer—well on my way to be a slimmer bride in a year—I was doing it!

Then, like many times before, I got off track. Then I got on track, then off track. After the new year, I got back on track, with new ambition and fire and commitment. In January and February I lost weight and was feeling great about at least being able to salvage some of my previous progress and get to my new goal weight. Every month it seems I am constantly setting a new goal weight—what is “realistically” achievable by my wedding day.

This past week, I again fell off track, rather hard. As anyone who has tried to lose weight may know, sometimes the more you try desperately to lose the weight, the more it backfires. I am well aware of this, but it’s my wedding, and my brain is telling me I have to do everything possible to get this weight off of me so I look flawlessly beautiful on May 25.

I had two hysterical crying sessions this week—can’t get your breath, falling to the floor, wailing at the top of your lungs crying sessions. All because I fell off that damn wagon, and I’m getting married in three months—there is no time for falling off the wagon if I am going to look halfway decent. I was in a tizzy all week because of this and so angry with myself. Being a fat bride (a really fat bride) is not the way I saw this whole thing shaking down.

I’m ashamed to admit that the closer we get to the wedding day with me not losing weight, the more anxious I feel about the whole situation. Anxious and not excited. In my dreams, I am the belle of the ball at my wedding. I am slim and gorgeous and am happy to be so slim and gorgeous. I want everyone to take their picture with me because I am so hot and slim and confident about my body—my confidence is exuding out of me and everyone wants to be me. With three months to go, it is clear that at the very least, I am not going to be slim. I already had to give up my ideal wedding dress and just go for something that looked good on my plus size body. I’ve been angry about that for a while, and feigned excitement about my wedding dress to most people because that is what they expect. The thing is, I do really love my dress. Out of all the dresses I tried on (around ten), this one spoke to me the most. The sad part about it is that the whole time I was trying dresses on, I couldn’t stop imagining myself in my dream dress (which, really, only looks good on the skinniest of gals). I was never able to get excited about my dress because I was living under this cloud of hate and resentment toward my body for not allowing me to wear the dress of my dreams.

Until today, I have been feeling the same thing about my wedding day. I have not been able to get one hundred percent excited because I have been living under the fear of not losing the weight I want to lose. I have been planning my wedding with anger that I am not going to be my ideal body size at my wedding. There is so much pressure in life regarding image anyway, but your wedding is the ultimate “image” day. It is on this day that you are to feel your most beautiful, your best self. I only get this wedding day once, I have to look my absolute best. I have been telling myself that I need to lose weight because I want to feel confident and beautiful on my wedding day and I want to be proud that I did everything in my power to look my best. These pictures will be in our home forever! They will be passed down to our children and grandchildren and oh my god I cannot be obese in them.

Today, though, I decided to not give a damn. Today, and from here on out, I refuse to let my body size determine my happiness and excitement for my wedding day. I will be a fat bride. I will be a fat, happy bride. My children and grandchildren will look at our wedding pictures and think, “Wow, they are sooooo happy!” I am choosing to embrace this body now, because if I don’t, in those wedding pictures I will look fat and unhappy.

So, on my wedding day, my arms will be fat and pale. They will be wobbly when I dance. There will be back fat involved, and you will see it spilling out a little at the top of the back of my dress. I tried hard with those “Banish back/bra bulge with these five moves!” workouts I keep pinning on Pinterest, but there’s fat on my back, and you will see it. It will be in the pictures, and that is okay. You might even be able to see my belly in my dress. I have a fat tummy. I will still try to suck it in with Spanx, but my tummy will still be fat and there’s not much I can do about that now. I may have a little bit of a double chin, but there will also be a big, fat smile right above that chin. That is what I choose to focus on now. That smile.

My vow to myself is that from here on out, I do nothing but love my body. If that means I eat balanced and work out three to four times a week, great. If that means I eat a pint of ice cream while watching Survivor, that’s fine, too. These last three months before my wedding will be a different type of losing weight for me. I am going to work on losing the weight of the hate, resentment, and fear that have shaped my relationship with my body for the last fifteen years. My hope is that on my wedding day, I am able to embrace my size, not shame it. My dream now is that I have only positive thoughts about myself on my wedding day, and that I let myself feel the happiness, joy, and love of the day. I might not look the way I always wanted to, but I will not let those negative thoughts about my body bring down the day I marry the man I love. On our wedding day, I will declare my love for my fiancé, but I will also declare my love for myself.


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Photo by Christina Richards

Emily Hill

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  • Helen

    High frickin’ five, Emily. Wishing you all strength in your battle with those inner and socially-reinforced demons who try to shame you. You know what’s beautiful at a wedding? Joy. Hope you have a wonderful day.

  • Peptree

    The worlds skewed vision of what beauty is makes us question who we are and what we have become. Beauty is confidence, beauty is happiness, beauty is kindness, beauty is compassion, beauty is self belief, beauty is your words above, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Look at the world from a different angle and you will reap many rewards. Being skinny will give you confidence, you are right. But so will self belief. You have that in you and I really do commend you for this article! I hope you have the most amazing day! All my love x

  • Hannah

    Go you!

  • This is beautiful. You rock the fuck on.

    • MAYbie

      Exactly what I was signing on to say. Go you, Emily.

      • vegankitchendiaries

        Total feelings of “You go, Glen Coco!” reading this. Emily FTW!

  • Alyssa M

    Good for you. Because losing all of the weight really doesn’t guarantee you to feel beautiful or confident on your wedding day (or any day). The number of very thin women who can tell you exactly why they hate their bodies proves this. The only thing that will really guarantee you feel beautiful is this decision; the decision to love the body you have.

  • ‘My children and grandchildren will look at our wedding pictures and think, “Wow, they are sooooo happy!”’
    This! This is the goal! And it is a great goal. Because let me tell you, having people call and say, “I just saw your wedding photos, and you look so HAPPY,” fills you with this warm, golden fuzzies and gives you the best wedding memories ever. Rock on!

  • Amanda L

    I am cheering you on as you lose the weight of ‘hate, resentment and fear.’ Do you know what you will look like on your wedding day? The most amazing, perfect, glowing version of YOU. That version does not need to be 40lbs skinnier to be gorgeous and happy. <3

  • AP

    “I am going to work on losing the weight of the hate, resentment, and fear that have shaped my relationship with my body for the last fifteen years.”

    These words are so inspiring! Thank you for sharing!

  • Lindsay Carlisle Shay

    Double thumbs up to this! We talk a lot on APW about building lasting positive relationships with your spouse and in-laws during wedding planning, but building a lasting positive relationship with your body/self is important too. For some people, that can mean eating kale and training for a marathon. But for others, it’s doing what you need to do to manage stress. Loving your body can mean different things at different times, but this was a great reminder to me to try to love my body a little more.

    Emily, it sounds like you’re in a great place and I hope that continues for you. I’m sure you’ll look beautiful and, more importantly, happy on your wedding day!

    • Sarah E

      Exactly.

  • Anon

    I…really relate to this. I’ve had cry sessions at night after seeing photos of myself or jumping on the scale. In fact, I wasn’t happy with the way I looked in engagements and that’s only 2 months before the wedding.

    At some point I accepted that whatever I was going to lose, was going to be lost (between my fitbit, 1-2 gym sessions a week, and Whole30 eating). On top of that, the beauty of digital pictures and nice cameras everywhere is you can always take more pictures. I know it’s not quite the same – so maybe it won’t be ON your wedding day, and if you lose a lot of weight you’d have to get the dress re-altered – but somehow I found it comforting. It helped me not make the wedding day The Big Day, at least not for my body.

    This is especially true for engagement photos though. There’s nothing stopping me from saving up money and asking our photographer next year to take anniversary photos and giving it a second try.

    • Lindsay Carlisle Shay

      I relate to this a lot! Now that I’m past my wedding, it’s easier to think about health instead of weight. And with a long marriage stretching out in front of me, I feel like I have endless opportunities to be healthy and take cute pictures with my husband.

      Your comment reminded me of something I read during wedding planning, though. I read somewhere to be open with your photographer about body insecurities you might have so that your photographer can try to minimize them in your photos. To some degree, this makes sense, but I’ve always felt a little weird about that particular piece of advice, I’m not sure why.

    • Natalie

      I had friends who had 1st anniversary photos taken in their wedding clothes. They did it because they ended up with bad wedding photos (went with a free friend instead of a professional photographer the first time around). But their anniversary photos are gorgeous! I think it’s a great idea.

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      And for what it’s worth, from a former photographer, I find that wedding and engagement photos are a totally different ballgame. Engagement photos can be…awkward. It’s basically all posing. And wedding photos are all emotion and moments joy (with some posing thrown in.) But the ratio is totally different (where engagement photos are like 80% posing, wedding photos are maybe 15%.) So I find it’s a lot easier to love yourself in wedding photos, because the positive memories associated with those moments can often outdo the negativity.

      • A.

        My wedding photographer said the same thing :) I’d say of the 70some photos he took, I like about 40 of them, but only LOVE about 15 (and yes, body image does have something to do with that).

        He warned us though that was usually the case beforehand, since people just aren’t used to posing and, frankly, looking at lots and lots of pictures of themselves, unless they’re professional models. But typically, he said that while it’s the rare batch of wedding photos where the bride and groom love every single one, the amount they love increases at least 3-fold, even though it’s ~3 times+ the amount of photos, because they’re more comfortable in front of the camera after an engagement shoot, it involves more candids/photojournalism, and also they are around people they love and feel most comfortable.

      • Sarah

        Holy crap, thanks for saying this. I was largely unhappy with our engagement pictures because of my weight, and I feel like they were sorta awkward…So I’ve been worrying about the wedding photos ever since. I also need to remember that I actually usually like more candid pictures of me, rather than pictures where I’m trying to pose. WHEW.

      • Violet

        Wow, this is a great point! I never thought about that. In engagement photos, it’s all about how the couple looks, because there’s nothing else happening. If you’re great at projecting your love for your partner visually in a photo, I guess that’s happening, but I’m not a model and don’t know how to do anything other than smile. Whereas in the wedding photos, there’s how the couple looks, but also things are HAPPENING. So, less pressure, maybe? In addition to your point about candids versus posed, but it’s like, engagement photos are posed because there’s usually nothing else going on, right? (I don’t know for sure, we didn’t do them, but from the ones I’ve seen there’s not usually something going on in them.)

  • Julia

    Bravo!! There is so much truth to this. I would just like to say that how much you weigh and how you feel about your appearance are probably two completely unrelated things. I am skinny (5’4″, 115lbs) and have been my entire life, and yet just like you I obsess negatively over how I look. If only my eyes were bigger, or my nose was smaller, or my cheekbones higher, etc. I alternate between bad days when all I can see are my self-perceived flaws, and good days when I can appreciate the fact that I have a healthy body and a husband who thinks I’m beautiful.

    Self-acceptance is a battle we all have to fight. It has absolutely nothing, nothing at all to do with how much you weigh or how you look. Bravo for treating yourself with the respect, love, and kindness we all deserve.

    • Amy March

      I think this is an overstatement. It is much much easier to feel pretty when you’re thin in our society than when you’re fat. That doesn’t mean that women of all sizes don’t have things they struggle with, but I don’t like claiming it’s just as hard thin. It isn’t.

      • Sarah E

        She was speaking from her own experience and finding some understanding for the author, even though she doesn’t share the exact same attributes.

        The phrasing “it’s much much easier to feel pretty” throws up a flag for me, because another person can’t say what’s easy to feel for someone else. It worries me that it can start the “who has it worse” Olympics rather than sticking to “Yes! I also have those feelings.”

        • Amy March

          But it is though, generally. And when someone is talking about the difficulties she faces as a member of a group that is looked down upon by society, I don’t find it appropriate to say “oh but as a member of a privileged group it’s just as hard for us!” It’s not. Thin women do not have it worse. White people do not have it worse. Straight people do not have it worse. And claiming otherwise is a form of erasing that experience.

          Absolutely, women who are any size can really struggle with their appearance. But it’s 100% not that same to be doing that in a space where your body is generally regarded with societal distaste versus favor.

          • A.

            With the exception of women with EDs/disordered eating (body dysmorphia is no joke), I completely agree with this.

            I’ve lost weight for/around my wedding to the tune of about 15 pounds and counting, but I went from a mid-low size to a low-low size. Now I feel more comfortable in my body and I prefer how I look in pictures now–and yes, at my heaviest (scare quotes optional), I had moments (or lots of series of moments) that could be described as despair and self-doubt–but at the same time, I would never compare my weight loss and the struggles therein to my friends who struggle with true obesity or even being overweight (I was never outside of the “normal” BMI range, if anyone still places any stock in that). Everyone has their own shit to deal with, of course, and everyone’s shit is valid. But it’s also always important to be aware of where your shit fits in the grand scheme of things/society.

          • EllsUK

            Nowhere does she say she has it worse! It sounds to me like you’re saying someone who is thin, white and straight can never be unhappy or complain ever!
            As Sarah E says she’s trying to show understanding and also acknowledging that a lot of people struggle with self-acceptance. She’s offering support and agreement that it’s a good thing to treat yourself with respect, love and kindness whoever you are.

          • Amy March

            Oh no. All I’m saying is that self acceptance is not a battle that has nothing to do with weight, and that how you feel about yourself quite possibly does have something to do with your weight. And that it’s not appropriate to tell people struggling with being fat that actually it’s not about their weight, thin people have it bad too. Because no. There is a huge difference.

            Go right ahead. Be unhappy, complain, I’m completely sympathetic. But please don’t do it in a way that erases my experience of living in this world overweight as the same as what being thin and unhappy with yourself is.

          • La’Marisa-Andrea

            yes,

          • Sarah E

            I agree what you describe is an issue, I just didn’t read Julia’s comment as fitting into that category. Different lenses for each of us, it seems.

        • Sarah

          I would actually argue that discomfort about physical features that *aren’t* fatness is different than discomfort about fatness. Fat people are discriminated against and its a totally different emotional feeling, being fat in our society. I agree they are both rooted in body image, but…still, different things.

          To make it a bit more personal, it actually makes me uncomfortable when thin people tell me they know how I feel, because having been 100 lbs lighter in my life, I know that they probably don’t.

          • Sarah E

            You’re right, it’s different discomfort. I’m hesitant to start on the “which is worse” discussion, because I think the original comment was posted from a place of empathy, saying she, too, struggles with body image, no matter the divide society tries to put up between fat people and thin people.

            I’m sure you experience really informs your perspective on this to greater degree than many others who haven’t been on both sides. Perhaps your friends don’t really get it in the way another with your experience would, But at the same time, without living in their heads, you don’t know what they feel, either.

          • Sarah

            I’m not saying that one is worse than the other emotionally, but it is a totally different thing, being actively discriminated against for a physical feature, versus how I or anyone personally feels about their body (I think Maddie said the same thing).

            I actually don’t have problems with my friends in this regard either (my friends are tactful enough not to talk about weight with me, that would be incredibly awkward), so I wasn’t speaking to that. Just that its a totally different thing to feel disapproval about my own body coming from the *world* as opposed to the unhappiness with my body that I experienced even when I was 100 lbs lighter.

      • Sarah

        As someone who has been both, I agree with this.

      • pajamafishadventures

        In terms of the message sent by society there is absolutely no contest- it is easier to be thin than fat. But in terms of how we view ourselves internally I think it can be equally bad. Obviously society can compound on the negative internal feelings of someone who doesn’t meet the standards, but I don’t think it’s always true to say “someone who is fat is always harder on their own appearance than someone who is thin.”

        • Amy March

          But no one has said “someone who is fat is always harder on their own appearance than someone who is thin.”

          Someone who is thin might feel absolutely terrible about herself, and someone who is fat might feel totally awesome. But that still doesn’t make it okay to claim that it has nothing at all to do with how much you weigh.

          • EllsUK

            Which is almost exactly what she’s saying. Weight and how you feel are probably two seperate things. “Someone who is fat might feel totally awesome” therefore they can be seperate.

          • Sarah E

            I agree. And isn’t that what the essay was about? The author grappling with that separation, and coming to the conclusion that she can work on a great body image independent of size?

          • pajamafishadventures

            That is what I read your comment to Julia as saying, I apologize if I was completely off-base in my interpretation.

        • Maddie Eisenhart

          I agree with what Amy March has said in this thread (while also acknowledging that I think the original commenter left that comment with good intentions, and being called out can really suck, so I appreciate that everyone is being kind and civil here. This is an important conversation to have and I’m glad we’re having it.) Having experienced both sides of the coin, I can say I actually personally feel better about my body now, at my heaviest, than I ever did when I was skinny. That’s been a long, personal journey to acceptance. And it’s all internal.

          That said, my experience with others throughout the experience has 100% changed with weight gain. There is a very real discrimination once you get past a certain weight level. It’s why I feel like I always need to explain that I’m relatively healthy before I talk about my body positivity. Or why I always feel like I need to clarify that of course I know I *should* try and lose weight, before saying I don’t plan to. No one is ever saying to me, ‘Oh no, you look fine the way you are!” the way they did when I was skinnier. It’s always a sort of, “Oh thank God she knows, or this would be awkward.” My family is always feeding me some kind of underhanded diet messaging. There are hardly any cute clothes that fit me (and I hover somewhere around a 14-16.) And when I look online, I barely see anybody in ads or clothing stores who looks like me (unless that company is plus sized or has made an effort to include plus sized models. So maybe 20% of where I’d like to shop.)

          So yeah, it’s just a very different experience than say, me coming to terms with the fact that I’m really self conscious about my boobs (a leftover insecurity from childhood.) The pain might be equal, but the societal reinforcement isn’t the same.

          • Guest

            I think this is a really important conversation, and want to add a quick note here as a mental health professional with some experience treating eating disorders. The wisdom that everyone who is “overweight” should try and lose weight is simply not reflective of our best science (although the medical community at large, let alone the court of public opinion, hasn’t caught up with the data yet). Health at *every* size is possible, and if that idea sounds appealing to you, read more about it here: http://haescommunity.org/index.php
            Additionally, if I could have every person who has ever struggled with the connection between food, mind, and body read “Intuitive Eating,” I would (more here: http://www.intuitiveeating.org/). It is holistic and wonderful and an excellent antidote to the messages a whole lot of people have internalized.

          • Maddie Eisenhart

            YES. When I say “Should lose weight” I mean it from a “for the sake of societal acceptance.” I 100% believe in Health at Every Size. I mostly say “I know I should lose weight” in conversations with people, because it makes them feel better when talking to me about body acceptance. It’s a terrible habit, and one I should break. But it comes from feeling like I need to apologize while also accepting myself.

            I actually started practicing intuitive eating last year and it was the thing that finally freed me from dieting and restrictive eating. Anyway, just a resounding endorsement of everything you’ve linked to.

          • Guest

            Same “Guest” again – so glad to hear you discovered this stuff, Maddie, and that it’s been helpful for you! I love seeing people being able to step off the emotional and dieting roller coasters. And I hope you (and the original poster and many of the other commenters) are gentle with yourselves about how you respond to others to whom you don’t owe any explanation about where you are with *your* health in the first place. If an quick and perfunctory apology on your end helps the conversation shift so they go back to minding their own damn business, I don’t think it’s necessarily a terrible habit – just one that you may tinker with over time to keep it in line with your own comfort, values, and goals.
            (And everyone else – Maddie is wise! Go click on those links!)

          • pajamafishadventures

            And I absolutely, in no way shape or form, want to downplay the role that society has in making people feel like shit. And that of course, indisputably happens a billion times more and in a billion crueler ways to people who are fat.

            I get nervous and uncomfortable so often because the message “the pain is equal but different” gets expressed far less often than it should, and often what is said or implied is “your pain is less and you should feel bad for expressing it because people have it worse.” I had that happen a lot to me when I was struggling with my body image as a teen/early 20-something, people saying “but you’re not actually fat so you can’t hate yourself” really just pushed me to a much darker space because not only did I hate my physical body I felt like a failure for having that hatred and it really prevented me from seeking help for fear of being dismissed. (After over a decade of feeling that way I didn’t exactly learn self-love, but self-apathy has been a blessing. I’ve gained weight and hear “wow, you got fat!” from people who knew me when I was younger and at one point that would have destroyed me. Now I just do not have the fucks to give.)

          • Maddie Eisenhart

            “I’ve gained weight and hear “wow, you got fat!” from people who knew me when I was younger and at one point that would have destroyed me. Now I just do not have the fucks to give.”

            I think that is EXACTLY it. Being fat = not only do you have the pain of internal self scrutiny, but you also have the external messaging that your pain is something you deserve. And what’s more, that it’s so unacceptable, we’re just going to pretend that people like you don’t exist. And THAT is the kind of equal but different I’m talking about. It’s one thing to have an internal monologue that says you’re unattractive, and it’s another to have that with a ton of people around you going, “Actually, what you’re thinking? Yeah, that’s true.”

          • Sarah

            Its funny you say that, because I also feel personally better about myself at my heaviest, too. I was the most brutal to myself when I was at my thinnest, and a teenager. In the intervening time I have learned to be kinder to myself and less critical about my own physical features (even my nose!) but its the rest of it…the stuff that comes from other people that makes this battle hard.

      • La’Marisa-Andrea

        I think this is true. While individual thin people may have moments of shaming (this happens to me– omg why don’t you eat, etc), I still think that overall, people who have more weight are judged much more harshly (and on a grander scale). than thin people ever are. Both where women are concerned have some extremely misogynistic roots and I think thin shaming when it happens is really a form of fat shaming. Our society really isn’t set up to bash thin people.

    • notquitecece

      Hi Julia — I think this is a lovely sentiment (and that Amy March and others have some helpful perspective). But — as a pretty skinny person myself — I have heard from some friends with disordered body image/eating that it can be really triggering to hear numbers unasked (i.e. weight, etc.). This may not hold true for everyone, but it’s something I’m very careful with now. Despite it not being a traumatic number personally, I now reserve specific discussions of weight for very personal conversations, much as I would for exact financial net worth or other super context-dependent details.

  • Kate M

    This is great! As some who gains weight during stressful times, trying to look your best for big events just makes the whole situation worse. My wedding was the heaviest I have ever been. Even now, at 7 months pregnant with my second baby, three years after our wedding, I weigh less than I did then. And I was looking through our wedding pictures last week, and I just saw how much fun it was. And I know that for me at least, I had a minute of regret about my size the morning of when I got in my dress, and never gave it a thought for the rest of the day. It was a wonderful day, and in many ways, it was the most beautiful I have ever looked.

  • I had grand plans of losing weight before my wedding, and I started off well…and then fell off. I struggled with the idea of loving myself and the body that I have now, while also trying to change it. In the end, I didn’t lose much weight…but it didn’t even matter. The day of my wedding, when I put my dress on, I felt so beautiful and my weight didn’t even matter. Looking at some of my photos, there are a few that I think make me look huge, but they are the minority. And the most important part is that I’m married to a man who loves me just the way I am, at the size I am now.

    • Laurie

      I went on to APW tonight looking for some relief from all the pressure and resulting stress I have felt from “looking perfect” or even “looking the best I ever have.” Life has been so stressful with work and family, that I have gained weight, not lost it. This article and the comments were exactly what I needed.

  • Sarah E

    Way to go, Emily! You might not get the wedding body society thinks you need, but you sure as shit are preparing well for a long happy marriage body.

  • Spanx

    You can see my Spanx in my wedding photos. This is upsetting. But I love my husband, we are happily married, and we have wonderful family and friends. That is all.

  • SJ

    I was the heaviest I’d been on my wedding day-and you can’t tell. I spent months before it jumping on and falling off the diet train so I was verging a little crazy by the time the day approached. Finally, about a week before the wedding it occured to me: if healthy is your goal then fine, change your life…but if it’s about the dress….it already fits you…and your shiny new husband will be elated either way.

  • jubeee

    I need to get to this point myself. I’m still at the cringing at my pictures phase. I’m so happy you have found a healthy way to approach your body and the pressure of making it perfect for your big day.

    • Amanda

      You are not alone, I am too….

      • jubeee

        I try to have super positive body image and usually, I’m pretty good. But its really jarring to look at yourself after a big weight gain. I was very used to the way I looked, now I look at pictures and I feel shocked.

        • Lola

          I had an “ah-ha” moment when my husband gained about twenty pounds. I didn’t really notice that he gained weight. He was still the hunkiest guy I knew. After months of watching 30 Rock instead of going to the gym and many, many dinners at the bar by our house, he told me he had gained weight. I was surprised; I really hadn’t noticed! But he was even more shocked when I told him that I had gained twenty pounds. He really thought I was just saying that to make him feel better.

          All of those nasty things I thought about my body, he didn’t see at all. And all the insecurities he had were invisible to me. Now, I try to be as nice to my body as I am to my husband’s.

  • Sarah

    Total solidarity from me! I will be at my heaviest on my wedding day. I can’t diet without going into some disordered thinking/feelings, so I’m going to avoid the stress and try to accept myself and enjoy my body as is for my wedding day (which, is only two weeks after yours! ahh!)

    I’m having a hard time dealing with my mom though…she said to me yesterday that she has “stopped eating food” in preparation for the wedding. This is where all my shit comes from. I’m currently just trying to block out all the chatter and separate myself from her. She’s not making a comment on my body, this is all about her. I just need to keep that perspective…

    • Lindsay Carlisle Shay

      Are we sisters? My mom was the same way.

      I don’t have any advice other than to keep doing what you’re doing. Moms can be weird. You’ll be beautiful and should definitely not stop eating.

      • Sarah

        Yeah my mom is weird, definitely, haha. It was the woooorst when I realized that I was the same size as my mom when she was always unhappy with herself when I was growing up. Now we’re about the same size still, maybe she’s a liiiittle bit heavier, and she’s talking about not eating. SMH.

    • CP2011

      “She’s not making a comment about my body, this is all about her.” <– I definitely struggle to remind myself of this with my mom, too!

    • Every single day, I try to remind myself that my daughter will pick up on the body image issues that I exude. She’s only an infant but I need to start telling myself OUT LOUD that I am beautiful, so that someday she will know that she is beautiful too.

      • Sarah

        Yes. I am not a mother yet, but I want to be someday, and right now I’m committed to figuring out my own body image issues because I really don’t want to pass them on someday. My mom still doesn’t realize the impact she has, even though she has talked about the impact her mother had on her…Its so easy to conflate your own body with your mother’s, and vice versa, weird as that is!

      • AP

        This, so much. I grew up with the ever-present Slim Fast and Diet Coke in the fridge. The whole house knew when mom was “on a diet” because all the good stuff went missing from the pantry and she was constantly counting points or grams. I was pretty thin growing up, but some of the first memories I have of being cognizant of my body and its imperfections came from my mom- like her comments about my cellulite (I was 15) or having “my Dad’s genes” (pear shape). She never meant it to hurt, because to her, critiquing your body is just something a woman does. But I do NOT want to continue this cycle for my own future children.

        • Sarah

          My mom did the same things as yours, totally. The first time I went on a diet with her I was 15. Its sooo terribly damaging. I haven’t had a normal relationship with my body since before puberty. Same comments about my cellulite and pear shaped body. We manage to have a really good relationship now because I don’t blame her, I know how insidious this stuff is, and I now largely ignore whatever she says body wise about herself, and I just let her know that I don’t diet and that dieting is damaging to me, which she has been able to accept (thankfully). But yeah, I want to avoid that cycle at all costs.

  • guest

    Off topic, but what is the dress in that photo?

  • TeaforTwo

    Brides are beautiful. They just are.

    My husband and I both put on a lot of weight in the two years before our wedding. Law school, office jobs, stress, new relationship hibernation, etc. I thought briefly about losing weight for our wedding, and then decided it sounded like scope creep. And miserable scope creep, at that. I wanted to spend our five month engagement celebrating, not battling with my body.

    There are a lot of times I am not thrilled with my weight gain, like when I try to fit into older clothes, or realize after I’ve left the house that my outfit is a bit too tight.

    But on my wedding day, I wore a custom-made dress with more boning and engineering than any garment I have worn before or since. I had professional hair and makeup, a photographer who deleted unflattering shots and touched up the rest of them, and cheeks that ached from smiling so hard: of course I looked incredible.

    Exuberant joy is beautiful. That is what you should see when you look at your wedding photos, at absolutely any weight.

    • SuperDaintyKate

      +1 on wanting to spend your engagement celebrating, not battling with your body.

      The first 7 months of our 12 month engagement, wedding planning was mostly all about fun date nights planning, dreaming and sorting out details over a bottle (OK, usually several bottles) of wine. In January, as we hit the 5 month mark, I switched gears; I started a challenge at my gym that would have had me cut out all booze, sugar, dairy, grains, anything else good for 8 weeks…

      The challenge folks had a get-together at the four week mark, to check in on progress. When a friend asked about wedding planning, I found myself admitting that I REALLY missed the eating and drinking part of wedding planning.

      And then I decided life is WAY too short. This only happens once. So I’m drinking the wine and eating the cake and enjoying every minute of my engagement, the way I should be.

  • Emily

    “I am going to work on losing the weight of the hate, resentment, and fear that have shaped my relationship with my body for the last fifteen years. ” YES! Because once you can get out from under that emotional weight, the other stuff will be a piece of cake. Congratulations on your wedding, you’re going to be a beautiful, thoughtful, bride.

  • Natalie

    “In my dreams, I am the belle of the ball at my wedding. I am slim and
    gorgeous and am happy to be so slim and gorgeous. I want everyone to
    take their picture with me because I am so hot and slim and confident
    about my body—my confidence is exuding out of me and everyone wants to
    be me.”

    You will be the belle of the ball at your wedding because you’re the bride. You will be gorgeous and happy and hot and everyone will want to take their picture with you because you’re the bride. Everyone will be exuding happiness for you. Everyone will want to dance with you, hug you, show you how much they care for you, because you’re the bride. To your guests, your size does not matter on your wedding day. Only your happiness does. Please remember that when you have tough moments. I wish you well on your body image journey.

  • Pingback: The Day I Decided to Be a Fat Bride | weddingcarshiregeelong()

  • MPR

    Bravo to you and I hope that if you doubt yourself between now and May 25 you come back and read this post and know you made people (well, me at least) burst out into happy tears on an airplane! I’ve woken up in a panic several times while planning my wedding self shaming for not losing more weight before the big day (which is 2 days before yours). I couldn’t believe I “let myself” not work harder to get down a few more dress sizes or back to whatever imaginary weight I think will make me happy (I too have struggled with weight for years). But you nailed it, let’s get rid of the self shame and focus on the happy and the joy of the day, that’s what will make lasting memories and that’s what will show through in photos. What’s helped me is focusing on feeling healthy, maybe I didn’t lose 5lbs this month but I sure bust my ass to make healthier choices and time for exercise. That gives me confidence and that makes me smile genuinely. You’re awesome.

  • pajamafishadventures

    “Then, like many times before, I got off track. Then I got on track, then off track.”
    That is a feeling I relate with all too well. I don’t care about loosing weight (anymore, at this point in my life, though I have certainly been there), for me my frustrations with how I look come down to me not being able to follow through. I know I’d feel better if I ate a more balanced diet and stopped arguing that jellybeans count as fruit. I know I’d have more energy if I exercised (ever, at all). When I get off track, that is when the mental abuse really starts. That I’m gross because I can’t even commit to regularly eating real vegetables or doing some yoga, which sends me into a mope spiral, which makes me feel even worse, which… you get the idea.

    How do we overcome this? How do we keep ourselves on track, how do we stop ourselves from completely eviscerating ourselves when we go off-roading? I ask these rhetorically because I don’t expect anyone to have perfect answers, but it seems so easy to say “whatever, I’m good the way I am, suck it bad feelings!!” but it’s a track like any other and why the hell are they so slippery?

    • notquitecece

      I had a wonderful therapist who suggested reacting to relapses into bad habits as symptoms or clues, rather than failures. If I fell back into a bad habit, she recommended I look for the trigger or the tipping-point, rather than yelling at myself. Basically, more compassion, less blame. Treat yourself like a friend — be as kind and gentle as you can as you coax yourself to wherever you’re trying to go.

    • Violet

      Certainly not a perfect answer, but what you’re talking about is habit formation. This book (link is to a review) is pretty fascinating, and takes the morality judgments out of “bad” habits.
      http://www.npr.org/2012/03/05/147192599/habits-how-they-form-and-how-to-break-them

    • AnonToday

      All through my 20s (I’m 31 now) I would join Weight Watchers every time I hit 180 lbs and quit when I reached my “goal weight”. When I was on WW, I felt like I was “on track” by sticking to its principles of calorie counting. It was such hard work and I always couldn’t WAIT to finish each round of WW as I was hungry ALL of the time. Each time I reached goal, the weight came right back and I felt like a failure.

      At this point, I think WW is one of the most damaging ways to manage ones health/weight/self-esteem. “On Track” just means sticking to a diet for most people and I’m here to tell you, straight up, DIETING DOES NOT WORK. It just doesn’t. Weight Watchers is a disgusting cult and their business thrives on is high recidivism rate. You’d start talking to the girls at the meeting and barely anybody was there for the first time.

      I would even suggest avoiding even thinking about being “on track” and “off track”. Making the “rules” of how we eat black and white just sets us up for failure. Nobody deserves to feel like shit for eating a cookie. In fact, it’s the feeling like shit part that lends to “off-roading”.

    • Emma

      One thing that helps me is not seeing it as all or nothing. Like, if I’ve been eating clean and exercising, but then I eat a box of girl scout cookies, I think, “welp, at least the cookies are gone so I won’t be tempted to eat them anymore” and get on with life. I’ve found when I start beating myself up, “oh my god how could you have eaten all those cookies, what is wrong with you, you’ll never be healthy” etc, that then I start getting out the chocolate chips, or any and all unhealthy food. I accept it happened and move on so it doesn’t keep me off track.

    • Jules

      What’s personally worked for me is forgetting what I did yesterday, 99% of the time. Oh, I ate half a large pizza yesterday? I don’t have to let the guilt dictate what I eat today. I ate meat and veggies yesterday? That doesn’t give me a free pass to eat everything in sight. I’ve found that I’m less prone to binging (ate a pizza yesterday, might as well have a batch of brownies today, and follow it with a box of Goldfish….), and I’m also less prone to “slip” (if I ate healthy yesterday, I “deserve” a cookie…). And really, just believing in myself has done wonders whether i’m on a gaining or losing trend. Love yourself no matter what.

      I think everyone’s relationship with food and what kind of mental coaching works for them is different. If you can figure out what yours is, that’s hugely helpful. Some approaches are black and white, and it’s hard to feel like you’ve been “good” on the days you didn’t follow whatever plan (calorie counting, Whole30, etc). I just focus on being as intentional as I can about what I do choose to eat that’s “bad” rather than just doing it mindlessly, and when I don’t quite meet my goals, I look at each day as a new, independent one.

      Also, really I focused on making really small changes. It took (is taking?) the better part of five years to figure out what I am personally going to include in my diet and what kind of exercise to incorporate.

    • Ali

      I think it’s really tricky and so easy to slide down the path of blaming ourselves and then feeling worse about it. I used to feel that way a lot, and wanted to start feeling more positive about the good things I was doing for myself rather than focusing on the times when I’d eat too many sweets or not do exercise.

      So a couple of years ago I decided to start exercising again. I used to play some team sports in high school, but then when I got older all the team sports felt far too serious and competitive. Although I was, and still am, overweight – according to my BMI – the reason for starting to exercise again was so that I’d feel better, be stronger and fitter, and not to look better or lose weight, which is good because if anything I gained a few kilos (hopefully of muscle!).

      Because I need structure and lack motivation to do exercise on my own, I decided to start doing some small group personal training. Although it’s not a cheap option, it definitely got me back into doing regular exercise and enjoying it. Because someone was counting on me to go, and because I’d still have to pay if I didn’t turn up, I turned up week-in and week-out and going became a habit. As I started to feel stronger and fitter, I also craved healthier foods and started to look forward to exercising and seeing small incremental improvements each session, even though it was tough.

      I’m not currently doing personal training, but now I book a few exercise classes at the gym each week. Because they’re really popular classes, I feel guilty if I don’t show up because it means someone else can’t attend in my place, so I always turn up each time even if I don’t really feel like I want to. Basically what works for me is not having to self-motivate myself to exercise – instead I rely on not wanting to waste money or other people’s time.

  • Leigh Ann

    YAAAAAAAAASSSS! YES! YES! A THOUSAND TIMES YES!

    I was the fattest I’ve ever been on my wedding day last year. My experience of the months leading up to my wedding included {gasp!} letting out my wedding dress b/c it was too small, eating AMAZING delicious food at all parties and events, binge eating with my husband whenever we were stressed with planning, and no workouts {because I hate them.} That day I was LITERALLY SO FAT AND HAPPY (no jokes, no sarcasm) and in the pictures, we just look happy. I don’t reflect on that day and think “I was fat.” I look back and say, “we were so happy.” And, regardless of what Kate Moss says in a meme on Pinterest, being skinny does not make you happy. Given the chance to do it again, I’d be a fat and happy bride again!

    HIVE FIVES ALL AROUND! [This is why I love APW.]

    • vegankitchendiaries

      That Kate Moss quote makes me so, so SAD for her…

      • Jana

        Whoever says that “nothing tastes as good as being thin feels” has obviously never met my good friends cake and cookies.

        • Aubry

          I prefer the “this salad tastes like I’d rather be fat” meme floating around pintrest personally ;)

    • Erin S

      Love this. The time where I was my thinnest was also when I hated myself the most. Everyone kept commenting on how good I looked, but I felt like garbage.

      Do I want to look like that again? Sometimes. Do I want to *feel* like that again? God no.

  • I have struggled with my weight over the years. I quit smoking 6 months before my wedding, which helped me gain a few pounds, and now I am at the heaviest I’ve ever been, with 4 months to go. I am afraid to buy my suit, because I am afraid I’m going to look terrible. I have been yo-yo dieting with very few net pounds lost.

    It may be trite, but this post has been a bit of an a-ha moment for me. Quitting smoking is more important than being skinny. Being happy is more important than having a flat stomach. Accepting that I gain weight when I am stressed, and that I am otherwise relatively healthy, is more important than the numbers on the scale.

    So, thanks, from a pudgy and happy groom-to-be. :)

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      Fist bump. Also, you should reward yourself with an impeccably tailored suit. It will make a world of difference, and you’ve earned it.

      • TeaforTwo

        Yes. Custom custom custom all the way, if it’s in the budget. My husband is a big guy, and he bought a custom suit for our wedding. He looked INCREDIBLE, and it cost less than my wedding dress. The difference is that he wears his to work at least once a week.

        Custom clothes fit, which makes a huge difference, and the process is all designed around you – you never have to try something on only to see how badly it fits, or go up a size. Plus the tailor can give you lots of tips on what will look be most flattering for you. (And if they are worth their salt, they’ll do it in a way that makes it clear that there is not a damn thing wrong with your body and that it’s the suit’s job to look good on you, not the other way around.)

        • Jane Y

          Can I ask where your husband got his suit made or how he found his tailor? Curious about this option for my fiancee.

          • TeaforTwo

            Knowing his hatred of research, I’m certain he chose his because it was near his office and on his way home. It was a shop called Rego in Toronto. Unless you’re local, that’s probably not helpful, I know. Sorry!

        • Crayfish Kate

          This, so much this! My guy hadn’t had a good suit since he was in…middle school? So we went to our local Jos.A.Bank to rectify this. They do custom tailoring, they were very friendly & helpful, took all his measurements, etc. And damn. He wore one of the suits (we ended up getting 3) for our Valentine’s dinner out & he was the most dashing guy in the place. We had a good experience at Jos.A. Bank & they’re always having decent sales & deals going on (hence why we got 3 suits). Tailoring has the clothes working for your body, not the other way around.

      • Thank you! :) I think I will. We’d originally planned to do this, but then decided against it for budget reasons. I think I’ll work a few more overtime shifts to get something custom made — it’ll be worth it! Now, to convince my FH. :)

        • TeaforTwo

          The whole wedding industry is trying to sell you on the idea that you are making an investment, and you almost never are. This is the exception, because you will actually have a damned good looking suit for every important meeting/date night/wedding/funeral you have to go to for years and years. (And if you’re going this far: get two pairs of pants, because they’ll wear out faster than the jacket, which is the expensive part to make anyway.)

        • vegankitchendiaries

          Even on a mega budget (we’ve already discussed getting married in this crazy-ass-expensive city), you need to pick a FEW things to splash out on. If you want that suit, GET THAT SUIT! :)

          • Crazy-ass-expensive doesn’t even begin to describe it. But you’re right. You’re all right! I will just show this entire post and comment thread to my man. :D

          • vegankitchendiaries

            When are you guys tying the knot? Do you guys have the venue sorted? (Sorry, such a YVR-snoop…)

          • July 18, ceremony at The Landing (the atrium) in Gastown, and reception at Steamworks (Uber Lounge). No worries about snooping. I like talking about my wedding. ;)
            (Also: my apologies for hijacking this portion of the comments!) :)

          • vegankitchendiaries

            We looked at Steamworks! It’s a LOVELY venue! <3 <3 Gastown in general is pretty much the perfect place to get married (and take pictures!)

          • e_elizabeth

            My fiancé just got his wedding suit at Nordstrom and it’s made by a Canadian label, Peter Millar. Going to Nordstrom for us was great because he went in the one weekend to try on the suits they have available in their men’s department and got measured, and the next weekend his already tailored suit came in. I am so excited to get to see him wear it because it makes him look dang good and is the most gorgeous blue color.

          • Maddie Eisenhart

            You know, depending on where you guys net out on this conversation, I just heard of a cool company that’s trying to do suit rentals right. If purchasing ends up being out of the equation, they might be a cool option to look into (I can’t make any promises as I haven’t worked with them personally, but the premise seems really smart.)

            https://theblacktux.com/

          • Sarah

            Ohh, we’re using them! Can’t vouch for them yet, but the ordering process was really easy!

        • I do some photo work for a custom suit company, and there are some affordable options if you are in DC, Philly, or NYC, and some places that make made to measure suits online for not a bajillion dollars.

          My husband paid $250 for a suit and shirt at men’s wearhouse for our wedding, and he hates wearing it because it never really fit him. He didn’t love how it looked, and he really wasn’t happy with how it felt. (Like a lot of suit places, they measured his neck and fit everything around that.)

          He just bought a custom suit and custom shirt for $499. That’s double the price of Men’s Wearhouse, but he has been wearing them all the time, and says they feel like pj’s. I think he’s handsome either way, but that suit looks DAAMN good on him.

          Some recommendations:

          DC/PA/NYC: Enzo Custom: http://www.enzocustom.com/

          Online:

          Indochino: http://www.indochino.com/

          Black Lapel: http://www.blacklapel.com/

          Suit Supply: http://us.suitsupply.com/en_US/suits

          • I had a great chat with my fiancé last night about this article, and we made an appointment at Indochino in a few weeks to get them to fit us each for a suit. We live in Vancouver, and they have a showroom here. I feel so great about it. :) Thank you everyone! :)

          • Awesome!!!

          • My husband wore an Indochino suit that he had made for our wedding (and his dad then got the same one made which was adorable) and it looked awesome and he loved it! Good luck!

          • vegankitchendiaries

            I just figured out that Sarah Hoppes = the awesome karaoke hurricane wedding! D’oy!

          • Awwww, thank you! (Congrats on your own awesome, glittery wedding!)

          • I have those moments on APW CONSTANTLY!

          • vegankitchendiaries

            Aha, me too! You guys done did it GOOD, btw.

    • You quit smoking!!! That’s fantastic! And I second Maddie’s suggestion that you should reward yourself with a tailored suit. You’ll look awesome!

  • I was a fat bride. I remember my best friend – who is willow thin and deals with her own issues with regard to being unable to gain weight – saying…about her sister-in-law…”If your wedding isn’t going to motivate you to lose weight, then what will?” and cringing. We had conversations about how when she’s talking about other people’s weight, she’s talking about my weight too…and her response was that she doesn’t see me as overweight – just a person she loves. I believe she sincerely means that. But still.

    I decided to be who I am at my wedding…and I had a great time. What’s more, my husband said I was the most beautiful thing he has ever seen…and he continues to say that.

    Something may motivate me one day. I don’t know. But my wedding wasn’t it. Infertility isn’t it. I’m happy in the skin I’m in.

  • Alicia

    You are not alone. <3 That was always the hardest thing for me to accept in my own weight loss struggles. Surrounded by 'normal sized' friends and skinny images everywhere, it's easy to feel like you're THE ONLY ONE who has to watch what they eat and the ONLY ONE who has to workout every week or 10 lbs will creep on overnight. When I finally realized that I wasn't the only person dealing with this crap, it really helped me feel less angry about the whole thing. I read Andi Mitchell's new book "It Was Me All Along" and that REALLY cemented for me how we all have our crap, and it normalized the shame/guilt feelings surrounding food and eating as a fat person. It also provided inspiration for overcoming the emotional issues of weight loss, as well as the weight itself. She has a blog, too: Can You Stay for Dinner? with some weight stuff in there. It's worth a read (after the wedding!) if you feel like tackling this stuff again. You will be beautiful and you will be happy and that is all your loved ones will see.

  • Amanda

    Thank you so much for writing this. The stress I felt leading up to my wedding to be the thinnest and prettiest I’d ever been is something that I’m still trying to recover from, even now, almost a year later. I still cringe when I see the pictures and feel a bit of shame when I think about my wedding because I wasn’t as thin and pretty as I wanted to be — eventhough, it was the most happy, magical day I can imagine. I loved my wedding. I loved every single second, but now when I think about it, all I can think is….i wasn’t as pretty as I wanted to be. It feels terrible to not be able to tackle this mental barrier. And the real kicker is….I love my body. I felt great on the day of my wedding. I had implemented some healthy habits in the year leading up to my wedding (that I had been meaning to implement for a long time) and for the first time in a long time, I felt as strong and healthy and good about myself as I always imagined I would. I lost the realistic amount of weight I had set out to lose and on my wedding day I was the most in shape I had been since high school. But because I hadn’t tackled those mental barriers it wasn’t enough. The point being, bravo to you, sister! And good luck on your journey to self acceptance! So many of us are on this road with you.

  • NicoleT

    I have my first dress fitting tomorrow and I absolutely needed to read this post today. Instead of being excited for the fitting and getting to try on my mom’s wedding dress for the FIRST TIME, I’m thinking about how sad I’ll be if I don’t fit into her dress and how fat I feel. I’m still going to workout and eat healthy, but I’m going to try and focus on just feeling healthy, having energy, and loving myself.

  • Rebecca Schaller

    Emily, thank you so much for writing this article. I am totally relate to everything you said about life and weddings. I am getting married in September and I am killing myself to loose more weight…so much so that I have gain back the majority of what I’ve lost because I am so stressed. Your article was exactly what I needed today to put things in perspective. Thank you!

  • melodycharlotte

    I struggled with this, too. I got married last fall. For most of my life I have been just slightly on the voluptuous side of “healthy weight” and felt great about my body. Until two years ago when I moved from Brooklyn (where my lifestyle included all sorts of built-in exercise like biking everywhere and living in a 4th floor walk-up) to Western Massachusetts where biking into town is a 3 minute ride & going anywhere else is by car. I gained 50 pounds and could never build up the will-power to truly give losing weight a serious effort. I would mostly just look back at old pictures of myself and feel sad that I didn’t look like that anymore.

    Looking at photos of the wedding, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish I had lost the weight and looked like the girl I see in my mind when I think of myself. But at the time, I was far too happy to feel self-conscious about my weight and I had the best darn day ever.

  • up_at_Dawn

    As someone with a history of disordered eating – I really HATE being asked if I’m losing weight for my wedding. I don’t want to strive for some ideal of thin-ness because I don’t want to fall back into the same cognitive ruts that I was in before. Can we all just make a pact to NEVER ask this again? While we’re at it, can we make a pact to stop praising women for attaining “skinny”. Can “skinny” stop being a compliment? Honestly it could be an eating disorder, it could be someone who is on effing chemo! Just don’t.

    I admit though I would not be considered “fat” by most people standards (except some of my craziest family members). I know that I am slimmer than average for women of my age group and haven’t had the same experiences as the author.

    • emmers

      Truth! Commenting on body sizes is not OK/typically not well received. I prefer “you look great!” which is nice and generic and true.

    • AP

      I am So with you on not using “skinny” or “you look great! have you lost weight?” as a compliment. It’s such dangerous territory. The few times people have done this to me have left me bewildered, because usually the answer is no, I didn’t lose weight thankyouverymuch. And now you’re all up in my head making me wonder if you thought I needed to.

    • Jules

      I don’t know why people think it’s appropriate to ask a bride if she’s “losing weight for the wedding”. Do you NORMALLY go around asking women (or anyone) who work out if they’re trying to lose weight? It’s really no less rude.

      What’s more, if they are trying to lose weight, it’s not necessarily “for the wedding” . If they are, it just adds to the pressure to “succeed”. I also kind of feel that point of view discredits the efforts I made to be healthy before the wedding.

      • up_at_Dawn

        Definitely still rude either way. And clearly none of their business. If I decide I want to start running marathons? My business. If I decide I want to sit on the couch and read? Also my business.

        • Stéphanie

          You know what ? When you decide to run marathons (not wedding related), well people will try to talk yourself out of it. Cause there will be haters.

    • kira

      Preach. I have a history of disordered eating as well, and my partner and I are about to start announcing our engagement to our family & friends; being asked if I’m going to lose weight for the wedding is 1000% the only thing I’m really, truly worried about w/r/t planning a wedding.

    • Erin S

      Love your comment, and loving this article. I have a history of disordered eating too, and the very thought of going back on a diet for my wedding just sends me into a spiral of anxiety. Things always tend to snowball. 6 months ago I had hit my worst point – a combination of extreme dieting with stress from starting a new job, moving to a new country, and being away from my family drove me to a state that scared me. I was losing hair and crying all the time. I’ve recovered from it, but I can’t bear to bring myself to that point again.

      However, I still have trouble shaking that expectation of being the “skinniest version of yourself”. People just assume that I’m on a diet just because I’m getting married in 5 months. In the back of my head, I want to conform to that idea skinny bride. But the whole notion just frustrates me to the point where I just want to say “screw the whole thing, I just want to be me”. I feel like I’m having a constant battle with myself

  • Alynae

    To the wedding dress saleswoman and the seamstress who both assured me that we could keep “tightening the dress down” because they assumed I planned to diet and that asking to be comfortable on my wedding day was too much, and the look they gave me when I said “no thank you I want to sit, and dance and EAT”. THIS! I am going to have so much freaking fun at my wedding, not pose. I want to look and feel happy. I am not a prop at my wedding! Nor am I a prop in my life. My body is supposed to move me through life. As long as that is happening it is doing its job quite well.

  • Staria

    Perspective from someone you would think is skinny.

    Those ‘perfect model’ dresses aren’t flattering on me either, because I’m short.

    For a few different reasons (genes, dancing) I have pale, wobbly arms and meaty thighs. I’ve always gone for being proud of my strong legs and big calves because they come from my dad and dancing. But when I had a fitness tester tell me I had ‘a good amount of fat on my trunk, but too much on my arms and legs’, I just about had a fit. This is how my legs and arms have always been! My arms are the same as my mum’s and all her sisters! How can they be ‘too fat’?

    Oh and my trunk. Because I am relatively small, with small bust, but I carry my weight on my tummy, I have been asked countless times if I am pregnant. So much that I have developed a stock response:

    ‘Nope, just fat.’

    I’m sure that you will look fantastic at just the size you are, in a dress that looks amazing, because a happy person will be in it. A skinny person couldn’t pull off the same kind of dress anyway – we all have to find what suits us best. Xo

  • I wasted so many years of my life on self-hate. On trying to disappear my body. I was good at it, actually. I could survive off an obscenely low amount of calories and an obscenely high amount of physical activity and convince myself and everyone around me I was fine.

    At least, I used to think so. Turns out it wasn’t quite so great. People just won’t ever consider that someone might be starving themselves to death unless the starving person also happens to attain thinness as a result. Oh sure, I’d lose dramatic amounts of weight very quickly, but I never got to anything less than “chubby”. Hell, when I was a teenager and I started getting dizzy spells and occasionally passing out, my family’s response was to send me for eye tests because they assumed I must need glasses. Nothing at all to do with me trying to keep up with my 40-cigs-a-day mother and her diet of “one meal only per day, as late as possible in the evening because that makes me look like I have incredible self-control that I can ignore hunger for so long”, or trying to cheat and do the “cabbage soup diet” for twice the recommended maximum length of time. Not that it ever made a difference. The one time I got down to a size that was “almost thin enough” I still found I could note seemingly endless flaws with my body.

    I’m fat. I’ve always been various shades of fat. I’ll probably always be fat. Funny thing is, since accepting that and starting to try to learn to love my body, I get more exercise and eat better than I ever did when I believed I needed to be thin. It’s amazing the difference it makes. I used to think I wasn’t capable of yoga because of my size, but it’s become a part of my daily practice since I found other fathletes doing it. I used to avoid lifting weights because they might “bulk me up”, even though they were one of my favourite ways to exercise. Now I look forward to being able to lift more than I could the previous month. Running terrified me, but since learning that the Zombies, Run app was made by a fit, unapologetically fat, runner I’m planning to give that a go soon! I’ve started taking dance lessons for the sheer joy of movement.

    As a bride, I’ll probably be no smaller than I am now – and I’m the largest I’ve ever been these days. But I’ll be the healthiest, and the happiest, and the most self-confident I’ve ever been as well. And I’d take that over a thinner waist and my old self-hating perspective. I’ll dance and feast and be able to enjoy my wedding photos.

  • Amber

    I can relate to this article so much!

    I am currently trying to lose weight, but so I will be healthy, as well as beautiful at my wedding. The problem comes when I focus too much on the “being beautiful for my wedding” part and begin to put down the way I look now. When I had gone a couple weeks and not lost weight, I had a major breakdown and said horrible things to my fiance about myself. ie: “I’m going to look like a whale in our pictures.” and “I’m disgusting.” He assured me that I’ll be beautiful at the wedding, but I wouldn’t listen to him.

    My wedding is still a year away, and I’m finding that if I focus more on how great I feel living a healthy lifestyle and try not to put myself down so much, then I’m much happier. I still have a ways to go before the wedding, so I’m hoping I can keep myself up and happy.

  • liz7

    YES. Losing the weight of hate and resentment is what I’m trying to focus on as well. I am naturally very bony and flat chested, and all my life I’ve fought with my body trying to will it into looking more “womanly”. It doesn’t help when people are always making comments about how I look like a 12 year old boy neck down…… I only have 2 weeks more to go, and I really hope that I can be a bride who is confident and happy.

  • Congratulations on the self love and self care! It’s not always easy, and weddings can come with a lot of body pressure. I’m positive you will look stunning on your wedding day. Joy and love are beautiful, and I hope you will be overflowing with both that day.

  • anon

    I LOVE THIS.

  • kira

    This is one of the most incredible pieces I’ve read on APW, and that’s saying a lot, because this community share so many amazing stories all the time.

    Thank you so, so much for writing this and sharing it.

  • Ang

    This is beautiful. You are beautiful. Thank you. I was feeling all of these feelings and couldn’t find my out– you lit the situation up so that I can see the truth. And now my aim for the next 3 weeks will be to love myself too. Because I didn’t get down to my goal weight either.

  • notgoingquietly

    Thank you for writing this, and for having the cajones to share. Let me offer some horrible, non-pc advice: volunteer at a burn ward, or with amputees, the blind, or the elderly. See how imperfect bodies can be (they are still treasured, and loved), and realize how blessed you are to have a functional, young body for the big day.

    Watch nothing but My 600lb Life. Search for wedding dresses in XXXL sizes, and look at those bodies in them – are they not beautiful? On the flip side, do you really think you’d be any less conscious at ANY size? Have you seen “skinny” pics of yourself and thought, “but… I wasn’t any happier then.”

    Get out of your own head, step back from the pre-wedding brain cyclone, somehow. You are going to look healthy – and BANGIN’ – on your wedding day.

  • britney

    I want to use this opportunity to tell everyone about Dr Shiva of reunitingexspell@yahoo.com on how he help me reunited with my husband after 2 months of divorce.My husband divorce me because he saw another woman in his office and he said to me that he is no longer in love with me anymore and decide to divorce me.I seek help from the Net and i saw good talk about Dr Shiva and i contact him and explain my problem to him and he cast a spell for me which i use to get my husband back within 2 days.If you need his help Email him at reunitingexspell@yahoo.com

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  • Kaleb Raner

    I was overweight and tried so many things. Different things work for different people and I was lucky enough to find one that worked for me. I lost 19 pounds in one month without any exercise and it has been a life changer. I’m a little embarrased to post my before and after photos here but if anyone actually cares to hear what I’ve been doing then I’d be happy to help in any way. Just shoot me an email at oceanflowers82@gmail.com and I’ll show you my before and after photos, and tell you about how things are going for me with the stuff I’ve tried. I wish someone would have helped me out when I was struggling to find a solution so if I can help you then it would make my day

  • Lily

    Huzzah! I was very fat as maid of honor when my sister was married, and when I first saw the wedding pictures I hated them. That was a few years ago, and a lot has happened since (including my attitude towards my body improving markedly, and my unloading a good portion of the fat hate I’d internalized over a lifetime of being the largest person in my peer group.) Now, I look at those photos and not only do I see how happy we all look, I see that I looked beautiful! I like looking at my large pale arms, my soft chin, my big belly sneakily hiding under a flowing chiffon dress . . . . I’ve lost around 70 lbs since my sister’s wedding (from resolving a long standing health issue, not from diet/exercise/concerted effort) and whenever I start to feel down about my body, or the fact my weight has stabilized around 15 lbs higher than my lowest weight, I look at those photos from my sister’s wedding. And I know that no matter what it looks like from the outside, my body has gotten me through some rough times and deserves love and respect.

    Also, I don’t know if that is you in the photo, but that dress is gorgeous! Such lovely fabric.

  • tr

    To be honest, the whole pressure to slim down for your wedding day always seems a little strange to me.
    I mean, of course I want to look my best on my wedding day, but I also want to look like me. And like it or not, I’m not a size 0. I’m never going to be a size 0 after my wedding, either. As much as I’d love for my grandchildren to admire how beautiful I looked in my wedding pictures, I don’t really want them to admire someone who only existed for a day.
    I am going to stuff myself into the tightest Spanx I can, I’m going to find a dress that makes my slightly pudgy body look as good as possible, and I’m certainly trying to lose five or ten pounds so that I can feel as confident as possible in my body, but beyond that? I’m slightly pudgy. I’ve been slightly pudgy for a decade now. I’m going to be slightly pudgy for my wedding. Realistically, I’m probably going to get pudgier in the years following my wedding, because that’s how life generally works. While I’d probably look better if I starved myself into a size 2, that beauty wouldn’t be representative of what I actually look like.

  • Jessi

    Hi Emily, I actually found this post while looking for ways to deal with being a fat bride, and I’m so grateful that I did. My wedding is in three weeks, and for the last year I have been trying to lose 30 pounds, but dealing with it basically the same way that you have…Up and down, up and down, but never realistically being able to get to the weight I need to be. I’m going to be obese on my wedding day, and I am struggling with accepting it. I am curious…Did you actually feel beautiful on your wedding day? Were you stressed about it your weight at all on the day of? Because I’m trying so hard to accept that this is what I will look like, and I’m still not there.

    • genevathene

      I’m not Emily, but I just saw your post after seeing a sneak peak of my wedding photos (my wedding was about a month ago). Due to a chronic health issue, my weight has been unpredictable, but I gained 30 pounds in a short amount of time and never really got used to what my new body shape looks like. I’ll admit, the first couple photos that our photographer sent us left me feeling crushed. There were so many things I had never really noticed about my body all in full force. While the logical part of me knows this is silly, I kept thinking like I had failed as a bride in some way by being “ugly”. But you know what? Put those photos away for a while and come back to them. We took engagement photos about a year and a half ago (before those 30 pounds), and I hated them then, too. But now I love them.

      While I came here mainly because I’m still struggling with these feelings myself, I do think it’s okay to have a mourning period. For whatever reason (so many reasons!), you and I (and I’m sure many others) have self-esteem triggers related to our bodies. Let yourself acknowledge those feelings! But also, I’m starting to think that photographs are like fine wine – they get better with age. You’ll learn to love how happy you are, and how happy your loved ones were to surround you that day, and that’s what you’ll cherish the most – regardless of how much you weighed that day.

      Anyway, your wedding must be coming up this weekend or has just recently passed. From one internet stranger to another, wishing you all the best!

      • Jessi

        Thanks for the response! My wedding is actually this Sunday (ZOMG), and I am feeling much better about myself than I was a few weeks ago. I think it’s a combination of being surrounded by family and friends that love me and just plain old excitement that has made me come to accept that yes, I will look like this on my wedding day, and that should be ok.

        Also, I’m glad you mentioned your engagement photos, because that totally reminded me that I too hated my engagement photos when they were first taken (I was the weight I am today), but now I really enjoy them, and everyone always told me I looked beautiful. So hopefully I will feel the same way after this weekend!

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  • Becky

    I wish I was in the kind of place where I found this inspiring…instead, it’s just mostly depressing. I identify so strongly with the first 75% of this and then totally disconnect by the end. blah

    My wedding’s in a year…that’s plenty of time to lose weight without falling off the deep end, right?

  • Marie-Eve Poisson

    Thank you so much Emily Hill for posting this heartfelt plain honest message.
    My fiance and I have been engaged for over 5 years we have 2 children. We both traded smoking for eating great food.My fiance is a Chef with a great sense of humor he says never trust a skinny chef… he is an amazing man, I cannot wait to marry him. Since we know each others we accomplished so much. We moved across Country twice, had children bought a house and all this fat. We joke that we have more to love and rather be fat than a fat smoker so many times we were attempted to go back to smoking we ate a whole pie instead…
    Oh it hurts the next day!
    I decided to love myself the way I am I drink more water and increased my activity levels no choice with 2 active kids!
    I went to several bridal stores and couldn’t find the dress that made me feel a million dollar I had to settle with trying 3 dresses not much choices… the one that fitted best was pretty but not unique I saw so many buying Maggie Sottero Emma dress. If I want that amazing Maggie Sottero Erina dress I have to pay half the cost to get it made just to try it ill lose my money if i down buy it.
    It’s discouraging so I decided to work at it to make it goal to try that sample dress. I changed the way we eat we eat more veggies and less proteins. Reduce the amount of food we eat.
    It is a good start but keeping in mind that we love each others and it doesn’t matter what others think because being happy is what matters most.

  • anka pitaya

    Emily, good for you! Be happy and strive to be healthy. That can be hard to do our culture. I’m a body-positive personal trainer, and I’d love to help you if I can. https://www.facebook.com/anka.wilk

  • Alex M.

    Thank you so much for so transparently telling your story. I don’t know how I even came across this blog, but I am a fat bride getting married in 3 months and just like you, am having more anxiety than excitment. All because of weight. No, all because of the pressure to lose weight…the thought of my chubby arms in my photos forever. Thank you for sharing and reminding me that my fiancé has loved me when I was skinny and when I was fat. He loved me when he asked me to be his wife 7 months ago when I weighed the same weight I do today. We need more encouraging and uplifting stories like this in the world. Please continue to inspire!

  • Keely

    I am getting married in 3 days as an overweight/obese bride and I really needed to hear this! Thank you for writing this. I couldn’t have said it best! Really needed to hear that…..thank you more than you know!
    Keely

  • Jarvia Taylor

    Wow, mind blown. Coincidentally today I decided to be a fat bride. After a year of dragging my feet with planning my wedding, avoiding dress shopping, and telling myself that I would find a dress when I was had lost some pounds, I said fuk that. I’m so sick of hating my body. I’m making the choice to start accepting myself. I want to be excited for my wedding right now and make no apologies about my body. I want to relieve my finance’s concerns – he accepts me for who I am, however it’s my cycle of body shame that he doesn’t want getting in the way of our special day.