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I don’t need you telling me to starve myself to fit into my wedding dress – I’m happy just the way I am

By Emmie Harrison

Gently lifting up the skirts of my champagne-coloured, floral embroidered wedding gown for the first time – this feeling was going to be one to remember. But for all the wrong reasons. ‘Better start starving now, it’s far too small for you,’ my mum said casually. Looking at myself in the mirror, I felt like a sausage bursting out of its skin.

A very expensive sausage. Next July, I’m getting married to the love of my life and all people want to discuss is my weight; my diet, how much I’m drinking, what size I bought my dress in. As a size 14, naturally, I bought a dress in my size – but it fits like it’s two sizes too small.

‘You’ve got at least two stone to lose,’ my mum said, pulling the dress tight over my love-handles, showing me how I’d look if I was ‘the perfect size’. ‘Don’t worry, all wedding dresses are like this,’ she adds. ‘We’ll get the meat slicer out.’ That’s when it hits me, the ridicule and shame all women go through when trying on the one dress that is meant to represent the rest of their lives.

Truthfully, if I was to buy a dress that fit, I’d be going straight for the size 18 options on the rack. Type in ‘how to lose weight for my wedding’ and over 115million results are returned, each URL leering at your cute muffin top and nagging you to be smaller. How damaging must this be for women with poor self-esteem or those recovering from an eating disorder? I’m happy with my size, but because I don’t want to lose weight for my big day, I’m called a ‘defeatist’.

Apparently, I’d be ‘sweaty and uncomfortable’ – compared to fat brides of old in the family, who ‘clearly looked unhappy’ on their respective wedding days. ‘You know, you’d feel so much happier if you just lost a little weight for the wedding,’ they tell me.

Honestly, I don’t blame them for their strict, outdated opinions. It’s obvious that these women have grown up instructed on how to behave, act, dress and even eat in order to be a ‘normal’ woman – and wife. All it takes is a simple Google search to discover why women are under so much pressure to be thin. Type in ‘how to lose weight for my wedding’ and over 115million results are returned, each URL leering at your cute muffin top and nagging you to be smaller.

There are bridal boot camps, wedding workouts, lacklustre articles and unlimited books on what to eat, drink and breathe to lose weight. There is even bridal gym gear. Yes, you can now buy leggings adorned with the following inspirational quotes: ‘Slimming down for the gown.’ ‘Sweating for the wedding.’ ‘Getting tight for Mr Right.’ I mean, if Mr Right doesn’t already think you’re tight, you’re making a big mistake, honey.

There are, of course, few attires for grooms, though one is emblazoned ‘shredding for the wedding’. There seems to be a universal, damaging attitude towards weddings wherein the bride must lose weight in order to be happy, make her groom happy or fit into her dream dress.

And retailers support this – you buy a dress for your actual body size but it still fits like it’s too small, making you feel like crap. Women who weigh more than the societal norm are forced to retreat to their bedrooms and browse ill-fitting, characterless tents on eBay.

They’re made to feel worthless and vulnerable for what is supposed to be the biggest day of their lives. Or, if you’re famous and have money, you get broadcasted on telly in a curvy bridal boutique. The perfect laughing stock for internet trolls. Because, didn’t you know, a fat woman can’t be successful, happy or even a wife. If you want to eat bran flakes for breakfast every day for the months before you tie the knot – you go girl.

But do it for you. Chances are, your partner won’t even realise, because he’ll be too busy smiling through stifled sobs as he high-fives his best mates while you glide down the aisle. You don’t need to be smaller to be the best bride you can be. It’s the big day that ignites the rest of your life – so be yourself.

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Don’t be fat

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