PARIS: Forget tiring yourself out with intense workouts, following a draconian diet and enduring the ordeal of weekly weigh-ins before your wedding.
A movement inspired by body positivity is now encouraging brides-to-be to accept their bodies as they are.
Unlike the #sheddingforthewedding hashtag, which encourages brides to virtually starve themselves by following drastic diets, curvy women are rebelling and saying ‘no’ to pre-wedding weight loss.
On TikTok, women like Brynta Ponn, film themselves eating junk food on the eve of the big day.
In her video, she reassures her followers: “If you’re wondering if you need to starve yourself before your wedding, the answer is no.”
The aim is to show women that weight loss doesn’t have to be an obligatory part of wedding prep, and that you can still enjoy yourself in the run up to the big day.
Now, more and more content shows images of women with fuller figures showing off their wedding dresses with pride. The hashtag plussizebride now has 53 million views.
Refusing to bow to social pressure
This wave of self-acceptance has gone viral thanks to Sydney Holmes, a young American woman who got married over a year ago.
Like many other women, she felt the pressure to diet before her wedding when watching videos on TikTok.
But she decided to say ‘no’ to this pressure and stay the way she was. Calling herself social media’s “favourite fat bride,” she went on to inspire other brides-to-be to follow suit.
In one of her TikTok videos, she jokes: “It’s hard to believe I went on a weight loss journey before my wedding… Because I didn’t.”
In the comments, fellow TikTokers praise Holmes, with one user posting: “That was my thought two years ago, now it’s three months until the wedding and I haven’t lost an oz. Good thing my finance loves me for me!”
Showing off her white dress, the young woman proves that it’s possible to feel beautiful as a curvy bride. “He fell in love with me in this body. He thought I looked absolutely beautiful on our wedding day. And I did – I looked hot,” the content creator told the New York Post.
In addition to accepting their bodies and shapes, these women are also seeking to remove an additional source of stress and anxiety in the run-up to their wedding.
“Every bride should do whatever makes them feel comfortable, but for me, that was not [focusing] on weight loss;” the lifestyle influencer, Renata D’Agrella Kenen, told the New York Post.
“There’s a lot of pressure to ‘look your best’ on your wedding day, but I reject the notion that your ‘best’ means being at your thinnest,” she added.
“Without that stress, I was able to focus on the real important parts of the wedding day such as special moments with my husband, family and friends.”
A quest for perfection
While these women managed to ignore a host of norms and expectations around marriage, that’s not the case for everyone. Many women continue to document their pre-wedding weight loss efforts on TikTok.
According to research conducted in 2019 by TreadmillReviews, 62% of women said they had tried to lose weight before saying ‘I do’, by dieting and/or working out.
To speed up the process, some even indulge in coolsculpting (a non-invasive technique for sculpting the body and removing cellulite).
Some brides even impose diets on their guests. Indeed, it’s not uncommon for brides to ask their bridesmaids to lose weight.
In 2017, several media outlets, including The Sun, reported the story of Rachel Lenhoff, a bride-to-be who enrolled her bridesmaids in a specialist bootcamp called the Bridal Bootcamp in order to help them lose weight.
Meanwhile, on YouTube, certain exercise videos are specifically targeting brides-to-be.