Psst: Can’t be bothered to read? Scroll to the bottom for a video version of this blog post!
Big news: I got married this month!
We had an absolute blast of a day. We got married in Dublin city centre, at the Unitarian Church on St Stephen’s Green, before walking down the main shopping stretch Grafton Street (very entertaining to see people’s faces!), for a drink in a little pub called Bowes, finishing off the day with speeches, food and dancing at Medley on Fleet Street.
The day couldn’t have gone better and our guests loved getting the true Irish experience in the capital which is just what we were after.
When I posted a picture to my Instagram feed of the wedding day I asked people if they would be interested in a blog about my struggle with my weight for the wedding. I had loads of people saying they would be interested to hear about my experience and what tips I can offer so here it is.
How much should I weigh for my wedding?
I think we’ve seen it all before with brides. We’ve all got the friend who did no carbs, juicing or meal replacement shakes to drop dress sizes for their big day. The wedding industry is one enormous money-making racket in so many ways and squeezing into the dress is all part of the sales pitch for the ‘perfect’ wedding.
My step-mum made a comment to me about a year before my big day on the topic: “I don’t understand why women want to look nothing like themselves at their wedding.”
To my shame at the time, I thought “I do.”
I wanted that collective gasp when I walked into the church, for people to think “wow she’s lost weight.”
That somehow seemed the most important thing in the world to me. The one overriding takeaway I would have that would make me feel I’d had a successful day.
I know that’s sad now. I should want people to look at me at my wedding and think “wow, she looks happy.” Because ultimately that’s the most important thing when you get married. Not the weight on the scales.
It took a lot to change my mindset about how much I weighed on my wedding day. And I wouldn’t say I was 100% there on accepting and loving myself by the time I walked down the aisle. But I was so much closer than I was a year ago.
Here are some words of advice I would offer to any bride worrying about her weight on her wedding day from my own experience:
Do something about it
If you are genuinely unhappy about your weight or how you look, do something about it.
There is no point wishing you’ll drop a dress size if you don’t take some action to make the change.
The two things you’ll need to tackle are exercise and food. Find a plan, stick to it.
My approach was this:
After a lot of debating, making comments about how we’d eat no carb dinners or make massive changes, we eventually came to this conclusion: we like food. We didn’t want to make huge sacrifices or change our diets significantly. We just weren’t willing to do that for the big day.
We had to accept that decision and the consequences about how much weight we would or wouldn’t lose as a result. It was a sacrifice too far for us and the acceptance of our decision was an important part of that.
The only things I did in terms of diet were:
Switch to a protein shake for breakfast 5 out of 7 mornings for the last 3 months before the wedding. I loved Nutristrength Classic Vanilla, with a banana, a handful of oats and some milk.
Cut out alcohol in the week and I did Go Sober For October the month before the wedding.
That was it.
I picked an open back dress for my wedding so I knew I would need to work hard on making myself look as strong and toned as possible. In a way this was a fantastic blessing, because rather than worrying about my belly (which I always worry about), it switched my focus to my arms and back, looking at strength rather than weight loss.
I committed to F45 to jump-start me – where I lost 2% body fat over 3 months. Once the money ran out for that (!) I signed up to Flye Fit gym which opened locally to me in Stillorgan here in Dublin, and started a written Personal Training plan for four months by Lucy Loves Fitness.
Both these options were 45-50 minute workouts, 3-5 times a week. I didn’t go crazy with anything else. I tried to keep up 10,000 steps a day but that was about it.
Do it together
I was lucky on the journey to the wedding day that my fiancé wanted to make change too. He cycles a lot to and from work and a little at weekends, but was aware whilst this was giving him killer legs, it wasn’t helping with fat loss and toning elsewhere.
At five months to go we asked Lucy Loves Fitness to create us a plan leading up to the wedding day. Each month was different and the workouts were designed for us to do together.
Having a PT plan that we could do as a couple made the whole process so much less intimidating (rather than going into the weight section on your own) and more motivating (dragging us both out of bed pre-7am).
We learned how to use loads of different machines and do different exercises that we would never have attempted before, and we had a clear structure for each session.
I was amazed at how much my other half loved going to the gym in the end. Having been incredulous for years that I would go to workout in the mornings, he totally got the logic after the first couple of weeks. He’s even committed to going back now post-wedding. We’ll see!
Stop standing on the scales
If you really want to stop worrying about what you will weigh on your wedding day, stop standing on the scales. I did.
I have always thought that I needed to lose a stone. I have this fixed number in my head of what the ‘ideal’ weight it, and despite my body consistently being a stone above that, it’s hard to shake.
The only way to deal with it was to give up weighing myself all together. Instead I focused on lifting bigger weights at the gym, how much closer I was getting to doing a pull up and checking photos and videos of how much more toned I looked and noticing how energised I was. Far better measures than the scales.
Accept you won’t love all the photos
After a teary evening stressing again about the wedding I identified with my fiancé one of my biggest fears was hating the photos. This was a huge driver in worrying about my weight.
One of the best things he said to me that evening was: “We won’t like all the photos.” It’s such an obvious statement, but it’s so true. If you ever look back at photos from any night out, some angles and shots you’ll look fab. Others will not be flattering. That’s just reality.
If you’ve had your make-up and hair professionally done, are in a stunning dress and have a professional photographer too – you will come away with some gorgeous photos. Even without a pro - we were fully prepared that potentially our favourite photo of the day might come from a guest on their phone.
The truth about wedding photos is as well as the great ones, you’ll also come away with some you don’t like too. But guess what? They don’t go on the wall. They go in the bin.
What do you think? Is this something you struggled with yourself? Or are you a bride-to-be that is worrying about your weight on the big day? I’d love to hear from you, let me know your experience.
PS. I know I am not overweight. I realise there will be people reading this who feel I am being disingenuous and have nothing to worry about. But it’s all about what’s going on in your head. One person’s ‘fat’ is another’s ‘thin.’ Thanks for reading.
Watch the video version of this blog post:
Our wedding photos (including the header image for this blog post) were taken by Hannah Jayne Photography who we would highly recommend if you’re looking for a photographer in Dublin or beyond.
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