5 Things You Shouldn't Lose For Your Wedding Day (And One Thing You Should)
There are certain life events that bring out strong opinions. Opinions that are neither wanted nor asked for. The opinions of people you'd never think to consult for their input on your life.
Weddings are one of those life events.
If you're planning your wedding, you might have noticed that the societal gates that usually hold back other people's opinions about you/your appearance/how you live your life are suddenly open. Opinions flow freely whether you ask for them or not.
Some of these opinions are just annoying, others are problematic and offensive. Either way, it's important to remember that opinions are not based on fact or knowledge, but on judgement. At best, opinions are merely advice — advice you're under no obligation to take.
As a celebrant, I hear these opinions voiced as concerns or questions from couples and there are a few that come up regularly. I want to address some of them once and for all.
Here are five things you shouldn't lose for your wedding day:
You need your glasses to focus and you wear them every day. Yet, when you start planning your wedding, someone pops up to suggest that you lose your spectacles or get contact lenses for the Big Day.
Your wedding day shouldn't be blurry and you shouldn't have to torture your eyeballs for it.
If you've always wanted contacts and you know you'll continue to use them during the honeymoon and beyond; then that's a different matter. But if you've tried contact lenses and they didn't work for you, please think again. Your partner fell in love with you and your glasses, right? They don't expect you to chuck them, so why are you doing it to yourself?
If you want to, get a new pair of frames for your wedding day; something that compliments your outfit. Something a bit fancier than your daily-wear glasses. But, please, don't ditch them altogether.
This one is especially problematic. In my opinion, anyone who tells you that you should lose weight for your wedding day should have their invitation revoked.
Your wedding is a celebration of your love, your relationship so far and a hopeful look forward at your life to come. Your size shouldn't impact that, and pushing yourself through weight loss for that day will likely make you miserable.
And that's before you consider your relationship to food during stress. Planning a wedding is stressful (just another reason why I recommend hiring a wedding planner) and many of us find that we either eat more under stress or lose our appetite. More important than focusing on weight in the lead-up to your wedding is to focus on maintaining a balanced lifestyle and managing your stress levels.
As for the suggestion that you should lose weight because wedding clothes don't come in larger sizes? (Yes, I've heard that.) It's nonsense. Find a dressmaker, boutique or tailor who offers outfits in your size. Give your money to someone who wants to celebrate you, not change you.
This one is a favourite of tattoo-haters and is particularly aimed at women for some reason. Anyone with visible tattoos has probably heard this: "Imagine how that'll look when you're wearing a wedding dress!" And it's not just that one grumpy relative — tattoo cover-up makeup is regularly advertised on wedding planning websites. It's hard to ignore the pressure to lose your tattoos for your wedding day.
I'm working on the assumption that you got your tattoos because you love the imagery, the artwork and the way it looks. So, my question is, why would you want to hide that?
Now, find an outfit that shows off your favourite ink and tell great aunt Agnes to shush.
A Mobility Aid
A mobility aid literally helps you move around — why would you lose it for your wedding day?! Unfortunately, it's something I've heard suggested more than I care to count.
We've all heard that 'inspirational' story about the bride who stepped out of her wheelchair and walked down the aisle, right? Or the groom who astonished everyone by removing his crutches to stand unaided in front of his betrothed? Have you ever asked why any of those people felt like they had to yeet their mobility aids on their wedding day?
There's only one reason, ableism. And the pressure to leave your walker/stick/crutches/wheelchair behind reeks so much of ableism that it makes me gag a little.
If you want to make your mobility aid more festive for the day, go for it! Decorate your wheelchair with flowers or ribbons, invest in a new stick to match your colour scheme or go wild with washi tape on your walker. But never feel like you have to hide your disability on your wedding day just to make other people feel comfortable.
Weddings are expensive. Even the most budget-friendly ones are far from cheap. Despite that, there will always be somebody who thinks you should spend £50 a head on custom favours, or pay out extra for a free bar.
Take it from someone who has seen an above-average number of weddings: the most memorable ones are not the most expensive. The most memorable weddings are the ones that are a celebration of the love shared by the couple; the ones that let their personalities shine through.
It shouldn't be controversial to say that your wedding day shouldn't put you into debt.
And one thing you should lose:
Traditions You Don't Like
Just because it's traditional, it doesn't mean you have to do it. Many wedding traditions come from a time when weddings were basically a business transaction. Others are a result of superstition. If you don't like it or want it, don't do it.
This seems simple, but the People With Opinions will have something to say about your plan to do away with the first dance in favour of a lightsaber duel, your intention to exchange necklaces instead of rings, or your decision not to be 'given away' by anyone. That's their issue, not yours.
Your wedding, your rules.
Are you ready to have a wedding ceremony full of personality? Do you want to throw away everybody else's expectations and celebrate your love and commitment? I think we should talk!