BRIDE BLOG #1: the beauty industry & me.

So I know I said I wouldn’t talk too much about the wedding, and I still promise I won’t. However, we are making some of the big decisions at the minute and I feel the need to write because I would love to hear your thoughts. Let’s begin…

It all started when we got back from Paris (where my gorgeous fiancé asked me if I would épouser him).

My hair was sad, having endured one too many bleaching/straightening sessions, and so I booked an appointment at a hair salon with a good reputation for some SOS treatment. I explained that I had a year before the wedding and that I wanted it to be in better condition by then. A regime of de-blonding, no-straightening, less-frequent-washing was set in place and I was told to return in a month. And return I did, to be given a very strange haircut and told that if my hair wasn’t in good condition by the wedding, I would be able to wear a hairpiece. Oh, and also, that I couldn’t get highlights until March, because you know, it’s all about the hair. Now I am enjoying the condition my hair is in now (it was good advice) but I had forgotten that phew look at the state of me and seriously, let’s hope this year is enough to get me looking reasonable. (And also that I am a naive bride who will pay anything to chase the dream of perfection for her wedding day!)

And then I tried on dresses because I have to find themostperfectdressofalltime in which I will look themostbeautifulIhaveeverlooked on the mostwonderfuldayofmyentirelife. My first appointment was, essentially, bad. “No mermaid dresses”, I requested, before finding that the very first wedding dress I have ever tried was to be a dress that made me look like a ghostly version of Ariel. I stood, on a pedestal and in considerably less clothing than the shop owner, who was putting me (literally) into dress after dress. After a while, I realised that I was only trying on high-end designer dresses (there was a special sale on them, you see, still resulting in sky-high prices) and that the dresses she had on me had been used by very tall, very skinny models in a fashion show. So that‘s why I felt actually more like a baby whale than a mermaid. The other two appointments were much more enjoyable and I was able to work out what I’d like my dress to look like. As it turns out, I’m designing it and having it made locally – but that’s another story for another time.

On the topic of dresses, it stresses me out that everyone talks about the inevitable last-minute weight loss alterations. Perhaps it’s the last-minute running around, but I think it’s more because of the pressure to be a twig walking down the aisle. Kjerstin Gruys didn’t look at herself in the mirror for a year before her wedding because of the pressure she felt. Having struggled to keep my mind healthy when it comes to weight and my own body image, I’m aware of how easy it is to fall into the ‘wedding diet’ traps. EVERY wedding magazine/book/article/website seems to mention ‘losing those last few pounds’ or ‘your 6-month schedule to being the best (ie skinniest) you’. Of course I want to look good (another human is gonna see me without clothes on, YIKES!) but really, my body is good. It is powerful and strong and beautiful. That said, I don’t feel at my healthiest (who does in January?) and so I am trying to just be healthy for myself right now, instead of trying to lose weight for The Big Day.

In essence, the emphasis on having a deadline on which you must be your most beautiful is insane and I don’t like it.

And I think the wedding beauty industry kind of feels like a louder version of the general beauty industry. The secret to advertising in the beauty industry is the message that ‘you are not enough’, so here is the product to fix that. You get hooked because you become your own unfinishable project. The message is wrapped up in warm, fuzzy clouds of love and fairytales when it comes to weddings, but I am fighting the part of me that says that if we were to get married tomorrow, I wouldn’t be beautiful enough.

I am so excited about our wedding. And I am so grateful that Dan tells me I’m beautiful whether my hair is light blonde or dark brown, and believes in the dream dress I talk about. But I want our wedding to be a beautiful symbol of a profound and life-long union. I want to be beautiful in character as we enter into marriage (because, lest we forget, brides are more than their looks). I want to be beautiful in how I treat people in the lead-up to the wedding. I don’t want to be hungry for the next 9 months. I don’t want to be so concerned about how I’ll look that I forget how my words sound. I don’t want to focus so much energy on a fleeting 8 hours that I am tired and disconnected when we wake up as Mr and Mrs.

So I need your help! What did you do to save yourself from the Bridezilla-making machine? How did you keep a positive self-image? How did you remember to focus on the bigger picture (re yourself AND wedding vs marriage)?

Coming soon… BRIDE WARS: forced labour & me.

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7 responses to “BRIDE BLOG #1: the beauty industry & me.

  1. Sounds like you’re asking the right questions, my dear. I’ve walked through the wedding prep with several roommates/girlfriends and their fiancés, each of whom had to struggle with these and other issues related to the Wedding Industry. Each of them dealt differently: by not reading wedding magazines; setting a tight budget for the wedding (including the months of prep leading up to it); one didn’t wear makeup for the wedding at the request of their fiancé (because she never does anyway); deciding to have a very small and private ceremony to avoid the temptation of being the envy of all her friends and family on the big day; some gave big planning jobs over to moms, siblings, future mother in-laws and even their fiancés to help protect them from delusions of grandeur for the big day or to remind them to relinquish control over the ceremony and focus on preparation for marriage (fiancés can also be ruthless at cutting out unnecessary touches and flourishes!); a couple couples made the sharing of their faith with their friends and community the focus of their wedding day and to that end spent many delightful months planning the intricacies of the songs, sermon, vows, liturgy, theology, and creative expression of their faith; and several of them made sure to have marriage counselling regularly prior to the wedding to maintain the marriage, instead of the wedding, in their sight.

    The common denominator for each of them was to have regular checkups on the state of their desires with their friends or fiancés and once the wedding day began, not think about any of the planning or logistics and enjoy each moment. Regardless of how successful they were at being conscious and careful, and regardless of breakdowns and pimples and family drama, each of them enjoyed their weddings immensely because they had taken the time to ask the questions you are. I have every confidence in you!

  2. one of my favourite things was all the little coffee shops mum and I visited after any ‘wedding shop’ visit… i think we probably put more importance on finding somewhere with character and enjoying our tea and rhubarb and ginger tart (or whatever!) than on the weddingy-stuff, we certainly spent much more time there… made a healthy and SANE balance i think! xx

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