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Bridal Battles: Part I

As a newly engaged woman, the wedding stresses have been hitting me like bricks lately, and I assume this will continue over the next couple months. I hope through the coming months I can serve to set a good example for a blissful engagement and also draw on some veteran advice as obstacles arise. This post could be the first of many installments in this series, and it could also be the last. I will just have to see how things go, but I am excited to get everyone’s feedback, even from the men.

So here begins “Bridal Battles Part 1: I don’t want to eat only lettuce for the next eight months.”

I was not one of those girls who had it all figured out pre-engagement. All I knew was that I wanted to get married and figured the rest would fall into place. Steven and I hadn’t been engaged an hour before people were asking us when the date was. Ah, yes, it doesn’t take long for the stress to come.

Then comes dress shopping, color picking, attendant choosing, location setting, and the list goes on. But in the past two months I have been attacked by another stress that is completely unnecessary: weight loss.

Before I was even engaged, one of my best friends gave me some awesome advice: “Chelsey, just never forget that he loves you for who you are. Promise me you won’t be one of those crazy brides who tries to lose 20 pounds and order your dress four sizes smaller.”

At the time, I laughed, sure that I would never be tempted to turn into workout bridezilla. But now after being completely immersed in the wedding industry, I can see where these stresses and stereotypes originate.

Last week I tried on a dress that was a little too small. Logically, I turned to the attendant and said I would probably need the next size up. She stared at me like I was the bride from Mars. “Well, what do you plan on doing for the next eight months? You could probably lose a few pounds and get this one.” I stared at her, took the dress and hung it back on the rack. Then, the next day I received an email from “Dear Chelsey, congratulations! Your wedding is only eight months away! Now it is time to get in shape….”

As if there isn’t a big enough pressure on women to be thin on an average day of their life, why not pressure them into losing even more weight for one of the most important days, right?

The wedding industry has taken the focus off what is really important and shined its ugly spotlight on our most vulnerable areas: our wallet and our weight. Don’t have a massive ring? Your man isn’t good enough. Can’t afford an outrageous reception? Your job isn’t good enough. Can’t fit into that size 2 dress? Well, you aren’t going to be pretty enough.

It is interesting how a culture that has so little value for marriage seems to have so much value for the day it begins. They are so busy making us concerned about one day that we forget to prepare for the lifetime. The media even produces shows focused on improving a bride’s appearance before she walks down the aisle: “Bridalplasty” and “Shredding for a Wedding.” Save your time; don’t look them up.

Sisters, please don’t believe the hype. I’m not saying you can’t try to look great on your wedding day; I’m just asking that you don’t let society convince you to be someone you are not. No. 1, you are a daughter of the King and, therefore, made in His majestic image. And No. 2 (for those who are engaged) your fiancé should love you for you.

There are so many other important things that should be done during engagement, and it breaks my heart to see how our culture eats up all that time with improving physical appearance. I challenge all the engaged couples out there to step back today and remember what this stage is all about. Ask yourself, “What would God want me to prepare for right now?”

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