Category Archives: Wedding Planning Advice

Toxic Anti-Fat Bias & Diet Culture in the Wedding Industry

Jennifer Rollin is an eating disorder therapist and founder of The Eating Disorder Center, which provides eating disorder therapy in MD, VA, DC, NY, PA, FL, and CA. Recently married, she shares her experience of navigating diet culture and anti-fat bias during her planning process.

One of the best days of my life was when (my now husband) Mark, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him at the same park where I first saw him.

I began wedding planning fairly quickly after and saw first-hand the toxic diet culture and anti-fat bias which is abundant in the wedding industry.

It’s important to note that I have privilege in a variety of areas-including thin privilege (for example, I was able to find a wedding dress in my size in stores) and that navigating the wedding industry is far more challenging for those who are more marginalised.

From seamstresses who ask if you are planning to lose weight before the wedding, to wedding dress stores not carrying sizes for folks in larger bodies, to TikTok videos talking about ‘shredding for the wedding,’ to some brides buying wedding dresses in sizes that are too small for their current body, diet culture and anti-fat bias is everywhere in the wedding industry.

As an eating disorder therapist and someone who personally recovered from my own eating disorder, I knew going into the wedding planning process that I had no plans to diet or try to lose weight leading up to my wedding. This honestly felt relieving as I didn’t put any pressure on myself to try to change my body leading up to the wedding (nor do I put this kind of pressure on myself in my life in general). I also ended up having my wedding dress taken out and was totally cool with that.

It was so nice to be able to fully enjoy the time leading up to the wedding-including an incredible tasting of our wedding food and desserts.

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Making Peace with Wedding Photos

If there’s one piece of advice I would give any couple getting married it’s this… get a bangin’ photographer. That’s not to say you can’t also have Uncle Raj or Cousin Joe also take some to ‘build up their portfolio’, but I urge you, if budget allows, hire a professional.

I say this because a professional photographer will make you look like rock stars. I love having my photo taken by a pro because even though they’re a relative stranger, it makes me feel safer. As a recovered insecure person, I still get nervous about the end results so I like minimising the risk of a ‘bad shot’. Photos hold power over our self-esteem unlike anything else I can think of (trumped only by video maybe).

Ooph! How quickly a badly taken snap can steal your joy.

Recently I was at my Mum’s house and had the urge to look through some old photo albums (remember them?!) Some random photographs of me aged 18 years old fell out of one of the books. In these photos I’m the fattest I’ve ever been.

I’m sorry to say that even as a body acceptance coach and Anti Diet Riot Club Co-director my immediate reaction was horror. I hid the photos away quickly because I felt genuine disgust at how I looked. I continued to go about my day but I couldn’t stop thinking about these photos.

I realised that having spent years talking to other people about how to make peace with photographs, it was time for me to practice once again what I preach! I went back to the albums and took the photos home with me.

I want to share my tips with you because I believe that ALL photos taken on your wedding day should be enjoyed whether they’re ‘perfect’ or not.

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Is It Too Late Now To Say Sorry? Dealing with Conflict Within Your Relationship

It’s important to remember that conflict within your relationship is normal, but there are certainly ways to deal with it that are better than others! Natalie Lee explores how to successfully deal with conflict within your relationship.

Newsflash: You are separate individuals. You have been brought up by different people, maybe in different areas, and maybe from completely different cultures with your own unique way of doing things. The aim here is not to eradicate disagreements but rather learn how to navigate them more effectively without them escalating or building those big bolder blocks of resentment, which will only serve to slowly strangle the life out of your relationship. Trust me, I’m speaking from experience.

What are you really fighting about?

It’s also worth remembering that often, the thing you’re arguing about is rarely about the real thing you’re arguing about. On the surface you might be arguing about the cost of wedding flowers, but try to strip it back and look at what’s lies underneath. Yes, flowers may seem trivial but if they’re not understanding your point of view, or why you want to get certain ones, is it inadvertently giving you another message – that they don’t care about your feelings or opinion, that they’re the one that earns most of the money so it’s up to them how it’s spent, that they don’t respect you? It is unlikely that they are saying anything to deliberately to hurt you so try to identify the feeling/s rather than focus on the action and (probably when you’ve calmed down) communicate this to your partner.

When you are planning a wedding, emotions are high. There’s a lot at stake, a lot to think about, agree on and pay for. Is it any wonder that pre-wedding squabbles will happen? In fact, I think you’d be pretty weird if you had no arguments during this period at all!

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I Do… & I Don’t: A Feminist’s Guide to Being a Bride: The Bridal Party

Our real bride columnist Rachel got married in September this year. We’re following her journey of planning a feminist meets rock n roll wedding.

I’m sad to say I’m the only person I know who has ever been “fired” as a bridesmaid. I was eighteen and the bride was in her early twenties. As the big day came closer, I realised I was expected to pay for my own no-so affordable bridesmaid dress, shoes, hair, make-up, travel and accommodation over the wedding weekend, and for the hen weekend, including all the activities and meals out. I absolutely could not afford to do this, and neither could one of the other bridesmaids who was also in her teens.

I constructed a careful message to the bride, explaining that we simply didn’t have the money and asking if we could maybe talk on the phone about how to make it work for everyone. Minutes later, I received an all-caps response telling me “THIS IS MY WEDDING DAY!!! NOT SOME BIRTHDAY PARTY!” and that I needn’t worry because I was no longer welcome at her wedding… “OR HER LIFE!”.

When I responded, she didn’t reply and we haven’t spoken since. I now realise that this probably wasn’t about me at all, there was clearly a lot else going on and she snapped, plus we were all very young. I still think it’s sad that one day became more important than years of friendship, though. I still think it’s sad that when her marriage ended a couple of years later, we were no longer friends.

When it comes to writing this column, there are a thousand directions I could take. I’m going to stick to the thing I’ve known since that experience when I was eighteen… that my friendships with the people I ask to be part of my bridal party are more important to me than one day of my life, even if it is my wedding day.

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Saying ‘I do’ to Climate Action: How to be an Eco Badass on your Big Day

You’d have to be living under a rock to notice that the world is kinda on fire at the moment! The majority of folks acknowledge that climate change is happening now and that future predictions look, quite frankly, pretty terrifying. The good news is that taking action is the number one way to counter any anxiety or despair you might be feeling and there’s heaps of ways to do this on your big day.

The wedding industry is not great for the environment. The book, The Green Bride Guide: How to Create an Earth-Friendly Wedding on Any Budget (published in 2008) states that in just one day the average wedding can produce the same amount of carbon as approximately five people produce in an entire YEAR.

Happily, it’s never been easier to be a change maker because there are now so many badass green alternatives out there. You really don’t need to be planning a hippy boho wedding to be putting on a spectacularly sustainable do, and you never know, you might just inspire other couples to do the same! (As an additional added bonus, you might find that putting the planet first can actually SAVE you money, see our tips below).

Let’s get one thing clear, we can’t recycle our way out of the climate emergency. Reports from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) emphasise that the real push for change this late in the game needs to come from governments and big industries, so join a local lobbying campaign and hassle your local leaders to take faster stronger action. However, consumer power is real. Use your voice by choosing wisely where to spend your hard-earned dosh.

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I Do … & I Don’t: A Feminist’s Guide to Being a Bride – The Origins of Bridal Traditions

Our real bride columnist Rachel got married in September this year. We’re following her journey of planning a feminist meets rock n roll wedding, culminating in us sharing the big day in our last issue of the year! This month she’s been thinking about wedding
traditions.

I thought I had a handle on the major bridal traditions and the gripes many of us have with them. Lots of you reading this may have already decided to scratch out the word ‘obey’ from your vows, for example. A lot of modern brides also wrinkle their noses at the idea of ‘being given away’ and what that actually used to mean (that the literal ownership of the bride was changing hands from father to husband). Many have even come to believe that the first dance is tired and unnecessary. Not me, though – it’s my one chance to feel like I’m on Strictly Come Dancing. But I get it. It’s not for everyone.

It turns out I had no idea about the murky origins of so many staple wedding moments. For instance, did you know that the garter removal — that moment where the groom takes off the bride’s garter with his teeth, in front of his nephews, his grandma Joyce and his new father-in-law (I’ve seen it happen from many a stage as a wedding singer and it is never anything other than excruciating, please don’t do it) is the very distant descendant of a medieval tradition that would happen at the end of the wedding feast? Right before bedtime, someone would shout, ‘GET HER!’ and the congregation would launch upon the virgin bride, ripping off pieces of her dress to help unclothe her before the naked part of the nuptials. The bigger the chunk of dress you took home, the better the luck apparently. It’s worth nothing that this gang-undressing is also considered by many to be the great, great, great grandparent of catching the bouquet, as it’s in the same family of ‘taking home a piece of the bride for luck’.

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