I'm getting married this July, and like a lot of women, I'm getting increasingly excited and somewhat nervous about this. My fiancé is American, I'm from Singapore, we met in China, and we live in Russia. It's hard to plan two weddings from a country in which neither wedding is taking place (shout-out to our families who are doing so much!). I've already started having dreams about everything going wrong.
But as someone who is all about equality, feminism, self-acceptance, and patriarchy smashing, there are a couple of things that my impending wedding will not be about. Some things are easy decisions, like not having a bouquet toss, not changing my name, or having gender neutral terms like “people of honour” (instead of bridesmaids and groomsmen), and “Most Honourable People” (instead of a best man or maid of honour). Trust me, even I roll my eyes at myself every time I explain this one — but I wanted to make a point about equal opportunities and hey, it's my wedding. My feminist, anti-diet wedding.
There are a couple of things that are more important still, and for the sake of any other bride or groom or person who needs a reminder that you're going to do just fine, here it is:
It doesn't need to be the best day of my life
I want this day to be really special, and I know that it will be. I'm marrying my partner and my best friend, and it's a big deal. A huge deal. Families are coming together and it's the official start of a new chapter. That's the important bit. But the rest of it is just a day — a highly symbolic and important one, true — but it doesn't need to be the best day of my life. It is something I will cherish forever, I'm sure, and it is something that holds a great amount of importance and significance to me, my fiancé, our parents, and our families and friends. But it isn't an accomplishment, nor is it the most important thing I will ever do.
I want my wedding day to be special; I don't need it to be perfect.
I won't diet for it
Calorie counting for a single event is something I had already decided I wouldn't do anymore.
Some things just annoy me, like being asked if my fitness goals are all for my wedding. Hint: they aren't. Some things just about break my heart, like being asked what my wedding diet goals are. I have friends who have dieted hard for their weddings, and more power to them. But calorie counting for a single event is something I had already decided I wouldn't do anymore. It just doesn't work for me, and my wedding is no exception.
I love working out and getting fit but, clichéd as it sounds, fitness to me is a journey rather than a destination. Asking someone how hard or how well they are dieting implies that you think they need to diet or change their bodies. Outside of the context of a wedding, a random “So, how's the diet going?” would be harsh — I can't see how weddings are any different.
I've spent a good portion of my life trying to fit into a body type that will never be mine, buying clothes a size too small to “work into it,” and trying to get skinny for Christmas, for someone else's wedding, or for some big event.
Not for my wedding. I want everyone, myself included, to be happy and comfortable. My fitness plan (less beer, more kettlebell swings, because never mind skinny, but dammit I will be strong!) will stay in place, as it did before and as it will after the wedding. And if for just one day I get to make the rules, let it be this: easy on the body shaming; we're here to have fun and celebrate.
I won't wear makeup
This seems almost easy after I spent months considering continuing my anti-shaving agenda — my legs are currently hairier than my fair-haired fiancé's. I don't think I will, though.
But what I will do is rock up with a bare face because 1. I know I will cry and make a mess anyway, 2. With the exception of eyeliner, I hate having makeup on, and 3. Remember the whole patriarchy smashing thing.
If it isn't you, like it isn't me, don't do it.
Makeup can be a lot of fun, and it is to many people I know and love. It's also a choice, and if it isn't you, like it isn't me, don't do it.
Just like I won't be in heels because I hate wearing them, and I don't need my dress to be a surprise for my fiancé because I am not a gift to be presented, and no woman (or man) who's getting married needs to fix themselves to qualify for the role.
It's your wedding. You do you.