The pressure of being the beautiful bride

It’s my parents’ 30th wedding anniversary today. And I’m looking again at the wedding photo that has been up on the walls of the homes I’ve lived in all my life. It’s one of my favourites.

Because when I look at it, I see my mum looking absolutely breathtaking. To me, there has been no more beautiful bride than her in that photo, on that day, in that moment.

Gwen Stefani once said: “I remember when I was in school, they would ask, ‘What are you going to be when you grow up?’ and then you’d have to draw a picture of it. I drew a picture of myself as a bride.”

Every little girl’s dream, right?

Well, today it’s got me thinking about the pressure of being a beautiful bride on your wedding day. When I did a survey earlier this year, I asked women to tell me when they had felt most beautiful.

The vast majority of married women said their wedding day. And most of those that weren’t married said they had felt most beautiful at another person’s wedding, as a bridesmaid.

What is it about weddings?

In 2012, the average wedding cost £20,248. No joke.

The average bride spent around £1,500 on her dress and about £190 on hair and beauty.

If you’ve watched any of the plethora of wedding shows on our TV screens (Don’t Tell the Bride, Four Weddings, Bridezillas) you’ll know that looking her best, achieving standards of beauty the likes of which she has never achieved, is many-a-bride’s main aim when getting married.

For many, looking their best means looking their skinniest. It’s why the term ‘bridorexia’ was coined and mentioned in reference to 5’10” Kate Middleton who is thought to have dropped to eight stone before the Royal Wedding last year.

A study by Cornell University into weddings and weight found that around a quarter of brides resorted to ‘extreme behaviours’ in bids to lose weight, including smoking, skipping meals and taking diet pills.

Around 14 per cent of brides are reported to buy a wedding dress that’s too small for them, because they intend to lose weight before their nuptials.

Has it all gone a little too far, or do you think it’s important for a bride to be beautiful?

Do you think society pressures brides into looking ‘perfect’ on their wedding days?

Did you do anything extreme ahead of your wedding to make sure you looked ‘right’?

Did you feel the most beautiful you’ve ever felt on your wedding day?

Or were you disappointed with how you looked?