Friday, 1 June 2012

It's ok to be you on your wedding day. (In which I come dangerously close to quoting Bruno Mars)

Some of you lovely people out there may know this already, but I am recently engaged. It's brilliant and I am very excited and happy, but that's another post.

This post is about something that doesn't make me happy. I've been engaged a matter of days and already the pressure is starting. As I type this, my Facebook ads are as follows:

Lose 2 Stone in 2 Weeks Lose stone and join the diet revolution like everyone else.

Lose 6 Kgs in 2 Wks Keep the kilograms off with these sneaky tricks...

Reach your Wedding Weight Lose the Weight in Just One Week at UKs Most Exclusive Weight Loss Retreats

It's not just offensive because of the crap grammar.

The pressure is always there from the media to look a certain way or break your heart trying but in my years of using Facebook, I have never seen a Facebook ad for weight loss. Now that I have decided to publish my happy news on there, what I get in return is a never-ending stream of confidence chipping. I can refresh and three or four ads will replace them. Lose 2 stone, slim down, learn this diet trick, no need to go to the gym, secret diet weapons, lose weight, lose inches... chipchipchip. This kind of aggressive advertising isn't meant to get you the first time you see it, or the second... it's unrelentingly there, in the corner of your eye.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to be healthy, there's nothing wrong with being really slim if that's the way you are but I really object to constantly being told that I should lose weight at whatever cost. Two stone in two weeks? Are you kidding me?

Now, I am not in amazing shape. I had a baby four months ago. Maybe I could stand to lose a little, but I'm pretty happy in my own skin right now. What really hacks me off is people trying to create insecurity, not just for me but for any bride. Oh and I'm not saying that men aren't under pressure but I've seen my fiancé's Facebook and there isn't a diet ad in sight.

It just makes my heart sink. Aside from this having an effect on me as a bride, it also impacts on me as a wedding photographer. It's not just weight loss either.

Like when I get an email from a couple and before they're even telling me about their wedding, they're apologising. "I'm not that photogenic". "I'm not the prettiest". "I'm not the skinniest".

Please, let's set the record straight. We are so bombarded with advertising and  images and people trying to make money from putting us down that sometimes we can't see the wood for the trees.

All a bride and groom, or a bride and bride, or a groom and groom is is two people getting married. Aside from the legal criteria that is ALL YOU HAVE TO BE.

Don't apologise for it.
Don't torture yourself.
Just give me two people in love, being themselves and I am happy.


  1. Frankie Trailor1 June 2012 at 08:59

    Beautifully, beautifully put Hannah.

    Frankie x

    PS It was our first anniversary on Monday - how exactly has it been a year since you took those gorgeous photos?!?!

  2. well put, Hannah.
    Thank you for sharing this. will share forward with my friends.

  3. Well said. Apparently now I'm married Facebook thinks I should be having a baby...or at least that's what the ads are telling me. I do not need to see ads for fertility clinics/nappies/baby food/pushchairs thanks.

    I think it's outrageous that women should feel any pressure to be remotely 'bridal' (whatever that means) being happy in your own skin is so much more important, whatever your shape.

    On a slightly different note, it pains me that smart, normally sane women think a magic wedding fairy will come and somehow make you look like a totally different person on your wedding day. I know that fairy doesn't exist because I waited for her and she didn't show up. So I actually looked like me on my wedding day and that's ok. In fact, no, it's good to look like you, that's who the other person wants to marry, yes?

    And I know this is not your way of asking for compliments Hannah, but you look pretty good to me. You're going to make such a beautiful bride x

  4. Great article Hannah... but I'll raise you one! As soon as I announced my wedding on Facebook, I started getting adverts for ovulation and having babies. As someone who does not want children and gets very angry at the insinuation that all women *should* want them else they are not womanly, I got really irate!

    But the weight loss adverts are equally as offensive. I have had a real issue with my weight planning my wedding... as you say, you get emails from people saying 'I'm not the prettiest'. That sums up my entire planning experience, from apologising to the ladies in the bridal store about my body when I was finding dresses to thinking about how awful I am going to look in the pictures. In the end, though, I can only be myself. I can't lose the weight under pressure. I can't change my face no matter how much I would like to.

    You will make a beautiful bride, and your attitude will go a long way to satisfying many happy customers that you photograph on their wedding days.

  5. Everyone looks beautiful on their wedding day. The love shines through and makes people beautiful. All people need is a wonderful photographer like Hannah to capture that beauty forever in the photographs.

  6. Well said, Hannah!
    I love shooting brides of all sizes, every bride I've ever worked with has looked wonderful on her wedding day.
    Funnily enough, I get all those weight loss ads too and I'm slim, been married for 20 years!

  7. Well said! Can I suggest adblock :)

  8. I've been getting these too but didn't realise it was because of the "engaged" status.

    I completely agree with your post - why would you want to get married looking different from how you look the rest of your life? Cray-cray!

  9. Ha, yes, have been subjected to the nappy and pushchair ads too ever since our wedding pics went up, despite no mention of nippers yet! Love this post. Everyone should get to spend their wedding day being exactly who they are and not having to be anything else.

  10. Love this post Hannah (and congratulations on the engagement!) x


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