Celebrating the bridal body as a canvas of expression

December 29 | Guest post by Taren
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Thank you to Anna for uploading this adorable photo to the OBB Flickr pool.
My favorite thing about Offbeat Bride is that it promotes a positive attitude about body image by representing ALL shapes, heights, weights, and shoe sizes. The site celebrates the body without focusing on it alone, but instead, treat it as a canvas of expression, a place to grow babies, a physical means of connecting with your loved ones, etc.

Of course, you may have a useful post on dress alterations, finding the right wedding pants or suit, or even making bridesmaids outfits that will fit a range of sizes (and genders!). But Offbeat Bride has posts on makeup, hairstyles, and shoes. But, the focus is still on changing external factors to emphasize the beauty/confidence/creativity of the bride or groom as they are!

The topic of body image is especially relevant to me, because I work as a weight loss counselor for women. I know how great it can be to overcome personal barriers (whether they be internal, external, or both) as you strive to better yourself, your health, and your life. But, I've seen so many people put too much emphasis on their bodies in negative ways — we've all seen it! We live in a culture where eating disorders, self-hate, and weight loss products are hard to avoid.

If you are getting married your partner loves YOU just the way you are. This statement is cliché and out of place (redundant?) on Offbeat Bride. Readers here seem to already know this and, if they don't, the editors and contributors will remind them and hopefully show them that it's true. I would love to see this attitude on every wedding site… I would love to see this attitude abound in our culture. Offbeat Bride isn't a bad place to keep the movement going as it fights on the front lines of one of the bloodiest ongoing battles in the body image war — the wedding industry.

The most refreshing thing about Offbeat Bride is that the focus isn't on the dress, the venue, or the invitations but the couple and — may I be so bold to argue? — the relationship that led to the celebration and the partnership that will continue after the fact. Of course, you've got addicting wedding porn, an excellent vendors section to shop in, and (more or less) all of the ingredients that bring wedding planners to Offbeat Bride. BUT we never hear "you have to have/be/do/think THIS to be a BRIDE."

Thank you.

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  1. I love this post! LOVE IT! How beautifully well thought out. You said it perfectly right here:

    "But, your focus is still on changing external factors to emphasize the beauty/confidence/creativity of the bride as she is!"

    This is what brings me back to OBB over and over again, nearly every day. Thank you for sharing. An inspiring read this afternoon =)

    8 agree
  2. This post makes me feel that much more confident about actually getting into a dress and marrying my man.

    2 agree
  3. I agree completely with this article but I have to say it sometimes makes me very sad that what so many readers love about OBB and what sets it apart is this focus on the couple, their relationship and celebrating what they already have instead of pushing products or claiming they need to change themselves/their wedding to be 'perfect'.

    There shouldn't be anything 'offbeat' about it, it shouldn't even be something that needs to be said, it should be so central to ALL wedding planning (or even wedding discussion) sites, magazines, books, TV shows ect. ect. that it goes without saying at all times.

    16 agree
  4. AWESOME post! As a plus-size lady, currently working to lose weight for her wedding, I've recently had A LOT of anxiety about finding a dress that fits and looks decent, and about whether I'll feel confident and beautiful on my wedding day…or just be dogged by body-image issues the whole time.

    And, I've been flicking through wedding mags lately, and I've felt really disheartened to see that most of the brides featured (and not just the models!) aren't much bigger than your basic size 12. I don't think I've seen a plus size bride shown ONCE. Which is why OBB is so awesome- because it features a range of gorgeous brides, whether they be a size 6 or a size 26. This site shows very clearly that a woman doesn't need a perfect movie-star body in order to make a gorgeous and radiant bride. And, for that, I take off my hat (feather fascinator?!) to you!

    3 agree
    • If you FEEL fabulous, you ARE fabulous! OBB has featured so many radiant plus-sized brides that there can be no doubt that anyone, no matter what their body type, can be hot and fabulous! 😀

      1 agrees
  5. Well said.
    This ia brillient & I may just have to keep coming back & re-reading this fabulous piece of advice as I keep finding myself drawn into the "oh my god what do I look like?!" phase of wedding planning & preperation & then not eating for days & excersising like mad while my wonderful man continues to remind me that I look goregous just the way I am. I appear to forget!
    So thank you. You've got the website down to a T & have helped me forcus on what really matters.
    The love we share

  6. I love this post! I think the messages we brides receive from the media and the wedding industry are often along the lines of 'Your partner has said they want to spend the rest of their life with you. Quick! Change into a completely different person!". It seems stupid and counterintuitive, when most of us have partners who love us just the way we are.
    I love the idea of the body being a canvas of expression. I've never heard it before, but it's so positive and empowering ^_^ Yay!

  7. It's not just a good reminder for those planning weddings either. It's also great proof that anyone can find someone to spend their life with and you don't have to conform to some pre-set standard for someone to love you.

    I once linked a thread full of teenage boys on a gaming forum to the geeky wedding tag in the archives because they had themselves convinced they'd never find girlfriends unless they gave up all their interests. Pages and pages of people who love video games and Star Wars and weird movies and web comics enough to put it in their wedding and who actually had weddings to put it in was a lot more effective than the 5 or so girls on the forum going "Hey I like that stuff too! I wouldn't mind!"

    4 agree
  8. My love for OBB really does know no bounds! Wanna know why? Wonderful people with beauty, brains and compassion!

    It's because of Offbeat Bride that I'm yet to buy a wedding mag! Oh, the joy I take in wandering past those publications that would *love* to make me feel like the worst, ugliest bride known to wedding-kind, being childish and poking my tongue out at them as I cross my eyes (I *did* say I was being childish! ^_^)

    Offbeat Megan – thank you.

  9. Ya'll really need to quit it! /jk

    I accidentally found your blog and i've been hooked ever since! I've not yet found my ladylove, but reading the articles and such…you're making me really want to settle down! Keep up the great work! (And, I just may go to the Wedding Expo in Philly…since it doesn't look sucktacular!)

    XOXO

  10. I find it so interesting and frustrating the amount of people who have questioned my weight in my two years engagement. Fact is, and I tell them this, if I were to loose a heap of weight wouldn't that be false advertisement for my htb. as long as we are happy, healthy and not starving on the day, then I think we have won any body image battles and unrealistic expectations in the end…and we can just be US.

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