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The Thin Bride
Mom with a View

The Thin Bride

Since when did being thin become the end goal of the wedding day?

by

The article on Newsweek.com (02/28/2008) says it all. "Since 24-year-old Noelle Nicolai got engaged in early January, she's been surprised that no one has asked about her plans for 'happily ever after' or the details of the engagement. Instead, all the questions have revolved around one topic: what she's going to look like on her wedding day."

In the broadest sense, today's bride has become obsessed with the details of the wedding -- her looks, the room, the flowers, the food -- and has forgotten that the goal is marriage. In a more limited way, their focus has narrowed to appearances -- theirs! It's become all about their weight, their complexion, their weight, their hair, their weight...

Since when did being thin become the end goal of the wedding day?

The Talmud asks a pertinent question that has nothing to do with dress size. Our sages wanted to know how to talk about a bride. Do you praise her according to her actual qualities or do you attribute to her virtues and qualities that she may not obviously have?

The envelope please... We say that every bride is beautiful and righteous, whether we believe it or not. Because to her husband she is. In her husband's eyes, she has those qualities. He finds her wonderful in all and every way. And it's not because of the missing pounds or the expensively styled hair.

Few men preface their marriage proposal with a conditional "When you lose a few pounds" (at least not their successful marriage proposal!) or "When you get your makeup done professionally."

All this rushing about to tanning salons (and risking skin cancer) or fad diets (and risking eating disorders or malnutrition) or for botox treatments (and risking in some cases actual botulism) seems to have no connection to the wishes and desires of the prospective grooms. It seems to be a new and destructive time of peer pressure, a keeping with up with the Melissas and Ashleys.

Presumably the groom has gotten to know his bride's character and finds it appealing. Presumably he finds her attractive. So why the frantic search for more beauty? Perhaps we've been sold a bill of goods by all those bridal magazines and movies. After all, it's a very successful and continually growing industry.

There is a lot of preparation a bride should do before her wedding. She should be very busy meeting with happily married women to ask their advice. She should be taking classes and reading books on character development. She should be engaged in introspection and should make a spiritual accounting. She should read books on making marriage work. Those are the details that really count.

Her nails may be short. Her skin may be pale. She may not be a size two but if she is "beautiful and righteous" in her husband's eyes, if she's focused on her character growth and enhancing her marriage, then it won't just be the wedding of her dreams, it will be the marriage of her dreams too.

Published: March 1, 2008


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Visitor Comments: 16

(15) Roo, March 5, 2008 5:58 PM

It's also what other people expect

The Shadchan ladies want thin women as clients. The future mother in laws want thin wives for their sons! The girls need to be thin to get dates. This is prevalent nowadays in the orthodox world.

YoJewMama, June 25, 2014 6:41 PM

My son doesn't care about weight

He's tall and handsome, smart, easy going, observant, in the IDF. He asked me for a bride that is NICE and KIND. I'd like her to be passionate about G.d and Torah and it would be nice if she would be organized too! :-) I'm the one with the sickness about (my own) weight having grown up in LA.

(14) Anonymous, March 5, 2008 4:28 PM

There is nothing wrong with looking good but...

I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting to be a princess for a night. There is nothing wrong with wanting to look at your best at your wedding. There is nothing wrong with wanting every detail to be just so for your wedding. This is not the problem. Rather, the problem is that these days, the wedding details comprise about 99% of the preparations, while marriage details comprise the remaining 1%. The situation needs to be reversed. But when done properly, and the couple really prepares properly for what comes after the wedding, there is no reason why they shouldn't also pay attention to wedding details- including dropping a few pounds beforehand if they want!

(13) Anonymous, March 5, 2008 4:22 AM

Overweight people cant get married!

somehting i hear over and over..yes i admit i am on the larger side but does that make me a non candidate for marriage.. the same line i hear over and over, you are beautiful but if only you would loose weght then you could get married, erm not quite!! there is more to a relatiosnhip that just lookiing good, yes it plays a big role ( note the pun) but there are men out there who like the larger women and also see beyond the outer. however ive heard it so much that now i have a complex about this, that unlessi loose wieght im destined to living a life of celibacy! this week i met a guy, and he liked me and he saw beyond..for other reasons we werent compatible so it didnt go further ( my decision) but it gave me the boost and ego i needed to go on and for this i thank him.. to all the girls out there in the same postion i say keep strong keep looking do what makes you feel good becasue out there there is someone waiting and wanting someone just like you!

(12) Miriam, March 5, 2008 3:47 AM

the wedding is one night!

Of course it is important for both the kallah and chatan to look good, but they should be themselves, and there is no reason to spend so much energy and MONEY on being perfect - a perfectly thin bride and justlike a model in a magazine. How the bride and the groom feel inside is what is the most important. If a bride wants professional makeup and a hairstylist and can afford it, great, but it is not necessary and she can be beautiful without it. People seem to forget that the wedding is just a few short hours and then it is over. It is the marriage that you have to prepare for. Make the wedding as nice as it can be, but people spend thousands of dollars that could be used by the couple to start off their lives. It is not necessary to have the best, the fanciest, the most guests. What a couple needs is family and good friends and a meaningful ceremony.

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