Skip To Content
  • Body Positivity Week badge

Guys Talk About Their Wedding-Related Body Image Issues

From height to receding hairlines.

When we talk about people trying to feel good about their bodies for their wedding, there's a tacit agreement that we're talking about women. Don't believe me? Think about the shows and articles you've seen, or the conversations you've had.

Do a quick Google image search for "wedding weight loss," for example, and the results will be 99% female. The photos show women in lace wedding dresses with measuring tapes around their waists; before and after photos of ladies proudly showing off all the spare fabric their pre-wedding diets gave them.

Setting aside the pressure this puts on women who, I don't know, maybe just want to get married and be happy, it creates a vacuum for men who might be grappling with body image issues of their own.

When I put out a call for men to share via the BuzzFeed Community how they were affected by their their body insecurities before and during their weddings, I received dozens of responses. Men, it turns out, deal with a lot — weight, height, hair loss, too much hair, excess sweat — but rarely have the space to discuss it, or even feel that they're not alone.

Here are three of their stories.

Paul, 29, Berkley, Michigan

How did you feel about it on your wedding day?

I'm very pleased with how everything turned out. I don't remember much from the wedding; it was a blur. On the day itself, I wasn't bemoaning that I should've lost more weight. I was just in the moment, so it didn't bother me too much. The pictures look good, I felt good, and now I look back and I feel good about it — "How tight does my jacket look?" was not anywhere on that list. Sure, in some photos, I look and think, "That's not a great angle," but not every photo is going to be a pleasant one. I don't think anyone is 100% happy with the all of the pictures taken of them.

How do you think men experience body image issues differently than women?

Body image issues are the same for weddings as they are in general — there are mass-produced, heavily sexualized [images of] women in advertisements for everything. Wedding magazines and everything make women think they should look that way when they get married, too. Men are kind of told it doesn't matter how you look, as long as you're funny or have a hot wife.

Men don't really talk about anything that's important. Male friendships are predicated on different experiences than female relationships are; men don't turn to each other for emotional support. When it came to wedding stuff, my guy friends and I only talked about the bachelor party, and if I were to bring up my weight, it would be about losing it in general, not for the wedding. I didn't feel alone or anything — I had support from my fiancé and my family when I was trying to lose weight — but I think men should be more open to speaking to each other about anything.

Trevor, 30, Portland, Oregon

Alex, 36, Farmington, Utah

How did your concerns about your height affect you as you prepared for your wedding?

I was pretty conscious of it for a few reasons. You look at the magazines and see tuxes on 6-foot-tall model guys with big biceps. I knew I wasn't going to look like that. I thought, "Am I going to look like a squat guy in their dad's suit? Are people going to think it's too big? Or that I really found something that worked for me?" I will always have to get things tailored so that they're not too long, but I was concerned that my suit wasn't going to come out right. I wondered if I was going to look like I have broad shoulders, with that V-shape look from the shoulders down.

How did you feel about it on your wedding day?

I was conscious about everything up to the moment the wedding happened, and at that moment, I was like, "Eh, whatever." Up to the day we were getting married, I was like, "Am I going to look short? She's going to be wearing heels." She did buy heels, but she ended up taking them off because she knew it was something that made me feel, for that moment, less masculine.

During the wedding, I was wondering if I I looked handsome in my suit, if it fit the way it should fit a guy. You know, straight down in the hips, with broad enough shoulders. Once I saw some of the candid pics, I was like, "Damn, I look handsome! It looks so much better than what was in my head! That's what I was going for!" I was really happy about it. A lot of people complimented me on my suit, and I looked nice. I cleaned up well. I'm small, but I worked it. I looked like I felt really confident and that's what I wanted, that's what I hoped for.

How does your height affect your relationship with your wife?

She's very conscious of my feelings; she helps me feel better when I have dysphoric feelings, like if I look guy-ish or not. When we first started dating, she wore flat shoes a lot, but our height difference isn't super noticeable — she's only three inches taller than I am. Discussing my height wasn't the first thing we talked about, but after a while, I told her I feel smaller sometimes, especially when people asked if I was her son. She's older than I am (even though she doesn't look it), and I look younger than my age, but I thought that was happening because I look short. Now she'll do things like walk on the lower part of the slope when we're walking so our height is even, or hold me tighter when there are bigger guys around. She says, "I love you, and nothing about you embarrasses me at all."

How do you think men experience body image issues differently than women?

I've learned that in guy world, you don't talk about your feelings. With weddings, everyone goes through their own stress. I thought that when I transitioned, my body image issues would go away, but they just transferred somewhere else. The media says I should have a six-pack and look a certain way, and I have to be secure with the fact that I never will. Height-wise, this is something I can't change. I have to accept it. I'm going to have bad days or moments. On your wedding day, you have to be secure and focus on what's important — you're marrying the love of your life.

Interviews have been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.

Body Positivity Week is a week of content devoted to exploring and celebrating our complicated relationships with our bodies. Check out more great Body Positivity Week content here.