Cosmetic surgery and the wedding industry – a rant

I’m going to show you an email, and then I’m going to say just what I think about a) plastic surgery and b) the idiots who think brides are their ideal customers for procedures.

This could get messy…

Here’s the email I found in my inbox this morning:
I can’t fault Bella’s polite approach, but it’s certainly a one-email-fits-all thing, so I don’t feel bad about my response. She’s only asking for a guest post about skincare… all perfectly harmless (I’ve nothing against moisturiser!)  – but the string attached would be a nice backlink to a blog about cosmetic surgery. Kerching?

My reply to the email (sadly it’s one of many)

I have strong feelings about anyone in the business of making money from people’s vulnerabilities… this is me explaining that quite nicely:

It’s a topic I find it difficult to be too nice about – that’s as polite as I wanted to be.

My opinions on surgery:

  1. I have no problem with surgery after an accident. Severe burns and scarring can be traumatic – if an operation or two will help, it’s a good thing.
  2. I don’t like vanity. I don’t like our society’s perception of beauty. I don’t agree that surgery is the answer to a crooked nose, small boobs, wrinkles, a big tummy, saggy bum… whatever. The answer is to accept whichever of your bits you don’t like. Simple.
  3. There are huge risks. General anaesthetics shouldn’t be taken with as little care as, say, Smarties.
  4. This is a multi-million pound industry feeding off people’s vulnerabilities. That’s not nice.

Cosmetic surgery and the wedding industry:

The big clinics like Transform (ick) have spotted a gap in the market over the last year or two. Brides. An easy target, they seem to think. Every bride wants to look perfect on her wedding day. How patronising and condescending is that?!

Brides also have a lot of money – if they’re prepared to spend £x,xxx on a venue, catering, photography, flowers… these businesses want some.

So these companies have been advertising in wedding magazines, and they’re now trying to get in with the wedding blogs. They’ll never, ever get any advertising space on English Wedding. (I’m also trying to avoid using words which will encourage their Google advertising on this post.)

The real beauty in weddings – it’s not about cup size

Because beauty is inside us, and being pretty on the outside is the tiniest little part of that. Accepting our flaws and vulnerabilities makes us more lovable. Your husband will love you for who you are – warts and all, as the saying goes.

I think getting married is a sign of maturity. The same kind of maturity which can lead a girl to accept those bits of herself she’s not so keen on – after all, when someone falls in love with you exactly as you are, you learn to see yourself through their eyes.

And they love the bumpy, wrinkly and bent bits on the outside of you, just as much as they love the soul on your inside.

The idea of spending £5k on invasive procedures to lift, mould and shape parts of a person’s body seems ridiculous.

The perfect wedding – love and commitment (not skin)

Having a perfect wedding isn’t about flaunting your perfect body. It’s not about your figure or your face – it’s about sharing your love as a couple with all of your friends and family, coming together in celebration and making a commitment.

Marriage means you’ll be together forever. Your wedding day marks the first day of that lifetime commitment – and these businesses who are after your money for surgery don’t even see that.

Keep your focus, think about being married for the next thirty, forty, fifty or sixty years – and join me in sticking two fingers up at the cosmetic surgery companies who can’t see the beauty in growing old and wrinkly together.


Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.



  • Jonathon Watkins
    8 years ago

    Excellent post Claire. I’m sometimes asked to change people’s shapes in Photoshop, to which I reply that I’m happy to remove things that shouldn’t be there like scratches, spots etc, but I don’t want to change the essential character of a person. We are all programmed with a certain body shape/size and that’s who we are. There’s no point in showing a ‘fake’ view of ourselves. Yes, maturity is in accepting ourselves for who we are, wrinkles and all & working to make the most of what we are given.

    • Claire
      8 years ago

      Thanks Jon, an interesting point about Photoshop there too. Your comment is making me smile, in a contented way. Spot on.
      Claire x

  • I love your rants!! You’re quite right though

  • Laura C
    8 years ago

    I love this. Everything about your respose – amazing.

  • Jenny
    8 years ago

    I quite agree with everything you’ve said. Exploiting someone’s insecurities is never acceptable. xx

  • Excel­lent post Claire, and great response.
    It’s a sad state of affairs when the result of your par­ents’ gene pool is not con­sid­ered ‘per­fect’ enough and that self-mutilation for vanity’s sake is becom­ing the norm.
    How long before the celeb-obsessed all begin to look exactly the same?

    (sorry I mistakenly attached a pic to the end of the last post – please delete!)

  • Gary
    8 years ago

    Nice response!

    • Claire
      8 years ago

      Laura, Jenny, Diana, Gary – thank you.
      Diana love that big punchy sentence in your comment. I wish I’d included that in my email reply!
      Claire x

  • Kerry Taylor
    8 years ago

    Hi Claire,
    An interesting post and I do think it is unethical to pray on peoples insecurities but I do also feel that wanting to look your best isn’t always about vanity but also about confidence.
    I don’t think we should denigrate the whole cosmetic surgery industry because of a few unscrupulous companies. I think it’s each to their own. Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life when all eyes are on you. I speak from experience as a bride for whom the ceremony is a hazy blur of a memory due to my crippling nerves!! And also to point out that not all cosmetic surgery involves a general anaesthetic or drastic changes. Some brides may prefer to plump for the option of botox, microdermabrasion or a peel. These are procedures which, if carried out by a qualified practitioner are perfectly safe and non invasive.
    If someone feels like this may boost their complexion and their confidence then who are we to judge? It’s not hurting anyone and it’s their choice. As you say, marriage signifies maturity and they are making an informed choice.
    I realise that I probably sound like a cosmetic surgery practitioner but I’m not! Before I was a wedding planner I was a healthcare professional with a background in mental health too so I have knowledge of the industry and also psychology.
    Keep the rants coming….I love them!!

    • Claire
      8 years ago

      Ooh Kerry – great comment.
      I love a discussion, it’s best when someone disagrees with me!
      I still disagree with cosmetic surgery being so readily available. I agree with your comment about confidence – insecurity is often masked with too much make-up etc. What people judge as vanity often isn’t (in my opinion).
      I suppose you’re right about judging people. If I could write this blog post again now I’d add something along those lines. I’m not judging brides here, but the companies who are making money from trying to persuade them that ‘procedures’ of any kind will make them more confident, happier, less insecure. Thanks for pointing that out – I missed it.
      And another thought – maybe I don’t know enough about the psychology of this. It’s very easy for me to talk about maturity and imagine a world where everyone with an insecurity can turn to someone for a chat, great advice and a new outlook on themselves. But so many of us have insecurities. So few of us would go to a doctor or psychiatrist and ask for help.
      Maybe the only option we see – because it’s out there selling at us like mad – is cosmetic surgery. Maybe that’s a reason it’s so popular.
      Thank you for making me think, I love your comments!

      • Kerry Taylor
        8 years ago

        Hi Claire,
        Thanks for the response. I’m glad I could add something to the debate! 🙂

  • Belinda McCarthy
    8 years ago

    Excellent response and I quite agree – why brides (or grooms!) should feel that they need to change themselves in order to fit some industry perceived ‘perfection’ for their wedding day is nuts. I’m the same as Jonathan – I’ll more than happily edit images to soften or remove what I would call ‘transient flaws’ such as hair out of place, spots and so on, but I would never, ever make someone thinner, bigger boobed, longer legged….

    Weddings are about love between two people. Those people love each other for a reason, and that’s nothing to do with their exterior looks. Of course, we all want to look our best on our wedding day, but therein lies the key. ‘Our best’ – not someone else’s best.

  • Emma
    8 years ago

    I’m so glad that you have such a strong stand against this market. We have all stood in front of the mirror and thought about the things we’d like plumped up here, slimmed down there. However if I were to imagine no one else existed in this world, would I care about what I looked like? Of course not!

  • Gemma
    8 years ago

    Great response! I agree with you wholeheartedly.

    I kind of think it’s a bit sad that she should refer to a wedding as ‘D Day’ as if it’s like some impeding doom day that Brides are not looking forward to – if there’s one day in a person’s life where they should be celebrating the fact two people love each other for who they are, insecurities, imperfections and all, then it’s their wedding day.

    • Claire
      8 years ago

      Thank you Belinda, Emma and Gemma.
      Gemma – that was one of the worst bits in her email too – the straw that broke my camel’s back, if you like!
      Great comments everyone 🙂
      Claire xx

  • Alex
    8 years ago

    Amazing blog post – I love your stance on this and that you are promoting SELF LOVE! Big hugs to you! xoxo

  • Amanda
    8 years ago

    The first wedding mag I ever bought had a full page feature on what sort of plastic surgery you might want before your wedding day – it was presented as a fait accompli, not an ‘if’ but a ‘which’. I was staggered. Okay, I would secretly actually quite like a bit of botox to stop me frowning when I’m not even cross, and I am certainly more flaw than flawless, but my budget is somewhat focussed on other things. And I don’t like being pressured into something so serious.

  • Amy
    8 years ago

    Hi Claire,
    Good rant. I don’t quite know what to think!
    You have made some fair points about the cosmetic industry trying to get a finger in the wedding industry pie! I quite agree that this shouldn’t be something automatically added to the considerations for a couple’s wedding. (Photographer, check; venue, check; hair and make-up artist, check;… plastic surgery, check!) The pressure to look perfect and have the perfect day is not right, and should not be exploited by companies only out to make money.
    But I also agree with Kerry, some people may struggle so much to accept body parts they dislike that the only option seems to be surgery/cosmetic procedures. I knew a girl with a 32AA bra size which just made her miserable (her three sisters are well endowed!), she had surgery and is now a C cup, and so much happier and more confident.
    Saying that, I also know a girl who had so many body hang-ups when she first met her partner, but through his love and family support she has come a long way in overcoming them…. each to their own!
    In my opinion, love conquers all – why change who I am so the rest of the world thinks I’m perfect, when I already have a man who thinks that when I wake up with crazy hair, bleary eyes and a grumpy face? I don’t think plastic surgery should be promoted to brides-to-be, and I wouldn’t suggest it to help a friend in a confidence crisis, but when the procedure is a well considered choice for personal reasons then who am I to judge?
    Just a few thoughts there!

  • Wendy Bell
    8 years ago

    Hi Claire,

    I’m in complete agreement with you about these companies preying on people’s insecurities. I think it’s sad is that those actually falling for this and getting the surgery probably aren’t wholly considering the potential disasters that could happen while under the knife. There are so many horror stories out there about people who have “bodged” boob jobs etc. Let’s be honest here, you may not like certain things about your body but you know you’re able to live with them as they currently are. Can you be that confidently certain that you’ll be able to cope if your surgery doesn’t improve the way you look and has quite the opposite effect?
    If you want to improve your physique, put in a little elbow grease and try eating healthily and find a source of exercise that you enjoy to tone yourself up. If your breasts are (in your own opinion) small, buy some chicken fillets to put in your bra! At least they won’t leave a huge dent in your bank balance and painful scars that take months to fade! Alternatively, try to look in the mirror with a positive attitude. Instead of pointing out your flaws, find the parts of you that you like and focus on them. Eventually you won’t be able to see the “bad” bits because you’re focussing on being positive rather than negative.

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