Slim down to a size eight or remove a rib like Cher?

When a size eight is the requirement, there’s really only one sensible choice.

Tina Chang / The National
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When a size eight is the requirement, there's really only one sensible choice It doesn't take a genius to realise that the cost of weddings is rather bonkers. We spend on average $29,000 (Dh106,514) to walk down the aisle, the same amount of dosh that could nab us a smart-ish car or perhaps a small studio in a suburb of Warsaw.

Seemingly normal women, having spent too much time studying the absence of bums and tums in bridal magazines, end up following some insane new diet from the latest LA nutjob, only to turn up on the day with a pair of shoulder blades that could slice through the cake quicker than a knife.

But what the heck, I'm missing the point. That's what it's all about, right? Six months ago when my oldest friend asked me to be her chief bridesmaid I was so wrapped up in the whole female camaraderie thing that I forgot to worry about the bridesmaid's dress. The dress ordered for me arrived in a size eight (I am a snug 10 on a good day) and it couldn't be exchanged. There is no doubt that bridesmaid's dresses are peculiar little things at the best of times. Not only are you dressed more often than not in something you would never wear under normal circumstances, but also you are dressed exactly the same as the other bridesmaids. Four little identikits all dolled up like matching toy soldiers ready for the parade. Which paints rather an odd picture on anyone over the age of seven.

You may say I am bitter. Is she a fatty? I hear you ask. She must be single, I hear you say. Why can't she simply appreciate the stuff that we women are meant to delight in - the wads of silk chiffon, the bows, the feathers and the crystals? Ooohhh, and the pearls, we must not forget the matching pearls! And you know what? You may be right. But the fact of the matter is I haven't been a size eight since I was aged eight.

I had three options. I could remove a rib like the singer Cher - too weird. I could give the "egg diet" a shot - a good contender until I remembered that model who had a heart attack on the runway last year after the grape diet. Or I could do the sensible thing - get a trainer and hit the gym. Which is what I did. I took myself to the Park Rotana every day for three weeks under the guidance of Willem Du Plooy, a strapping South African who had me puffing my way through squats, star jumps, weights and treadmills. And you know what? I loved it - every minute of it. As I walked down the aisle in the size-eight dress I was thinking two things: first, whoever invented Spanx needs a knighthood, and second, this time I am definitely keeping up the regime. I think.