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Dateline NBC
The brave brides: (L-R) Lisa Shumpert, Michelle Stewart, Courtney Prathafakis, Danelle Hlavacek Hlaveck, and Minnie Matthew.
By Correspondent
Dateline NBC
updated 7/22/2005 8:14:48 PM ET 2005-07-23T00:14:48

CHICAGO, ILL.— A wedding: The stuff that dreams are made of and a bride’s shining moment.

Every bride wants to look perfect, but with so many Americans overweight, that means a lot of brides want to slim down and shape up.

Dieting is always tough, but perhaps never tougher than when a woman has the added pressure of planning one of the most important days in her life. From the rings, to the registry, to the guest list, every decision is stressful — and none more so than picking the dress.

When "Dateline" traveled to Chicago, we met five young women who were determined to lose weight before their big day, all while planning the perfect wedding. All brides who participated in Dateline's Bridal Challenge are in their twenties, and all were getting married in six months or less.  Each bride set a weight loss goal of 25 pounds or more, and opted for one of the following five weight loss methods — Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, South Beach, Bridal Bootcamp, or the Wedding Dress Diet. Each woman chose her own diet and how much weight she wanted to lose.

Over the next six months, the brides had a lot to do... before they said “I do.”

With cameras rolling, “Dateline” chronicled their ups and downs while dieting and planning for the most important day of their lives.

There were pounds and dress sizes to lose, and the clock was ticking. Before it was all over, one bride reached a breaking point.

Magical wedding moments
For all our brides, the moment they’d been waiting months for did arrive.

All the diets our brides stuck to worked!

In the span of six months, the five brides learned that losing weight required a change in lifestyle: Regular exercise, portion control, and healthy choices had to become second nature.

With those lessons, they could finally celebrate their success... in one magical moment.

The brides exchanged marriage vows with their grooms... and vowed to have healthier lifestyles. And they’ve all made a personal commitment to either maintain their new weight or shed even more pounds, as their new lives begin...

© 2013 MSNBC Interactive. Reprints

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