You’re about to marry the love of your life! The proposal was a perfect moment, and now it’s time to plan a wedding to showcase your love to family and friends. As magical and serendipitous as it sounds, wedding planning does come with its share of ups and downs. One of those downs being the dreaded thought of, ‘I need to look good for my wedding’.
Whether this is getting in shape and toned through one of Aaptiv’s many strength and conditioning programs, or incorporating healthy nutrition into your diet, it seems like a job in itself to prepare your body for your wedding day. We spoke to Wedding Planner and Founder of LVR Events Meg Hotchkiss to answer the core question: how early is too early to get fit for your wedding? Along with supplying Aaptiv with her expertise on the subject, she also discusses the possible mental and physical stressors that can take place when putting too much focus on your body image before your special day.
It’s never too early…to focus on your health and wellness
Whether your wedding is in one month or one year, there’s never a set timeline to put your body and mental health first. From loading up your plates with nutrient dense fruits and vegetables and avoiding processed carbs and sugar, to following a regular fitness routine, there are many simple changes that one can implement. Each of these can help guide your body through the positive outcomes that many brides and grooms are looking to see on their wedding day.
However, each of these steps must be done in a healthy and manageable way in order to have a successful transformation. Abusing any of these steps, like restrictive calorie counting, excessive exercise, or cutting out specific macro-nutrient groups, can cause negative repercussions. “It sounds counterintuitive, but my advice to brides looking to get fit for their wedding is don’t get fit for your wedding!” says Hotchkiss. “Get fit because you want to be healthy, because you want to have more energy, and because you want to be your best self, not just because you’re getting married.”
Help change your mindset
“Remember, your partner fell in love with who you are, not who you’ll be in a few months,” says Hotchkiss. Unfortunately, as she mentions, there’s a lot of negative imagery out there in the wedding industry. “These stereotypes can make brides feel like they must look perfect and fit some industry-defined mold of a beautiful bride. Rather than try[ing] to squeeze yourself (literally and figuratively) into someone else’s idea of bridal beauty, just aim to be your best self.”
Work on toning your body and mind to help you have a better time on your wedding day, for example, being able to dance all night with a clear mental space, rather then simply looking good for photos and setting other’s expectations of you.
Remember, there is no magic number
Even with incorporating healthy nutrition and regular exercise into your life from the night of the proposal on, “there’s no guarantee that you’ll hit some magic number in the time before your wedding,” says Hotchkiss. Every single body is different (and we love that!), so it makes sense that “everyone loses weight and gains muscle differently. You can’t be certain of how (or if) you’ll hit certain measurements. I typically don’t recommend setting a goal weight for your wedding. Planning a wedding is stressful enough without adding having to hit a certain number on the scale to make you anxious.”
The Dress Timeline
According to Hotchkiss, “buy a dress for who you are now, not who you hope to become. I always suggest buying a dress that makes you feel amazing at your current size.” Below, we’ve provided a timeline of how to order or purchase a wedding dress.
*“If you’re planning on a tighter timeline, don’t worry. You can get a dress much quicker, if need be. Online retailers, sample sales/trunk shows, and (ready-to-wear) off the rack are all options for brides on a tight deadline,” says Hotchkiss.
- 12 months – Begin to look for inspiration.
- 10 months – Start dress shopping! *“Note, you should have your venue booked before you start shopping—you’ll want to narrow down dress options that are appropriate for the type of wedding that you’re actually planning. Keep in mind, some brides fall in love right away with the dress, while others may need to visit multiple designers/salons before finding something that makes them feel amazing. Give yourself breathing room so that if you need a bit more time to look around, you don’t feel pressure and purchase something that’s just OK.
- 9 months – Purchase your dress. Most dresses take roughly six months to arrive from manufacturing.
- 8 months – Determine who will do your alterations (whether it’s the shop you purchased the dress from, one of their recommendations, or another tailor/seamster).
- 3 months – Your dress will arrive, and you’ll begin your fittings.
- 2 months – Your fittings have begun. At this point, you’ll want to try your best to maintain your weight, to avoid drastic alterations later. Depending on your dress and the level of work that needs to be done, you’ll have a few more fittings in the weeks to follow. Certain materials and silhouettes may require additional alteration time (such as beadwork, boning, lace, etc).
- 2-3 weeks – Have your final fitting.
Dress for you and your body type
“Try styles that you might not have considered,” says Hotchkiss. Just because you gravitate towards a certain ad in a magazine or you’re in awe of a friend from a previous wedding who wore a particular style of dress, doesn’t mean that it’ll look the same on you (as we mentioned every single body is different). So, do yourself and your body a service and have fun trying on all styles and cuts to see what looks the most flattering for you and your body type.
“It’s probably not often that you wear a fancy white dress, so give things a try. You might find that a style you had discounted is actually very flattering on you. Also, don’t look at the sizes—your street sizes and wedding dress sizes are not the same (thank you, fashion industry). Your consultant may recommend sizing up when you order, depending on the style of dress and your body shape, as it may make sense from an alterations standpoint.” Many people get caught up in the numbers, but don’t let this discourage or upset you. The most important thing is that your wedding dress fits you and your body perfectly. Size is just a number.
Incorporate health and wellness the right way
“It’s really important to maintain a healthy routine in the months leading up to your wedding day,” says Hotchkiss. “You’ll be likely stressed out by some of the wedding planning tasks and family dynamics related to your big day. This can result in sleepless nights and a lowered immune system.” Given the amount of time, energy, and money that you’re spending on your wedding day, the last thing you want to do is be sick. So, take health and wellness into major consideration in the midst of planning your special day.
The dangers of crashing
“I’ve seen it too many times, where brides drastically limit their caloric intake in the last few weeks, struggling to get rid of those last five pounds,” says Hotchkiss. Along with the complications of the dress fitting (remember we mentioned how the alterations should be set two months ahead), it can lead to the bride or groom looking pale and drawn, as well as cause breakouts.
In addition to less than perfect looking skin, crashing can cause hair to dry out, and, depending on nutrient insufficiencies, thin or fall out. At the end of the day, a two to five pound difference can’t make up for a healthy and glowing complexion and a full head of hair. Additionally, when it comes to the day of, limiting caloric intake “can impact how alcohol affects you,” says Hotchkiss. “You will have a lower tolerance for alcoholic beverages, you may not want to get overly intoxicated on your wedding day.”
Keeping these mental clarifications in check, if you’re looking to change your lifestyle to be healthy while undergoing wedding planning and look glowing on the day of your event, it’s never too early to put thoughtful care into your body. Practicing mindfulness (like many of the meditation programs on Aaptiv), healthy eating, and proper cardio and conditioning can not only help you look better on your wedding day, but can also make you feel better throughout the entire process.