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Your big day is on the way, and some days you feel so much … stress! Perhaps you’re snacking a bit more (or, comfort eating!), or being kept awake with details swirling around your head. Or maybe you’re weary of advice from well-meaning friends and relatives — we’ll stop there. Great news alert: We have an abundance of tips to help you with all of that and more.

We sat down with Dr. Kate Henry, a naturopathic physician with advanced training in mind-body medicine and functional psychiatry; she’s also a biofeedback and mindfulness trained clinician. She’s got your back with simple things you can start doing at six months, three months, and one month out, to help you handle stress and to look and feel your best, before and during your wedding day. Stick with this advice, and that feel-good will last after the wedding, too!

Dr. Kate Henry, Naturopathic Physician

Six Months Out…

Bonus: Less than six months until your special day? Take a breath and read on; you can implement many of these techniques regardless!

1. Prioritize your sleep.

Our circadian rhythms are designed to have us sleep at sunset and rise with the sun. When we do this (or get close), our bodies produce optimal amounts of anti-inflammatory mediators, like cortisol, and maximize the amount of hormones we’re able to make and regulate. This is good news for your ability to deal with stress, reach the body recomposition goals you may have set, and to optimize cognitive function. Bottom line: Get on a good sleep schedule, and stick with it!

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2. Put stress-management factors in place.

This is where free YouTube and other channels — along with local practitioners in your community (virtually, if needed) — come in. Find your favorites, and set time aside for yoga, meditation and other mindfulness practices. Ideally you’ll do a little bit most days each week. Remember that you can do pre-recorded free online classes or trainings in chunks of time — aim for at least 20 minutes — so prioritize that in your schedule. Live-streamed classes or live classes, if they’re available in your community (this was written during the novel coronavirus pandemic), are generally an hour; your body and mind will thank you for the commitment. 

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3. Focus on workouts that build muscle.

Never worked out before? It’s OK; there’s something for everyone available online or, again, when possible, with local gyms and trainers. If you’re already working out — good for you! Workouts benefit the body by boosting metabolism so that any fat-loss goals are easier in the last few weeks before your wedding. They also help you to look amazingly toned in pictures! You’ll feel stronger when you workout, and your mind will benefit because it’s a great way to relieve stress.If you’re not working out regularly right now, start small with one to two days per week, then slowly increase it to four to five days a week. It’s advantageous to budget to work with a trainer, if possible, to help ensure proper form; then, classes can help you stay motivated.

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4. Optimize your nutrition.

Don’t judge yourself for where you are right now; instead start changing your mindset and your intake by turning the emphasis to protein and collagen-supporting vitamins, like vitamin C, so that your skin looks radiant on the big day. You can accomplish both by using collagen in your morning coffee, tea, juice or water, while incorporating some fruits throughout the day that are high in vitamin C, such as grapefruits, oranges, kiwis, mangoes or strawberries.

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5. Choose just 1 or 2 days a week to focus on the wedding details.

This one’s super-simple: Focusing on wedding details on select days of the week prevents the wedding planning from taking over your life.

6. Pick up a new hobby.

A new hobby during wedding planning? That might seem crazy, but even something as small as picking up trash in your neighborhood once per week ensures that you have a source of joy outside of your big day, and outside of your normal obligations, like work. Your new hobby could be painting, or doing the crossword puzzle, or playing online chess, for a half-hour each throughout the week. Seek something to keep you busy, learning and having fun during a jam-packed time.


Three Months Out…

With your nutrition, stress management and sleep on point, you’re now ready to push your food choices and workouts to the next level, so you’ll look smokin’ hot on your wedding day.

1. Cut down on alcohol and processed foods.

Yes, this really is important, especially if you have a weight goal. Cutting down on these will make losing weight easier and reduce bloating (a bonus!).

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2. Work with a trainer to boost the intensity of your workouts.

If you didn’t yet budget for a trainer, now’s the time to incorporate working with one, if possible. You’ll want to focus on HIIT (high-intensity interval training) because it combines cardio and muscle-building in just the right proportions to help you turn fat to muscle quickly. Again, if going to a gym is an option, great; if not, there are many great online trainers. In all cases, look for a trainer who is certified.

3. Pick 2 to 3 friends outside of your wedding party and plan fun, non-wedding activities.

Why outside your wedding party? Because doing so prevents every social interaction from being about your wedding. Whether it’s a Zoom game night, a socially distant hike or, when possible, a brunch, doing something non-wedding-related now and again will help relieve stress. Pretty much all of your friends asking about the wedding, anyway? Then make a “no wedding talk” rule so that you can still hang out and not be overwhelmed by wedding details and questions.

4. Unplug electronics close to bedtime and use blue-light blockers at night to ensure deep and restful sleep.

That one’s self-explanatory!

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One Month Out…

You’re in the home stretch! A few final adjustments to your food and schedule, and you’ll not only wow ‘em on your wedding day, but you’ll feel like a million bucks, too.

1. Increase plant foods.

Your waistline and skin will thank you. Plant foods add extra fiber and water help to clear out your digestive tract which will also positively impact your skin’s health. You might have engaged a makeup artist, so give her or him great skin to enhance with their mad skills.

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2. Avoid dairy and processed sugar.

You can do this! Of course, this is in addition to continuing to reduce alcohol and processed foods. Think glowing skin, a happy gut, or focus on attaining your goal weight to keep you motivated.

3. Stop answering work and wedding emails after 8 p.m., or roughly 2 hours before bedtime.

This one also needs no further explanation. Just do it!

4. Double-down on meditation practices.

Meditation doesn’t have to mean sitting for hours saying “om” (although it could, if you have the time!). Meditation is anything that helps to calm you and that you can get lost in doing. If sitting and doing deep breathing is not your jam, try getting lost in an old favorite book.

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5. Start thanking the people who helped you to plan your wedding, and who will make it possible.

Gratitude is one of the most effective tools for boosting your mood. Chances are there have been some special people who’ve helped you with wedding planning so far, and others whose contributions will make it the day of your dreams. Have fun picking out a nice card or gift for them, and set aside some time each week to express your thanks.  If you and your partner are planning and paying for the entire thing, there may still be a few people to thank, but, by all means, take the time to express gratitude to each other.

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Dr. Kate Henry’s expertise includes nutrition, botanicals and lifestyle medicine and enables her to offer a unique perspective and out-of-the-box solutions for chronic and stubborn health issues. It’s her greatest joy to help others feel fully alive and healthy in their bodies, souls and relationships. Most importantly, Dr. Kate believes in you and your story. Her clinic is designed around connection; every new client visit is 90 minutes to allow the time to really get to know each other, and for you to be truly listened to. She is committed to her clinic being a safe space for people of all ages, races, gender identities and sexual orientations. She is a trauma-informed clinician who regularly pursues continuing education that allows her to care for people on a wide array of spectrums — whether that be of neurodevelopment, identity, ability — and so much more. 

At Robert Ryan Catering and Design, we understand that 2020 has been stressful. We’re here for you and hope these tips help. We’re in this together! Schedule a consultation with one of our event managers when you’re ready to plan (or, to reschedule) your special event. Did you know an event at home might be an option?

Robert Ryan Catering and Design plans and executes over 400 events each year, boasts a five-star rating on WeddingWire and has received WeddingWire’s Couples’ Choice/Bride’s Choice Award seven years in a row. Learn more about Robert Ryan Catering & Design and tour our venues. Subscribe to our e-newsletter for exclusive offers, up-to-date news, and recipes from our executive chef.

Nina Malone

Featured photo by Rooted Image Photography