Although planning a wedding is an exciting time in your life, there’s no doubt that it’s a time-consuming and sometimes overwhelming process. From sending out your invitations to selecting your menu, there are so many details you need to attend to. Amid all the wedding madness, it can be really easy to forget about nurturing your own health and wellbeing. “This focus on problem-solving and getting things done sometimes takes a toll on our energy, and self-care and tending to your health becomes less of a priority,” therapist Marissa Nelson explains.
But, neglecting your health for the sake of planning your nuptials only backfires. Since the stress of designing your wedding is already high, ignoring your mental, physical, social, and emotional health will create additional stress and lead to many other unfavorable consequences. “In general, people who don’t prioritize their health often experience lower energy levels, constant fatigue, moodiness, and more stress,” fitness trainer Stephanie Thomas notes.
Not to mention, burying yourself in the planning logistics without prioritizing your wellbeing may impede upon your relationship. “Many premarital couples will find their patience tested during the wedding planning process,” therapist Elizabeth Mahaney says. “When stress causes partners to feel overwhelmed and disconnected, misunderstandings happen and unintentional relationship havoc ensues.”
To avoid these common pitfalls, taking care of your health is vital. In fact, orchestrating your celebration requires even more attention on your wellbeing. Whether it’s establishing a realistic exercise routine or regularly practicing mindfulness, making positive lifestyle changes prior to your special day will make you look and feel your best. “When you prioritize your health and wellbeing, you’ll feel happier and more relaxed, allowing you to be more present during every part of your engagement and wedding planning process,” Thomas remarks.
By implementing these habits into your pre-wedding schedule and sustaining them even after the wedding is over, you’ll create the right conditions for a successful long-term relationship. “It lays the foundation for the life they want to have and the healthy lifelong habits that couples should adopt because optimal health is at the center of every thriving marriage,” Nelson expresses.
Since making changes to your routine is an adjustment, it’s best to start slowly. “If you try to make several changes at once, it can feel overwhelming and you might not stick to them if the process feels more daunting than enjoyable,” Thomas states. Start by implementing one new habit into your daily life. Once you begin to notice the positive impact, you’ll feel more motivated to maintain that practice and better equipped to adopt a few more.
From preparing more home-cooked meals to meditating for five minutes every day, here are healthy habits all couples should consider implementing into their pre-wedding (and post-wedding) routines.
Meet the Expert
- Marissa Nelson is a licensed marriage and family therapist based in Washington D.C. and the founder of IntimacyMoons. She has over 10 years of experience in the mental health field.
- Stephanie Thomas is a certified personal trainer who specializes in bridal fitness. She launched Stephanie Thomas Fitness in 2019, but she has been working in the health field for over eight years.
- Elizabeth Mahaney is a pre-marital, marriage, and family therapist at South Tampa Therapy with 20 years of experience. Although she’s based in Tampa, Florida, she also works with clients in Maryland, Virginia, Connecticut, South Carolina, and North Carolina.
- Juliana Shalek is a registered dietitian and nutritionist based in Manhattan and the owner of The Nutrition Suite. Among the many programs she offers, she often works with brides before their wedding day.
Add Movement to Your Daily Routine
No matter how busy your schedule might get, moving your body is essential for your mental and physical health. “Working out regularly will help you reach your physical goals, gain confidence, boost your mood, increase energy, decrease the risk of disease, reduce stress, improve sleep, and the list goes on,” Thomas notes.
Instead of pushing your body to the extreme, find an activity that you genuinely look forward to. “Putting too much pressure on yourself to exercise daily or do intense workout classes that you don’t enjoy is just going to make an already stressful time more stressful,” dietitian Juliana Shalek says. Whether it’s taking a walk, riding your bike, or lifting weights, committing to a workout routine that you love will take the pressure off and lead to long-lasting results.
You also don’t have to follow a structured regimen at a gym to reap the benefits of regular physical activity. All it takes is being mindful of moving more frequently throughout the day. Make an effort to stretch your legs every hour if you work a desk job or take a stroll around the block after dinner every night. Those small changes will go a long way.
Nourish Your Body With Nutritious Meals
Yes, planning a wedding might feel like a full-time job, but setting aside time to eat is non-negotiable. Fueling your body with well-balanced meals full of fruits and vegetables will give you sufficient energy to cross each wedding planning task off of your list. “Eat regular, consistent protein- and fiber-rich meals and snacks throughout the day to help control blood sugar and prevent cravings,” Shalek illustrates.
Of course, preparing your meals at home is the healthiest option since you’re in charge of the ingredients you use and the portion sizing. But, if your schedule doesn’t allow for home-cooked meals every day, save time by batch cooking your cuisine in advance or using a meal delivery service.
Increase Your Water Intake
An important part of your diet that couples often overlook is hydration. According to Harvard Health Publishing, skimping on water is correlated with brain fog, fatigue, irritability, low energy, headaches, and dull skin. Most people need to drink at least four to six cups of water every day, the publication notes.
If you have trouble remembering to hydrate, throw a reusable water bottle in your bag and refill it throughout the day. Using an app on your phone or setting an alarm every hour to drink water will also help boost your daily consumption. If taste is an issue, add fun flavors by infusing slices of fruit or herbs. After committing to this practice for a while, it will soon become second nature.
Invest in Your Sleep Hygiene
Leading up to the wedding, sleepless nights are very common. With so many details to finalize, shutting off your mind to get some shut eye might seem impossible. Sleeping seven to nine hours a night has loads of benefits, such as decreasing stress, strengthening your immune system, improving your cognition, regulating blood sugar, and enhancing your mood, Verywell Health reports.
To make sure you’re getting enough beauty sleep before the big day, focus on your sleep hygiene. “This means going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed, and keeping your bedroom dark and quiet,” Mahaney advises.
Whether you’re contemplating whether to hire a live band or a DJ or trying to figure out a realistic getting ready schedule, you’re probably spending a lot of time in your head leading up to the wedding. Living in your thoughts creates unnecessary stress and anxiety. Enter: mindfulness. The whole idea is developing awareness by noticing your thoughts and feelings without judgment and letting them pass. When you learn to accept whatever comes your way, you’ll feel more present and at ease, which will help you savor every moment before and during your special day. “Presence doesn’t just alter your sense of wellbeing,” Mahaney explains. “It may also improve the quality of what you do, leading to more creative flow, closer relationships, and increased productivity."
Mindfulness is a skill that you can develop over time, and you can apply the technique to any part of your day. For instance, the next time you brush your teeth, take a walk, or eat dinner, focus on your senses—what you see, smell, touch, taste, and hear. The more you practice, the more present you’ll feel in your life.
Another way to increase your awareness and calm your racing thoughts is meditating. Focusing on your breath shifts your attention away from your mind to the present moment, which improves concentration and makes you feel more focused and content. Through meditation, you’ll be able to enjoy the wedding planning process and show up to each appointment as your best self. Meditating is also an excellent way to calm your nerves before saying “I do.”
When it comes to meditation, there are no rules. You can certainly follow a guided session on an app, but you can also set aside five to 10 minutes each day to concentrate on your breathing. Although you’ll definitely feel more grounded after just one session, the key to lasting change is being consistent with your practice.
Establish a Journaling Routine
Another way to cope with the stress of planning a wedding is through a daily journaling practice. According to Healthline, journaling helps you process your emotions, create distance from negative thoughts, accomplish your goals, gain confidence, strengthen your memory, reduce stress, and improve your mood.
Following journal prompts is a great way to start, but putting pen to paper doesn’t have to be a structured activity. Try carving out five to 10 minutes first thing in the morning or at the end of the day to free write. Jot down any thoughts or feelings you're having, whether it’s the frustration of having to deal with your family members’ opinions on your wedding or the excitement of getting to marry your person. Writing a gratitude list and noting positive affirmations are also effective journaling practices.
Create Boundaries Around Technology
Whether it’s searching for vendors or drafting an email, planning a wedding requires a lot of time spent on your phone or computer. If you work an eight-hour desk job, you’re probably using technology even more frequently. Finding pockets in your day to set aside your devices is essential for your mind, body, and relationship. “Turn your phone on 'Do Not Disturb' when you’re with your partner during dinner or date night,” Nelson suggests. “Don’t pick up your phone first thing in the morning and go through emails.” Taking regular breaks from technology will help you recharge and reconnect with your partner.
Prioritize Social Connection
With so many wedding planning tasks on your agenda, you might be tempted to postpone plans and curl up on the couch instead. But, your social life has a large impact on your health and wellbeing. Based on a study conducted in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, fostering your relationships boosts your mood and contributes to longevity. Spending time with loved ones will also give you a break from fine-tuning your special day, so you’ll be able to return to your list feeling more refreshed and motivated.
Make it a habit to meet up with a friend or family member every week or hop on a phone call if they aren't in the area. You don’t need to make elaborate plants to feel connected. Chatting over dinner or taking a walk around the neighborhood with a companion will help you clear your head and feel more centered.
Carve Out Alone Time With Your Partner
Whenever you see your partner during the planning stages, most of your conversations probably revolve around your wedding vision. Not having enough quality one-on-one time can place a strain on your relationship. “Be present in the moment and create sacredness around the time you spend with your partner every day,” Nelson recommends.
Consider designating one day a week where you and your significant other go on date night and refrain from discussing what flowers you’ll use or which rental company is best. That way, planning your nuptials will feel like less of a chore and will remind you why you’re getting married in the first place.
Harvard Health Publishing. "How Much Water Should You Drink?" May 15, 2022.
Verywell Health. "10 Benefits of a Good Night's Sleep." January 1, 2022.
Healthline. "6 Journaling Benefits and How to Start Right Now." February 22, 2022.
Journal of Health and Social Behavior. "Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy." August 4, 2011.