Morning people make the most of the quiet pre-office hours, especially when it comes to exercise. It's amazing what you can accomplish in the morning with a full night's sleep, before the stresses of the day or emails come pouring in. And if you can swing an early-morning wake-up, you're primed for strategizing, organizing, and accomplishing your goals throughout the day. Plus, allowing yourself a little extra time before the hustle and bustle of the workday ensures you'll have time to prepare and eat a nutritious breakfast. Here, we chatted with five recent and soon-to-be brides about how they spent/spend their first hours of the day in the months before walking down the aisle. Whether you're scrambling pre-wedding during a short engagement or just looking to clean up your morning routine in general, these a.m. hacks will help you streamline your fitness, skin-care, and breakfast routines.
Meg Young, PR director for Kate Somerville
Fitness: "I worked out with a trainer once a week, doing a combination of strength training and cardio (sprinting on various inclines and floor work like burpees and mountain climbers), and took a high-intensity interval-training class called Circuit Works twice a week. In the last month, I upped my training sessions to three times a week and continued the HIIT classes."
Skin Care: "I have very acne-prone skin, so getting on top of it was a priority. Six months before the wedding, I started on an oral prescription from my dermatologist called Spironolactone that helps balance hormones. It's an amazing drug for hormonal acne! I am incredibly lucky to work for an incredible skin-care brand, Kate Somerville. One of the perks is having access to great products and treatments. The six months leading up to the wedding, I got facials with extractions every four to six weeks to keep my pores clear and a blue LED light, which kills acne bacteria. Two months before the wedding, I did an intense chemical peel, the VI Peel. The peeling process was pretty intense—sheets of skin literally came off my face—but the results were incredible. Two weeks later, I did a second peel. My skin has never looked better! Two days before the wedding, I got a Laser Genesis treatment (it's a skin polisher that smooths fine lines, minimizes the appearance of pores, stimulates collagen, and overall leaves you with a beautiful glow), followed by my LED light. I kept my product regimen fairly simple: cleanser, moisturizer, spot treatment as needed, and retinol three times a week. My dermatologist gave me oral cortisone (I didn't even know they made that!), as a 'just in case.' She said it's something she gives her celebrity clients and (lucky) brides before a big event. She gave me only four pills and told me to take those starting three days prior to the wedding. Thankfully, everything worked. My skin was the clearest it's ever been on my wedding day and honeymoon!"
Nutrition: "I generally eat pretty healthy, but my weaknesses are sugar and wine (which, I suppose, is ultimately more sugar). I didn't really change my diet until the two months prior: I had wine only on the weekend nights (it used to be a five-night-a-week kind of habit) and allowed myself dessert only twice a week. I went into high gear the last six weeks, which made all the difference! During this time, I essentially ate the same thing every day—not the most exciting, but it worked! For breakfast, I had eggs with avocado or my friend and nutritionist Kelly LeVeque's signature BEWell Smoothie. It's the perfect combination of protein, fat, fiber, and greens to balance blood sugar, keep you full, and give you all the nutrients you need."
Melissa Prichett, business development manager
Fitness: "I did cardio five days a week: spinning, P90x, and Piyo BeachBody routines, incorporating light weights (10 pounds) with all of them. Some of the best workouts are on YouTube! I found that the best thing to do is get a FitBit or some kind of tracker to keep you going and keep you accountable. At night, I would go on a 20-minute walk outside to clear my head from the work stress and, most of all, the wedding stress. It's great for the mind and soul, and you'll burn at least another 100 calories."
Skin Care: "In the morning, I put on Peter Thomas Roth 24K Gold Pure Luxury Lift and Firm Hydra-Gel Women's Eye Patches, Rodan and Fields Skin Lightening Toner, and Perricone MD Photo Plasma with SPF to protect my skin from the Fort Lauderdale rays. In the shower, I used Neutrogena Body Clear Body Scrub three days a week for exfoliation and Nivea in-shower lotion. I used Sirot hand treatment to ensure that closeups of my hands and ring looked great."
Nutrition: "I'd have green tea with lemon to start the day. Then I'd make a protein shake with spinach and Chia seeds (chocolate Zantrex fat-burning protein powder or vanilla Orgain Organic Protein Plant Based Powder). I'd balance my light morning meal with a healthy lunch with lean protein, veggies, and one small carb of choice (sanity). To curb the craving for something sweet, I replaced desserts with NeoCell Laboratories Beauty Burst Chocolate Mint vitamins. My hair and nails were stronger in two weeks!"
Amy Flug, fashion company VP of sales
Fitness: "I got really into New York Pilates prior to the wedding and went almost every morning before heading into work. I also picked up running outside a month before, since it was summer and nice weather for that. The running made a big difference near the end!"
Skincare: "As for skin care, I was introduced to Rodan & Fields by my sister, who is a consultant, so I got into the Redefine regimen two months before, and that included the microneedle rolling, which brought out impurities immediately and tightened up my skin. One month before, I got a chemical peel after advice from an aesthetician. This was incredible! While my face did peel and shed like a little snake for a few days after, it was honestly like a baby's skin was my new face. It felt amazing, and they sent me home with Vital K non-aqueous skin-care essential oil, which I applied for two weeks at night before bed. I swear by this magic purple oil now!"
Nutrition: "Breakfast post-Pilates, I had two eggs (prepared all different ways each day to my liking) and coffee at home before heading to work. At work, I had a Svelte drink. I like the chocolate and cappuccino flavors."
Sharon Feiereisen, freelance writer
Fitness: "I'm getting married in Tel Aviv to an Israeli, so I'm currently living between New York and Tel Aviv, and I work out six times a week. When I'm in NYC, I always do Niv Zinder's Barry's Bootcamp class in the morning. In Israel, I work out with my trainer, Tal Cohen, or take a class at Liky's Port. They're all amazing! I'll sometimes also do Tracy Anderson's livestream. Leading up more closely to the wedding, I've already budgeted seeing Tal almost every day."
Skin Care: "I love Dr. Dennis Gross. He's given me some of the best skin-care advice, including to only use oil-free products so my sensitive skin doesn't break out. I mostly use products from his line, Dermalogica, First Aid Beauty, and Murad—just moisturizer and SPF. My skin is best when I'm not loading it with products."
Nutrition: "I don't eat before I work out, so I usually don't eat breakfast, but I try to have the first thing I eat be a pancake made with GG crackers, egg whites, and cinnamon. I eat that with some fruit. Recipe courtesy of F-Factor…I love them!"
Fitness: "Our engagement is only three months long; we went the route shorter than most. Overall, I live a pretty healthy lifestyle, so I changed only a few things from my diet and workouts. I hired a trainer, Jay Alexander, in my hometown of DeRidder, Louisiana. We do workouts four days a week, Monday to Thursday. Total body, Day 1: legs. Day 2: chest/biceps. Day 3: back. Day 4: shoulders. I run three to five miles a day, five days a week (running at a very slow speed, in my fat-burning mode). When you run long distance, after 30 minutes your body just eats fat, and that's what I'm going for. I also do high-rep, low-weight resistance training."
Skin Care: "Meaningful Beauty is my go-to face wash, and I love the eye and face cream morning and night. I use CeraVe or AHAVA body lotion all over my body as soon as I get out of the shower. My favorite product, which my fiancé loves to steal from me, is the AHAVA Dry Oil Body Mist (sea-kissed or cactus & pink pepper). This product is gold. It's made our skin gorgeous. And if someone has dry spots, this will cure them. I had some on my arms, and it completely removed them, and they haven't come back."
Nutrition: "Eating six times a day, every two hours, is my goal. I don't eat past 6 p.m. This can be very hard at first, but after your body gets uses to it, it's not too bad. My diet is high protein, basically eating a lot of meat. First thing I eat in the morning is usually a protein bar because it helps me make it through the day. It's the highest-carb thing I eat every day. Clif bars are my go-to, and I love the mint-chocolate. I keep my carbs low, reaching 50–80 carbs a day. No alcohol, lots of water. Hydration helps the body from the inside out."