Photo: Michelle Lindsay Photography

Creating and sticking to a diet plan in advance of your wedding can not only help with weight loss, it can also help increase your energy and stamina so you can party all night long on the big day.

Here are some tips to help you create your pre-wedding diet plan.


Keep it Balanced
No fad diets here! Instead of eliminating all bread from your life or promising yourself you won’t eat another piece of candy until you walk down the aisle, stick with a healthy, balanced diet (think lean proteins, whole grains, and plenty of fruits and veggies) to drop those pounds. “Your body craves and needs quality nutrition,” says Caity Davis, a certified personal trainer and co-owner of FitOne Studio in Alexandria, Va. “Eating a diet high in nutrients, low in processed foods and sugars, and giving it the appropriate percentages of macro nutrients, will allow for consistent energy levels and blood sugar levels so you have what it takes to get through your busy days.”

Start Early
The key is to avoid crash diets. If you want to lose weight for your wedding, health experts recommend a slow and steady rate of about 1-2 pounds per week. Want to lose 10 pounds? Give yourself at least two months to ensure you can do it right through a healthy mix of diet and exercise. “I recommend that all brides (and grooms) out there start early!” says Catherine Taylor, a nutritionist with VIDA Fitness in Washington, DC. “Making small changes to your nutrition and exercise habits over the course of several months leading up to your wedding will leave you in the best shape physically and mentally.”

Work It Out
A sensible wedding diet is only part of the picture for losing weight, toning up and staying energized. A healthy workout regimen will also get you on the road to an even better body. Pair your wedding diet with weekly workouts if you want to see optimal results. Most personal trainers will recommend a mix of cardio and strength training as part of your wedding workout. “Changing your body as you strength train can totally change your appearance, and give you more definition in your arms and legs for that dress,” says Jill Stump, a certified personal trainer and co-owner of FitOne Studio in Alexandria, Va. “Following a consistent exercise routine will help you sleep better, have more energy and manage stress during your wedding planning.”

Stay Consistent
Success on a wedding diet doesn’t happen overnight. Be prepared to stick to your healthy eating plan and exercise consistently to see wedding dress-worthy results. “It typically takes about 6 to 8 weeks of a diligent training program, combined with a healthy diet, to notice physical changes to the body,” says David Rosenbaum, a certified personal trainer with Veluxe, an on-demand beauty and wellness app. “You won’t see those changes unless you’re disciplined about your diet.”

Track Your Progress
Write it down! Losing weight may seem daunting, but it really is calories in, calories out. Whether you’re wedding budget allows you to work with a professional nutritionist or you use an app (Lose It, My Net Diary and My Fitness Pal are some popular ones) to help you stay on track, creating a formal wedding diet plan will help you succeed. In lieu of working with a professional nutritionist, diet apps “require self-input of a weight goal, timeline and activity, which will determine the amount of calories recommended daily,” says Taylor. “You can then input food and beverages consumed daily to [achieve] your target intake.”

Cheat…On Your Diet
Wedding planning can be a stressful time. Yes, a healthy wedding diet will help you keep up your stamina and look even more fabulous in your dress, but don’t forget to also have some fun! “Cut back on the junk. Stick to whole foods, fruits, veggies, whole grains, meats and dairy and lots of water,” says Susie Zender, a certified personal trainer at VIDA Fitness in Washington, DC. “But enjoy your cake tastings and various celebrations as they come up! This is a time to celebrate you, so have balance and moderation when enjoying your favorite treats!”

Diet for More than the Dress
Finding the dream dress and that wonderful walk down the aisle can weigh on a bride throughout her wedding planning. Remember, your wedding day will be wonderful because you’re marrying the love of your life! You’ll look stunning in your wedding dress no matter what. A wedding diet can help you get there—but think about your new healthy habits lasting beyond the honeymoon. Setting up healthy habits now will help you stay happy and healthy throughout the wedding planning process and well into your happily ever after. “Wedding planning takes a lot of energy,” says Davis. “Treat your body right with quality nutrition and it will return the favor.”