My wedding day, something I dreamed about as a little girl. I can specifically remember playing with my Barbie and putting together a dream wedding for Barbie and Ken. I envisioned a beautiful outdoor venue with all my family and friends, looking like a princess and walking down the aisle to my prince charming. Fast-forward about 2 decades and I find myself living in LA, engaged to my prince.
I also was under the impression that wedding planning would be fun and pretty easy, but boy was I wrong. I am not sure if it is the pressure of living in Los Angeles or the pressure of social media (probably a mixture of both) but I felt the need to push myself to look my absolute best (or what I told myself was best). I was already very happy with myself, with my workout routines and my diet but once you add an upcoming wedding to the equation I felt I needed to go above and beyond.
I live a pretty active lifestyle. I walk wherever I can, I teach yoga, take Pilates and enjoy running and hiking. With my wedding date a little over a year away, something inside me switched and I went into overdrive. For me, any day wasn’t complete without 3 workouts. I would wake up in the morning and go for a run. I would then go to a Pilates class and most days I would also take a yoga class. None of this was necessary, I already had my dream dress that fit me perfectly but in the back of my mind I kept hearing “you need perfect wedding arms, you need to have the flattest stomach.”
Between the stress of actually planning the wedding, pushing myself too hard and the sleepless nights I was having while my mind raced over things like table sizes and chair types, I ended up giving myself a stomach ulcer. This was a huge reality check for me. I was in tremendous pain and could barely eat. I was forced to slow down because I couldn’t give my body enough fuel to function at a high level. This honestly was the best thing that could have happened. I remember sitting on my couch scrolling through Instagram at all the different wedding accounts I followed and realizing that I was focusing on someone else’s dream, not my own. The point of getting married and having a wedding is standing up in front of your loved ones and committing yourself to your soul mate for the rest of your life. I had become obsessed with the idea of looking like the perfect bride that I completely lost sight of the true importance of marriage.
Once I realized this and stopped being so hard on myself the planning process actually became fun. When the big day came, it was absolutely perfect. We got married on top of a mountain in Malibu on the most beautiful September day. My dress could have ripped before the ceremony and it would not have mattered, it was the happiest day of my life.
Looking back there are definitely some tips I would have given to myself.
1. Take care of yourself. Pushing too hard to look a certain way is only going to lead to burn out and injury.
2. Focus on eating clean, not on restriction. If you deprive your body of the nutrients and fuel it needs, you are not going to feel good. You need energy to plan the big day and also to get you through it (it is a long day). If you want to change up your diet focus on getting the right about of protein, carbs, fats, fruits, and vegetables. Stay away from fried foods and highly processed foods. A good trick is to not eat out the few months leading up to the wedding day, cook at home so you know exactly what you are getting.
3. Planning is stressful, meditate. I started meditating during the first few months of planning and it was the best decision. With so much stress and things constantly running around in your mind, you need the time to be still and completely present.
4. Do workouts you love. If you absolutely hate running don’t try to be a marathon runner. You are going to be miserable waking up and forcing yourself to pound pavement. Focus on things that are good for your body but also good for your soul.
5. Skin care is number one. I started getting monthly facials and being super diligent about sunscreen. The last thing I wanted was to wake up on my wedding day and have a huge breakout. Taking care of your skin is super important and helps to keep you looking youthful.
Overall, I definitely made mistakes during my wedding planning process but I also learned a lot. I learned you should never compare yourself to others and set goals to be like someone else. Woman face a ton of pressure to look perfect and that desire to do so takes away the true importance of your wedding. No matter what, on your day you are going to feel like the princess you also imagined. You get to walk away that day hand in hand with the person you will spend the rest of your life with. The person you will grow old with, who will hold you when things are tough, who will support you know matter what, and that is truly amazing.