Anyone else catch last week’s cover of Us Weekly? Jessica Simpson’s bangin’ bod pitted against Lauren Conrad’s perfect physique, with the words “The Countdown! Wedding Diet” ring a bell? Cliff’s Notes version of their story covering the varying ways engaged celebs are losing weight for their Big Day: L.C.’s sticking to low-cal kale Caesar salads and 5-mile hikes. J. Simpson’s doing Weight Watchers and working out with a personal trainer. Kim Kardashian’s sticking to protein-based Atkins and doing 100 squats every morning. They’re all taking pilates classes and spin classes and yoga classes and “embracing salads.” #embracingsalads
But, here’s the deal: Stars aren’t just like us… They’re not just trying to look amazeballs for their wedding, they’re trying to look amazeballs because the entertainment industry is ruthless and requires women to look amazeballs (ie unattainably skinny) if they want a job. And it’s a bummer that a lot of women hold themselves up to that same Hollywood standard. I’m sick of the notion that getting engaged means it’s time to go on a diet. I’d like to get into the nitty gritty of what a real wedding diet looks like, for those of us who don’t have the money for personal trainers or chefs, the time to take daily 5-mile strolls, or the desire to do 100 squats Every. Damn. Day.
Non-celeb brides guzzle bubbly like Gatorade at a marathon! Heck, the night I got engaged, I drank a bottle all by myself (then feverishly drunk-emailed venues and photographers to see if they were available for a wedding date I, in my champagne-stupor, had not yet run past my fiance). I was excited! People will be toasting you non-stop: engagement parties, bridal showers, wedding dress stores (especially wedding dress stores, who want you to be tipsy before you look at the price tags!), bachelorette bashes, bridesmaid luncheons, the wedding itself, and the honeymoon. Your life will look like a rap video, the champagne will be flowing so hard.
OK. LIQUOR, IN GENERAL
Common-folk brides like myself know that it’s hard to stick to just champagne, and it’s important to keep your body guessing: Margaritas when your besties take you to celebrate at your fave Mexican joint. More ‘ritas when your mom thinks it’s a good idea to eat Mexican food before trying on gowns. From the Velvet-Gonzojito to the Nickel Jive Fresh Standard, you have to try every cocktail on the menu at that chic bar that opened up down the street from you, so you can be knowledgeable when you pick the signature cocktails for your wedding! Beer (or aged scotch), when you’re mid-nervous breakdown over the additional 30 people your mother invited to the wedding, and you just want to drink something “non-weddingish” and feel like a human and not a bride.
The everygirl bride knows that cake is essential to the wedding diet! My fiance had a red velvet cake waiting for me post-proposal, and I housed that entire sucker like a protein shake. You’re going to need to incorporate a lot of cake into your wedding prep plan: cake tastings, cupcake tastings – if you’re doing a cupcake tier instead of a traditional wedding cake. Cupcakes, also because wedding planning is stressful and you deserve one. Mini wedding cakes, because you saw the recipe on Pinterest and they would be the cutest wedding favor ever, but you need to try making them first to see what they look like in person, then eat them all to hide the evidence. Cake-in-a-jar, when you realize you probably won’t have time to make 200 mini-wedding cakes the day before your wedding, and mashing delicious sheet cakes into mason jars is equally adorable and way easier. More cupcakes, because wedding planning is way more stressful than you anticipated and you deserve another one.
MINI-VERSIONS OF YOUR FAVORITE FOODS
If you’re engaged and have never been featured in a tabloid or appeared on the big screen, weddings are a perfect opportunity to make junk food appear chic by shrinking it! (And, if it’s dollhouse-size, it basically has no calories. Fact.) Love burgers? Serve mini-burgers at your cocktail hour! Your fiance’s a huge Dodgers fan? Serve mini-ballpark hotdogs as a snack at midnight! Your grandmother has a killer mac & cheese recipe, but you’re worried it doesn’t go with filet mignon? Don’t fret, serve tiny fried balls of it as an appetizer! Grabbing Saturday AM donuts is a weekly date for you and your love? Serve mini-donuts in addition to cake! And don’t slack off now, you need to ‘mini’ taste-test them all!
Brides who’ve never had the paparazzi stalk them for a pic of their engagement ring know that it’s key to balance your wedding diet with comfort food. Nosh on pizza and tubes of raw cookie dough when your bridesmaids come over to help you make escort cards out of foraged leaves and gold calligraphy pens. Shovel Chinese food with your mom while poring over seating charts. Turn up the Otis Redding station on Pandora, whip up some grilled cheese with that panini press your great aunt bought from your registry, and crank out those Thank You notes with your fiance.
OK. FOOD, IN GENERAL
Mrs.-To-Be, you’re not going to serve Zone bars or juice cleanses at your wedding, are you?! Good! Then stop calling them meals and start meeting with caterers — you need to try everything in order to decide whether you want a paella bar or a surf ’n turf theme. Or an Italian-themed menu, as a nod to your fiance’s heritage. Or fried chicken and ham biscuits, as a nod to your southern roots. Now, those are wedding diet meals!
Bride, you’re going to be busy dashing from cake tastings to venue visits to stationary stores to parties! You need to keep your energy up and add a fourth meal to your day: Brunch. Much like the spork and the turducken, brunch is another glorious combination of wonderful things. Here, you can multi-task by revving up your metabolism with bacon, carb-loading with french toast and hashing out the pros and cons of live bands vs. DJs with your Maid-of-Honor. Don’t forget to keep your fluids up, have a mimosa!
BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS
JUST KIDDING! The awesome thing about not being famous is that you don’t have to worry about a picture of your body being on the cover of a magazine for the world to judge how good it will look in a wedding dress. You’re going to look perfect on your wedding day not because of your diet, but because you’ll be radiating with happiness, surrounded by love and loved ones. This is such a joyful time in your life; all people want to do is celebrate you finding the person you want to share your life with. So enjoy it, and stop sweating the cake tastings! Let your skin glow from dancing your booty off, not from cutting out sugar. And know that no one will be able to tell whether you did 100 squats every morning or not, because you’ll be covered up by your gorgeous dress.
So go ahead, have another cupcake and raise a glass of bubbly to yourself!