A Bride's Guide to Looking and Feeling Her Most Beautiful

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Wedding season is gearing up, and brides everywhere have but one thing on their minds: looking and feeling good on one of the most special days of their lives.

Actually, that's a huge lie. Brides have 8,659 other things on their minds, from the weather forecast, to the bridal party outfits, to the playlist you’ll be moving to. Every detail of the wedding runs through the bride's mind at one moment or another, so it's really a wonder that she has any time to take care of herself!

To help take the pressure off of seriously overwhelmed brides, I've pared down my favorite pre-wedding beauty pointers (all available in detail to brides who take part in a Beauty Is Wellness coaching program) for looking and feeling your absolute best on your wedding day—or at any big event. These tips are the foundation of glowing skin, an energetic body, your healthiest weight, and minimal stress as your wedding day approaches.

Here's the Eat Pretty approach to looking and feeling your best as you walk down the aisle:

A moment from My 2011 Wedding

A moment from My 2011 Wedding

1. See sugar for what it is. On your special day, no doubt you're going to celebrate with wedding cake, a plate of petit fours, a slice of homemade pie, or your favorite celebratory sweet. But in the weeks and months before your wedding, sugary foods are tied with stress as the #1 saboteur for brides. Refined sugar contributes to unwanted pounds, makes you more prone to acne, fine lines, dryness, and uneven skin tone, plus it takes you on a hormonal roller-coaster (as if you weren't experiencing enough drama as you plan your perfect wedding day!). If your wedding day goals include clearer skin or shedding extra pounds, cut out sugar as much as you can (try skipping it completely for 10 to 14 days to reset your cravings, if you have them), and find some healthier ways to deal with stress than sweet treats— think dinner with a friend, meditation, sweating in a sauna, or a long soak at the end of the day.

2. Make friends with ferments. Okay, not right before you say your vows, but in the weeks and months before your big day! Sauerkraut—along with other fermented foods like kefir, brined pickles, kimchi, and miso— contains beneficial probiotic bacteria that help amp up the digestion and absorption of beauty nutrients that happens in your gut after you eat. There are several times more probiotic bacteria in fermented foods than there are in store-bought capsules, so try eating your way to better gut health with a few forkfuls of fermented foods each day. Cultivate a healthy population of bacteria and you'll not only boost your immunity and moods and help out your skin, hair and nails, you'll stop bloating and gas (which is a great thing to avoid on your wedding day) before they start.

3. To slim down, eat. Eating to reach your healthiest weight can sounds counterintuitive, but trust me— it works. Starving or cutting too many calories slows your metabolism and dries up the stream of beauty nutrients that your skin, hair and nails need to glow—and grow. Forget dry salads, rice cakes and meal replacement bars; build your diet around beautifying proteins (think wild-caught salmon, lentils, hemp, raw nuts, sardines, pastured eggs, quinoa, etc.), healthy fats (avocados, raw nuts, coconut oil), and an abundance of fresh, seasonal veggies— and eat a combination of the 3 at each meal for your best blood sugar balance. While you’re at it, aim to eat less of the sugars, gluten-containing grains, dairy, and alcohol that can cause inflammation.

4. Don't fall prey to stress sabotage.  Brides, you know that stress is an inevitable part of wedding planning, so create a plan to shut it down before it takes a toll on your beauty and health. Stress, unchecked, can cause breakouts, weight gain and lackluster skin before your big day, not to mention make the entire experience a lot less joyful. Pick a stress-busting activity that makes you happy—it might be yoga, jogging, meditation, or taking a walk in nature—and practice it regularly. I also love supplements and teas like magnesium, lemon balm, lavender, and even CBD to support calm and relaxation.

5. Plan what you'll eat in the week leading up to your big day. You know that when you get busy, beauty nutrition goes out the window. So don't leave your wedding-week meals to chance. Take control of your meals and plan a grocery list of foods that will make your skin glow, rev up your energy and help you handle stress. Go for an anti-inflammatory menu filled with the foods mentioned in number 3, above. When your wedding day arrives, you'll be looking and feeling gorgeous—and you'll feel great about splurging on all of your favorite indulgences during your celebration.

6. Know that you're going to glow on your wedding day like no other day before! Whether or not science can quantify the radiant glow you get from being truly joyous and in love, it's there. Not only will you see it, but so will your partner, and everyone else in the room. Remember that you are gorgeous, and the happiness of this occasion will only amplify your glow beyond what you can imagine!

Bonus: if you're heading to a sun-filled honeymoon destination, you can help prevent UV damage by filling up on sun protective beauty foods that contain lycopene and beta carotene (think watermelon, red peppers, cantaloupe, tomatoes). You'll come home with memories, but leave behind the sun damage.

Tell me: what made you glow on your big day? I'd love to hear your own advice for wedding day beauty!

Would you prefer one-on-one coaching to motivate you to put these tips into action in your life? Contact Jolene to set up a free consultation to decide which Beauty Is Wellness coaching program fits your beauty and health goals.

Sunflower photo: Ivan Cabanas — Bouquet photo: Courtney Apple

Originally published July 2013/Updated April 2019

Eat Pretty Vocabulary: Healthy Vanity

noun. [hel-thee van-i-tee]

The desire to look and feel your best. Healthy vanity inspires you to seek out ways to better your beauty and body.

 We see vanity as such a negative quality, but, at the other end of the spectrum, neglecting our appearance is also negative, and it has unwanted effects on our emotional and physical health. When you’re driven to improve your diet and lifestyle in order to look and feel your best, you’re not vain— and tapping into your healthy vanity reminds you of that.

From Eat Pretty:

"The Eat Pretty lifestyle will remake your relationship with food and change your understanding of your beauty and body. At the same time, you'll build an antiaging lifestyle that supports you today, not to mention when you're forty, fifty, sixty and beyond. Just what force inspires us to make these changes, and to better our beauty and body? To me it's a universal quality that I call 'healthy vanity'— although there's nothing vain about it. Healthy vanity is our desire to look and feel our best, and to show that best self to the world. It's the beauty we were born to have. Now is your time to own it."

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