So very much planning, effort, and thought goes into every day leading up to your wedding—months (sometimes years) in advance—that the day itself tends to get ignored. Even if you've been living the healthiest possible life on the road to your wedding day, you might find yourself stumped when you wake up that morning and are faced with the potentially overwhelming decision of what to consume to feel your absolute best. You don't want to eat anything that could cause bloat, you want to avoid a sugar crash at all costs, and you certainly don't want to eat anything that could cause upset stomach (anything heavy, creamy, rich, acidic, etc.). You do, on the other hand, want to feel happy, healthy, and alive (i.e., not lightheaded, dizzy, or hangry)—and like you have the energy to meet and greet your loved ones, marry the person of your dreams, and dance the night away. No pressure on the food front or anything! In short, you should be eating to feel fueled, calm, and satisfied, not starving yourself or overdoing it. Most importantly, you want to know what you're going to eat that day, and plan it in advance. Because you don't want to end up in a situation where the only thing available at the hotel or wedding location you're at is a croissant (#sugarcrash waiting to happen) and yogurt, when you don't eat dairy (you get the idea). The perfect wedding day diet should be planned far in advance of the day, so you have everything you need to feel your best.
So what exactly does that entail? Well, we were lucky enough to run into international health and wellness expert Jessica Sepel in Los Angeles recently (having an almond milk latte at Alfred), and she just so happens to be getting married this December. (Sidenote: If you don't already follow the Instagram star, you might want to get on that—her account provides endless healthy living inspiration.) We posed the wedding day diet question, and she told us she had been needing to decide that very thing for herself, for her own wedding. Having seriously considered all the factors involved, Sepel sent us back this wedding day meal plan that's not only perfect for all brides, but is actually the very thing that the nutritionist and author herself will be having come December. Keep scrolling for the bride's guide to day-of eating!
"The way you fuel your body on your wedding day is just as important as the preparation you’ve put in during the planning process. And it can be challenging—you’ll be excited, nervous, and BUSY," Sepel says. "It’s easy to reach for sugary sweets brought in by your granny, champagne with the maids—or, for some brides, nothing at all due to nerves. But in order to feel and look your absolute best when you walk down the aisle, it’s essential to eat."
The plan is to enjoy clean foods—mainly fruits, lean protein, and veggies—but not too much of anything, she says. "A big bowl of salad at lunch, for example, may actually lead to bloat. It’s best to eat real, whole foods—in small amounts—to avoid bloat and dehydration and to boost that bridal glow."
Upon waking, Sepel says to sip warm water with the juice of one lemon squeezed into it. "Add some fresh ginger, too! Lemon and ginger are detoxifying on the liver and prepare the digestive system for the food to come. As tempting as a mimosa might be, it can cause a blood sugar spike on an empty stomach."
"For a bride who loves her java, one cup of black coffee—no milk or sugar added—is good," Sepel says. "Too much more could cause extra jitters, and there’s no time for that on your big day!" For your whole-food breakfast, she suggests fresh papaya, "which contains an amazing enzyme that soothes the digestive system, or grapefruit with a drizzle of lime juice."
For a light lunch, Sepel says a piece of grilled, fresh white fish or chicken with lots of herbs and spices and a small green salad, or some steamed greens drizzled with lemon juice—no salt added—are great options. "Be sure to use herbs and spices instead of salt to avoid fluid retention," she says. "As a bonus, herbs and spices are anti-inflammatory and natural detoxifiers." As for whether you go with the protein or non-protein option, Sepel says, "for me, protein is needed to keep me feeling satiated and to keep my blood sugar levels stable."
"Having a light snack before the festivities begin is a great way to keep your blood sugar in balance—but what you choose to nibble on is key to avoid a sugar crash," Sepel says. "Rather than rely on sugary treats or packaged snacks, munch on fresh celery and cucumber sticks. They are natural anti-diuretics, which means they help rid the body of excess fluids. Feel free to add a small handful of raw almonds or walnuts. The healthy fats give skin an amazing glow!"
"For most brides, this meal will be at the wedding. It depends on your wedding menu, of course, but lean protein with veggies will give you major energy to dance the night away with your groom. As for feeding each other wedding cake? Go for it!" she says. "Bloating will no longer be an issue, and you deserve to celebrate."
Lastly, Sepel encourages brides-to-be to drink lots and lots of water on the days leading up to the wedding—"but on the big day, it’s best to stick to small sips," she says. "This will prevent bloating and extra fluid retention—and will also mean fewer trips to the bathroom! While there will likely be bubbly flowing all day, try to stick with one or two glasses after the ceremony, and be sure you’re staying well hydrated out on the dance floor so that you can thoroughly enjoy your wedding night with your groom."