Wedding Guest Survival Guide
Raise a toast to the happy couple without sinking your weight-loss efforts.
It's that time of year again. Brides and grooms are in full bloom — and so are the buffets, Viennese tables and wedding cake slices with a PointsPlus® value of 10. But weddings are also ripe with opportunities for socializing, dancing the night away, and having a fabulous time.
When it comes to the cocktail hour, Weight Watchers member Lauri Carbone, of North Wales, PA, has it down to a science. She should know — as a wedding photographer, she's surrounded by reception food temptations every weekend.
"I always keep a healthy snack in my camera bag like carrots so I can munch during
down time and try to fill up as much as possible before the crab cakes and mashed
potatoes come out," says Carbone. "I also try to keep my hands busy with my camera around
the food, so instead of grabbing for some cheese, I take a photo of it. And then
I look at it later longingly — but proud that I didn't succumb to the deliciousness."
Another strategy, according to Weight Watchers member Janice Litvin of Walnut
Creek, CA, is one you could try before the happy couple even says "I do."
"I don't go to an event hungry," says Litvin. "I always eat a snack like a big piece
of fruit before I go and make sure to save PointsPlus values from that
day by eating a lighter lunch so I can consume extra PointsPlus values
at the wedding."
Size up the skewers
For Lifetime Member Ellen Pulda from Needham, MA, her survival toolkit is all about
scoping out the situation. "Don't go for the first stuffed mushroom you see," advises Pulda. "Watch the hors d'ouevres parade pass by, then make your decision. Stick
to the sushi and skewered chicken, and avoid the wrapped items like egg rolls, pigs in a
When it's time for the sit-down meal, Pulda relies on her husband to help her
through the meal. She suggests, "Sit next to a dinner companion who's happy to take
half your meal. My husband typically gets my starches and half my entrée. Pass up
the bread basket. At functions — unless it's a fancy French restaurant — it's usually
not worth it."
Tear up the dance floor
"Seltzer is your friend," says Rita Smircich, a Lifetime Member, wedding
planner, and author of To Do Before "I Do" . "Although this might
sound drab, it's amazing what you can do with seltzer! Even if a bit of liquor is
added, it won't make for many calories. A splash of cranberry or
pineapple juice can be added for a refreshing drink."
Judith Lederman, editor of Westchester Weddings Magazine
and author of Joining the Thin Club: Tips for Toning Your Mind AFTER You've Trimmed
Your Body, reminds us that weddings are not about the food. "Remember, you can get food anywhere, anytime, but the opportunity to mix and mingle and see people you haven't seen in ages — that's rare!"
She adds, "Dancing burns calories — stay on the dance floor and get aerobic. I danced at
my son's wedding last night and didn't even stop to eat the wedding food. I had
a protein shake tucked away in the bridal room and drank it between dances."
Pass up the dessert bar
Treat yourself well
Some guests prefer the do-it-yourself treat. Ranae Whitmore lost weight over the
past two years by making healthy food choices, implementing moderate exercise, and
changing her thought processes. The Des Moines, IA native explains, "Rather than
being tempted by the lovely wedding cake, I bring my own 100-calorie pack of Hostess
cupcakes or a frozen Weight Watchers dessert and ask the servers if they will kindly
plate it for me on the same fancy plates the wedding cake is being served on. It
makes me feel special to be 'good to me' and at the same time feel like everyone
else being served on fine china!"
As you're enjoying the celebration, it's important to remember it's just one night,
one meal and one piece of rich cake. Author Smircich adds, "When people are going
to a wedding, they know that there is going to be good food and plenty of it. If
they want to eat buttercream wedding cake, then they may need to save their
values during the week. Then at the wedding, eat the salad without
dressing, avoid the heavy cream sauce, don't eat the bread on the table, and don't
ask for a second piece of cake."
Above all, Litvin notes, "If you want to eat something, eat it. If you say no
to yourself for too long, you are more likely to break down. So try that piece
of cake or piece of candy — just remember to write it down. As my Leader always
says, 'Just get right up the next morning, wipe off the crumbs, and begin your day