Rules of Engagement

Want to enjoy all the you-centric parties leading up to your wedding while also sticking to your weight loss goals? We’ll show you how.
Published April 21, 2016

It’s a cruel irony: The months leading up to your wedding are filled with food and beverage-centric celebrations, just as you are trying to get in your best bridal shape for the big day. The moment that rock hits your finger, the food fest begins... champagne toasts, engagement parties, bridal showers, food and cake tastings, brunches, bachelorette bashes, rehearsal dinners and even the honeymoon. These pre-wedding rituals that escort you right down the aisle don’t often marry well with weight loss goals. 

But this buffet of festivities doesn’t have to be your undoing. With the help of Weight Watchers fitness pro Jennifer Cohen, we’ve come up with some strategies for every celebratory pit stop on your way to happily ever after.

The engagement party

  • Go easy on the bubbly. When it’s time for the champagne toast, smile, clink, sip...and then place your flute on the table and reach for a glass of sparkling water. 
  • Make yourself a (small) plate. As the trays of appetizers float by, avoid mindlessly grabbing and gobbling every offer from the tray; instead, make a conscious choice to choose the nibbles that most appeal to you. Take it a step farther: Assemble your chosen nibbles on a plate before you eat them, so you can really visualize how much you’re eating. 
  • Work the room. Focus on friends and family, and make sure you greet each and every guest. With all of your favourite people in one place, you won’t have time to overindulge! 
  • Make some music. Whether you hire a DJ or just hook up your phone to a portable sound system, dial up the fitness quotient of even a smallish bash by playing music that gets everyone moving.

The bridal shower

  • Open your gifts yourself. Ever go to a shower where the bridesmaids form a well-meaning assembly line to unwrap your gifts before they hit your lap? Skip it! The task of unwrapping keeps both hands busy with a (fun) nonedible activity. Plus it’s just more fun! 
  • Mingle during courses, not between. If your shower is in a restaurant, eat what you want, then leave your seat and visit friends at each and every table. And if you come back to a cleared plate, so much the better!

Food and cake tastings

  • Make it a meal. Schedule a tasting at lunch or dinnertime so that you don’t end up eating twice. 
  • Think like a restaurant critic. Professional food tasters take a small bite of each dish, rather than finishing what’s in front of them. As you sample multiple appetizers, entrees, side dishes, and cake fillings, remember that just one bite will give you all the information you need to make your decision. If the sample is bad, you won’t want to keep eating it; if it’s good, you’ll know you’ve settled on the right choice and can move on. 
  • Stay hydrated. Ask the staff to bring a pitcher of water to the table, and drink plenty during your tasting—it will help fill you up, as well as cleanse your palate for the next course.

The bachelorette bash

  • Get moving. Ask your bridesmaids to consider a high-energy party: one that involves taking over a pool or roller rink. Hitting the town or clubbing in Vegas? Do plenty of walking from venue to venue, and make sure you’re the last one to leave the dance floor.
  • Show it off! Wear something sequined and snug. It’s your night to show off all your hard work... plus a figure-hugging outfit will remind you of your goals, even as a friend hands you another fruity margarita.

Your wedding reception

  • Get a morning glow. (No… not that kind!) Setting aside 30 to 60 minutes of exercise on the morning of your big day can do wonders for your mind and your body. Whether you take a brisk walk with friends, go for a quick solo run, or pop in your favourite yoga DVD, a workout will help ease the inevitable pre-wedding jitters, plus leave you feeling fit and energized.
  • Plan ahead. With all the reception hoopla, you’ll probably be starving by the time you get to your hotel suite, so arrange in advance to have a healthy meal or snack delivered to your door. You’ll be less tempted to attack the fattening mini-bar or order midnight onion rings off the room service menu.

The honeymoon

  • Build exercise into your itinerary. If you’re beach bound, you’ll likely be languishing on a chaise for most of the day (and losing workout motivation after those irresistible frozen drinks). Scheduling a 30-minute morning workout—preferably with your partner—can help balance things out. Some ideas: Visit the hotel gym; take a brisk walk or run on the beach; hit some tennis balls; or make a daily boogie boarding date. 
  • Leave the rental car at the hotel. Heading to a big city? Make like a local and walk wherever you can. You’ll see the sights and burn calories in one fell swoop. (Plus, think of the photo ops!)