Wedding Day

Plan Ahead for a Happy and Healthy Summer Wedding

We plan our weddings for months, sometimes years, to get every detail right. The bridal gown, bridesmaids dresses, color themes, music, food – nothing is left to chance. But Revolution Health's Senior Medical Director, Dr. Val Jones, has a message for brides: take steps to make sure that your happy day is a healthy day, too. From managing stress to beating the summer heat, it takes good planning to ensure a healthy wedding.

"As an experienced June bride myself, I can tell you that your wedding may be one of the happiest times of your life, but for a number of reasons, health problems can crop up on and around this special day," said Dr. Jones. "But with some advance planning, you can make sure that you and your guests remember the day for the right reasons, and not the wrong ones."

  1. Beat the Heat -- Many June weddings are planned months in advance (at a cooler time of year), when the prospect of being outdoors is inviting. But when June arrives, wedding guests find themselves spending hours exposed to peak sun, heat and humidity. And since weddings often involve older relatives and younger children, the risk from sun and heat exposure is higher than many expect. If you're getting married outdoors, keep an eye on the heat, especially for your oldest and youngest guests. Have sunscreen and plenty of water available. Consider moving older guests to a shaded area.
  2. The Size is Right -- Many brides buy their wedding dress a size smaller, with ambitious plans of weight loss -- or perhaps the dress fit well when it was bought, but the run up to the wedding (with the related stress), has led to a slight weight gain. Either way, too many brides try crash dieting in the days and weeks before the wedding to squeeze into that gown -- and find failure, anxiety and health problems. "If you want to lose weight for your wedding, start in advance and stick with a healthy, safe weight-loss plan," said Dr. Jones. "Crash diets are fittingly named: you smack into a wall and find yourself worse off than before." Brides also should keep an ear tuned to bridesmaids engaged in crash dieting and try to talk their friends out of such bad habits.
  3. Sober Dialing -- While many people don't think of drunk driving as a "health issue," drinking and driving is one of our county's leading preventable causes of death. A healthy wedding is one where the guests get home safe and sound. Wedding planners should ensure that everyone has a designated driver or arrange with a cab company to have a certain number of cabs available at the end of the evening. Or you can arrange for transportation to take guests back to their hotel. That way no one has to worry about drinking and driving. And make sure you have plenty of non-alcoholic beverages for any guests who are not drinking alcohol, including guests who may be dealing with alcohol dependency issues.
  4. Celebrate with a Healthy Meal -- Everyone wants to treat their guests to a wedding meal to remember -- but make sure it is remembered fondly. If you're holding your wedding outside, make sure that food, like potato salads and shrimp, is properly cooled or kept on ice. "I know of a wedding where five of the guests got food poisoning from this type of mistake," said Dr. Jones. And consider a lighter, healthier meal: your guests will appreciate the chance to celebrate with you (without needing to go on a diet the next week) and will find themselves feeling less weighed down during the celebration.
  5. Get the Glow -- Every bride wants to look perfect on her wedding day. But that "glowing, radiant" skin can't be had via makeup: healthy choices make a big difference. Try to keep your stress under control to avoid an acne breakout. And drink plenty of water the day before and the day of your wedding to keep your skin looking great and your body feeling great.
  6. Dealing With Family Issues -- Weddings pose challenges not just to physical health, but emotional well-being, too. Unresolved family issues have a not-so-funny way of erupting at a wedding, exacerbated by the stress of the event and intensified by the gathering of relatives who may not often encounter one another. Ask a trusted relative to try to resolve these disputes before the wedding day, and if you suspect they may nonetheless erupt at the wedding, have a "designated diffuser" -- a relative who can soften family conflicts or at least keep them from ruining the celebration.
  7. Take Care of Yourself -- You can't have a "healthy" wedding with an "unhealthy" bride. Schedule some time to do things that help you relax. Yoga, massage, a day trip, hiking or reading a good book are all great ways to de-stress. Learn about other stress management tips. As you prepare for your upcoming event, make sure you are getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Being well rested can help you avoid feeling irritable and anxious and can reduce your chances of becoming ill.
  8. Countdown ... Check-up -- Maybe it's not romantic, but a comprehensive physical exam is a good idea for couples preparing for marriage. "Before you ask someone else to say that they will love you 'in sickness and in health,' you owe it to them to know just where on that spectrum you stand," said Dr. Jones. "Together you can plan to support one another in the long term with healthy lifestyle goals." Get a complete check up a few months before the wedding, so you can understand and address any health issues before you are at the altar. Both women and men need complete and regular physicals.
  9. A Healthy Honeymoon -- Ok, you've made it all the way through the wedding in good health, and now comes "the fun part:" the honeymoon. But a surprising number of brides and grooms wind up too sick to enjoy this first taste of wedded bliss. Key tips: make sure you don't overindulge in food and drink at the wedding; plan for the honeymoon like you would any other trip (with sunscreen for warm places and precautions about drinking safe water and eating safe food); and make sure you've had all necessary vaccinations well in advance of the wedding so you aren't suffering from vaccine side effects on your wedding day. Learn more about health and travel.
  10. Waiting to Exhale - Take a deep breath and remember that in the end, marrying the person you love is more important than having a perfect ceremony or reception. The wedding is just the start of the marriage -- and hopefully, not the end. "The happiest and healthiest wedding is the one that leads to a happy, healthy marriage," said Dr. Jones. Check out some great tips for keeping your marriage strong long after the wedding's over.

"These seemingly small details could help people remember your wedding for all the right reasons," said Dr. Jones.

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