Eating on your wedding day isn't as easy as it sounds. We talked to registered dietitians and nutritionists about how to find the time to eat throughout the day—plus the best foods to eat when you have time.
It may sound ridiculous, but ask around and you’ll hear many couples complain that, no matter how invested they were in wedding planning, with so many to-dos on their big day, it was impossible to get a moment to themselves—and that includes even finding a moment to eat. Proper nutrition and hydration on your wedding day is a must if you want to feel your best and have the energy to sustain yourself from getting ready pre-ceremony to late-night dancing (and to make it to those late-night snacks from your wedding caterer!). If you’re worried about fitting in moments to eat and enjoy the food at your wedding, here’s how to carve out time and eat on your wedding day—as well as what foods to eat to keep you running all day and night.
Obviously, you know you need to eat—especially on a marathon day like your wedding. It’s an important part of pre-wedding prep. However, not all foods are creating equal; it’s also about eating right. “Not eating enough can lead to blood sugar imbalances, which can result in feeling irritable, tired, and in some people can even cause fainting,” says Diana Gariglio-Clelland, Registered Dietitian at Balance One Supplements. “Eating balanced meals and snacks can help promote steady blood sugar and energy levels and also help mental clarity and focus.”
So basically, if you want to feel your happiest, healthiest, and most present self on your wedding day, you need to give your body the proper fuel. Here’s how.
The first step to properly fueling yourself isn’t about what you eat—it’s about what you drink. Staying properly hydrated throughout your wedding day is an absolute must, especially if you’re drinking alcohol. “Drinking at least four 16-ounce water bottles throughout the day will help prevent dehydration, especially if you're planning on consuming some alcohol at your reception,” says Gariglio-Clelland.
Proper hydration is important—but you also don’t want to overdo it (and spend the bulk of your reception in the bathroom). “Spread [your water intake] out throughout the day to avoid urgently needing to use the restroom,” says Gariglio-Clelland.
As the old saying goes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day—and that’s especially true on your wedding day.
From getting ready to snapping photos with your wedding photographer to the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception, your wedding day is going to be a long one—which is why you need to kick off the morning of your wedding with foods that are going to keep you satiated and energized.
No matter how early you start getting ready, make time for a healthy morning meal before your wedding. “Consider delegating someone to bring breakfast in the morning and opt for a protein, fat, and carbohydrate choice,” says Kerry Clifford, MS, RD, LDN. She recommends the following two breakfast ideas:
If there’s a big gap between breakfast and your ceremony time, you should also plan to keep some grab-and-go snacks on hand for additional energy, like some celery and nut butter or a handful of almonds (the last thing you want to do is walk down the aisle feeling hangry and tired!). Ask your maid of honor, best man, or member of your bridal party (like the bridesmaids) to keep a few easy-to-eat snacks nearby that you can eat in transport.
Gariglio-Clelland recommends foods rich in protein, which promote satiety and energy. She suggests nuts, yogurt cups, string cheese, and jerky. “Combining them with carbohydrate foods such as fruit, veggie sticks, and whole-grain crackers can further boost their energy sustaining power since the body uses carbs as a primary fuel source.”
The cocktail hour and reception are where the bulk of the eating takes place—at least for your wedding guests. Many times, couples are so busy, they don’t find time to get a bite in.
Don’t be that couple! You paid for the beautiful food being served at your wedding and you deserve to enjoy it. And, even if you feel pulled in a million different directions, we promise—there is time for you to eat during your cocktail hour and reception.
If you’re busy during cocktail hour (for example, if you’re taking photos), ask your caterer to put aside some munchies for you, your partner, and the wedding party to enjoy, says Clifford. You can even ask them to bring them to you so you don’t arrive at the reception feeling hungry.
If you’re serving a meal at your reception, you also want to make sure you have time to sit down and eat—which can be hard when every guest wants to say hello and offer their congratulations. If you want to have time to enjoy your meal, consider getting the greetings out of the way before lunch or dinner. For example, you might have everyone sit down 15 minutes before the meal so you can stop by tables and say hello before everyone (including you!) gets their food.
Once the party is in full swing, feel free to indulge, whether that’s with your late-night snack buffet or any bacon-wrapped dates leftover from the cocktail hour. Just make sure if that indulging includes a few signature wedding cocktails, you’re continuing to keep yourself hydrated.
“Dehydration can multiply the effects of drinking alcohol,” says Clifford. “Your body dehydrates itself when you’re breaking down the alcohol, so drinking water for every other alcoholic beverage is a good way to keep hydrated.”
Your wedding is one of the happiest—and longest—days of your life. And with these tips, you have everything you need to give your body the proper fuel to fully enjoy it. So go ahead—eat, drink, and be married!
Now that you know what to eat on the day of your wedding, let’s quickly cover what you don’t want to eat—both on your big day and the days leading up to it:
Processed foods are full of all sorts of ingredients, additives, and chemicals that aren’t going to help you look or feel your best—so keep the focus on whole, unprocessed foods in the weeks leading up to your wedding (and on your wedding day!).
Any foods that are high in sodium can cause bloating (which can make it hard to get into your wedding dress!). Aim to keep sodium to a minimum in the week or two leading up to your wedding.
The days before your wedding can be stressful—and eating foods that are high in sugar (or sugary carbonated beverages) can cause your blood sugar to spike and then crash, which can negatively impact mood and make it harder to manage stress. If you’re going to ingest sugar, aim for natural sugar, like fruit.
The week of your wedding is not a time to try new foods that you don’t know how your body will react to—or eat any foods that you know that you’re sensitive to. When planning your diet for your wedding (and the weeks before), stick to tried-and-true foods you know agree with your body.