It may sound ridiculous, but ask around and you’ll hear many couples complain that, with so many to-dos on their wedding day, it was impossible to get a moment to themselves—yes, even 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. 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. Plus, what foods to eat to keep you running all day and night.

Why It’s So Important To Eat On Your Wedding Day

Obviously you know you need to eat, especially on a marathon day like your wedding. However, 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.

Drink Up All Day

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.

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How To Eat Before The Wedding

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 start the day 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 options:

  • Toast (quality carbohydrate) with eggs (protein), avocado (healthy fat), and fruit.
  • Icelandic yogurt (higher in protein) with sliced berries (quality carbohydrate) and granola with some nuts (healthy fat).

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 (the last thing you want to do is walk down the aisle feeling hangry and tired!). Ask your maid of honor or best man to keep a few east-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.”

How To Eat At The Cocktail Hour and Reception

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.

Ask for food.

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.

Get greetings out of the way.

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.

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How To Eat Late-Night

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!