Eat your way to a stress-free wedding

Nutrition and Health Coach, Demelza Rayner, reveals seven simple steps to feeling relaxed and in control on your wedding day

It's only natural to feel nervous – if not downright terrified – on your wedding day. After-all, you've spent at least a year on planning every little detail to ensure the big day goes without a hitch. Furthermore, if you're not someone who enjoys being the centre of attention then there's the added pressure of knowing all eyes will be on you. I'm here to reassure you that these worries are perfectly normal and, by following my seven simple steps, you can sail through the day feeling calm, in control and able to enjoy every stage of the proceedings. Let's get started!

head shot of Demelza
woman waking up in bed looking happy

Getting enough sleep the night before the wedding is key – you'll wake up refreshed, alert and ready for whatever the day brings. However, it's never easy to drop-off when your mind is racing, so there are several strategies you can employ to swich your body into a more relaxed state. First of all, run yourself a lovely, warm bath with Epsom salts – these contain magnesium and are widely recommended for relaxation and improved sleep quality. After your bath, get ready for bed and either pop on some gentle music or a soothing sleep story. Wear a heated eye mask infused with lavender while listening and you'll drift off in no time! What you eat before bedtime is important too. Several foods contain a substance called tryptophan, which has an important role in the production of melatonin – a hormone involved in your sleep-wake cycle. Foods rich in tryptophan include chicken, turkey, salmon, eggs, nuts and seeds.

woman in yellow jumper drinking glass of water looking out the window

Leave a glass of water on your bedside table before you go to sleep and drink this on waking. Being well hydrated boosts your energy levels and brain function, and will help to prevent headaches (a fairly common complaint given the pressures of the big day!) By all means reach for a much-needed mug of tea or coffee afterwards but resist the temptation to drink cup after cup – the caffeine will exacerbate any anxiety or stress, which is the last thing you need when you're about to walk down the aisle. Ditto for alcohol – enjoy a chilled glass of bubbly while you're getting ready but it's going to be a long day so keep sipping that water too!

woman sat on floor with headphones on

Mindfulness and meditation are fantastic for relieving stress, improving sleep, enhancing mental health and increasing concentration. If you've never considered exploring their benefits, then it's well worth downloading the Calm app, which offers a free seven-day trial. It contains a variety of easy-to-follow programmes, ranging from '7 days of Calm' to 'Anxiety Release' and 'Mindfulness for Beginners'. Each stage is just five or 10 minutes long, so the time commitment is minimal. I'd suggest starting one of the programmes a week before the big day and then listening to the last stage on the morning of the wedding – ideally soon after waking so that you can navigate the demands of the day feeling peaceful and in control.

porridge oats and yoghurt with blue berries in

As tempting as it may be to skip breakfast altogether – don't – you'll need plenty of energy for the day ahead! Forget cereals, toast and croissants – you need something sustaining that will keep you full until the wedding breakfast. This means something with protein. Eggs are a fantastic choice – think omelette or scrambled eggs and smoked salmon; however, I'm well aware that cooking may not be your first thought on your wedding day, and you might not have someone to hand who can whip you up a hot breakfast! My advice would be to create overnight oats or a simple bowl of yogurt the night before that's ready to go when you need it. For overnight oats, mix together 50g rolled porridge oats with 150ml milk (plantbased or dairy), a teaspoon of chia seeds, a chopped ripe pear and half a teaspoon of cinnamon. Then leave in the fridge overnight. Alternatively, mix Greek yogurt, a handful of blueberries, a teaspoon of flaxseeds and some chopped mixed nuts. Again, leave in the fridge the night before so you can grab it in the morning.

plate of fruit, nuts and italian meats

Depending on what time you have your breakfast, it may be many hours before your next meal so it's important to have some tasty, nourishing snacks on hand to maintain your energy levels. My suggestions would include apple slices and nut butter, hummus with carrot, pepper and cucumber sticks, mozzarella balls with tomatoes and olives, mixed nuts, dark chocolate and almonds, cheese and crackers. Stock up your fridge and your cupboards a couple of days before the wedding, so you have plenty of choices on hand while you get ready.

bride and her mum closed eyes holding hands

If you start to feel anxious or unduly stressed at any point of your wedding day, simply spend a few moments controlling your breathing. Box breathing, for example, is simply breathing in for the count of four, holding for the count of four, breathing out for the count of four and holding for the count of four. This process can be repeated several times. Alternatively, try the 3-4-7 method: breathing in for the count of three, holding for the count of four and then breathing out for the count of seven. Both techniques aim to move the body out of the 'fight or flight' mode and into a more relaxed state. YouTube is fantastic for finding free video tutorials of these breathing techniques and it is definitely worth practicing in the week leading up to the wedding so you can call on these techniques effectively on your big day.

woman eating breakfast outside in the sunshine in a robe 7 EAT SLOWLY AND MINDFULLY
It's all too easy to wolf down your wedding breakfast at breakneck speed, but by taking time to really enjoy the scent, flavour and sensation of the dish, you'll be sending messages to your body that you are safe, relaxed and calm. In addition, chewing your food slowly, carefully and methodically gives your stomach time to prepare for its arrival and means your body doesn't have to work too hard to break it down into essential nutrients that can help to support your body and mind. Finally, speedy eating can cause reflux, heartburn and all kinds of uncomfortable digestive issues that you definitely don't want on your big day!

I hope you've found the tips above helpful. By prioritising sleep, eating the right foods at the right time and keeping some simple stressbusting techniques in reserve, you'll be one step closer to having the wedding day of your dreams! If you'd like to find out more about reducing stress, managing sleep, maintaining a healthy weight and boosting your energy levels, simply visit my website and sign up for my free newsletter.

Demelza Rayner Nutrition
IG: @demelzaraynernutrition | |

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