The Wedding Diet: Tone Down & Tie the Knot 1-2 Sizes Thinner

Weight Loss & Diets | Written by Nathan Petitpas | Updated on 18 August 2022

A person in a wedding dress holding a piece of cake wondering if they should eat it while another bride is doing jump ropes in the background.

Going on a bride or wedding diet is a popular tactic to make sure you look thin while tying the knot. It might be tempting to try an extreme diet to drop 1-2 dress sizes quickly, but that isn’t necessary with a little preparation. 

Planning a wedding is already stressful enough without throwing in a crazy fad diet to adhere to. Your pre-wedding meal plan doesn’t need to be complicated or extreme, and you can see great results with a healthy meal plan, some exercise, and a little persistence.

Below, we give practical tips on getting fit before your wedding and provide a 21-day, 6 month, and even a 12-month diet plan for those who have more time before uniting in holy matrimony.

Weight Loss in Preparation for the Big Day

Of course, you want to start losing weight right away. But don’t dive into a diet headfirst without considering a few things. Weight loss for a wedding is a big commitment and requires a bit of preparation to see success.

Since you’re getting ready for your wedding, you’re sure to be familiar with a little bit of planning. Add the following things to your to-do list, and don’t forget to check them off before you start your pre-wedding weight loss journey.

  • Set your goals. Knowing your reasons for going on your weight loss journey will help keep you focused on the journey. Before you make your wedding diet meal plan, write down three to five reasons you want to do this diet and what you hope to achieve at the end. Going on a diet can have more benefits than just weight loss, such as clearing up acne. So, if one of your goals is to make sure you’re photo-ready on your big day, don’t forget to write it down. Start a food journal and use it to track both your meals and your moods to keep you accountable and focused on your goals.
  • Create a strategy. In this article, you’ll find plenty of ideas for meals you can make ahead in bulk. Choose a set day of the week to go grocery shopping and meal prep for the week ahead. Mark it on your calendar and set reminders. Choose a few rewards for each goal you achieve along the way and devise a strategy for getting back on track when you feel unmotivated or have one too many cheat meals.
  • Customize your plan and build in variety. Sticking to a consistent diet can be helpful for weight loss [1]. However, eating a bland, boring diet full of foods you don’t like for too long can make you give up on it too soon. If you see a food on the meal plan that you don’t like, don’t hesitate to substitute it with something you love. Just make sure the new food is healthy and follows our suggested guidelines. Change up your snacks to add more variety between each day. Rotating through different types of nuts (one ounce a day gives you healthy fats and protein) or fruits (two pieces a day gives you fiber) for your daily snacks is a great way to prevent boredom.
  • Gather support. A solid team of supportive friends and family is vital to your success. Get your fiancé on board to help you stick with it.
  • Know what to avoid. Even if your diet is packed with healthful foods, you won’t lose much weight if you don’t know what foods to steer clear of. Eliminate or limit processed foods, dairy, gluten, added sugars, coffee, artificial sweeteners, refined carbs, and alcohol [2].
  • Visit your doctor. Always talk to your healthcare provider before starting a new diet or fitness plan. They can give you a physical exam and answer any questions you might have about going on a diet.

Wedding Diet Tips

Starting your diet might seem overwhelming, especially with all the different advice and rules you might find when trying to decide on a specific meal plan or approach to your wedding weight loss journey.

To make things easier for you, keep in mind the following tips:

  • Start early. The best thing you can do to help yourself lose weight and keep it off is to start as early as possible. Depending on your goals, starting as early as a year before your big day will allow you to have a less-strict plan and alleviate the stress of trying to lose weight quickly while dealing with last-minute wedding planning.
  • Track your calories. If you adhere to this diet plan and avoid unhealthy foods, you could forego tracking calories. But no one is perfect, and cheat meals happen, so get in the habit of tracking your daily calories and figuring out how how many calories on a cheat day. To make sure you’re not constantly going over your daily budget, write down each meal’s calories in a food journal. For best results, track your normal calories for a week before subtracting up to 300 calories from your daily average. Make that calorie number your new goal to lose weight slowly.
  • Add exercise to your diet plan. While physical activity isn’t necessary to lose weight, it will help speed up the process and help you look great for your wedding day. You don’t have to do strenuous activities each day. Studies show that simply getting a 30-minute walk every day can boost weight loss [3]. If getting toned is a goal of yours, aim for two or three 45-to-60-minute sessions of mixed cardio and strength training each week.
  • Keep it simple. You don’t need to add a bunch of exotic foods or complicated recipes that take hours to make to your meal plan. You can make simple healthy foods at home that are packed with healthy ingredients like fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats like chicken and fish, and low-fat dairy. There are tons of healthy pre-packaged meals you can buy at the store or through a healthy meal plan service if you’re busy. Make specific meal plans each week that you can prep ahead of time, and then you won’t have to think about it for the rest of the week.
  • Drink lots of water. Water is an often-forgotten key to weight loss. Not only is hydration important to overall health, but drinking enough water helps your body shed water weight and can help you feel full between meals [4]. Fill up a water bottle and take it with you everywhere you go.
  • Reduce your stress. Having higher stress levels can lead to weight gain. Try to keep your wedding planning stress in check with daily relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and yoga.
  • Rest up. Good sleep is important for weight loss and helps your body repair itself after a stressful day of wedding planning. Insufficient sleep has been linked to making fat loss more difficult [5]. Aim for at least six hours a day.
  • Don’t be afraid to cheat (a little). Cheat meals can be useful tools during your weight loss. You can treat them as a reward for a week of sticking to your meal plan, which might be a strong motivator. Be sure to be mindful of your cheat meals and track them in your food journal. Don’t use cheat meals as an excuse to constantly overeat at every pre-wedding party. When you get closer to your wedding day, you might want to cut out cheat meals altogether to shed those last few pounds.
  • Don’t do fad diets. They rarely work, and their often unhealthy and cause you to gain more weight when you come off them. For best success, focus on eating healthy foods and avoiding junk foods.
  • Avoid foods that bloat during the final two weeks of your diet. What good is losing all this fat if your body will be bloated with water weight on your wedding day anyway? Prevent the bloat by avoiding gluten, dairy, sugar, and any other foods your body has reacted poorly to in the past [6]. Don’t forget to hydrate to battle bloat as well.
  • Surround yourself with positivity. This is important for weight loss as well as keeping your sanity in general during this crazy time in your life. Ask your friends to send you positive notes of encouragement every week, set a few positive affirmations to say to yourself each morning, and avoid negative news and people to help keep your stress levels down and lose weight.
  • Consider a detox before your diet. If you want to get a jump on your weight loss because you have a lot to lose, or you’re starting your lifestyle change close to the day, you might want to consider a weight-loss cleanse the week before to help flush out water weight and boost your metabolism. Later in this article, we give you an example of what a 1-week cleanse should look like. Keep in mind that detox cleanses should only ever be done for a short time after talking with your doctor. They are not a permanent solution to weight loss.

1 Year Wedding Diet Plan

Are you asking yourself, how long before my wedding should I diet? Your best choice is to start a year before your wedding if you want your weight loss to be as stress-free as possible or if you want to lose over 50 pounds sustainably.

Starting early allows you to lose weight slowly and make small changes to your lifestyle over time. If you’re living healthily for the year leading up to your big day, you’ll be less likely to be stressed or feel guilty about enjoying yourself with cheat meals at parties or doing a half dozen cake tastings over the year.

To lose weight over a year, you should:

  • Add more physical activity to your day. You have the luxury of time to prepare for your wedding with this diet plan, so you don’t have to spend hours in the gym to reap the benefits of exercise. Try to walk 10,000 steps – or five miles – every day starting now. Avoid training every day to lose weight, as this can lead to fatigue and injury.
  • Add more protein to your meals. Protein is important for overall health, improves metabolism, and helps you feel full when you make it a large part of your meal [2]. Try lean meats like chicken and turkey and fish that are full of omega-3 fatty acids like salmon.
  • Add more fiber. Fiber is important for digestive health and keeps you full throughout the day [2]. Great sources of fiber are fruits and vegetables. An easy way to incorporate these nutritious foods is by adding them to smoothies for a quick breakfast or snack.
  • Eat complex carbohydrates like brown rice, sweet potatoes, and whole-grain bread. These add fiber and important vitamins and have been associated with weight loss [8]. Avoid refined carbs like white rice and white bread that have had their most nutritious elements stripped from them.
  • Don’t skip breakfast. It has long been said that this is the most important meal of the day, and that’s especially true for weight loss. Eating a large breakfast full of fiber and protein will help you stay full throughout the day and prevent you from having the urge to graze before lunch.
  • Eat many small meals throughout the day. The best way to prevent unwanted snacking throughout the day is by eating every 2-3 hours. This usually ends up being three larger meals and two to three snacks. This way, you’ll rarely feel hungry and won’t want to reach for that bag of chips.
  • Have an occasional cheat meal. You have time on your side. If you’re eating healthy throughout the week, don’t be afraid to give yourself a cheat meal as a reward once a week. It will help you stay motivated and avoid diet burnout.

6 Months Bride Diet

Starting your weight loss 6 months before your wedding is still plenty of time to slim down healthily before the big day. You can make gradual changes, but if you’re looking to lose a lot of weight, you will have to be a bit stricter about some things.

To start losing weight 6 months before your wedding, do the following:

  • Start each day with a detox before breakfast. Drinking green tea or adding a squeeze of lemon to a glass of water adds vitamin C and antioxidants to your diet while getting your metabolism going before breakfast [7]. Don’t forget to fill up on a nutritional breakfast afterward, like a veggie egg white omelet or oats.
  • Gradually do food swaps. Switch out unhealthy foods with healthier alternatives slowly, not all at once. You still have plenty of time to lose weight, and gradual change is more likely to stick than a sudden change.
  • Don’t eat sugar after dinner. If you can’t shake the craving for a sweet treat, try a healthy dessert like dark chocolate or fruit. As a bonus, the antioxidants in these foods help prevent cell damage and keep your skin looking radiant [9].
  • Don’t forget to exercise. Walk 10,000 steps daily. If you want to expedite your weight loss, try adding a High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) session to your routine two or three times a week to increase your cardiovascular health and burn calories.

2-3 Months Before the Wedding

Depending on your starting weight, you can still expect to lose upwards of 15-24 pounds if you start now and stick to your diet closely and show discipline [3]. If you’ve already been eating healthily up until now, maintaining this meal plan will be easier for you. But you still need to make a few changes now, including:

  • Stay focused and accountable. At this point, if you slip up, it’s not the end of the world, but it might be harder to come back from. Continue tracking your meals, calories, and workouts so you can spot any bad habits popping up and correct them fast. A fitness app on your phone might help by sending you daily reminders to track your stats.
  • Cut out alcohol and limit your caffeine. Alcohol is full of empty calories, dehydrates you, and can add bloat to your belly. If you continue to drink coffee, take it black without cream or sugars to lower your calorie intake [2].
  • Avoid processed carbohydrates as much as possible. If you haven’t cut out white bread and pasta yet, now is the time to do it. Replace them with complex carbs like quinoa and brown rice. These foods are low-glycemic and will help regulate your blood sugar [8].
  • Load up on vegetables. Eat as many green veggies as you want at mealtime to fill you up with fiber and nutrients that are great for your skin, hair, and nails.
  • Incorporate toning exercises into your routine. Continue getting cardio exercise regularly and add strength training exercises to tone your body. Pilates and bodyweight exercises like push-ups, squats, and planks are great places to start.

2-4 Weeks Before the Wedding

Now is the time for making final tweaks to your diet plan and upping the ante to drop those final few pounds.

As much as you might be tempted to throw a fad diet into your wedding diet plan to get rid of as much fat a possible, now is the worst time to do it. Poorly executed fad diets can lead to negative health effects like hair loss, bloat, acne, and fatigue  – none of which you want on your wedding day! Focus on losing any remaining water weight during these final weeks and adding the last bit of tone to your body [10].

At this point, you might be asking yourself, what should I eat 2-4 weeks before marriage? The answer is lots of healthy protein, fiber, and healthy fats. On top of that, you should do the following:

  • Cut out gluten and dairy. Both foods can cause bloating and acne due to dietary sensitivities. Even if you don’t think you’re sensitive to these foods, it might be a good time to try cutting them anyway to see if it helps get rid of bloat.
  • Add a collagen supplement to your diet. Collagen is what makes our skin firm and radiant. Adding this to your routine now will help ensure your skin is healthy and photo-ready in a month or less.
  • Drink lots of water. If you haven’t been getting the suggested 64 ounces of water each day so far, now is the time to start. Water will help you feel full if you’re cutting calories further even these upcoming weeks. Water is also an important tool for your body to keep your skin firm.
  • Eat healthy fats. Healthy fats are essential for feeling satiated, and fats from foods like avocado, nuts, and olives are full of important nutrients.
  • Add yoga to your fitness routine. The final 15-30 days before your wedding are likely going to be some of the most stressful days in your life. Adding yoga to your routine will help soothe your mind, reduce stress, and help with flexibility. Continue to be active every day and maintain a strength training routine to keep yourself strong and healthy.

21-Day Pre-Wedding Meal Plan

How do brides lose weight fast? By sticking to a healthy meal plan and getting plenty of physical activity. Three weeks before the wedding, you should avoid making any big changes to your lifestyle. Focus on cutting out foods that cause bloat and stay active.

At this point, you know you should be eating lots of fiber and protein while avoiding simple carbohydrates and processed foods. But sometimes, it’s easiest to have a simple meal plan set out for you so you don’t have to come up with the meals on your own.

Below is a sample 21-day wedding diet meal plan with suggested meals to try.

Week 1 (21 Days Before the Ceremony)

This week is a good time to do a detox, especially if you’re just starting your healthy eating habits and have been eating less healthful foods until today. Take a moment to consider your relationship with food before you start this week. By looking at food positively as a source of nourishment, your eating habits will improve.

Since this week’s detox cuts down on protein, you should cut down on strength training this week. Stay active with gentle cardio, stretches, and yoga three days this week.

Week 1 Meal Plan

You’ll want to fill up on lots of fiber this week. Your base meal plan will include fruits, vegetables, legumes, and healthy oils. Legumes contain nutrients that will boost your liver health and keep you feeling full [11]. You’ll be avoiding gluten, dairy, meat, and nuts this week.

 Here are your sample meals for this week:

  • Breakfast – fruit smoothie with added green vegetables like kale or spinach.
  • Lunch – green salad with avocado and sunflower seeds.
  • Dinner – Lentil soup with parsley and turnip.

Week 2 (14 Days Before Getting Hitched)

You should be feeling great after last week’s detox, and now it’s time to add more proteins and grains into your wedding diet. As you add these foods into your meal, be mindful and eat slowly. Take note of how you feel. If you feel worse after adding a certain food back in after a week, it might indicate you have a sensitivity.

As you’re adding carbs and protein back into your meals, you should feel a boost in energy. Up your exercise intensity, stretch daily, and take plenty of walks outside.

Week 2 Meal Plan

The base of this week’s wedding diet meal plan is similar to week 1, but now you will add back gluten-free grains and fish. Feel free to cook big batches of meals to save you time. Don’t forget to stay hydrated.

Here are your sample meals for this week:

  • Breakfast – quinoa porridge with apple and cinnamon.
  • Lunch – salad with quinoa, pistachios, and zucchini.
  • Dinner – grilled salmon with brown rice.

Week 3  (7 Days Before the Wedding)

You should be feeling lighter this week and more energetic after having proteins reintroduced. Clean eating should feel like more of a habit at this point, and it will be easier for you to keep it up on your final stretch before the big day. Notice your health this week, and stay mindful as you eat.

Your diet is sustainable and full of nourishment again at this point, so you can fully return to your healthy fitness plan. Try to get three 30-minute cardio sessions and a total of 60 minutes of strength training this week to keep you strong and relieve stress leading up to your big day.

Week 3 Meal Plan

You’ll be adding in organic soy and eggs this week for some added protein. Pay attention to how you feel as you add these ingredients back into your meals, as they are both common digestive symptom triggers [6].

Here is your sample menu for this week:

  • Breakfast – spinach and mushroom omelet.
  • Lunch – green apple salad with fennel and edamame.
  • Dinner – brown rice bowl with spinach and tofu.

Get Strong Before the Wedding – Workout Plan for the Bride-to-Be

If your body goals include toning or building muscle before your wedding, a strength training program might be right for you. Here’s what you need to know before planning your exercise plan:

  • Know what makes a good fitness plan. The four major components of physical fitness are cardiovascular health, stretching, balance, and strength [12]. Be sure to incorporate all four into your lifestyle for the best results.
  • Consider your starting point. Don’t try to make extreme changes and be realistic of your goals. You don’t have to be a certain dress size to be a beautiful bride. Make sure your goals are attainable and that you want to change your body for yourself.
  • Consider your dress. When building a workout routine, you want to know what you should be focusing on, and the style of your dress might affect that. Going sleeveless? You might want to focus on toning your arms. Does your dress have a low back? Consider adding a solid back day or two to your fitness plan.
  • Consider getting a personal trainer. If you work best with a structured plan that an expert can put together for you, or you need someone motivating you at the gym, hiring a personal trainer might be a good investment.
  • Choose exercises that you enjoy doing. If you have fun with your workout, you’re more likely to show up tomorrow. Cross-training, barre, yoga, running, and weightlifting are all good options to get fit. Pick something that will work for you.
  • Eat enough. If you’re trying to build muscle and tone, you must take in enough nutrients for your body to build and repair itself. Make sure you’re getting enough protein in your diet. 

Benefits of the Bride Diet

Dieting before your wedding has more benefits than just weight loss if done correctly. You can use diet pills to lose weight as you prepare for your wedding, but keep in mind that choosing a healthy pre-wedding lifestyle full of nutritious foods and an exercise plan comes with other health benefits. You’ll reap these benefits on your wedding day and throughout the rest of your life if you continue eating healthy.

 These benefits include:

  • Healthy skin and hair. The vitamins and minerals facilitate weight loss in addition to keeping your skin clear as well as strong and shiny hair.
  • Less stress. Exercising lowers your stress levels and promotes good mental health.
  • Overall better health. By increasing your fiber intake, you’re increasing your digestive health and might be reducing your chance of cancer [2]. The antioxidants and vitamins found in fruits and vegetables are essential for organ and brain health as well as heart health [9].

The Bottom Line

Losing weight before your wedding doesn’t have to mean extreme diets or added stress to your already chaotic pre-wedding life. By adding healthy foods, cutting unhealthy foods, and exercising more, you can lose weight easily before the big day.

No matter when you start your bride diet, you can make positive changes that will help you look radiant on your big day and beyond. Now that you know the best approach you should take when planning your wedding diet, you can make informed decisions to lose weight and look your best on your wedding day.


[1] Vainik, U., Dubé, L., Lu, J., & Fellows, L. K. (2015). Personality and Situation Predictors of Consistent Eating Patterns. PLOS ONE10(12), e0144134.

[2] Cena, H., & Calder, P. C. (2020). Defining a Healthy Diet: Evidence for the Role of Contemporary Dietary Patterns in Health and Disease. Nutrients12(2), 334.

[3] Bond Brill, J., Perry, A., Parker, L., Robinson, A., & Burnett, K. (2002). Dose–response effect of walking exercise on weight loss. How much is enough? International Journal of Obesity26(11), 1484–1493.

[4] Thornton, S. N. (2016). Increased Hydration Can Be Associated with Weight Loss. Frontiers in Nutrition3.

[5] Ness-Abramof, R. (2011). Insufficient Sleep Undermines Dietary Efforts to Reduce Adiposity. Yearbook of Medicine2011, 551–552.

[6] Hasler, W. L. (2002). Air apparent: Studies of gas and bloating in IBS. Gastroenterology122(2), 576–577.

[7] Jeong, J. N. (2018). Effect of Pre-meal Water Consumption on Energy Intake and Satiety in Non-obese Young Adults. Clinical Nutrition Research7(4), 291.

[8] Wien, M. A., Sabaté, J. M., Iklé, D. N., Cole, S. E., & Kandeel, F. R. (2003). Almonds vs complex carbohydrates in a weight reduction program. International Journal of Obesity27(11), 1365–1372.

[9] Antioxidants: In Depth. (n.d.). NIH.

[10] Ruden, D. M., Rasouli, P., & Lu, X. (2007). Potential Long-Term Consequences of Fad Diets on Health, Cancer, and Longevity: Lessons Learned from Model Organism Studies. Technology in Cancer Research & Treatment6(3), 247–254.

[11] Bahrami, A., Teymoori, F., Eslamparast, T., Sohrab, G., Hejazi, E., Poustchi, H., & Hekmatdoost, A. (2019). Legume intake and risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Indian Journal of Gastroenterology38(1), 55–60.

[12] Four Types of Exercise Can Improve Your Health and Physical Ability. (n.d.). National Institute on Aging.

About the Author

Nathan Petitpas

Nathan has been a fitness enthusiast for the past 12 years and jumps between several types of training such as bodybuilding, powerlifting, cycling, gymnastics, and backcountry hiking. Due to the varying caloric needs of numerous sports, he has cycled between all types of diets and currently eats a whole food diet. In addition, Nathan lives with several injuries such as hip impingement, spondylolisthesis, and scoliosis, so he underwent self-rehabilitation and no longer lives with debilitating pain.