Ep. 43: How-To: Plan a Healthy Wedding

By: Cassy Joy Garcia
Fed & Fit
Fed & Fit

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The Fed+Fit Podcast | Nurturing a Healthy Mindset for a Healthy Lifestyle

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Ep. 43: How-To: Plan a Healthy Wedding

Today we’re going to talk about wedding health and fitness goals, how to actually set yourself up for healthy success, and most importantly, how to manage your expectations.


1. Welcome back Cassy [1:18]
2. Wedding health and fitness goals [5:31]
3. How to actually set yourself up for healthy success, [11:50]
4. How to manage your expectations [22:37]

Cassy Joy: And I’m back! I feel like I’m back like I’ve never been back before, and I hardly know where to begin, but I want to start off by saying hi! Thank you guys for hanging with me while we took some time to go on our honeymoon and get resettled back in life. But I’m back, as promised, to do a podcast episode, speaking specifically to our recent wedding experience, but more importantly in how it might apply to more folks, how you can take some of my lessons learned and some of the things I went in with as goals and as game plans, and kind of fold those into your real life experiences; whether that’s a wedding you’ve got coming up, or yourself, or that of your daughter’s, or of a friends, or if you’ve just got a big event, I think these are really good pieces of advice. So thanks for joining me, I’m excited!

1. Welcome back Cassy [1:18]

So, where do I begin? Oh my goodness. I feel like I’m speaking to you from smack dab in the middle of a fairytale, to be honest. It’s not one of those Disney princess cartoon fairytales, but it’s more like one of those realistic, nothing is perfect, and at the same time everything is perfect kind of fairytale. I think the show, Once Upon A Time if you’ve ever seen it, is a great example, and if you’re not familiar with it, the rough premise is that fairytale characters in their subsequent stories are dropped from their fanciful books and movies into a real life setting full of real life complications and real life joys. And that’s really where I’m at right now.

I feel like Snow White who is just having a string of bad hair days. {laughs} So I’ll take it. I feel like I’m one of the most fortunate girls, and this is a really special time in our lives, so I’m happy to be able to share some of it with you guys.

So if you are new here, and you wonder what the heck I’m jabbering about, let me get you quickly up to speed. I married the love of my life on Saturday, October 24, 2015 in the middle of one of those torrential Texas rainstorms that you might have heard about. There was lots of flooding. We decided to go with our plan, and we stood under this divinely formed, natural pecan tree cathedral alongside the Concho River in San Angelo, Texas. It’s where Austin is from. Austin and I were engaged for about 1 year, and as a girl who hadn’t really done any pre-wedding, or pre-engagement wedding planning, it was a real learning process. There were some curveballs, but I held on for the ride and enjoyed it.

Above all, Austin and I wanted to make sure that during the whole process we really set the tone at the very beginning. Because we’ve seen folks really get carried away with some of the details and lose touch with what’s most important. So we set the tone, and we wanted to make sure that we number one honored each other, honored the meaning behind the upcoming union. We really stayed focused on the marriage; not necessarily just the wedding. And that we truly honored our family. Family is really important to the two of us, and so we wanted to make sure that they really felt like they were involved and really taken into account. We went so far as actually in our vows we both decided to also incorporate something we wanted to say to each other’s families, because we do believe it is that important.

So we went in also with the goals to keep stress at bay as much as possible, to maintain our health above all, and to really cherish each and every special moment. We wanted to keep our eye on the prize and the true meaning behind all the sweet events.

So while I’d say that we did an excellent job of staying true to our major goals, the details really in hindsight, they were all fuzzy and they were all moving, and few of them wound up where we thought they would end up. {laughs} So it was really a classic story of doing your best to control what you can control, and then having faith for the rest of it.

So today, I really want to just zoom in on one aspect of wedding planning. It came up a lot in the last year, in conversations with you guys via social media and emails, and now that the dust is settled, I’m really ready to share some of my thoughts on the subject. I want to talk about 3 things today. First, I want to talk about wedding health and fitness goals, how to actually set yourself up for healthy success, and then probably most important, how to manage your expectations. So it’s kind of a micro look at the wedding, but I think it’s probably the stuff folks really want to know.

If you’re more curious about our exact day, as soon as we get photos back from the photographer, I’m planning on publishing a blog post all about the wedding. So if you’re curious, I’ll have all the stuff there and it will be fun to relive it with you guys.

2. Wedding health and fitness goals [5:31]

So, ok wedding goals, first and foremost. And the wedding goals I’m talking about here, I want to address this head on; these are the ones where folks have goals regarding how they’re going to look on the wedding day. Whether you’re the bride, a family member, or an attendee. So first of all, I completely understand the desire to look your best on your wedding day. It’s a day that you’ll probably have photographed more than any other, and you really want to feel amazing. I totally get that.

That being said, I want to address that some of these wedding goals, I feel like they’ve become so commonplace that they’ve lost their bearing on reality and practicality. So what I mean by that, I can’t tell you how many people came up to me in the last year before the wedding and asked me a series of questions. They were usually; so, how much weight are you planning to lose for the wedding? Are you going to go through any kind of skin regimen to get ready for the big day? Do you have a goal dress size? What diet are you going to follow? Are you trying any new workout stuff?

So let me tell you a little bit about my background so you know why that kind of caught me off guard. I’ll also tell you about where I’m at right now, so you know I’m not somebody that; I’m not saying that everybody needs this kind of advice, but let me give you a little background.

So for about 15 years, starting when I was in late middle school, early high school, so that’s around the 8th grade, I was a slave to food. I hated it, I loved it, and I let it rule my entire life. I’d binge, hate my body, restrict and rewarded all with food. So my body made huge swings during that time, and by the time I graduated from college, I was at my most unhealthy state. I am about 5 foot 7 inches, so average height, maybe a little tall, and when I was at my most unhealthy when I graduated from college I was about 145 pounds, and I wore a size 10/12 dress. So on a girl that tall, I looked fine. I carried everything well, but under the surface, I had debilitating joint pain, I couldn’t stay awake during class or a drive, and really just all over I felt crummy.

So after about 6 years of going paleo, finding balance within paleo and then really freeing myself from the control that food had over me, I’ve never been healthier or happier. My body, about 5 years ago, I guess, 5 to 6 years ago, settled in at it’s more natural state. I now weigh about 135 pounds, so only 10 pounds less than before, and that’s really due to the fact that I gained muscle and lost inflammation. So, not a significant weight difference, which is a theme that comes up over and over here if you’re a regular listener. And I ended up, I went from a size 10/12 to a size 2/4 dress. But best of all, my joint pain was really a thing of the past.

So I tell you all of that so you know background information. As a relatively fit woman, I was pretty surprised when folks would ask me about my wedding dress size or wedding weight loss goals. I don’t have any weight to lose, and I’m at a size that is the size I’m meant to be. I think if I ever got any smaller, it would be a problem. So that was pretty interesting. And my skin has never looked better; I just feel like a million bucks. And I realize that when most people, they see talking about wedding goals like that, as a way to communicate with brides. It’s kind of a conversation starter. “Oh, what are you going to do for the wedding? What are you going to do to get ready for the wedding?”

And really what I want to get; what I’m trying to get at is, I want to prepare you for those kind of conversations. Because regardless of what you look like or how you're feeling, you’re probably going to get these questions, and it doesn’t mean that anything is wrong. You’re totally fine the way you are, and it is totally ok for you to say; nope, I’m not doing anything, I’m just going to keep eating the way I eat, keep taking care of myself the way I like to take care of myself, and I’ve never felt better. That’s totally fine.

I never restricted myself pre-wedding, and when people would ask me those questions, it brought up some of those old demons that I had of my past of people taking note and me thinking; oh my goodness, is there something I need to do? And I put my foot down. I refused to let food take control over my life again. So I look great; Austin thinks I’m beautiful; I know I’m fit, I’m keeping up on everything that I want to do, so I just want you to know, don’t feel pressured into jumping into anything.

So, all that to say, once more, when thinking about goals for your wedding, or your daughter’s wedding, or your friend’s wedding, I have one sincere recommendation. I want you to audit yourself first. So before you make any commitments to a new diet or regimen, though you may lose weight and inches, try to ask yourself are you going to be restricting yourself so much that you will be left with food addictions after?

If that’s the case, then I say it’s not worth it. Because the lingering effects of a food addiction switch turned on, that is so much harder to turn off, especially if you’ve restricted yourself and you’ve become more obsessed with the way you’re looking. That’s a difficult switch to turn off. It’s definitely doable; I’ve done it. I’ve done it numerous times. I’ve just happened to settle into a really great place in the last 5-6 years where that switch has been completely off. But I just want you to know that there is a light at the end of this tunnel; people will stop asking you about what you’re doing to get ready of the wedding. Remember, you are beautiful! If you feel great, then you keep doing that.

3. How to actually set yourself up for healthy success, [11:50]

Next thing I wanted to talk about is, now that we kind of have that piece done, is how to actually set yourself up for healthy success. So now that we have called out that elephant in the room, the wedding weight loss goal elephant, I think it’s time to talk about ways you can truly set yourself up for a healthy wedding experience. There are some really healthy, great avenues to staying healthy.

So first and foremost, it’s going to come to no surprise to regular listeners, but when in doubt, opt for paleo friendly choices. As you guys know, my background is in really broad nutrition, but I really believe in a lot of the paleo principles. And really the foundations of that being eat mostly vegetables, and really healthy proteins. So opt for leafy greens at every meal if possible, starchy vegetables are great 2 to 3 times a day, like potatoes and squash. Try to opt for non-breaded proteins, some fruits and healthy fats, and then just try to not go overboard with alcohol, paleo friendly sweets, or those gluten free foods. I’m looking at you, corn chips. Gluten free foods. {laughs} So just keep that in mind; when it doubt, go paleo.

Next, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. So just because you ate a piece of regular gluten filled cake at a shower thrown in your honor by your sweet cousins does not mean that your healthy streak has come to an end. Don’t further punish yourself by gorging on more cake until you cry. So I encourage you to enjoy these special times, and know that they’re going to, some of your addictions to sugar and grains and the effects of gluten, those things will all be turned on, and you will have to get past it. But you can indulge in one or two servings and rip the Band-Aid back off. It will all be fine.

Which brings me to my next point; go into those situations with a food recovery game plan. So what’s a game plan that I employ sometimes when I eat foods I didn’t plan to eat? I went to a shower and they planned these beautiful desserts; they were so gorgeous, and they were delicious. One of them was this Snickers cheesecake, and it was a shower thrown in my honor, and like heck am I going to walk out of there without enjoying a piece of that cheesecake.

What I did though was I went in with a game plan. I said, I’m going to eat some stuff, and then afterwards I’m going to have lots of water, I’m going to have some leafy greens, cooked if I can get it because then it’s more dense, and I can get more in me. And then I’m going to employ self control, because when that sugar addiction switch is turned back on, you crave; I know you’ve been there. You crave more sugar, more chocolates, whatever you can get your hands on, another glass of wine, and I just had to tell myself that those cravings are going to come up more so in the next few days because I ate all this stuff, and I had the champagne and the cake.

So I’m learning to anticipate those cravings, and not give into them, and not think that this is a part of the wedding process, right? So I just went in knowing I was going to recover, and it was fine. The sooner you pull the Band-Aid off and you employ that recovery plan, the sooner you’ll feel better.

Speak up early. So when talking to people who are planning events for you; I was, I’m still in awe, and I feel, like I said, like I’m in a fairytale. Friends and family threw us; gosh, we had 4 showers; 3 showers, and, I can’t remember now {laughs}. Like I said it’s a blur. But they threw us a number of showers and parties and bridal luncheons, and all these wonderful things, and I was just so honored and touch that people wanted to do so much for us. But, before they even said anything, folks asked what we were planning on doing for the wedding, and I just let them know our plans. We wanted it to be a healthy wedding, and so people started asking questions about how they could make some of those events healthy, you know.

So don’t be shy about letting them know what foods you love, you could say vegetables, non-breaded proteins, and non-breaded desserts. And then from there, you could really set the tone with your wedding decisions. So healthy wedding decisions will breed healthy wedding pre-activities.

So here are some examples. Choose a menu for your wedding day that you love, and that will make you feel good. We had food trucks at our wedding; one of them was a barbecue food truck, and they served all gluten free foods. They had coleslaw and pulled pork and turkey, and they actually cooked up some Franklin’s briskets, if you’ve ever been to Franklin’s barbecue in Austin, Texas, we got our hands on like 17 of those briskets. It was so delicious. So they helped serve that.

Another truck, we had a menu of these gluten free pork belly tacos, fish tacos, deviled eggs, Brussels sprouts, this watermelon salad. I mean, all just really, really delicious foods that nobody in the crowd knew was necessarily on the healthy side. So set the tone by the menu that you choose.

You can also opt for a gluten free wedding cake; I just wanted you to know that that’s an option if that’s something that’s important to you. There are some incredible bakeries that are just popping up all over the place, and they make really great gluten free cakes. Ours was made by a bakery in San Antonio, Texas, which is where Austin and I live, it’s called Bird Bakery, and they did a wonderful job.

Another decision you could make wedding related wise for that wedding day; if you are going to have a bar, nix those sugar loaded bar mixers. Nobody needs those. You don’t need sweet and sour, you don’t need all the other stuff. Serve fresh juices or club sodas with the liquors and wine. Of course, there will be exceptions, and you want your guests to all feel love, so know that we still had Coca-Cola and beer for folks who wanted something like that. But we made healthier strides by not having sugar loaded mixers.

Ok, other ways to really set yourself up for healthy success. Schedule activities, active activities, with your friends and family. So you’re probably going to have a lot of times with friends and family leading up to the big day, which was probably one of my most favorite parts of the whole thing, was spending time with everybody. So choose hangouts that will keep you moving instead of meeting up at a bar in the afternoon.

So here are some examples; you could go for walks and hikes at nearby trails. So let’s say you get a hold of everybody, and say we’re going to meet up in the morning; bring your to-go coffee and join me for an early morning walk. What a great way to get moving starting off. You don’t have to go for a 5 mile run or anything crazy like that, but just get moving, and kind of set the tone that we want to go spend time together, we’re going to walk around for maybe 30 mines or an hour.

Schedule drop-ins at yoga and Crossfit in whatever town your getting married in; you might be surprised who takes you up on it. I can’t tell you, and especially for the bride or the mother or whoever is feeling maybe the weight of all the events; working out, even though you may look at your schedule and say, there’s no way I’m going to be able to go to a Crossfit gym the day before the wedding, or two days before the wedding, or whatever it is. Find a way to make it happen. I can’t tell you how much I dropped in at a Crossfit gym in San Angelo, Texas. I can’t tell you how much that class really helped to clear my head and make me feel like me before the wedding, so I encourage you to stick with it.

You can go golfing or go play tennis, depending on your hobbies and habits. And then also note, those are all kind of wedding week activities, but as far as planning your bachelorette or bachelor party, I recommend that you choose an activity that will kind of get you out into the world, though trips to Vegas and the beach are a lot of fun, if you want to stay moving, so to continue to propel that you feeling your best, which is the ultimate goal; ask if you can do something active.

About a dozen of my friends really surprised me when they all agreed to join me in New Hampshire for a long hike up to Franconia Ridge. It’s a beautiful point on the Appalachian Trail. The first day of the hike was actually a pretty strenuous 6 hours, and then we stayed in one of their super cool and accommodating huts up there, the Greenleaf hut, and then we took a 2 hour hike or so back down the next day. And I can’t tell you how great it felt to get that fun, active experience and work out in before we went out for a couple of nights in Boston. So just find a way to squeeze it in and make it a part of the activities.

And before I forget, even the wedding, part of setting the tone; people knew I wanted it to be kind of a healthy, happy experience, and my sisters; one of my sister’s, Kimberly, who I’ve actually had on the show here before, Kimberly Dunn, she’s a country music singer. She planned a yoga morning for us two days before the wedding in the barn that we were going to have the reception. She hired a local yoga teacher to come out and lead a yoga class for all of the ladies involved in the wedding, which was really special.

Ok, next, ways to really help yourself feel healthy during big events like this. Last two; drink water like never before. I know I sound like a broken record, and if you’re already a solid water drinker this may not be an issue. But I have to tell you, it kind of was for me. I would get so consumed with my to-do lists; wedding to-do lists and keeping up with some of my work stuff and everything, and then with all of our travel that I totally neglect my water bottle, and I really felt the effects later on. It would make me sleepy, I wasn’t as productive, I wasn’t as aware. So I encourage you to make a conscious effort, even more than before, and remember if you’re trying to figure out how much water to drink, your body weight divided by 2 equals an approximate ounces of water a day.

Ok, and next, continue to make sleep a priority. You know how important it is, just keep it up and it will help keep you in ship shape.

4. How to manage your expectations [22:37]

Ok, the last thing I want to talk about today; managing your expectations. And the way you can read that; the subtitle there is to get a head start on stress management. You can get ahead of stress by managing your expectations ahead of time. Just as a note; if you’re getting married, and if nobody has told you, let me just put it out there. Not everything is going to go your way, and the worst thing you can do for your health and the health of everyone around you is to let it get under your skin.

So, these are my lessons learned, and things that I tried to employ. This is just my personal perspective where I’m coming from here. This is really the mindset portion of this show. I encourage you to think of the twists and turns of blessings from above. Kind of like a surprise present that you weren’t expecting, but that you love because you know how much thought was put into it. So, when people looked at me with fear in their eyes on the day of the wedding when the weather kept getting wetter and wetter, and windier and colder, they looked at me just kind of thinking that they were walking on eggshells around me; I would just smile and say, whatever weather we’re given, I’m going to love it because that is the experience we’re supposed to have. I’m good with it! I’m good with anything.

And really after all the trials and hiccups; for example, we realized that almost 2 days later, I didn’t even wear my veil during the ceremony. We totally forgot it. Everything; all those details were all up in the air, they were all fuzzy, and we grabbed the ones we could find, and everything that didn’t get touched was fine. Nobody knows, and we had a great time anyways. But you know what I heard more than anything else at our wedding was that people couldn’t believe how calm and cool we were “considering the circumstances”.

So remember that it’s all about attitude, and remember that you set the tone for the whole experience. So if you want a healthy, happy, stress free wedding, it starts with you and your choices. That goes with you setting the tone for; nope, I’m not going to kill myself with a pre-wedding workout regimen, because I’m already awesome. Or, I would love for this to be as healthy as possible, and maybe will put salads on menus instead of fried chicken. The day of the wedding, people all bought Chick-Fil-A while we were getting read, Chick-Fil-A nuggets, and they brought me a side of grilled chicken nuggets, because they know grilled would just make me happier! Word had already gotten around. So the tone starts with you and your choices.

And remember that it’s not all going to go as planned, and people around you are going to stress anyways on your behalf. So at the end of the day, realize what you can control, and enjoy the ride of all the things that you can’t.

That is about all I have time for today folks, but know that as soon as I get those photos back from our photographer, I will publish a special blog post for anyone who is curious and would like to see and read more. And before I sign off, before I forget, I know some of you are curious about my married name, and although I am officially taking my husband’s last name, I have decided to keep my last name of Garcia for all things Fed and Fit. So any publications that might be coming out in the future, it will be on there as Cassy Joy Garcia.

So thanks everybody for listening. Thanks also; I know I’ve said it before, but for really being with us through that whole experience. It really meant a lot. I feel like I had a very large extended family at this point, so it means the world to us, and excited to be back in the saddle. We’ll talk soon. Bye-bye.


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  1. Dana says:

    Hi Cassy! I just wanted to say that I LOVE your blog, and really enjoyed this podcast. I’m not even getting married (yet!) but I feel like this is great practical advice even for navigating the holidays and other events where staying healthy seems to go by the wayside. It’s so easy for me to “throw the baby out with the bath water” as you said, and beat myself up when I don’t live up to my expectations, or lack self control. You’re one of the only Paleo bloggers that I’ve found who includes SO much more than just yummy recipes. You encourage a wellness focused lifestyle and I’m so appreciative of that! Congrats on getting married!! Take care, Dana 🙂

    1. Kelly says:

      Thanks so much for the kind words Dana! I will be sure to pass it along to Cassy. Hope you had a lovely holiday 🙂