helping brides create beautiful weddings without breaking the bank

Happy New Year ladies, sorry I have been MIA, but I hope this lengthy update will make up for my absence. :)

Because our wedding is still 6 months away, and because we luckily got a lot of things booked and done early, we haven’t had a lot of wedding activities going on. Of course there is the day to day thoughts, suggestions and ideas, but no big appointments or decisions like we had in the first few months. With the lag time that often happens when planning a wedding, it is easy to kind of set it to the back burner. I know for myself, the immediacy of so many other things – namely my job, and of course until this month, the holidays – take a step above the wedding issues that a couple months ago were all I could think of.

Until New Years Day. We took a very very short trip to Tennessee to see some friends over the New Years weekend. I woke up on the first morning of 2011, looked at my future husband and said, “hunny…we’re getting married THIS year!” So, now as I’m putting away the christmas presents and trying to get through some busy times at work, I’m also trying to do something wedding related at least a couple times a week. Another great inspiration was wedding talk from a very close friend who is now on my engagement ring watch.

One major thing I did, in relation to the new year, was start working out more regularly and… I bit the bullet and shelled out for a personal trainer. My old roommate calls it the bride syndrome. We all think, once a ring is on our finger, that we should (1) grow out our hair and (2) lose weight. It’s inevitable, I mean you are one of two people who will be stared at for a very long period of time. You will also, if you are a traditionalist, be wearing all white – not the friendliest color to anyone. Despite the cost, I did it. Being healthy, working out and trying to lose weight is just plain hard, and that is just a fact that I need to face. I do need to lose some weight to be healthy, and the challenges for me are: I have an hour and 15 minute commute to work everyday, which limits my extra time, and I am not often in complete control of what I am eating being that I work for an organization where we have a LOT of catered meetings or lunch meetings (and its an agricultural organization so, we’re talking farm minded people who expect meat, potatoes, pie and LOTS of it.)

I figure this is still a budget friendly move though for a few reasons:

First, when my future mother in law kept asking me what I wanted for Christmas, I couldn’t think of anything. I eventually told dear fiancee that what I really wanted but hated to pay for was the gym membership. So for Christmas, Future mother in law* paid for the initial membership fee for a gym that is conveniently located on my way home. Because it is on my way home, it is easy to get to, doesn’t take me any extra trips, and it is hard for me to justify driving right past it.

(** I know most people use the FMIL abbreviation for this but.. I just can’t do it. Does anyone else notice that FMIL looks a HECK of a lot like FML? Which we all know is not necessarily a good thing..I can’t stand to call my lovely future mother in law something that resembles so closely what I say when I drop a carton of eggs on the floor or something like that!)

anyway…Second, this gym happens to be a commercial chain of gyms but it is a studio. The studio means it doesn’t have ALL the things the chain gym typically does (no pool, not a large amount of classes) but it has all the cardio and strength equipment and a good staff. The size means it is cheaper for both a monthly membership and for personal training than at a typical gym, where PT can often cost somewhere around $50 a session.

Third, being healthy is cheaper in the long run. I know my dress will still fit – don’t worry I wasn’t one of those people who orders their wedding dress too small vowing to lose weight. I ordered the dress at the appropriate size that would fit at the time I ordered it. I figure it may cost me extra to alter it but it will fit or be able to easily be made to fit no matter what. And honestly, your dress has to be altered no matter what anyway, so if I’m paying for the alterations it might as well be alterations that also make me feel good about myself. But besides that superficial reason, being healthy – as we all know – typically results in less need for medical care and can prevent a lot of bad things happening to your body.

Fourth, they had great BUDGET FRIENDLY options!! The training package that I actually bought is a graduated package. So, it is about $40 a month but gives me one session a week for the first few months, one session every other week for the next couple, and the last couple months of the year I have one session a month. This way, I am getting the most attention before the wedding, and after the wedding I remain motivated to staying at it, but with less supervision.

Fifth, I am cooking more often again. I love to cook, but with the long commute and getting home so late, it is easy for fiance to suggest (and me to agree) to just pick something up for dinner a couple times a week. Eating out costs you a lot, even just getting takeout is so much more expensive than making things yourself. But eating healthy and cooking your own meals just goes together, because you actually control what you eat and what goes into it. And, despite what the news tells you, healthy food is cheap. Frozen vegetables are on sale ALL the time, and produce in its most whole form is usually pretty cheap to. (For instance, buy the bunch of spinach instead of the bag. Yes you will have to rinse the bunch and may have to chop off some stems, but the bunch is often half the price of the bag!). Lean cuts of meat like chicken breast, flank steak and lean pork chops are also often on sale or fairly cheap as well, and VERY easy to prepare!

Last, think of all the money spent on exercise and weight loss related products in preparation of a wedding. Some people go to a service like Weight Watches or Jenny Craig, others buy lots of home DVDs or home equipment. I know for myself and my schedule these things will not work. I need accountability, and having someone I have to check in with and who emails me once a week to remind me of my goals, gives me that. And frankly, I hit the personal trainer jackpot because she is also a nutritionist and a part of my training is also talking about how I am eating. It’s amazing and is about the same I would spend on a service like Jenny Craig or Weight watchers with the added benefits. As far as I have found, this is fairly common with most personal trainers as well.

I guess many people who read this may not see this as a budget friendly choice. And for many it may not be affordable, I know for me it was a stretch but I also know it is something that I think is worthwhile because frankly, nothing is more important than health. Having a lot of family history of health problems like diabetes and other weight-complicated conditions, I know this is a good choice for me for the long run and not just for the wedding.

I hope to all of you that are in the same bride syndrome as me (yes, I am growing out the hair too – another budget friendly choice, no paying for haircuts!) that you find your own way to remain motivated, stick with it and really achieve. It is definitely not an easy task. I also want to say though, not to be entirely corny, but you’re gorgeous just the way you are, obviously, because someone loves you and put a ring on that finger and wants to have you on their arm. Please just remember that always too.


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  • http://www.itsahero.com/ Rachel

    Good for you! :)

    I am not yet engaged, but I am definitely on a budget and have been reading this blog for over a year!

    But back to this comment:

    I am super strapped for cash.

    But I just signed up for our local gym at $30 a month (really it's a steal, I know) in a one-year contract.
    I'm about to switch jobs and things will continue to be tough for a few months. However, my health insurance will lapse for 90 days, so I figured what better way to stay healthy (and stay away from HUGE emergency medical bills) than to work out very regularly, right?

    Or at least that's part of the way I'm convincing myself that the $30 a month is OK.

    But in reality, health is something all of us should dish out a few bucks for! :)

    Good luck on your fitness journey! You've got a like-minded friend in me!!