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Bridal Fitness Inspiration For Your Wedding Day

Raise your hand if one of your big wedding goals is to get ‘in shape’. I’m betting lots of digits are up in the air! There’s no denying a wedding is a serious motivator to get fit and healthy. So today, we’re diving into the topic with this fresh inspiration from Rebecca Yale paired with tips from five SoulCycle instructors, where loving your body and strengths takes center stage, because strong is the new sexy.

WHAT TIPS DO YOU HAVE FOR BRIDES-TO-BE FOR GETTING FIT AND HEALTHY FOR THEIR WEDDING?

Erin T: Come up with a regimen that you actually see yourself continuing post wedding. You will invest more in this new lifestyle and instead of it feeling like “crunch time” (no pun intended!) it will feel like a new and exciting chapter in your life…just like your marriage should feel! Plus, there are tons of celebratory events leading up to the wedding that can lead to unhealthy choices. These are some of the few times in your life where all of your loved ones are coming together from afar to celebrate you! You only live once, so make sure you don’t let fear and stress hold you back from fully enjoying these events, just make it a goal not to over indulge.

Becca: It’s all about what makes you feel good!! Focus on gradual lifestyle changes rather than abrupt dietary restrictions and strenuous workouts. Choose foods that won’t weigh you down and focus on an exercise that will make you feel successful. Your wedding should be all about you, so you want to set yourself up with confidence and strength rather than a stressful crash diet and overwhelming workouts.

WAS THERE A CERTAIN PART OF YOUR BODY YOU CHOSE TO ACCENTUATE FOR YOUR WEDDING? WHAT EXERCISE DID YOU DO TO FOCUS ON IT?

Madison: Definitely my upper body. I have a bigger chest and decided to wear strapless. I started watching a lot of YouTube videos for toned arms! Loved it. There is also a tough arms section in all SoulCycle classes – when you teach multiple classes a week, that really adds up!

Karyn: Most wedding dresses are sleeveless which means you’ll be showing off your arms. In preparation for putting those naked limbs on display I would do the following: Bicep Curls using 10-15 lb hand weights, Pushups (great overall body exercise, but big focus on chest, shoulders and back), Tricep Presses overhead with one 15-20 lb weight, Tricep Dips, Shoulder Presses overhead with 15-20 lb weight.

WHAT IS YOUR TOP AT-HOME WORKOUT TIP FOR PEOPLE THAT DON’T HAVE SOULCYCLE IN THEIR AREA?

Sunny: I’m always game for a good run. Throw on your favorite songs, put on your sneakers, go out for a quick run and break a sweat!! So good for you. And if you can’t go outdoors, a quick plank while you hum through one round of your favorite song will get your body feeling a little tighter!

Erin T: Be flexible and don’t have crazy expectations! If you are too busy to get to the gym, the day is not lost, fit in some kind of workout even if it is at home during the commercial breaks of your favorite show. It is usually not the missed workout, but how much we beat ourselves up about it, that significantly slows down our progress. Also if the weather is nice, try and get outside!

Karyn: Bodyweight exercises! Squats, lunges, planks, pushups, tricep dips. They’re incredibly effective and versatile (you can add variations, target different body parts based on hand/foot positioning). Mix cardio in (jumping jacks, jump squats, burpees, mountain climbers, etc.) to really up the calorie burn.

HOW DID YOU APPROACH FITNESS AND NUTRITION WHEN PREPPING FOR YOU WEDDING?

Madison: Since I work in the fitness industry working out wasn’t an issue but I knew my eating habits would have to change. I ate a lot more at home and shopping at the farmers market for the freshest ingredients. After a few months I realized I liked cooking so much that I stuck with it even after the wedding.

Karyn: Listening to my body. Eating clean (whole foods, nothing processed) makes me feel good physically and mentally. The same thing goes for working out. Exercise increases your overall health and your sense of well-being, making you feel more confident. Just get moving. Personally, I’ve never regretted working out. Just something to think about!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SNACK TO KEEP YOU ENERGIZED DURING THOSE STRESSFUL PRE-WEDDING MONTHS?

Sunny: A mixed baby greens salad with plain or candied walnuts (plain is healthier choice), grapefruit, beets already prepped (Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods sells them this way), goat cheese crumbles and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Madison: A DIY Green Juice, the perfect post-spin drink. Ingredients: Kale, Spinach, Celery, Ginger, Pear, Lemon.

Erin: Avocado toast with olive oil and chili pepper flakes.

Karyn: A protein smoothie. Ingredients: A couple ice cubes, a handful of spinach, blueberries (frozen or fresh), half a banana, a spoonful of almond butter, 1/2 cup to 1 cup of almond milk, 1 scoop of protein powder (I use BiPro whey protein).

Becca: DIY Tzatziki Yogurt. Ingredients: Chopped cucumber added to a plain Chobani yogurt with olive oil, salt and pepper.

WEDDING DRESS SHOPPING TIPS FROM Kleinfeld Bridal, Fashion Director, Terry Hall…

1. Strapless is a great way to show off your shoulders and clavicle, which is very subtly sexy. A deep V like the Dennis Basso that Karyn wore is a great way for a bride to show off her toned arms and chest because the eye is drawn downwards to the V and toned arms frame that V. 

2. For a bride who is proud of her legs, high-low illusion dresses have become very popular as can be seen in both Erin’s Zuhair Murad and Pnina Tornai dresses. The overall effect of the floor length illusion dress still elongates the body for an elegant look making the bride appear taller, yet still leaves room for the fun element of showing off those legs. 

3. Brides should look at their gowns as a piece of art regardless of price point—the focus of the dress can draw the eye to a certain point and accentuate what you love, while also drawing attention away from other areas. Madison’s striped mermaid Hayley Paige dress elongates the body starting at the sweetheart neckline and showing off some subtle cleavage without being too on display. 

4. You can always make a dress smaller, but it can be very difficult to have a dress made larger so buy the dress at your current size and then tailor it. Alterations are a vital part of how the dress will look and you don’t want to cut corners.

From Rebecca Yale PhotographyAs a wedding photographer I get to meet brides early in their wedding planning process. Over the next year of planning those brides will be constantly inundated with marketing and media telling them to lose weight for their wedding. Every bride wants to look her best on her wedding day and there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s a wonderful goal to get healthy and fit and feel great both inside and out before and after your wedding. As someone who’s never been very athletic, discovering SoulCycle was a game changer before my sister’s wedding. The idea is to focus on health and fitness not inches and dress sizes and pretty quickly you end up feeling great and that confidence shines from the inside out on your big day. We asked five Soul Cycle instructors to model wedding dresses that show off their favorite body part and asked Kleinfeld’s bridal expert, Terry Hall, for some tips on how every bride can show of their favorite feature!

From SoulCycleFor many brides, wedding planning comes hand in hand with strict diets and endless trips to the gym. There is an undeniable pressure to lose weight for the big day and many turn to unhealthy extremes. Though, in the wake of recent “strong is the new skinny” messaging, we are seeing a new wave of women focused more on being and feeling healthy and fit instead of obsessing over their dress size. SoulCycle is a fitness community aligned with these same values. Brides ride at SoulCycle to prep for their weddings and get encouragement and motivation from the community. Aside from getting fit, SoulCycle is a place where brides-to-be come to de-stress from all the planning! The 45-minutes during class allow riders to forget about everything else, set an intention, and focus on themselves. We also host fun events for weddings parties, bachelorette parties—you name it! It’s always such a fun experience.

From Cheeky DetailsWe kept this shoot simple and fresh while letting the SoulCycle message shine through: “Take your journey, change your body, find your SOUL.” We incorporated a floral palette that consisted primarily of yellows (Soul’s color) and whites. We constructed a hanging floral backdrop,hung from the ceiling for the ladies to strike a pose in front of and loved how the yellow flowing pops added a touch of whimsy to this otherwise modern space. The second set was our favorite and was completely inspired by the black and white photo collage backdrops that Soul uses to surround their logo in their studios. As luck would have it, the shoot venue had large panel doors that were gridded—we decided that it would be the perfect way to incorporate a subtle nod to something so inspiring. We adhered 72 stems of all different types of yellow flowers to each panel to create a floral wall backdrop for the group shots—simple, yet absolutely stunning.

Accessories: Hushed Commotion | Both Wedding Dresses (Karyn): Dennis Basso | China: Vera Wang | Floral Design: Cheeky Details | Hair and Makeup: FaceTime Beauty Concierge | Models: SoulCycle | Photography: Rebecca Yale Photography | Photography - Assistance: Rachel Watkinson | Shoes: Valentino | Shoes: Kate Spade | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Shoes: Stuart Weitzman | Venue: Studio 404 | Wedding Dress: Kleinfeld Bridal | Wedding Dress (Becca): Mark Zunino | Wedding Dress (Erin): Zuhair Murad | Wedding Dress (Madison): Hayley Paige | Wedding Dress (Sunny): Mark Zunino | Wedding Dress Group Shot (Becca): Bliss by Monique Lhullier | Wedding Dress Group Shot (Erin): Pnina Tornai | Wedding Dress Group Shot (Madison): Mark Zunino | Wedding Dress Group Shot (Sunny): Marisa

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Colorful Americana Wedding in Brooklyn

For their July nuptials at 501 Union, this perfect pair wanted to celebrate America’s birthday in a fresh new way. Events By Melissa McNeeley utilized coral and navy accents and seasonal staples to set the scene. From quintessential summer foods a la Betty Brooklyn to 74 Events kicking off the festivities with party crackers, every detail Lindsay Hite snapped was elegant yet celebratory and it’s all here!

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Seasons
Summer
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Event Venue
Styles
Modern

From the beautiful Bride… For our July 3rd wedding, we wanted to evoke the feeling of the 4th of July without American Flags and presidential portraits. We chose our colors, navy, coral and ivory as a play on red, white and blue. We also wanted to focus on the idea of celebrating Americana and summer, so we incorporated little details like baseball and backyard games as well as quintessential summer foods like watermelon, lemonade and pie (who doesn’t love pie?).

For favors, we did sparklers and matchbooks which both hit the 4th of July theme, as well as a traditional wedding favor with the matchbooks, something that has been a family tradition. The key was to use all these details in a way that still felt elegant and celebratory, which we accomplished with the help of our awesome vendors. Some of our favorite elements were the party crackers to kick the night off, ombre centerpieces and table numbers made to look like baseball pennants.

Bridal Boutique: Mark Ingram Atelier | Catering: Betty Brooklyn | Ceremony And Reception: 501 Union | DJ: 74 Events | Design Consultant, Graphic Design & Signage: Sharpshooter Signs | Event Planning: Events By Melissa McNeeley | Floral Design: Mimosa Floral Design Studio | Hair And Makeup: Sharon Becker | Photography: Lindsay Hite / READYLUCK | Wedding Dress: Anne Barge

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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Elegant Hudson Valley Estate Wedding

Sunny skies, a sparkling river, two adorable lovebirds saying “I dos” beside an old gorgeous mansion; it doesn’t get much better than that. Hudson River Photographer was there to document it all at this summer celebration and we have this glowing gallery to sink into and get this week started. Not too shabby for a Monday morning, if I do say so myself.

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Seasons
Summer
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BarnEstate

From Hudson River PhotographerThis beautiful wedding was at A Private Estate in Germantown, NY. The happy couple was married on the Estate’s Great Lawn, which leads down to the Hudson River with the 19th century Estate overlooking the ceremony. The reception was held in a beautiful 1860′s barn, onsite.

Catering: Twisted Soul | Entertainment: Marquis Evans | Event Planning: Danille Defreest | Floral Design: Floral Fantasies By Sara | Photography: Hudson River Photographer | Rentals: Events Unlimited | Wedding Dress: Maggie Sottero | Wedding Venue: A Private Estate

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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Elegant Brooklyn Botanical Garden Summer Wedding

Determined to make their nuptials has unique as their own journey, this couple took their preppy northeast style and tossed in some Texas charm, coming together in one glorious celebration. Under the guidance of ever swoon, country music meshed perfectly with the Bride and her lovely ladies, with the team of Trent, Dara and Mark of Trent Bailey Photography capturing it all for us to gush over right here.

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Seasons
Summer
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Elegant

From The Bride… Adam and I wanted our wedding to first and foremost feel like “us.” We both grew up in the north, me in Toronto, Canada, and Adam in New York City, but both spent several years in Texas. We met at SMU in Dallas, Texas and knew each other through mutual friends and shared political sciences classes before dating. Because we met through mutual friends, we are lucky enough to still have an amazing group of best friends that knew us both individually before dating and have also known us for many years as a couple. After college, we both moved to Washington, DC. Adam proposed on a spring afternoon in DC with both of our families waiting to surprise me afterward to celebrate. We started discussing where we would get married and New York City seemed like the most central meeting spot for our DC, Canada, Texas and NYC crew.

We ended up picking the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens (in Park Slope, Brooklyn – where Adam grew up) as the spot for our ceremony and reception. We had the ceremony in the beautiful gardens and the reception in the Palm House. We also wanted our guests to get the full New York City experience so everyone stayed in SoHo and we arranged transportation to Brooklyn. It was so much fun getting ready in the Mondrian SoHo (a hotel that shares my love of blue and white décor) and such a blast having the after-party in the stunning Mondrian bar. We felt like the blend of neighborhoods really gave everyone a taste of Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Through a college friend of mine, I found Tamra of ever swoon and knew she had to be our wedding planner. Tamra is super creative, always organized, sweet, personable and constantly ready to make even the most mundane tasks a celebration… not to mention she is a fellow Texan, so it was a perfect match. We could not have enjoyed the process nearly as much as we did without Tamra guiding us through it. With me taking the bar exam one week before our wedding, Tamra was a savior!

Being faithful people, we knew we wanted someone to marry us that knew us both deeply. My big brother, Jordan, is a man of strong faith and couldn’t know either of us better – the perfect officiant. So the three of us wrote the entire ceremony together – pulling from pastor friends’ previous ceremonies and traditional ceremony books. I have to say, standing at the altar with Adam and my brother, Jordan, officiating, was by far the highlight of that day. In that moment, the bond between Adam and I was not only forever changed, but the bond between the three of us as siblings became more solid and deep than I could have ever imagined.

Adam and I have a very similar style and so we wanted the wedding to reflect that along with our New York, Texas and Canada backgrounds. So became our northeast preppy meets Texas wedding. Our décor included preppy touches like seersucker tablecloths during our cocktail hour and blue and white Chinoiserie vases and invitations, Texas touches like serving Shiner Bock beer and having an SMU basketball court groom’s cake, and Canadian touches like serving Molson Canadian beer.

As for music, our favorite types of music are country music and acoustic music artists like Ray LaMontagne and John Mayer, so we wanted a band that could play both of those genres (which is rare in a wedding band!). In the end, we found the perfect southern band, the Gold Magnolias, from Austin, Texas. Their bluesy, Austin country music style was a perfect reflection of our style.

My Uncle Gerry sang and played his guitar for our first dance. My Uncle Gerry is an amazingly talented musician (as well as businessman) and sang my parent’s first dance at their wedding over thirty years ago. We worked together to select a song that showcased his talents and was meaningful to us. His beautiful acoustic rendition of John Legend’s “All of Me” had us all in tears.

Lastly, our exit was very important to us and because our venue didn’t allow sparklers I had almost given up hopes of a grand exit. But the week of the wedding, Tamra came to the rescue and got us streamers for everyone to wave as we exited. The streamers still showed up perfectly in the dark on film (which was our other concern) and became a fun dance accessory for many at the after-party.

Overall, our day was beyond magical. We kept hearing how intimate it felt with so many family members playing important roles and with such a large group of amazing friends all there to support us. It was also a perfect reflection of who we are individually and as a couple – our styles, our backgrounds, and our beliefs – and I am so happy we spent the time to make it uniquely “us.” Our photographers of Trent Bailey Photography, also could not have captured each and every moment more beautifully. We will cherish that day forever!

Bridal Boutique: Kleinfeld Bridal | Cakes: Ana Parzych Cakes | Ceremony Venue: Brooklyn Botanic Garden | Event Planning: ever swoon | Floral Design: Blade NY | Hair And Makeup: Face Time Beauty Concierge | Music: The Gold Magnolias | Photography: Trent Bailey Photography | Stationery: Lana's Shop

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Sara Gabriel Trunk Show at Gabriella New York Bridal Salon

In my opinion, choosing all of the accessories to complete a bridal look is almost as much fun as picking out the dress — especially when they’re from couture bridal accessory designer, Sara Gabriel! On Thursday, April 16, 2015, Gabriella New York Bridal Salon is hosting a Sara Gabriel trunk show and appearance from the designer herself. From headpieces and veils to sashes and jewelry, this is the perfect opportunity to complete your “I do” ensemble.

I mean, how gorgeous? I can’t get enough of these incredible hairpieces + jewels. Not only will brides attending the trunk show get the opportunity to meet Sara Gabriel and try on her stunning accessories, but all accessories will be 10% off for one day only! To help visualize the completed look, Facetime Beauty will be on hand to provide free hair and makeup to the brides-to-be.

To book your appointment, head over to Gabriella New York Bridal Salon. Happy accessory hunting, my dears!

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Colorful Multi-Cultural Wedding at Red Maple Vineyard

With two ceremonies in one gorgeous upstate New York town, this multi-cultural celebration infused two distinct family backgrounds into one amazing soiree. With the help of Tinsel & Twine, this couple took on the challenge and with bright blooms and invitations by Printerette, they created a whimsical, romantic style all their own. Closer to Love captured every sparkling second; see it all right here.

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Summer
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Vineyard
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Elegant

From Closer To Love Photography… Joanne and Manan are one of those couples that leave such a lasting impression that when we look back on the time we spent together, it’s a surreal feeling of endless gratitude. We are so thankful for these two! Their intentional love for each other and for those around them… and their genuine thoughtfulness and generosity since the very beginning, has been a pure treat for us. They invited us along for their beautifully modern and cultural New York wedding day and, although a hurricane almost uninvitedly showed up for the weekend, the sun shined through and a shower of blessings prevailed. Below Joanne, the stunning bride, gives us a glimpse of all the awesomeness that took place on the wedding day of their dreams. It was one we will never forget! 

From The Bride… When Manan and I set off to plan our wedding, we knew we had a herculean task in front of us. Due to our different backgrounds, we needed to have both an Indian and Filipino Catholic wedding in one day, which meant blending cultural traditions with our own desire for a romantic, whimsical, and relaxed outdoors affair. Indian weddings tend to be these large, colorful, and festive gatherings with strong traditions, so by nature it can automatically dictate many visual elements of the wedding. But we were up for the challenge and determined to take that foundation and make it our own.

With this vision in mind, finding the perfect outdoor venue that provided the level of customization and flexibility we needed was tricky. We focused on the Hudson Valley, a little north of Manhattan, as we have always loved its charm and rustic beauty. Although Manan and I were both raised in New York City and met there, the idea of having our wedding surrounded by nature felt special and a departure from our frenzied day-to-day city life.

After weeks of searching and almost giving up hope, we found Red Maple Vineyard and knew it was the perfect fit. The vineyard/farm had everything we were looking for: breathtaking views, an elegant but relaxed atmosphere, lots of space for our 250 guests, and most importantly, phenomenal food (the number one priority for us!). One of our favorite features of the venue is their farm-to-table approach – many of the ingredients from our dishes were sourced right from the venue grounds. Furthermore, the vineyard was only a few minutes away from the loveliest quaint stone chapel where our Catholic ceremony would take place.

Once we locked in the venue, everything fell into place based on the feel we had in mind. Our decor was inspired by the outdoors with an elegant take on the vibrancy of Indian weddings. This led us to a palette of sage greens, summery peach/orange tones, and gold. All of our florals, beautifully crafted by the Tinsel and Twine team, were loose, lush, and incorporated my favorite flowers – garden roses and dahlias.

Every detail was carefully thought out with a decidedly personal and playful touch. We wanted each element to represent us as individuals and even more so as a couple. Our invitations had whimsical, hand-drawn illustrations of us, the NYC skyline, and the vineyard. We worked with the Red Maple Vineyard team, as well as a separate Indian caterer (Moti Mahal), to create an amazing and diverse menu featuring local, seasonal food and ethnic dishes – they were even able to incorporate a family recipe for my favorite Filipino dessert! A dear friend’s beautiful calligraphy graced our invitations and escort cards, and the centerpiece of the wine room was a marquee LOVE sign my husband made. Throughout the reception, there was a flipbook booth and a s’mores firepit, and we capped off the night with sparklers. Overall, we wanted a meaningful and fun experience for our guests, as not only were they sitting through two ceremonies, but they’ve supported us all 12 years of our journey together.

Ultimately, we got the wedding of our dreams, and it came to life in a way that we couldn’t even have imagined. Two days before the wedding, a hurricane was looming and seemed to threaten the weekend, but the skies cleared up and the storm actually cooled the air so that we were blessed with a gorgeous sunny summer day with no stifling heat and humidity. As a cool breeze wafted through the tent in the evening and guests danced under the stars, I remember feeling blessed to be surrounded by all my favorite people under one roof celebrating the next chapter of our lives. We are so grateful to our family, friends, and incredible team of vendors who were up for the challenge. Their creativity, passion, and collaboration really allowed us to pull off the perfect mix of traditional, whimsical, and romantic. It was a day we will cherish forever and we couldn’t have asked for anything better.

Bride And Groom’s Indian Ceremony Outfits: Various Shops In Iselin, NJ | Bride’s Shoes: Prada | Calligrapher: Persimmon Studio | DJ: DJ Amrit | Day Of Paper Goods: Erin Braun Design | Flipbook Booth: Ovation | Floral Design And Event Planning: Tinsel And Twine | Flower Girl Outfits: Oliva Kate Couture Etsy Shop | Groom’s Suit (Western): Vera Wang | Indian Caterer: Moti Mahal | Invitations: Printerette Via Lion In The Sun | Lighting: Vivid Lighting | Makeup/Hair: JAC Beauty | Photography: Closer To Love Photography | Videographer: MPW Media Group | Vineyard: Red Maple Vineyard | Wedding Dress (Western): Pronovias

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