Best Wine of the Month Clubs and Subscriptions For Couples

If there's one thing that's guaranteed to make the holidays a little less stressful (or perhaps more entertaining?) it's a copious amount of wine. And it's not just the holiday season—wine comes in handy just about any time, from cozy nights of Netflix and chill, to romantic anniversary dinners[1], to hosting friends and family for dinner parties[2] galore. So why not cut out the hassle of having to make an extra stop at a wine or liquor store? Enter: wine of the month clubs and wine subscription boxes.

Why we love them: 1) You can choose the wines from the comfort of your desk/bed/anywhere, 2) you can customize your wines based on your distinct palate, and 3) all the wines have been vetted by professionals[3], so you never get an icky bottle. Plus, it's just such a treat to come home to a box full of vino waiting at your door from your wine[4] of the month club! (Or maybe it's wine of the week, no judgement.)

Here are our picks for the best wine of the month clubs and subscriptions perfect for oenophile[5] couples!

Courtesy of First Leaf

What it is

A wine subscription that partners with wineries and winemakers that personalizes your picks based on a quiz you complete before each shipment. With every new shipment, you can discover new wines[6] that are selected to fit your flavor profile.

How the membership works

The introductory box contains three bottles, while each following box contains six bottles, chosen by the answers you chose on the taste quiz. Provide feedback after each shipment to refine picks for the next box. You can choose the frequency of shipments, and if you don’t like a bottle that is in your box you can switch it out before it ships

Cost

Every introduction pack is 3 bottles for $5 per bottle plus $4.95 shipping. After the introductory box, each shipment is $79.95 plus $9.95 shipping.

Courtesy of Bright Cellars

What it is

Bright Cellars' mission is rooted in the tradition surrounding wine and winemaking. They help you discover new tastes[7] and regions, and want to make drinking wine a fun exploration!

How the membership works

Answer seven questions about your food and beverage preferences to create a profile that's unique to you. They'll show you the top four wines from around the world that you're most likely to enjoy. Each box of four wines[8] is delivered once per month, and you can skip or cancel anytime.

Cost

You'll be charged $88 plus state tax for each shipment.

Courtesy of Nocking Point

What it is

A quarterly wine and coffee subscription box that offers craft and small batch wines and limited edition gear and collectables. Every shipment includes three bottles of wine (many are exclusives to Nocking Point, and one is always be curated by a special guest celebrity tastemaker), one bag of coffee from Walla Walla Roastery, and one custom t-shirt.

How the membership works

A new box ships quarterly—you'll receive a new shipment on March 1, June 1, September 1, and a box with a special treat on December 1.

Cost

$99 per shipment with free shipping.

Courtesy of Winc

WINC

What it is

Trendy wine subscription club, Winc, connects you to a world of exclusive wines tailored to your tastes with brands from all over the globe. The Winc team creates and curates over a hundred wines, and makes the experience of exploring wine[9] easy and pleasurable.

How the membership works

Create a palate profile by answering six questions about your tastes. You'll see the wine choices that have been specifically chosen to match your palate, or swap out a bottle for something different. Rate your wines after you try them for better recommendations next time. You'll get a monthly delivery that's flexible—members can skip a month any time, free of charge as well as cancel at any time.

Cost

Monthly subscriptions start at $52 for four bottles, but are adjustable depending upon specific wine price. Shipping is free.

Courtesy of HelloFresh

What it is

Choose from different plans (mixed wines, white wines, or red wines) and learn how to pair your wines with HelloFresh meals. You'll get in-depth pairing and tasting[10] notes to help you be more knowledgable about why you like what you like.

How the membership works

You'll get six bottles per month alone with HelloFresh meal pairings and recipes. Cancel, skip or change up your plan at any time.

Cost

Starting at $89 per month for six bottles with free shipping.

Courtesy of Blue Apron

What it is

Mix and match your favorite wines each month, perfectly sized for sharing between two people (bottles are 500 mL, about 2/3 of a standard-sized wine bottle).

How the membership works

You'll get six bottles per month, with exclusive access to delicious wines from renowned winemakers. Select the wines you love before they ship. Skip or cancel anytime.

Cost

$65.99 per month plus tax, with free shipping.

See more: 15 New Wines You Should Be Serving at Your Wedding[11]

Courtesy of Vinley Market

What it is

Vinley Market is a women-owned business, with an eye toward appealing to Millennials (the packaging is spot-on). Their wines are small batch, often biodynamic and organic and come with tasting cards made by sommeliers.

How the membership works

Each month, you'll receive two or three bottles of wine chosen by sommeliers. Each bottle is a small batch, boutique wine you won’t find in grocery stores. The monthly subscription can be cancelled at any time.

Cost

Starting at $59 per month for two bottles, or $79 for three bottles. Shipping costs dependent on state.

References

  1. ^ dinners (www.brides.com)
  2. ^ dinner parties (www.brides.com)
  3. ^ professionals (www.brides.com)
  4. ^ wine (www.brides.com)
  5. ^ oenophile (www.brides.com)
  6. ^ new wines (www.brides.com)
  7. ^ new tastes (www.brides.com)
  8. ^ wines (www.brides.com)
  9. ^ exploring wine (www.brides.com)
  10. ^ tasting (www.brides.com)
  11. ^ 15 New Wines You Should Be Serving at Your Wedding (www.brides.com)

The 2019 Wedding Food Trends Everyone Will Be Eating Up in the New Year

Opt for Substitutes

“Addressing dietary lifestyles have become increasingly more common,” says Alison Awerbuch, chef & partner at Abigail Kirsch[1]. “Whether it’s gluten-free, vegan, nut- free, keto, or paleo, we are always getting requests by our brides to include some of these types of food at their wedding,” Awerbuch adds. It’s important to create menu items that are seamlessly modified since they are so delicious and are presented so creatively. “Some favorites include our vegan and gluten-free Artisan Vegetable Sushi made with brown rice, quinoa & pickled beets, squash and cucumbers,” notes Awerbuch.

References

  1. ^ Abigail Kirsch (abigailkirsch.com)

10 Best New Holiday Cookbooks Perfect for a Cozy Winter

Brrrr. It's getting cold out there! The winter season is all about retreating inside, getting cozy[1] and sharing time with family and friends—especially around the table[2]. Warm soups and stews[3], delectable desserts, and festive cocktails abound. Because we're all heading indoors (and putting diets[4] aside until January), it's also a great time to experiment with some new recipes.

Luckily, a lot of new cookbooks tend to come out during the holiday season, just in time for holiday baking[5] and gift giving. This year's selection is no exception, with new offerings from fan faves like Ina Garten, Yotam Ottolenghi and Dorie Greenspan, in addition to a few exciting new debut authors who take us around the world with their innovative recipes and creative twists. For a foodie, a cookbook it's literally a gift that keeps giving, providing inspiration, ideas, and (hopefully) some delicious meals all year round.

Here are 11 amazing new holiday cookbooks to keep you warm all winter long.

References

  1. ^ getting cozy (www.brides.com)
  2. ^ table (www.brides.com)
  3. ^ soups and stews (www.brides.com)
  4. ^ diets (www.brides.com)
  5. ^ baking (www.brides.com)

10 Easy Thanksgiving Desserts

Everyone has a favorite dish when it comes to Thanksgiving, and dessert is definitely no exception. This season is all about warming spices like cinnamon, ginger, and cloves (all in the name of staying cozy!). Autumn flavors and harvest fruits like pumpkin, apple, and cranberry take center stage at Thanksgiving dinner as family and friends gather together at a beautiful table[1] to celebrate the best that the season has to offer.

If you have a lot of guests, it's a good idea to set up a dessert table[2] (buffet-style) to show off the sweets and give guests the opportunity to pick and choose their favorites. It's also the perfect time to display favorite serving pieces[3], your new pie plate, or the cake stand your Aunt Sally purchased from your registry[4]. When it comes to the dessert table, make sure to have a mix of traditional pies and cakes along with some unexpected treats like individual custards or poached fruit. After a big meal like Thanksgiving, just a bite of something sweet (versus a huge serving of a rich dessert) might be just the thing your guests will want.

Desserts, like many other Thanksgiving recipes, are also ideal to prep ahead[5] of time. Save a chunk of the day before Thanksgiving as your baking time and you'll definitely ease up on the stress when it comes time to get the cocktail party[6] going and the big meal out on the table.

See more: 10 Thanksgiving Recipes That You Can Make Ahead[7]

References

  1. ^ beautiful table (www.brides.com)
  2. ^ dessert table (www.brides.com)
  3. ^ serving pieces (www.brides.com)
  4. ^ registry (www.brides.com)
  5. ^ prep ahead (www.brides.com)
  6. ^ cocktail party (www.brides.com)
  7. ^ 10 Thanksgiving Recipes That You Can Make Ahead (www.brides.com)

10 Thanksgiving Recipes that You Can Make Ahead

Deep-Dish Apple Pie

Recipe Courtesy of Bon Appetit[1]

Ingredients

Dough

  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1½ cups (3 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Filling and Assembly

  • 4 pounds Pink Lady or other sweet-tart, firm baking apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced
  • ⅓ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • All-purpose flour (for surface)
  • 1½ cups unfiltered apple cider
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • Demerara sugar (for sprinkling)

Special Equipment: A 9-inch deep pie dish

Method

Dough

Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in food processor to combine. Add butter and process until largest pieces of butter are pea-size. Transfer to a large bowl.

Combine vinegar and ½ cup ice water in a small bowl and drizzle over flour mixture, mixing with a fork to combine. Mix until shaggy pieces form, then knead in bowl a couple of times with your hands to bring together (dough will look very clumpy, dry, with loose bits). Transfer large clumps of dough to work surface, drizzle 1 Tbsp. ice water over remaining flour mixture in bowl and knead again to bring it together. Place on top of dough on work surface. Working with half of the dough, press into a single mass, incorporating dry bits, then pat down to make a ¾"-thick square. Using a bench scraper or knife, divide dough into 4 pieces. Stack pieces on top of one another, placing any unincorporated dry bits in between layers, and press down to combine. Form dough into a ¾"-thick disk and wrap tightly in plastic. Repeat with remaining dough. Chill at least 2 hours.

Do Ahead: Dough can be made 5 days ahead. Keep chilled, or freeze up to 1 month.

Filling and Assembly

Toss apples with brown sugar, granulated sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, salt, allspice, and cardamom in a large bowl to coat. Let apples sit until they start to release their juices, at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours.

Let dough sit at room temperature 5 minutes to soften. Working one at a time, roll out disks of dough on a lightly floured surface ⅛" thick. Stack on a parchment-lined baking sheet, separating layers with a sheet of parchment, and chill while you prepare the filling.

Place apple cider in a medium saucepan and scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add pod. Bring to a boil and cook, whisking occasionally, until reduced by two-thirds. Pour off juices that have accumulated in bowl of apples and add to apple cider. Return to a boil and cook until reduced to about ½ cup; remove vanilla pod. Stir cornstarch into 3 Tbsp. water in a small bowl to dissolve, then whisk into apple cider. Cook, whisking constantly, until cider mixture is very thick and bubbling, about 1 minute. Let cool slightly, then scrape over apples; toss to coat.

Carefully transfer dough round to pie dish. Lift up edges and allow dough to slump down into dish (if too cold to be pliable, let it warm up slightly first). Press dough firmly against sides and bottom of plate. Trim, leaving about 1" overhang. Beat egg with 1 tsp. water in a small bowl and brush over edges of dough. Scrape in apple filling, creating a mound in the center; dot filling with butter. Place remaining dough round over filling. Trim edges of top round, leaving a ½" overhang. Fold edge of bottom round up and over; press together to seal. Crimp edge and brush top with remaining egg wash. Sprinkle with demerara sugar and cut a few vents in top. Place pie on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet and chill in freezer 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°.

Bake pie until crust is deep golden brown and juices are thick and bubbling, 1½–2 hours (yes: 2 hours!). Transfer pie to a wire rack and let cool at least 4 hours before serving.

Do Ahead: Pie can be made 1 day ahead. Let cool; store covered with foil at room temperature.

References

  1. ^ Recipe Courtesy of Bon Appetit (www.bonappetit.com)

10 Delicious Instant Pot Recipes for Thanksgiving

It's no secret that we're obsessed with the Instant Pot[1] on multiple levels. It's a game changer when it comes to weeknight dinners[2], but it really goes above and beyond the call of duty when the holiday season[3] kicks in. Getting a huge meal ready and on the table is a challenge in and of itself, especially if you're a newbie at hosting the big event[4].

Thankfully, there are lots of ways to make the day easier and less stressful. Making the whole dinner a potluck event is one way to take the strain off the hosts—all the guests bring a dish (to avoid repetition, be specific about what you need, be it side or dessert). Another time-saving trick is is to prep as much as you can ahead of time so you'll be calm and collected (and able to share a cocktail[5] with the group) when guests arrive, versus running around like crazy in the kitchen. And if you're taking on the majority of the cooking load yourself, make life 100% easier and bring out the Instant Pot to help get all those dishes[6] ready to bring to the table.

This all-in-one gadget is amazing for soups, stews and braised meats, but it also makes short work of any number of Thanksgiving recipes[7], including fan favorites like mashed potatoes and herb-scented grains. The best part? It will give you more time (and stovetop space) to focus on the other elements of the meal like the turkey or desserts. And the hosts will be able kick back, relax, and join the party! Here are some of our favorite Instant Pot recipes perfect for Thanksgiving dinner.

References

  1. ^ Instant Pot (www.amazon.com)
  2. ^ weeknight dinners (www.brides.com)
  3. ^ holiday season (www.brides.com)
  4. ^ hosting the big event (www.brides.com)
  5. ^ cocktail (www.brides.com)
  6. ^ dishes (www.brides.com)
  7. ^ Thanksgiving recipes (www.brides.com)

The Newlywed’s Guide to Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner

Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner this year? We've got you covered! Camille Styles is the founder and creative director of lifestyle and entertaining blog CamilleStyles.com[1], as well as the author of Camille Styles Entertaining[2], a book that inspires readers through the seasons with ideas for life's big celebrations. Here, the Austin, Texas-based lifestyle expert shares her top tips for throwing a fabulous first Thanksgiving dinner.

My husband and I have been hosting Thanksgiving[3] dinner for both sides of our family since the first year we got married. Though we've had our share of hiccups (from faulty plumbing to a fried turkey that burnt to a crisp), each year gets a little more seamless, and yes, delicious. If you'll be taking on hosting duties this year, never fear: I've made all the mistakes first, so that you don't have to. Here are my favorite ways to honor tradition, put a fresh twist on the big meal, and avoid any disasters in the process.

Create a Thanksgiving day timeline

There's only one way to ensure a stress-free and seamless Thanksgiving[4]: detailed, down-to-the-minute planning. Create a timeline counting down the 24 hours before mealtime, listing exactly when all menu items should be prepared. Then put that list on the refrigerator door and follow it to the letter.

Create "zones" in your space devoted to specific activities

Before guests arrive, designate a spot for coats and purses, a place for younger kids to play, and a self-serve bar that's separate from the food so that guests flow throughout the room and maximize available space.

Rethink your furniture arrangement to create more space

So your four-person kitchen table won't fit all the friends and family you'd like to seat for the feast? Consider moving the dining table into the living room, and extending it with folding tables that you can line up end-to-end and cover with a pretty autumnal tablecloth.

Include a couple of menu items that can be served at room temperature so that you're not scrambling to get every single item out at once

I'll make an appetizer like a cheese and meat board[5] that can sit out unattended for a a while during cocktail hour. Sides like a Brussels sprouts salad and cranberry sauce are delicious at room temperature, so you can put those out first while you slice the turkey and keep the sweet potatoes warm in the oven.

Try out an unexpected color palette

In lieu of the more traditional autumnal oranges and browns, I like using a palette of indigo, earthy wood, organic greens and white. Then, to create a unified design, I'll use table linens, dishes, serving pieces and flowers that fit into that color family. Sticking within a limited palette is the quickest way to make a major visual impact while keeping the details simple!

Think beyond the floral centerpiece

In the fall, I love to forage for beautiful leaves and interesting berries or acorns to incorporate into a centerpiece[6]. Pomegranates, winter squash and pears also make unexpected additions to the table and are a modern spin on the iconic image of an abundant cornucopia

Incorporate tradition in new ways

Since Thanksgiving is all about tradition, I love to honor the past by incorporating family heirlooms or treasured antiques on the table. I'll add a metallic glint with my mom's vintage brass candlesticks that add a bit of polish to the otherwise natural centerpiece.

Serve food buffet-style

Although I love a family style meal where big platters are passed around the table and shared, Thanksgiving is a day when I usually set up a buffet near the dining table. When a menu calls for more than three items, it's nice to move everything off the table so that things don't feel too crowded.

See More: How to Have Sex at Your In-Laws House This Thanksgiving[7]

Ask for help

The holidays are a great time to enlist the help of family and friends and ask everyone to contribute one of their favorite dishes to the meal. I have everyone "sign up" in advance so I can make sure we've got all the bases covered and there's not too much overlap (or you might end up with three pumpkin pies!)

Don't strive for perfection

This is a holiday that's about counting our blessings, so ditch the pressure, stress, and unrealistic expectations, and instead embrace an attitude that puts the focus back on having fun and creating great memories with the people you care about.

Need some more inspiration? Here are 10 essentials you need for entertaining this Thanksgiving[8]!

Photo Courtesy of Trouva

A Modern Tray

You don't need to worry about bringing everything to the table and clearing it all little by little—serve your guests (and clear the mess) in style with a sleek and modern serving tray.

SHOP NOW: Trouva[9], $26.18

Photo Courtesy of ABC Home

Plates in an Unexpected Palette

Just like Camille suggests, have a little fun with your table color palette instead of sticking to "fall" colors! We like this palette of blush, white, and adding a little drama with black or slate gray.

SHOP NOW: ABC Home[10], $78+

Photo Courtesy of Urban Outfitters

A Unique Take on the Chip and Dip

Leave the expected (boring) chip and dip sets in the pantry and pull out something with a little more flair, like this orange cut-out bowl. Because serving snacks should still be festive!

SHOP NOW: Urban Outfitters[11], $46

Photo Courtesy of Terrain

A Cheese Board (or 3)

There's no such thing as too much cheese when you entertain (or in general) so make sure you've got plenty of cheese boards at the ready for serving ease.

SHOP NOW: Terrain[12], $68

Photo Courtesy of Sur La Table

A "Make Anything in This" Dutch Oven

These Le Creuset Dutch ovens are classics for a reason. They last forever (seriously, generations), they look beautiful oven to table, and you can make half of your Thanksgiving dinner just using them alone (granted you'll need more than one!).

SHOP NOW: Sur la Table,[13] $339.95

Photo Courtesy of Food52

A Heavy-Duty Cutting Board

When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner prep, there's no room for wimpy cutting boards. Do yourself a favor and get this beauty—it's a real hard worker with a deep juice groove on one side, a phone slot on the other, and lots of roominess for your very own chopping olympics.

SHOP NOW: Food52[14], $99

Photo Courtesy of H+M

A Non-Fussy Tablecloth

Time to buck tradition! Don't go buying a plastic one, but there's no reason a relaxed linen covering can't be made just as pretty as your grandmother's white lace tablecloth.

SHOP NOW: H+M[15], $49.95

Photo Courtesy of H+M

Carafes For All The Beverages

Whether you're serving up a batch cocktail or a bevy of fresh squeezed juices, do *not* put any ugly plastic jugs on your tables! Just get a few of these beautiful (and inexpensive) carafes for an easy presentation upgrade.

SHOP NOW: H+M[16], $17.99

Photo Courtesy of Food52

Non-Turkey Place Card Holders

Yes yes, we know you know better than to use those odd ceramic fall themed place card holders, so do yourself (and your guests) a favor and check out these modern beauties. Oh *and* the double as napkin rings—two birds, one stone!

SHOP NOW: Food52[17], $40+

Photo Courtesy of Food52

Tupperware You're Not Ashamed of

You've had that warped, cheap plastic Tupperware forever. This Thanksgiving, give yourself the gift of these beautiful containers, (hello, colors!) so you can smile as you're putting away the leftovers instead of grimacing.

SHOP NOW: Food52[18], $25+

References

  1. ^ CamilleStyles.com (camillestylesinc.com)
  2. ^ Camille Styles Entertaining (www.amazon.com)
  3. ^ Thanksgiving (www.brides.com)
  4. ^ Thanksgiving (www.brides.com)
  5. ^ cheese and meat board (www.brides.com)
  6. ^ centerpiece (www.brides.com)
  7. ^ How to Have Sex at Your In-Laws House This Thanksgiving (www.brides.com)
  8. ^ Thanksgiving (www.brides.com)
  9. ^ Trouva (www.trouva.com)
  10. ^ ABC Home (www.abchome.com)
  11. ^ Urban Outfitters (www.urbanoutfitters.com)
  12. ^ Terrain (www.shopterrain.com)
  13. ^ Sur la Table, (www.surlatable.com)
  14. ^ Food52 (food52.com)
  15. ^ H+M (www2.hm.com)
  16. ^ H+M (www2.hm.com)
  17. ^ Food52 (food52.com)
  18. ^ Food52 (food52.com)

17 Serving Pieces That Will Make Thanksgiving a Breeze

It's that time of year again! The holidays are fast approaching, and family and friends are going to be gathering together to eat, drink[1] and lounge about together (recovering from the festivities). If you're an engaged or newlywed couple, there's a chance that you may be hosting[2] at least some of the holiday festivities, if not the big event itself. Either way, it's definitely a good idea to register for some multi-use serving pieces so you'll be ready to host any future event that might come your way.

The trick for family-style serving or a buffet[3] set up is to have a range of serving pieces in different shapes and sizes. That means you'll have a dedicated spot for everything from garlicky green beans and sweet potato casserole to Aunt Sylvia's famous pecan pie. It's especially important during a meal where a lot of people may be bringing potluck-style dishes to be ready to decant or re-plate on the fly if you need to (those delicious pumpkin cookies definitely deserve a better display than the crinkled aluminum foil they came in).

It might seem like a lot when you're registering[4], but hopefully you'll use these pieces again and again over the years, whether it's a wine-and-cheese[5] night with friends or just a cozy[6] evening in with the two of you.

References

  1. ^ drink (www.brides.com)
  2. ^ hosting (www.brides.com)
  3. ^ buffet (www.brides.com)
  4. ^ registering (www.brides.com)
  5. ^ wine-and-cheese (www.brides.com)
  6. ^ cozy (www.brides.com)

8 Fall Dinner Party Ideas for a Pre-Wedding Event

Fall is one of the most celebrated seasons—it's no wonder it's the most popular time for weddings! Just think: cozy weather, comfort cuisine, and rich color schemes[1]—the perfect ingredients for a spectacular fall wedding. When planning your big day around the chillier months of the year, decide early on if you want to embrace an autumnal theme[2] or go more neutral. Whether you prefer color palettes of burgundy, burnt orange, and deep grays, or want to stick to a style that embraces blush, cream, and ivory, we’ve tapped the minds of some of the wedding industry’s best for dinner party ideas fit for a range of fall celebrations[3].

Opting for a casual cocktail hour over a formal sit-down dinner? We love apps that use traditional fall flavors and a tasting bar with classic cocktails.[4] Below, find tips for turning any fall pre-wedding event into a seasonal occasion[5] that can stand alone!

See more: What to Eat and Drink at a Fall Engagement Party[6]

References

  1. ^ color schemes (www.brides.com)
  2. ^ autumnal theme (www.brides.com)
  3. ^ fall celebrations (www.brides.com)
  4. ^ cocktails. (www.brides.com)
  5. ^ seasonal occasion (www.brides.com)
  6. ^ What to Eat and Drink at a Fall Engagement Party (www.brides.com)

Follow This 4-Week Pre-Wedding Nutrition Plan To Look and Feel Good On Your Big Day

Of all the stressors related to weddings, few are as crushing as the pressure to look perfect.[1] Instead of feeling like you need to go under the knife in order to feel your best on the big day (you don't!), you can cultivate a healthy glow from the inside out by adopting a thoughtful, measured wellness regimen. After all, what’s the point of looking beautiful on the outside if on the inside, you feel like an anxious, sickly mess?

Remember, too, that weddings tend to be more like marathons than sprints, so you’ll need to amp up your energy while balancing your emotions so you don’t burn out (and can remain resilient when your mom suddenly refuses to share a table with your dad two days before the ceremony). It doesn’t matter how clear your skin is if your face is 50 shades of red from crying in the days before your wedding…right?

To help you achieve sanity, physical wellbeing, and that photo-perfect glow,[2] nutritionists provide pre-wedding tips for sanely optimizing your body, mind, and soul in the month leading up to your wedding.

Diet

First and foremost, says nutritionist Whitney English, RD[3], crash diets are not the answer. “I can't urge you enough—don't go there," she says. "Crash diets will not only make you feel like crap, they're also terrible for your long-term health and won't make a huge difference in how that dress fits anyway. Plus, your [partner] wants to marry you—not you minus 5 pounds of water weight after you dehydrated yourself on a two-week cleanse."

Instead, English recommends focusing on nourishing yourself so you’ll feel “strong and vibrant”[4] on your big day. “Aim to eat five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day,” she says. “At each meal, balance your plate with a source of complex carbohydrates, like quinoa or farro, with a good source of protein, like beans, fish, or tofu, and a healthy fat to fill you up, like avocado or olive oil.”

Lisa Hayim, RD, aka TheWellNecessities[5], likewise recommends a pre-wedding dietary approach which encourages adding foods rather than eliminating them. “Unless there is medical need (GI complaints), I would not require a bride to start removing foods from her diet,” she says. “Instead, I would opt for having them add in foods they may not be eating—more raw veggies like cucumbers, more cooked water-dense veggies, and fish a few times a week,” echoing English’s advice. However, she does add a caveat to this anti-diet advice. “I would also have them start to look into added sugars and see if there is room to decrease and eliminate anything unnecessary that could cause cravings, blood sugar spikes and drops, and that could mess with digestion and clear skin,” says Hayim.

You can start this pre-wedding diet as early as you’d like, but at least a month prior is recommended for best results. As for the day-of, Hayim reiterates how critical it is to avoid deprivation as a strategy. “You won't have fun and you will likely be starving for the party,” she says. “Instead, focus on small snacks and meals throughout the day, e.g. fruit, a handful of nuts, and lean protein—get some fuel in every few hours leading up to the party.”

Alcohol and caffeine

You’re going to look and feel your best if you reduce your alcohol intake in the weeks leading up to your wedding[6]; however, Hayim says booze restrictions are very specific to each person. “For some, having a few drinks a week does not mess with their routine; for others this plays a role in sleep and the foods they choose to eat,” she says. “Finding a good balance involves taking a look at your current drinking habits and seeing if you can scale down.”

With that said, she warns against quitting altogether unless you plan to stay sober throughout the festivities. “You don't want to go cold turkey and then bring it all back during the wedding or honeymoon,” she says. In other words, you don’t want to obliterate your tolerance in advance of several days’ worth of partying, unless you’re dying for the worst hangover of your life. Since alcohol can leave you both dehydrated and puffy, she and English both advise abstaining at your rehearsal dinner, however.

As for caffeine, English advises “taking it easy” on the day of your wedding. “Though you may feel the need for extra energy, you'll likely have enough pre-wedding jitters as it is,” she says.

Exercise

First and foremost, English advises looking at exercise not so much as a way to stay in shape but as a counterbalance to wedding stressors[7]. “Spend this time participating in mood-boosting activities that are beneficial for mind and body,” she says. “Take a couple's yoga class or try a kundalini meditation session.”

As the wedding gets closer and your energy is drained by your mother-in-law (just kidding—kinda!), English suggests upping the ante with 30 minutes of activity daily. “It doesn't have to be an intense hour-long spin class,” she says. “Even 30 minutes of power walking around your neighborhood or enjoying a few games of beach volleyball with your friends will help keep those stress hormones in check and your energy level high.”

As for attaining those Michelle Obama arms in time for your ceremony snaps, Hayim recommends adding some strength training into your regimen without going to extremes or punishing yourself in the process. “If anything, let yoga be your best friend—it will not only lengthen and tone, but it will calm the mind and unify the body,” she says.

Mental health

On the stress tip, Hayim recommends adding functional foods into your diet to balance your moods and mediate the effects of pre-wedding headaches. “Medicinal mushrooms and adaptogens are key to combating cortisol,” she says. “Reishi mushrooms and Maca Root are two of my favorites.”

She further recommends designing morning and evening rituals to keep yourself sane, making nature a priority and adding meditation “to balance the busy mind” into your routine.

Supplements

In addition to the maca and reishi, Hayim recommends chamomile for stress and energy support. Hayim also prescribes digestive help via natural ingredients such as organic aloe, peppermint, coriander, and artichoke. For vanity’s sake, she suggests Perfect Hair Skin and Nails from New Chapter Vitamins. “It’s one of my favorite supplements,” she says. “It's made with fermented biotin and astaxanthin, a sea algae with UV blocking properties and antioxidant that fights free radicals,” she says. (Always make sure to check with your doctor before adding in a new supplement to your routine, as some people react differently to certain ingredients.)[8]

See more: 6 Foods to Eat When You're Stressed[9]

Sleep

“Sleep is so important during this stressful time,” says Hayim, who recommends eating dinner two hours before bed, investing in lavender spray, and clearing the bedroom of tech devices as strategies for optimizing your zzz[10]’s in the week’s leading up to your wedding.

As for the night before, when sleep may seem like a pipe dream but is oh so necessary if you’re hoping to glow the next day, Hayim cautions against trying anything new in the realm of sleep aids. (In other words, no prescription pills your third cousin bought in Mexico, please). “I would say not to trial anything the night before, but leading up to [the wedding], experiment with melatonin or magnesium,” she says. Hayim also recommends trying sleepcasts from the meditation app Headspace. “These are effective and research-backed,” she says. “They lull you to sleep.” Beauty sleep, that is.