Jan. 18. 2019
Written By:
McKel (Hill) Kooienga
McKel Hill Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Hill Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

Getting married soon? Congrats! Check out this wedding week self-care checklist to take care of yourself, feel your best, and be present.

I’m timestamping this article because as I write at this moment I’m weeks out until our wedding! I’ve learned some interesting things along this journey of planning a wedding and welcoming with an open heart, mind, spirit for this next chapter in my life, in our lives.

I rarely get too personal here on nutritionstripped.com because that kinda feels like it defeats the purpose and mission — to teach YOU about how to live a healthier life through learning about nutrition and the ~ art ~ of healthy living.

At the same time, I can’t ignore our amazing community when I get tons of questions about how the wedding planning process has been from logistics to self-care and how I’m “prepping”. So here I am, to guide you and share some of my story about how wedding planning has been.

The Best Wedding Diet

First things first, I wrote an article called the Best Wedding Diet so open that in a new tab to check out too, but in addition, I’ve had so many questions about how I’m taking care of myself during what can be, a stressful time.

In this wedding week self-care checklist, we’ll cover, from personal experience and professional know-how about stress management, the things you can do to feel your best.

I get it. I went into wedding planning thinking it was going to be pretty chill since I’m pretty calm and level-headed — I was totally wrong. I’ve been super organized and project managing my wedding planning as I do work, but there was a lot of emotions that came up during this process I didn’t plan for.

Every single bride (and groom for that matter) experiences different emotions, thoughts, and behaviors during this chapter and it’s okay to embrace whatever that is for you. For me, I was surprised at how many emotions, I thought I put to rest and worked through, came right back up for me. Whether that be family stuff or internal challenges with anxiety.

So I didn’t judge those emotions that came up. I was actually really grateful I had another opportunity to meet them, I let them rise, addressed them which for me sometimes meant working it out verbally with my fiancee or my best friend or even my therapist. It helped tremendously!

What also helped during stressful wedding planning moments was keeping my focus on abundance and gratitude and on my north star which is getting to marry the absolute love of my life! I’m grateful for him and for the opportunity to love him, every.single.day.

Above all, what helped me reduce the stress during the wedding planning season was making sure I was taking care of myself before anything else. Yes, ladies (and gents) this is so important to do. If you’re not able to show up fully for yourself, how are you able to show up fully for your soon to be partner?

Wedding Week Self-care Checklist

This list truly isn’t just for the week of the big day, but it’s what I found to be so helpful to do when things felt overwhelming or just to keep myself in check. Some of these should sound super simple, but they’re not always simple to make time for and prioritize when everything else seems to be moving around you!

  1. Plan or schedule “me” time.
  2. Have a consistent morning schedule or routine of sorts — ideally, one that involves that “me” time. If you need support or examples of how to create a morning routine, read here.
  3. Drink enough water.
  4. Eat wholesome food that nourishes your body, mind, spirit — mostly that may mean food that brings you closer on the path to long-term health, but that could also mean a pizza and red wine night out with your girlfriends.
  5. Move your body, even if it’s 20 minutes a day.
  6. Sleep 7-9 hours or more on the weekends to catch up, it’s okay to soak it in or start your morning a little later or end your evenings earlier.
  7. Get some rest. I don’t mean sleep here, I mean true relaxation, chill time, down time to relax. Maybe that’s reading a book, sitting in meditation, laying on the couch to physically rest, walking in nature, etc.
  8. Socialize with your support systems. For me, it’s so easy to be a little hermit and soak in quiet time to recharge, but I also have to remember to nourish the other side of me which thrives in late night chats with my girlfriends. Find that time, even if it’s scheduling a lunch date a week, or a girls night out or in!
  9. Journal and process. If you’re like me and you have some emotions that came up during this transition into a new exciting chapter, then write it out. Journaling is a great tool to help you express your thoughts in safe space and on your own terms. It’s a great tool to look back on as well and see how far you’ve grown after doing the work.
  10. Get organized. Sometimes stress or a feeling of overwhelm at any moment, but especially with a lot of moving parts in the wedding planning process, can be eased just by writing it out. Take a calendar, google sheet, or planner to write out all your “to-do’s” with deadlines so it’s out of your head and on paper.

Bonus tip: if you’re having a bachelorette party, have your girlfriends throw it!


I would love to hear from your personal journey, whether you’re going through this process now or have in the past, what did that look like for you?

xx McKel