How To Protect Your Marriage For Forever

This weekend marked a day that the courts in my state recognized my marriage as ‘dissolved.’ As of last March, my then-husband and have been going through a divorce. We had a beautiful decade-long relationship and five of those were in marriage.

During my time of separation, I’ve continued sharing marriage-related content because I still have the experience. I still have a passion and genuine desire to encourage and support those who are going through wedding planning and beyond. And I know that when the dust settles, I will be able to look back on my wedding day as one of the top 5 days of my life—so I’ll share these memories and pieces of advice with my readers. The end of my love story doesn’t take away from the beginning of it and I am still grateful for the chance to go through a marriage experience because I have learned so much.

Even though this chapter in my life is finished, I still believe in love. And I believe in lifelong fairytales. But while in a season of reflection, I have been thinking a lot about what could have gone differently. So I wanted to share tips that I think will be relevant regardless of where you’re at on your relationship journey. These are the things that I either tried to do or wished that I did to protect my marriage.

  • Remember that the vows you made are active, living and breathing commitments made to the other person. Take this seriously. Look back on the words of your vows, display them in your home or watch your wedding video together to be reminded of the promises made.
  • Recognize that there is so much that changes once you were married, outside of a dating situation. Even though you will jump right into the day-to-day, you have to find ways to keep things light, romantic and sweet. What did you both love about the season when you were dating? Try and carry some of those things through. Then come up with new ideas to keep things fun and creative. It’s never too late to reinvent your relationship.
  • Realize that ‘the small things are the big things’. Notice that they got their haircut. Ask how the meeting when at work. Complement the new outfit. Show up with their favorite meal. Aim to do something at least once a week spoken in their love language.
  • Find something that you can share at a meaningful level. There’s so much that is surface in life and you need some thing you believe in together that you can embed into your rituals. If you are faith-based, this could be a nightly prayer or joining a Bible study group. It could also be daily habits like coffee on the porch together or a meditation or exercise routine, no matter what is going on. These activities are important for your foundation and helping to keep you connected.
  • Have continued dialogue, even when it’s not what you want to hear. Speak up about what you need. Ask them how you can support them and seek honest feedback. Get to know them, especially if who they are has changed over time.
  • When you speak, make sure to also listen to one another. No matter how much chaos is around you, stay alert and pay attention to what they’re saying (and what they are not saying.) And when you are sitting together in silence, don’t pick up your phone or magazine or lean on other daily routines to distract you. Sit in these moments and cherish them.
  • Don’t lose sight of the fact that you’re individuals who bring your whole selves to a relationship. If you need to work on yourself through self care, counseling to deal with past hurts, or by joining a support group, then do it. You have to bring your best self to your relationship (but know that this will take effort).
  • Work at making your relationship a priority and ask for help when you need it. You can rely on resources like friends with more marital experience, a counselor, podcast, book or seminar. (It’s likely that one person in the relationship will not be as willing. Do what you can with self-study and change your own behavior. Share your findings but then make it clear that it’s important to you…sometimes you just need to take the time and find the medium that works for both of you.’)
  • Don’t take your relationship for granted. Enjoy the laughs at the inside jokes, having someone to go to a Christmas party with and knowing you have a built-in travel companion. If you appreciate these moments, then say it out loud and let them know. (Don’t assume they know how you feel.)

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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From the Archives: 3 Things to Do Right After Your Engagement

7-18-2017 5-30-31 PM

So you just got the ring. Now what? Your emotions will probably be all over the place so here are my tips on what to do RIGHT after your engagement!

  1. Take a selfie with your mate. Your enthusiasm will be at an all-time high and it will be a special and authentic memory to capture in your relationship. Don’t be too “posey” with the pictures you take because it might take away from the genuine emotions.
  2. Then, take a deep breath and spend a moment with just your fiancé. Let it sink in. Don’t be so frantic to rush and tell everyone because this is time together that you won’t get back. If your now-fiance told you some really romantic things when the question was popped, take some time to reciprocate and share your feelings, too.
  3. Talk about who you’re going to tell and in what order BEFORE it goes on to social media! (This article from The Knot has some good tips.)

And once you share the news, don’t be surprised that everyone will respond with “when’s the date?” but don’t rush this process. It’s important to treat your engagement as a new phase in your relationship, and not just a period of time that you skip right past before walking down the aisle. My number one tip to any new bride-to-be is to enjoy this time! Once you have the “married” or “spouse” title, you will be able to have that f-o-r-e-v-e-r. You only get to be “engaged” and a “finance” for a short period of time so don’t let it pass you by without taking some time to focus on the beauty of this life season!

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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5 Mistakes Brides Make When Losing Weight For Their Wedding

7-18-2017 5-30-31 PMI recently got connected with bride to be, Corinne, and was quickly struck by her passion. I thought she had an interesting story and that she’d be able to share some helpful tips with you on a very popular topic: getting in shape for your wedding day—even in the midst of a global pandemic! (Tip #3 is key!)

“I know I am new here so let me introduce myself. I am Corinne, a Registered Dietitian, Virtual Nutrition Coach and fellow COVID Bride. I have been with my fiance for almost 10 years, we got engaged the day before Thanksgiving 2018 (he proposed to me with our house, but I’ll save that story for later). We were supposed to get married on March 28, 2020 except COVID-19 and the stay at home order happened the week before our date so we postponed until August 7, 2020, then finally postponed for the last time to March 6, 2021. (I swear if it doesn’t happen this time, we are eloping – does anyone else feel this way?!)

COVID-19 Bride to Be, Corinne GilardiAnywho, I help brides, just like, you slim down and feel confident for their wedding day and everyday after without dieting. Bride, I hear you talking to yourself saying, “what do you mean without dieting?! How do brides lose weight then?” I am here to tell you that you never have to diet again to reach and maintain your weight loss goals. 

Now to the good stuff. Here are the 5 mistakes I see brides, just like you, make when slimming down for your wedding day.

  1. You start working on your weight loss goals too late. I recommend to my bridal clients to start working on their wedding day weight loss goals at least 6-12 months before their wedding date. By starting this early, it makes sure that you actually reach your weight loss goals before your wedding dress alterations have to happen, which is usually 1-3 months before your wedding date. 
  2. You follow some strict fad diet or pay for meal replacement shakes because you think it will make it easy to lose weight. Those diets are really restrictive and low calorie, which is why you might see weight loss, but then you’ll plateau and not know what to try next. You will have low energy, increased stress and might start feeling hangry because you are not fueling your body. My brides all learn how to nourish their bodies with all foods for optimal energy (no hangryness allowed).
  3. You only work on eating less and exercising more. Those diets and meal plans you are doing do not focus on other areas of health, stress, sleep and mindset. If you continue to disregard all areas of health you will never learn to love yourself once you reach that number you’ve been wanting on the scale. You might think it’s the number you’re after but really it’s the feeling you are looking for. By not doing the internal work you are setting yourself up to fail.
  4. You try losing weight on your own and you give up. A recent graduate of my coaching program told me that she had hit an all time low before working with me. She was lost and confused because she tried every diet out there and nothing worked for her. She was about to give up on it all and continue to hate how she looked with little to no confidence in herself. Then she joined my program, gained the guidance that gave her a plan that was specific to her, support and accountability to keep pushing through the challenging days and she was able to completely transform her life. She is now buying smaller size clothes, has more confidence than she has ever had and is living a life she is obsessed with. I want this for you bride! You deserve this kind of life and feels!
  5. You are too prideful and feel guilty that you do not know how to lose weight on your own so you do not hire a coach. There is no shame or guilt in not knowing everything. It is impossible to be an expert in every area of your life. It is okay to ask for help when help is needed. If you’ve been considering hiring a coach to help you slim down for your wedding day or if you haven’t thought about it but are interested in learning more, this is your sign. Hire the coach. You will not regret it.

Bride, I want you to feel confident, sexy, beautiful, powerful, empowered, ready to take the next step in your relationship, filled with joy and feeling good in your skin on your wedding day. You deserve nothing less.

If you want more information about how you can reach your wedding day goals follow me on Instagram @corinnegilardi or join my free Facebook community “Bride Tribe Weight Loss with Corinne” to learn more and be supported on your journey.”

Thanks, Corinne! I know that my readers will love this blog as much as I did. And congrats (in advance) on your big day…I am crossing my fingers until next March for you! 

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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How to Pick Your Wedding Colors

So you’ve selected your life partner and the ring is on your finger. Then the questions start from other people. When is the big day? How big will the wedding be? Should it be before or after your sister’s wedding, since she got engaged first? The list goes on and on. And then you’ll find that once the planning begins, you will come up with your own endless list of details that need to be reviewed and decided upon by you and your future spouse. So once you start diving in, one of the key questions is “What are our wedding colors?”

Why is this so important? Most details, from invites to wedding flowers, will come with different color options. So where do you start? Here are some questions that could get you closer to your answer.

  • Do I have a theme that I’m already set on? The theme itself, from shabby chic to magical and romantic to Alice in Wonderland, could inform your colors or begin to rule some out. (Ruling out color hues can be just as helpful!)
  • Do I have a venue that is already planned? If you already know where you want to get married, like a local country club, garden or a ski resort, this could easily start you closer down the path of colors that may make sense. For example, I always dreamed of a peacock-wedding but once a beach destination was decided then I knew it didn’t make sense.
  • Is there a texture or pattern that draws you in? If you love feathers, stripes or polka dots and expect for these to be a part of your décor, choose colors that these naturally come in so that items don’t require a lot of customization.
  • When is the wedding? While seasons shouldn’t force you down a path of specific colors, it could give you some inspiration. Soft and light colors for spring. Bright and dynamic colors for summer. Deeper warm tones for fall. Or wintery whites, blues or silvers for the end of the year. If this feels too obvious to you, go OPPOSITE of what people expect that season….like maroon and gold in May!
  • Is there a color combination that represents a specific aspect of our relationship? Informed by a favorite flower during your season of dating, a college or sports team, or vacation spot that’s important to you.
  • Is there one color that you keep envisioning? You should plan to have 2-4 colors so they can complement one another for different décor details selected but even starting with one is a good place to start. If you keep envisioning one color then that you are probably leaning that way for a reason. Find a good neutral to pair it with (grey, beige, white, black.)
  • Am I selecting colors based on influence or feeling pressure from other factors? If you and your fiancé both love warm and neutral tones, then don’t feel the need to select an dark romantic hues just because a wedding planner said that’s what makes sense. Your guests should look at their surroundings and not be surprised that it’s your big day.

Once you’ve answered these questions, you may begin getting a clearer picture. As a next step, I suggest searching for wedding color palettes on Pinterest and Instagram. Deciding specific search terms could be easier to hone in on once you have more of an idea in mind…so things like ‘summer wedding colors’ or ‘unique wedding color palettes’ or ‘dark wedding color inspiration.’ Note that you may not like each color presented in a palette and you can always combine multiple options to make it what you like.  (Don’t be afraid to get creative and try different searches because you never know what you will find.) Prefer something more tactical and not online? Go to a paint store and see which color swatches you gravitate towards. This can also be helpful to see which specific shades make sense as a stand-alone color and paired with another.

Plain and simple: your wedding space should bring you joy. Have an open mind and have some fun with this!

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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Weddings Amidst A Global Pandemic

I’m back after a much-needed break for a few months. A lot has changed during this time, including the beginning of a global pandemic! As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed, and continues to change, every single industry in unique ways. The wedding industry tops the list. It’s heartbreaking, knowing that couples who have planned their big day for years have had to make abrupt changes to their vision just so they could still get married. While others have made the hard choice to reschedule or cancel altogether. In a way, it’s simplified weddings and forced couples to focus on what matters: the two of them, vows, and those absolutely closest to them. It’s no longer about whether or not your third cousin needs to be invited or if the DJ can amp up a party.

I know, however, that simple doesn’t mean easy. I’ve seen a lot of creative ideas thus far and am looking forward to seeing how more couples navigate this time.

  1. Video streaming services allow for couples to bring their big day live to their loved ones. Consideration: Be thoughtful with the platform that you choose since some require logins that your guests may not have.
  2. Drive-by weddings are the new drive-by birthday parties. Allow guests to drive by when you and your spouse exist the ceremony space. The most creative guests might decorate their cars with balloons or throw rose petals out of the window. Consideration: This will work for some locations and/or sizes of guest lists. If you plan to be married in a tight urban or residential area then it may not work.
  3. If your wedding is further out (6+ months), don’t make any hasty changes. While it’s important to research specific policies to postpone or cancel, things will continue to change. If you move too quickly to make changes then you might need to adapt yet again at a later date. Consideration: Reach out to all of your vendors to find out what their cancellation policies are and specific time frames to keep in mind. Set a reminder on your calendar so you know when these dates are coming up.
  4. Even if you host a small event, you will still need to remain cautious and that might require some additional creativity. Keep an eye on your local news and pay attention to guidelines like these from the CDC on how to safely host an event. Consideration: Try to be flexible with your wedding vision. While having wedding rows that are 6-feet apart or signs on extra hand-sanitizer at the food stations weren’t likely what you first envisioned, it could be worth it if it still allows you to have an in-person event during the age of the coronavirus.
  5. You may have found that wedding planning was already getting really complicated and becoming much bigger than you had hoped. This could be your way of making your day just about you two and the love that you share. Elopement-like weddings are at an all-time high and could be done in exotic or beautiful places within driving distance. As long as you have someone to marry you and an epic photographer, this could end up being something really special. Consideration: Before you go this route, both you and your spouse-to-be need to make a list of the people who you believe HAVE to be at your wedding. This could change whether or not it’s feasible something this small. If it’s important for you to be married, you could also do something super-small now and then re-do your I do’s when things settle down.

I’m sorry for the bride and groom’s who have to quickly change their wedding logistics but have been encouraged by the resilience and openness displayed by many engaged couples during this time. Make the best of it and just know that these will make for great stories in the future! I mean, who else can say that they were married during a global pandemic?

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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