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Experts offer tips for shaping up for the wedding, whether you're the bride, a bridesmaid, or a guest.

It used to be that getting ready to walk down the aisle meant finding the perfect dress, the best hair stylist, and the right makeup. But today's brides -- and their bridesmaids -- have added another "must do" before the "I dos": Getting in the best shape of their lives!

And it can have an effect that lasts long past the honeymoon bikini. For many women, becoming a buff bride (or bridesmaid) kick-starts a fitness lifestyle they've been putting off for years, experts say.

"The wedding is the trigger that motivates many women to get in shape, and the best part is that many women continue long after that march down the aisle," says personal trainer Sue Fleming, creator of the original Buff Brides book and workout videos as well as the Buff Brides show on the Discovery Channel.
In fact, says Fleming, getting married is an ideal time for a woman to get motivated to lead a healthier lifestyle overall.

"You're beginning a new chapter in your life, it's a fresh start, it's a new experience, so why not go into this new time of your life looking and feeling as good as you can?" says Fleming.

Buff Brides: Get With the Program

But whether you're the bride, bridesmaid, or mother of the bride how much can you really change before the big event?

Experts say that depends on how much time you have, and how much you want to accomplish.

"Obviously, the more time you have, the more you can change. But also, the more time you have, the less stressful it will be to accomplish those changes, simply because you don't have to work at such a high intensity level," says personal trainer Keith Wrightington, whose FitWright studio in Dedham, Mass., offers a "Blushing Bride Fitness Mini Intensive Makeover" package.

As such, both Fleming and Wrightington say the ideal time to begin is about six months before the wedding.

"In this time frame, you can literally look like an entirely different person. It can be a complete transformation," says Wrightington.

But what if your wedding is sooner? Not to worry. In her Buff Bride program, Fleming offers both six-month and three-month regimens. She says that starting even six weeks before the wedding can net results.

"You just have to realize that you're not going to lose more than a couple of pounds. But you can strengthen and tone some key muscles so that even if you don't lose a significant amount of weight, you will stand taller, you'll have more energy and feel better, and your gown will definitely fit and look better," she says.

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