Special Report: Bridal Boot Camp

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Wedding season is in full swing. As families swoop in from all across the country to take part in festivities and brides stress out planning that perfect day, it can feel like a battle. Many brides are dealing with the stress by shaping up.

Getting ready to say 'I do' can be a lot like a street race against the clock… there's the rush at Fileene's to find the perfect dress….and the diet battle to look your best, add in the list of things to do, flowers, the photographer, a DJ, a band, the Honeymoon, wedding certificate  it can be overwhelming.

Just ask Sharon Pelkey who is renewing her vows after 30 years. "Absolutely I want to knock my husband's socks off," she said.

At 254 pounds, she had a gastric band surgery at Phoebe to improve her health and look great coming down the isle.  "I didn't want to wear a size 3X wedding gown."

So she started walking and exercising three times a week with a workout video. It's been a dramatic transformation. "80 pounds, and I'm down to 174," she said, with a fist pump.

Worth celebrating, it's been life changing, as well as a re-commitment to her husband.

"My energy has increased, I'm not short of breath, I can do the stairs without killing me now."

She's had some help from her nurse practitioner who's pushed her not to give up.

"The key to it is follow up, most of the people who come for the adjustable gastric band have tried many, many things , they've tried diets, they've tried programs and most of them lose weight for a while, but they couldn't keep it off," said Elizabeth Yesbick, Phoebe Nurse Practitioner.

I understand that you want to look breath taking on your wedding day, after all, my own gauntlet, ah wedding's-- coming in three months. So I got drilled into shape as well and shipped off to Bridal Boot Camp at the YMCA.

"It has more of a military feel, lets get in there and make you work like a dog. Yes you will work out but what we do is try to progress people though that eight week period," said Mary Ganzel, YMCA Wellness Director.

With jumping jacks, lunges, and intimidating weight training, we began molding ourselves into lean mean marrying machines.

"Some will lose some weight some will tone up other will sort of maintain and it really just depends on how much additional things people are doing outside of class," said Ganzel.

Learning about everything that goes into that big day. From the latest ways to remember the moments.

"They call these flush mount albums, in other words the photos are hot pressed on boards and you can see how nice and flat they lay," said Walter Petruska, of Walter's Image.

To finding that perfect hairstyle, which means a practice day.

Hair: Please do it, because you could totally have something in your head, the perfect hairstyle for you and you get it up and you put your veil on and it's like you end up hating it so don't want to wait until your wedding day to do something like that at all.

Boot Camp also whipped us into shape for those tough times both in the gym and in life.

"Marriage is a constant job, it's working together, it's not always 50/50, it could be 40/60 it could be 20/80, but it's growing and learning from each other," said Ganzel.

Something Sharon Pelkey knows well after 30 years. "Patience, you have to commit, you have to communicate, you have to really listen to each other support each other."

Hard work that pays off in her recommitment and in the gym. "How much are they having to take it in again, two inches, two inches, yes I know."

In the class, I only lost a pound, but turned three pounds of fat into muscle. So whether it's working out on your own, or with the group, it pays off. It showed on Sharon's face as she and her husband exchanged vows again a week ago, committing to a healthy, new run through the wedding gauntlet.

The YMCA is holding another Bridal Boot Camp starting next month. It runs for eight weeks, and is open to bridal parties, in-laws, and fiancees.

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