If you were a bride in the Philly area between 2004 and 2017, you’re likely familiar with the work of creative powerhouse Carrie Whitcraft. She worked at Philadelphia magazine during that time, and for many years was the editor of the twice-a-year bridal mag Philadelphia Wedding. Her book The Bride’s Instruction Manual is a no nonsense guide to wedding essentials. We talked to her about her own nuptials, new(ish) motherhood, and how our bodies change with the years. Carrie lives in Berwyn, Pennsylvania with her husband Mike and son Jack.

You wrote for Philadelphia Magazine about all things wedding-related. Did this affect how you planned for your own wedding?

Having my life be all about weddings even before I got engaged meant a few things when it came time to plan my own—the absolute best being that I got to skip the whole vendor-research part of the program, which tends to be super daunting right off the bat when brides first dive into it all. My husband and I decided we should do New Year’s Eve before we had downed our first celebratory drink post-proposal, so I texted Alison Conklin, who I knew would be my photographer (possibly before I even called my parents!), right then and there to see if she was free, and then lined everybody else up with a quick email in the coming week or two to tell them I was engaged and say hey, what are you doing New Year’s Eve?

Having done so much with weddings over the course of so many years also meant that I already had things in mind that I knew I wanted, and things that I knew I didn’t feel were necessary. And coming back to my amazing vendors, it also meant that I didn’t stress about a single detail, because I fully trusted them to hit it out of the park. (I didn’t even know a thing about my bouquet! My florist, Sullivan Owen, said she’d love to make that a surprise for me, and I loved that idea.) In fact, many of them were surprised and amused to find that they had to keep reaching out to me to discuss various details of the day. It really allowed me to focus on making wonderful memories with my family and friends and husband-to-be during that time.

You're consistently recognized on the 100+ minutes list in our community facebook group. When and where do you practice Studio LB?

I tend to do my workout right in my living room while my 22-month-old son naps. My TV browser won’t load the workout videos for some reason, so instead I do them on my iPad and use the reflection of the dark TV behind it as my “mirror.” It’s my goal this summer, however, to get into the habit of doing them at least a few days a week in the morning before he’s up (I have been blessed with a late sleeper, but a short napper) so I can use his short naps to get some other stuff done. I’ve been successful a few times so far!

How has having a child changed your approach to your health and fitness?

I feel like when it comes to fitting in my workout now, it’s not just when, but how! On days when nap time doesn’t work out, it takes a lot more effort and finagling to get it done than when I used to just decide on a 7am, lunchtime or post-work class. And when it comes to diet, things have definitely changed since having a baby (and, let’s be honest, since mid-30s turned into late!): what I used to do to drop a few-to-several pounds any time I needed to now does literally zilch. So that part of it definitely takes more effort, and isn’t something I’ve completely figured out just yet.

I also think that now, in addition to wanting to feel strong (I hate when I don’t) and fit into my jeans (I really hate when I don’t) like I always have, I love doing my workouts—especially these workouts, since I used to go to Lauren’s Philly studios—because they’re kind of a constant in my life when lots of other things have changed in recent years. For a really long time, I lived and worked in Philly and worked out at Lithe. Now, I live in the ‘burbs with two boys and don’t go into an office; I smiled about five minutes into my first Studio LB workout because of how oddly comforting it was to be doing the waist rotations and Thriller and bow-and-arrow-jacks (which I hate, btw) that I’d been doing since long before my life looks like it looks now. So that part of it motivates me to keep up with it, too.

What's one beauty product you can't live without and why?

You know, for years, any time I was asked this question, my immediate answer was P50 (Biologique Recherche’s miracle product that they got me hooked on at Rescue when I was in my 20s). But these days I actually think I might be more dependent on Beautycounter’s Facial Oil (I do #3, Balancing). It fixes oiliness, dryness, breakouts, flakiness—seriously any ailment your skin might have. My face literally drinks it in and feels relieved every time I put it on. I plow through it, but much like I’ve always felt about P50, I don’t consider it so much a splurge as an investment. I mean, your face is your face—when something works as well as this, you gotta keep it coming.

Photography by Alison Conklin