Derek Hough: Turns Out, Wedding Planning Takes “Being on Our A-Game”

"The health aspect is so important," says the beloved Dancing With the Stars judge, accompanied by fiancee Hayley Erbert, on the issue they're trying to avoid just ahead of their wedding and a national dance tour.

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Couples, call us Captain Obvious: Wedding planning is stressful, but even worse when you’re physically not feeling 100% leading up to the big day. Dancing with the Stars judge Derek Hough and his fiancée, professional dancer Hayley Erbert, have a wedding soon upcoming that coincides with some major career moves. To add to the pressure, it so happens that Erbert—who started dating Hough in 2015 while they were both on Dancing—has a history of migraines, while Hough has a history of headaches. With their wedding just months away and a major tour coming up, both were looking to prevent any pangs before going live on television in front of millions of viewers or standing in front of their nuptial guests.

The soon-to-be newlyweds chatted with The Healthy @Readers Digest about avoiding headaches on their wedding day, their extremely busy schedule coming up (Wedding! Honeymoon! Tour! TV!) and the new movement videos they created for Excedrin’s new Head Care Club, which offers free resources on nutrition, exercise and mindfulness to help head off headaches before they start.

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Derek Hough & Hayley Erbert on holistic treatment for headaches and migraine

The Healthy @Readers Digest: A lot of people are moving toward more holistic methods of healthcare. Tell us about the program you worked on and what made you partner with Excedrin?

Derek Hough: The Head Care Club is a space for people to work on their head health in between the attacks, in between the migraines, in between the headaches. It’s more of a holistic approach and not a reactive way of taking care of yourself, but more of a proactive way. We walk through a morning routine, and this is actual things we do legitimately every morning—loosening up the joints, the muscles and elongating the muscles.

Haley Erbert: We did a restorative yoga routine that’s more of lengthening and stretching and breathing. So it’s really flooding the body with oxygen. We really focus on the neck muscles and everything surrounding the head because releasing that tension immediately eases the migraine.

Hough: These routines also encourage breath, because I think that when you’re moving your body and really focusing on your breath—when you’re doing some yoga—you’re being very mindful of how you’re breathing as you’re moving your body. And all of that plays into the oxygen, into the blood, into the circulation.

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Derek Hough & Hayley Erbert on mindfulness and self-care

The Healthy: You’re both professional dancers, so we’re sure health has always been an interest to you both. How does nutrition play a role?

Erbert: Being professional dancers, the movement aspect is extremely important because we have to have our bodies mobile and we’re constantly using them as our instruments. The nutrition part goes hand in hand. If we’re not completely healthy, then of course it hinders the movement and then the mindfulness is on stage. When I suffer from migraines, it’s really hard to be fully present in whatever I’m doing, whether it’s performing or normal life.

Hough: When things get really stressful when we’re performing in front of thousands of people or getting ready for a show or creating a show from scratch—which we’re doing right now—it can be a little overwhelming. And so the mindfulness part of it and the breath and just being still for a moment is so helpful.

The Healthy: People’s health habits have been shown to affect their partners in a relationship. How has being together changed each of you?

Hough: I’m going to go off the bat and just say, this one’s been a bad influence with sugar, with some candies and desserts and things like that. But I think balance is really important. And so we definitely take care of ourselves very well for the most part, but we also like to have our indulgences, our guilty pleasures.

Erbert: I think the great thing about us is we like to be on the same page. When we’re both going crazy with the sugar or whatever it is, we’re both there together—but then we’re like, OK, now let’s go clean it up, let’s get back to health.

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The Healthy: What is one self-care habit you each refuse to skip?

Hough: I’ve been doing ice baths for 15 or 20 years. I just love it, man. I’ve just noticed a huge difference, especially on days when I’m not feeling too hot or too great or a little foggy. It’s always been extremely helpful.

Erbert: That’s like a non-negotiable for him. He does it every single day.

The Healthy: Do you have an ice bath at your house?

Hough: Yeah, I have two actually.

Erbert: I would say my non-negotiable that I will not skip is part of my skincare at night, and I mask every single night. I have an esthetician who makes her own masks, and so I use those every single night for at least 20 minutes. I have an active and a nourishing.

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Derek Hough & Hayley Erbert on their upcoming wedding

The Healthy: That’s great! So when’s the big day and how are you two splitting up duties?

Hough: It’s coming up soon, just in a few months. The health aspect is so important. There’s no way we’re going to be able to do what we’re going to do this coming fall with a tour, with a wedding, with television shows, without being on our absolute A-game. But the planning’s been going good. I think we’re chipping away.

Erbert: We’re pretty much doing most collaboratively, but then there’s certain things that I’m like, Oh, he won’t want to be involved, whatever it is. We have a planner, so the planner and I will do most of that.

The Healthy: And Haley, you’re getting a new sister, Julianne Hough, when you’re married. How is she part of the wedding?

Erbert: The main thing that she’s helped me with is my dress, actually. I flew out to New York and stayed with her for a couple of days, and we just went and tried on a bunch of dresses. And then I’m currently getting one designed, and so it’s all in New York.

The Healthy: Is there a theme?

Hough: Nature is a big theme. We’re definitely going to be surrounded by beautiful landscapes and a beautiful environment for sure.

The Healthy: In life, often the personal and professional happens all at once. You guys have so much stuff coming up right now. You’ve got the Dancing With the Stars, the nationwide live tour and your wedding a lot all at once.

Hough: And a honeymoon, by the way!

Erbert: We want to do it immediately.

Hough: One of the places we’re thinking of is possibly an Italy situation.

The Healthy: You can’t go wrong with Italy!

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Laura Lane
Laura is a journalist, comedy writer, podcaster and co-author of two books, which have both been optioned for television. She's spent over a decade covering celebrities, as well as writing about topics including wellness, travel, politics, fashion, food, sports, tech and entertainment. She has written about her own health journey and is deeply passionate about wellness and nutrition.