Saturday, April 5, 2014

How to Make the Most (and Enjoy) Out of Your Engagement

April 5, 2013

A year ago today B asked me to be his WIFE! Not only was it one of the best days of my life, but it was also the beginning of our lives together.

I had heard quite a few comments about the stress that can come with the engagement period - decisions, deadlines, opinions, etc. It is obviously understandable how there can be some finicky moments as you work towards melding 2 lives together.

But it doesn't have to be stressful! Brandon and I both agree that we really enjoyed the 9 months we were engaged and the wedding planning process. While we still had some ups and downs we moved through them fairly easily.

Here are some of the lessons I learned....

1. Length. Regardless of how smooth your engagement can be, for the life of me I cannot understand how couples can have such lengthy engagements! B and I both agreed that 9 months was even too long! But, with Brandon needing to relocate to Michigan, and my studying and taking the Bar, it just didn't seem realistic that we would be able to get everything done in time if we got married any earlier. That said, I would encourage you not to have an extensive engagement. If you are really ready to get married, the waiting is tough! We found ourselves ready to live together, be together, and start our lives together! On the other hand, my best friend only had a 4 month engagement and she did say that was difficult for wedding planning and finding a venue that was available.

2. Don't let wedding planning consume you. Your wedding is one day. Yes there are decisions that need to be made and planning that needs to be done, but be careful not to become bridezilla. It's a party, and being stressed, agitated, and short-tempered for months before is not going to have a positive effect on those you hold dear. I know you've been dreaming of this day your whole life, but remember that your groom probably hasn't, and that those around you have important life events happening as well!

3. Engage your groom. Find ways to get your groom excited about the wedding planning! If he is interested, find jobs he would enjoy, if he'd rather you take the reigns, keep him up to date on things - especially aspects that are important to him. Brandon loves music so he took care of finding a DJ and tracking down lighting and transportation. He also loved the food tastings and took care of planning the honeymoon! 

4. Marriage Counseling. We both really enjoyed our time in marriage counseling. We met for several weeks with one of my pastors and his wife. They are a couple about a decade older than us whose marriage we really admire. Not only were they a great source of encouragement, but they also challenged us and got us really talking about our goals and marriage ideals. Marriage counseling was also a great reminder to help keep us focused on the fact that the wedding is only the beginning....the marriage and lifelong commitment we were entering into is what really mattered.

5. Be organized. There are some great wedding books/magazines/websites out there that provide timelines and checklists. I found these to be really helpful. Not that I exactly followed them to a tee, but they helped me make sure I was leaving enough time to get things done, and getting things done on time. They also helped me remember tasks I forgot about - i.e. getting escort cards made, finding a videographer, etc. I also kept a running checklist of all of the dates payments needed to/had been made and a spreadsheet on what I was spending (so I knew I was staying on budget).

Picking out our reception hall. Because B was still living in MN during most of our engagement, when he did come into town being organized was key! I would have a list of what we needed to do/things I wanted his opinion on so wedding planning was accomplished, but didn't consume our time together.

6. Have some wedding free time. This goes along with not letting your wedding planning consume you, but remember, those around you, including your fiance and family, are likely not as into wedding planning as you are :) Talk about other things, do other things, care about other people! Remember, you need a break from wedding planning to! I can guarantee keeping this tip in mind will help keep you and those around you sane!

7. Relax. Everything might not happen as you had dreamed, but your day will still be perfect. Bridesmaid dress shopping stressed me out beyond belief, but we found on in the end, and even though the dress came in differently and several of the girls were falling out of it in the weeks leading up to the wedding, we managed to find seamstresses who creatively altered and pinned everything in place. Yes my parents house flooded and we lived in hotels for 2 weeks and then a construction mess for the 2 months leading up to the wedding - but all of the destroyed wedding presents and projects were able to be replaced. Even though we had a blizzard the week before and the melted snow caused our cocktail hour location to flood, we were able to move to another, better location. Even though there were some family upsets and last minute guest cancellations - I still married the man of my dreams :)

Taking engagement pictures was so much fun!

8. Enjoy the process. Have fun with this season of life! While Brandon and I were very ready to get married, there were some special moments during those 9 months I will always treasure. Doing wedding projects together, going to pre-marrital counseling, bachelor/bachelorette parties with friends, planning a ceremony to reflect our love for Christ, and spending precious one-on-one time with our family. Treasure the engagement period for what it is - don't just wish it away!

"Love is just a word until someone comes along and gives it meaning." - Anonymous

Happy Engagement!

1 comment:

  1. Great tips! Cannot wait to share them for some of my engaged friends! This is such a wonderful time in a relationship and so often the bride is just stressed the whole time! Thanks for sharing! {}