Congratulations on your engagement! I’ll never forget the day Mr. B and I got engaged. It’s such a life-changing moment. And the time spent between dating and marriage is exciting and busy, but it’s also kind of weird.
There’s kind of a flood gate opening situation that happens during this time of your lives and it can start to feel like everything is just up in the air. In conjunction with my absolute joy, I remember feeling unorganized, impatient and overwhelmed. You might be feeling this a bit too. So what do you do? Read on for my 8 tips for the newly engaged.
My Houston wedding planner friend Haylee, from Water to Wine Events, suggests this to all her couples. When I heard it, I thought it was genius. It’s too easy to lose track of emails when they are pouring into your personal email account. Creating a special wedding email will allow you to keep all your wedding correspondence in one place, ensuring your won’t lose important information.
Just be aware that your personal email addresses may still be needed by your wedding team for legal documents like contracts.
Put a blank sheet of paper on the fridge and whenever you think of something you need, write it down. Like when you’re cursing your fitted sheets about their stretched out elastic…add it to the list. Or when you knock over a bunch of stuff trying to reach something in the back of a cupboard or closet and realize you really need an organizer for that space…add it to the list. It’s so much easier to realize what you need during the course of regular life than it is to try to come up with items all at one time.
About two months before your wedding shower you can start attacking your registry. Whether you’re hitting a brick and mortar store or just doing it all online, you’ll have a readied list of items you know for sure you need.
If you’ve got ESP, please feel free to skip ahead. Otherwise, let’s be real. I’m willing to bet there’ve been times your partner had no clue what you were thinking. Take the knowledge of that, and plan the joining of your lives just assuming what you think your future spouse wants or cares about.
I’m joking. DON’T DO THAT! Touch base often, ask questions, tell each other why something is important or a priority and why other things aren’t. Share, listen and be honest. This is all really great prep for your marriage. How convenient you’ve got all this time to practice with a fun celebration at the end to reward yourselves!
If you always go kayaking on Tuesdays, keep doing that. Don’t schedule wedding planning meetings on Tuesdays and lose that time together. If you go out to lunch ever Saturday, don’t cut that outing to “save money for the wedding.” Keep doing your connection things during your engagement. Truly, consider it equally as important and choosing your DJ.
“But we need to save money for the wedding.” Okay. Can you skip your personal daily Starbucks run? Can you decided to skip clothing purchases for a year? The point is, don’t save money by taking it away from the things you do together. Each of you should be able to analyze your own spending and offer up a cut. Invitations will not grow your relationship and contribute to a long, healthy marriage. But Sunday Funday will!
A lot of times, the honeymoon gets lumped in with wedding planning and its cost gets tied in with the wedding budget. While that seems easier or logical on the surface, it can really punch you in the gut in the end.
It’s too easy to lose track of wedding spending and end up shorting yourself on your honeymoon funds. This can leave you with a weekend in the Poconos with no spending money instead of the week in Paris you were dreaming of. Rather than saying you’ve got $25,000 for a wedding and honeymoon, consider designating a concrete amount for each, like $21,000 for your wedding and $4,000 for your honeymoon.
Separating the cost will keep you accountable and prevents you from being in a situation where your honeymoon is planned around what’s left rather than what’s important.
People lose all their filters when an engagement happens and a wedding is on the way. So if you’re hearing allllllll the “suggestions,” know it’s not just your circle. This happens to everyone. Parents and grandparents might have certain “expectations” and friends might have certain “dreams” for your wedding. All of that information can feel like a pressure cooker.
While it might seem easier to acquiesce to please this person or that person, know that once you start, this is a game YOU CAN NEVER WIN. What pleases one, will displease another and almost always make you miserable. So really, trying to please others, pleases no one.
The solution: grab your partner, get a vision for your wedding, and work toward your own expectations and dreams. You can still listen to everyone’s ideas, but you don’t have to act on them.
P.s. Scroll to the bottom of this post to download our Free Wedding Ideas and Priorities Workbook!
As a married person I can tell you that preparing for marriage is kind of like preparing to travel to another planet. You can come up with some stuff you think you’ll need, like food, water and clothes, but you really have no idea what you’ll encounter when you get there. Too bad somebody can’t send back a note with a list of things to consider packing. Oh wait….
So, who are you going to spend the holidays with? How much money is it okay for your partner to spend each month without telling you? Speaking of money, what are your goals for your household’s money? Do you like to save, save, save, but your partner wants to spend it all on fancy cars or vacations? How will you rectify that? What household chores do you expect the other to do and is there a “right” way to do them? Do you want to have kids and if yes/no why? How much alone time do you need? Will your partner be allowed to remain friends with people you don’t like? What are friendship deal breakers for you? Sure you could just figure all this out as you go, (and the answers to some of these questions will most definitely change over time, hence everything in #8) but why try to guess when you could just talk about it openly right now during your engagement.
Marriage is very much like a house. Think of any house anywhere in the country. There are homes threatened by all manner of natural disasters; fire, flood, tornado, hurricane, mud slide, volcanic eruption, earthquake. Most, maybe all, marriages will encounter their own natural disasters. If you want yours to last, you have to do the work. You’ve got to weather the storms and do the upkeep. If you want something that’s built to last, you’ve got to build it, and then make it last.
The person you know right now will be different in a year, 2 years, 10 years, 40 years. They’ll have different concerns, different goals, different stressors, different visions of success and failure, different libidos, different emotions, different habits. They’ll experience different personal triumphs and failures, lose and gain friends, and possibly experience a trauma. Their/Your humanity is fluid, which means your relationship is too.
If you’re ready to start wedding planning, grab our Wedding Ideas and Priorities Workbook and you’ll take the first steps to crafting a day full of magic and meaning.