You just got engaged…Congratulations!
You’re probably getting ready to change your relationship status, upload a proposal photo or ring selfie and tell your grandma the news. Those seem like obvious first steps to take right?
Getting engaged is so exciting, but after the initial high, it can be really stressful. There are some things you can do to take a major piece of the edge off, though, to prolong your engaged bliss. Most magazines will tell you the first thing you should do post-proposal is set a budget, choose a date and book a venue. But ahead of any of that, what you really need to do before you start wedding planning is have a discussion about how you’ll talk about your wedding (or elopement). Yes, you read that right…talk about HOW you’ll talk about…
…when your parents and grandparents got married. They probably got married in a church or other place of worship. And it’s highly likely things were “done a certain way.” My parents got married at their church and had party at a local VFW hall afterwards. My grandparents got married at their local church and THAT was the wedding.
So when I called to report my engagement and my grandmother asked if we’d get married in a church, I was frustrated because I was on the spot, hadn’t prepared an answer, and really just wanted a nice congratulations. Queue stress hormones…
There are so many options, now, that weren’t available or even necessarily allowed just a generation or two ago. So as soon as couples announce their engagement, there are often a bombardment of questions about how the wedding will be.
Think about your first post-proposal day back at work. You’re sharing your big news and absorbing the joy of good wishes and one of your romantically challenged co-workers chimes in that they can’t wait for your wedding. It’s sweet, except, you have no intention of inviting them. Over lunch you check the comments on that Instagram post of your ring, only to realize your big announcement has garnered several more self invited wedding guests and even a self proclaimed bridesmaid.
I hate to bring you down after such an awesome, life-changing milestone, but trust me when I tell you, everything you say and do now will either add or deter unwanted stress. Wedding planning is a breeding ground of opinions, judgement and morals questioning…and if I’m being quite frank, shaming. So. Much. Shaming. It’s actually sad. And no one tells you all the dirty little “issues” you’re in for.
Not all families and social circles will behave badly, but only you know your people. Regardless of what your impulse wants, and how you assume people will react, it’s a good idea to have a serious conversation with your partner-in-life before you make any wedding news…well, news.
Taking the example of weddings in a place of worship, you might already know if you will or will not go that route. You don’t need to know the date or any specifics to know if this is something important to you and your fiancé. Regardless of the answer, talk about how you’ll answer when someone asks where you’ll be married. Maybe the answer is “We plan on coordinating a date with the church/synagogue/temple that we normally attend,” or “We’re still looking for the venue that best fits our vision.” See how both of those answer the question without providing any detail or inviting any opinions?
The answer doesn’t have to be long or apologetic, (The answer should never be apologetic because you have to plan your lives together your way and your wedding is Day 1) just be on the same page so everyone receives the same information and knows what to expect going forward. You are NOT required to provide any specific details. You can kindly answer questions with statements of yes or no, this or that.
Before you blow up your social media feeds, have a discussion about how you’ll handle making your news “public”. If one or both of you is a classic over-sharer, you’ll really need to create some specific guidelines. Consider how much input from outside sources you want to deal with. The more you post, there will be an exponential amount of opinions from outside, and possibly unwanted sources. Remember, not all of your Facebook friends are actually your “friends”. Do you want all 452 people knowing (and possibly chiming in on) your wedding colors, or just the 30 you intend to invite?
If you really feel the need to chronicle your wedding planning online, I’d recommend joining a wedding planning Facebook group to appease the urge to talk lots of wedding. If you must do it via your personal social feeds, I’d encourage you to make STATEMENTS ONLY, like, ” I’m so excited for today’s cake tasting at ABC Bakery” or “We just booked our DJ!” Keep it simple, enjoy the views and likes, but do not engage! 😂
If you need a referral or opinion, resist the urge to put out a blanket request for recommendations in your feed. Instead, contact individuals you think might be able to help via a direct message. Remember opinions are like butts…
As you move along your planning, you can add new formulated responses to your list. How will you answer if someone asks how much you’re spending on the wedding? Or who’s paying?
Other scenarios you may want to consider planning for:
A co-worker that seems to expect an invite, but you know they won’t make the guest list.
A friend or family member that assumes they’ll be an attendant, but they’re not one of your chosen few
A parent, sibling or other close relative trying to force a particular wedding vendor on you.
A guest complaining that no children are allowed.
A guest complaining about travel costs to get to your wedding.
Your mom freaking out that you don’t want to invite cousin Ida because you’ve literally never met her.
I could go on…
Pay attention to what family and friends are asking and if it’s a subject you haven’t discussed yet, don’t answer definitively until you’ve worked it out with your fiancé. A simple “I don’t know, fiancé and I haven’t brainstormed that yet.” Preparing these sorts of targeted answers to talk about your wedding plans might seem like a lot of nonsense, but most couples I’ve encountered wish they could have done something to quell some of the stress. (Really, I’ve had way to many conversations from overwhelmed couples looking for advice about the stupid $#!t that arises from wedding planning. Case in point…I wrote this blog post. Feel free to shoot me a Dear Dawn email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re in a pickle with something.)
I’m here to tell you, snuff the opinions and you reduce the stress. You’re always going to get unsolicited opinions. There’s not really anything you can do to squash that, but at least you can cut down on some of the other noise by just altering the way you talk about your plans. And, if all else fails, you can always just tell everyone you’re keeping all the details a secret!
For a little extra help in getting you and your fiancé off on the right wedding planning foot, download our free Wedding Ideas and Priorities Workbook.