You're engaged -- CONGRATULATIONS! Now what? If it seems like wedding planning is overwhelming... well, it is. Sorry to burst your bubble. I guarantee that there will be at least one point in the process where you just want to toss the planning aside and elope. Don't believe me? Check back in with me next year.
That being said, your engagement should be a wonderful time! Think of it this way: Once you're married, your relationship will never go through this phase again. So celebrate it! Enjoy it. Embrace it.
Easier said than done? Here a few intentional ways that you can take time to appreciate this point in your relationship, and ensure that your marriage starts out on the right foot.
1. You Don't Have to Start Planning Right Away
I know you're excited to jump into planning -- I don't blame you! But before you start reaching out to vendors and visiting venues, maybe take a few weeks just to enjoy this moment in your relationship. Things are about to get busy, and starting off the process by overwhelming yourself is just not smart.
Once you feel like you're ready to start planning, start doing research together. Get a few wedding books, and read up on the first steps over your morning coffee or a glass of wine at night, together. Create a plan of action, and take it slow. You don't have to do everything at once!
2. Establish Priorities, Responsibilities and a Budget From the Beginning
Read any wedding planning book or post about the first steps in the wedding planning process, and they'll tell you to create a budget and stick to it from the beginning. Unfortunately, a lot of people don't actually do this and it can cause a lot of stress and tension throughout the process.
When you make the decision to intentionally begin planning your wedding, make sure that you sit down with your fiancé and hash out the details. What are your priorities? Who will be responsible for what? What is the absolute most that you're willing to spend on your wedding, and what is your ideal budget? These questions establish expectations from the beginning, and minimizes conflict later. I promise, you'll thank me later.
3. Stay on Each Others' Team
This. One of the biggest lessons you'll learn when you get married is that you're now on each others' team. A good marriage doesn't include talking to your best friend about how frustrated you are that your husband can't find a job, or leaving each other out on the holidays.
There are a lot of people involved in the wedding planning process. Including parents. They may try to get you to stand up to your future spouse, or take their side when it comes to something (see number two), but remember WHO you are marrying. You aren't marrying your bridesmaids or your parents -- and the wedding isn't about them either. So stay on each others' teams. Back each other up. Don't complain about them to someone else. Because if you're marrying them, then they're your person.
4. Remember the Why
When you get frustrated about linens and the cost of a photographer, remember why you're doing this. It's a simple step, really, but so important. I remember one of my clients saying that everything about their wedding needed to be a celebration of their love. Are you stressing out over what color paper straws to have, or whether your guests will be upset if there isn't a full bar? Stop, and remember why you're getting married. Does that detail really matter in your love story? Because that's what this is -- YOUR love story.
5. Take Time Together Away From the Planning
This is one of the most common pieces of advice for engaged couples, but it really is a great way to see beyond the process and what your lives together will be like in the future. If possible, try to go on a date at least once a week where wedding talk isn't allowed. Take that time to actually date your future spouse, and get to know them even more.
If you're finding yourself stressed and overwhelmed, and maybe even a little frustrated with your fiancé, give yourselves a break! And if you can't give yourself just one night without talking vendors and menu selections, then you may need to reevaluate the why.