You’re engaged! Now what? Let the wedding planning begin! According to our friends at Wedding Wire, “two out of three millennials take at least one wedding planning action prior to getting engaged.” Whether it’s two months or a whole year, wedding planning is one of the most highly-anticipated realities for anyone who gets engaged. There’s so much to do! From determining the style of dress you want to wear to deciding whether you want an indoor or outdoor wedding, it can be an incredibly overwhelming to navigate all these questions. But if you both are determined to start things off well, you might be able to avoid a few common mistakes newly engaged couples make. While your aunt blows up your cell phone with decor ideas, here are a few helpful tips to keep you and your fiancé at ease during the engagement season:
Respect the Budget
The more you reach out to vendors and venues, the more you’ll realize hosting a wedding requires more money. Don’t let the extra zeros discourage you from dreaming big! Talk with your partner about where you are financially and how you plan to maximize your resources for your special day. Whether your wallets or your parents are helping to pay for expenses, set a number and a create budget sheet on Excel to keep track of where the dollars are going. Determine what your wedding must-haves are. Do you want the dreamy photographer, or do you want to go all in for the ethereal, modern venue? Whatever you both value as a couple, divide the finances according to what’s most important to you as a couple.
There will always be reason to spend way more than what you budgeted for, but when you both choose to respect your limits, you’re able to start off your marriage financially stable. My fiance and I got engaged in December under the Christmas lights in Philly (an absolute fairytale). We chose to take a year to save and pay off everything upfront out of our pockets so when the wedding date comes around (December 15th, to be exact), we’ll be able to enjoy the wedding day without having to worry about paying it off. It’s what’s worked best for us so far, and we’ve been able to enjoy the wedding planning process because of it. Figure out what amount works for you both, and plan around it.
Say yes to your opinion!
When we got engaged, I wish I would have been prepared for how many people felt the need to assert their opinions into our planning. It’s the worst feeling when people wedge their way into your planning with what they think is best. The only opinions that should matter are yours and your love’s. Especially if you are the ones sacrificing the dollars, your opinions should bear the most weight. It can be incredibly overwhelming when you’re trying to wedding plan and have tons of other opinions cluttering your mind. And hello, ever heard of Pinterest? There’s already so much inspiration out there that can be a lot to process. Take things slow, say thank you to the comments people give you about your wedding and do whatever the heck makes you happy.
This season of your life is supposed to be F-U-N. If you and your love want a donut wall instead of a traditional cake or lavender tossed instead of rice, then you should feel the complete freedom to do so. It’s your wedding day, my friend. When it comes to what brings your heart joy, nothing should keep you from experiencing such things — especially when it comes to planning the wedding day.
Keep a “No Fighting” Rule
It’s not worth fighting over what color napkins you should have or what song you should walk down the aisle to. These things are preferences and really shouldn’t keep you from being in a good place with your hubby- or wifey-to-be. Going into this season of engagement, emotions will always be high. It’s a season of transition that brings so much laughter and equally so many tears. Be sure to communicate your expectations and hopes with one another. Treasure your time together! Date nights should still remain a source of relaxation and enjoyment. If a disagreement does arise, simply attack it together objectively. What is the problem? What is the goal? How can you work together to get to that goal? Become more obsessed with building the right marriage instead of building the perfect Instagram shot. No amount of likes are worth your mental health and worth compromising what really matters — your relationship. Seek out help together to work through any conflicts that arise! Couple’s counseling can make a huge world of a difference to creating healthy communication habits between the two of you — in return, making your season of engagement more fulfilling.
Go to as Many Cake Tastings as Possible
Especially if they’re free, enjoy as many engagement opportunities as you can. You’ll never get this time back, so make memories together. Grab your bridesmaid tribe and sign up for bridal shows if it’s your thing. Some bridal shows are filled with tons of giveaways and goodie bags that have discount codes for bridal stores. Whether it be spending the weekend trying different icings or visiting different show campgrounds, these experiences help you to chill out a bit and sneak time away from the hustle and bustle of wedding planning. P.S. Kate Spade offers brides-to-be the best wedding planning binder with tons of resources and questions that help you think through all the necessary details of your special day.
Remember what really matters. You’re about to commit and say “I do” to the love of your life. While wedding planning can sometimes bring out the bridezilla in you, be sure to remind yourself to not sweat the small stuff. Everything will fall into place and odds are, something might go wrong. But it’s totally OK. You’re not marrying a napkin, a chair, or even a location. You’re marrying another human being who chose you. Embrace this season in all of its craziness. Someday you’ll look back on the beautiful photographs and quirky video montage, and hopefully be grateful for it all. The madness will build lifelong memories and lead you to this adventure called marriage. Your wedding day will be what you both make of it.