So, you’re engaged. You are on the path to marriage, with a fiancé, ring (maybe?!), updated Facebook status, and a 10-page to-do list that you’ve compiled from 15 different Pinterest articles.
This is such a new and exciting and one-of-a-kind time in life. Every moment should be cherished, because there’s no season quite like this one. Change is in the air, newness lingers in everyday moments with your partner, and there’s a thrill to what your wedding could be.
While being engaged is an amazing and wonderful time, it’s no secret that it—namely wedding planning—can get a little tough.
Here are some tips to help get you through this challenging and transformative time in you and your fiance’s lives.
1. Know Your Methods, Understand Theirs
As a newly engaged woman, I jumped the gun as soon as my now-husband stood up and wiped the snow off his knee. (Okay, maybe I was so love-drunk in the moment and hours following that I did not dive into any details other than how lucky I was.) But shortly after, I allowed myself to imagine our wedding, and finally gave myself permission to start thinking through the planning process.
That’s my personality. I jump into things. I dive, catapult, and thrust myself into the nitty gritty until the grit gets done, and I don’t like pausing for air.
And while that’s nice for me, that’s not how my husband operated. When I was eager to nail down details, he often felt overwhelmed. Sometimes I pushed through decisions, and there were a few times he thought I left him behind on things.
Just understanding both yourself and your partner is a critical step, right from the beginning. If you both know and communicate how you’d like to handle planning, you can get through the process with the skills you need. If you’re like me, you can slow down a little. If you’re more inclined to stay low and slow while your partner is begging for more, consider speeding up. Balance and compromise are huge.
2. Tackle the Hard Stuff First
In my opinion, the hardest parts of wedding planning come down to the following:
The budget is one of the hardest things to go through and decide. Sometimes it feels initially simple if you both want something low-key. But a difference in vision can pop up in ways you don’t expect. For example, my husband didn’t necessarily think that decorations should take up that much room in the budget, while I knew that even the cheapest store-bought flowers could add up quickly.
To make things easier, create percentages, and go from there. Set a spending limit, and then decide how much is dedicated to venue, food/drink, entertainment, attire, and decor. Ask the big questions, like if you’ll get help or do it all on your own.
Setting up the timeline is another biggie, because it sets the entire pace of your engagement. Whether you want a quick engagement or a 5-year one, you have to come to an agreement.
Consider the season, then the year. For us, we wanted a fall outdoor wedding. And though we initially wanted to wait long enough to save some money, a big factor was family. My brother was slated to move to India, and decided on a date that was before then. So, we set the date as 10 months ahead. It felt like a short engagement, but we agreed on our priorities.
From there, we had to divvy out a month-by-month plan with tasks for each, to make sure that everything got done in time. I relied heavily on The Knot for planning resources, and highly recommend using it immediately after picking a date, or during the consideration process. Remember: you might have to tailor what you find to fit your needs. Don’t be afraid to pick and pull from different calendars and timelines to create your own.
After you have the date, nail down the location. Then, the venue. These two decisions will guide the rest of your planning.
3. Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
Most importantly, remember who and what you are doing everything for. You are planning a special day, for you and your partner. It will be epic and memorable and a product of your hopes and dreams.
You know what else it is? A single day. And marriage is much more than that. While you might get caught up in the ins and outs of planning a wedding, try to remember that the reason for the season is literally getting to spend the rest of your life with the person you love most.
Is there any more of a prize than that?
Good luck, and cheers to the rest of a fabulous engagement.