As I'm sure you've figured out by now, all these little tasks add up and can introduce all kinds of annoying opportunities for conflict to arise between you two lovebirds. While all relationships have their spats and it's something that we'll all need to learn how to deal with in our marriages, your engagement is a delicate time in your love story. You're learning to navigate one another's personalities, work together as a team, when to compromise and when to stand your ground, and all kinds of other fun love lessons. So my warning to you is this: don't let the wedding planning process create more conflict during this important time of your lives than is absolutely necessary. ENJOY this special time in your lives and get away from that wedding planning binder!
If deadlines, budgets, and the big day loom over your head, though, this can seem like a challenge at times. If the wedding is taking over your life, here are a few ideas to help you step away, take a little hiatus, and enjoy your engagement together!
- Set up a wedding-free date night. Choose a day every week or two to go out and enjoy each other's company, sans wedding talk. If you're competitive or feeling playful, penalize yourselves for breaking the rule! Perhaps every wedding-related slip up means a dollar thrown into a kitty for your next date, or the offender pays for the next round (mmmmm, craft beer). You can even bring along another couple of friends to keep you in line! Double date!!
- Be mindful of when and where you engage one another in planning talk (or any sensitive topic in general!). As we all learn eventually, everyone has a time or two during the day that just isn't great for heavy discussion. For me, it's in the morning- I really need my wake-up routine to kick in before I'm able to give my full attention to a conversation. For my hubby, it's after the work day. When he's wrapped up his tasks and his brain is ready to relax, a heavy discussion puts him on edge- he needs 30-60 minutes to let go of the work day's worries before hearing mine.
- Keep a running list of discussion topics so you can tackle them during designated planning time, not free time. When those nagging little topics are on your brain, take a moment to write them down on a shared list. Whether pen-and-paper or a shared note in an electronic app or email, a written collection of the tasks or questions to address will help you both organize your thoughts and the time you spend on your planning. It will also keep them from interrupting your fun time because if it's on the list, it will get addressed eventually.
- Make an engagement bucket list. What do you want to do before you tie the knot? If one of you will be moving after the wedding, is there anything you want to make sure your beloved enjoys in your current area before it's too late? Friends you want to introduce them to? Perhaps you want to learn to cook their favorite meal- could that be a fun date night? Keep a little list of the things you want to experience together before the wedding, and use them as ideas for your wedding-free date nights.
- Create an engagement scrapbook. I'm a big fan of photo-documentation, of course, so I love to scrapbook every once in a while. When my hubby & I got engaged, I started two scrapbooks: one for before our engagement, and one for our engagement through the wedding. It was fun to get photos off our computers and into print, and look through our adventures that brought us to our wedding day. A record of your love story will remind you of the WHY of the wedding at a time when it's easy to become so overwhelmed with the HOW.
As your wedding day approaches, there's a lot to think about and stress over. But, it doesn't need to take over your lives, and this is an important time of development in your relationship. It's a time that should be celebrated, enjoyed, cherished, and remembered. Once the wedding day is over, you'll have the rest of your lives to relish in those memories. Keeping your planning process fun, balanced, and stress-free will leave you even more refreshed and open to taking those beautiful moments in and saving them in your heart. Happy planning, everyone!