Valentine’s day is right around the corner, so everyone is more focused on ‘love’ than ever. Showcasing the brilliance of love stories is our area of expertise, so we celebrate love year-round!
Whether you will be celebrating a Valentine’s engagement or have had that ring on your finger for a while, this article is for you.
Once you get engaged, depending on your timelines, you might quickly jump into the hustle and bustle of wedding planning. Based on our experience in working with couples leading up to the big day, we’ve found that many are caught-off guard by the amount of strain that can be put on a relationship during the engagement.
The good news? You can use this season in your relationship to your advantage and help strengthen the foundation which you will build your marriage on. If you’re thoughtful about prioritizing your individual and shared needs during the wedding planning process, your relationship could become stronger than ever.
Wedding Planning Tips for Engaged Couples Preparing for ‘I Do’
Here are our best pieces of relationship advice for engaged couples planning a wedding.
Find out how involved your significant other wants to be.
One of the best pieces of relationship advice for engaged couples planning a wedding: don’t make assumptions on how involved your future spouse will want to be in the wedding planning process. After you take time to celebrate your engagement together, have an initial serious conversation about the wedding.
Talk about role clarity and what's more important to your partner. Ask each other questions in a relaxed, low-pressure, and no judgement setting where you can both talk about your future vision of the big day. Get the clarity, see what they envision, and find out about the planning tasks that make their eyes light up.
For example, you may have always dreamed of doing a ‘first look’ on your wedding day. At this point in your relationship, this might be something new for you to share! By this point many couples have had discussions about their future weddings, but not likely at this level of detail (yet.) Now is the time.
Or maybe you think your significant other cares about the cake flavor but not about the design. However, they may have a very specific number of tiers in mind! Other times, someone may not want wedding favors, but would prefer to focus on putting that money towards a charity in honor of the guests of attendance. In contrast, maybe the other places a high level of importance on the types of favors your guests will take home to remember your big day.
These may seem like small details, but it’s crucial to know what’s important to you both so that you can make sure your wedding represents who you are. You will quickly begin to see where you are similar and where you are different---and it’s better to recognize that now, instead of when in the thick of it all.
Then once you have this initial discussion, plan to have it again, and again. Your expectations and end vision will likely take a different shape as the planning process continues.
Keep personalities in mind when you choose wedding-related tasks and design elements.
There are a lot of decisions that will need to be made which will be like putting a magnifying glass on “personality quirks." Are one of you a Type A and the other a procrastinator? Maybe one keeps notes in a meticulous binder and the other writes things down on napkins. Or perhaps one is more private and the other is the life of the party? This will all come into light when you decide the type of wedding you will throw for your guests. (Try to remind yourself: these quirks are likely some of the reasons that you fell in love!)
You must be realistic in your roles and individual actions. It can be unrealistic to think that your frugal significant other will not want to have a say in the budget, or that your shy beloved will suddenly take charge of calling all the vendors. If you have unrealistic expectations, this could lead to feeling let down and maybe even begin to lead to some bitterness.
Be very open with one another about what type of support each of you will need on specific tasks and then set yourselves up for success by being realistic in who does what. The result should be a resemblance of just one of the two parts of your relationship. And it’s easy for it to become one-sided if you don’t continue to keep a door open to transparent and honest communication.
Rely on your circle of support to keep you centered.
Involve your family, friends, or bridal party in the wedding process. If you're careful with who you select, the right individuals can add a lot of value. Once you know what’s important to your spouse in the planning process, there will likely be some tasks that you need to accomplish on your own. Your loved ones may be able to step in and help by providing another perspective or someone else to bounce ideas off. They could also help with some of the wedding related tasks, like researching and comparing online prices, placing phone calls to make appointments, or helping to put things together (like favors.)
Another way to get a lot of value out of your support system: use them for wedding-related venting! If you’re Maid of Honor is a good listener, share some of the things that go wrong with her. By doing so, you will naturally build in some buffer with you and your mate since you have another avenue to vent.
Keep dating each to build a firm foundation for your marriage.
One of the things that could happen is that all your down time together gets consumed by the wedding. It doesn’t matter how wedding-obsessed you are, this simply won’t be enjoyable for either one of you. So don't forget to go on date nights that don't revolve around wedding planning! And if you get really stressed, take a weekend getaway, or do a special activity that will bring you closer together.
One of the best pieces of relationship advice for engaged couples planning a wedding is to intentionally select one day a week where you DON'T spend any time on wedding related tasks. Do something active like roller skating or bowling or dance class. Go to an experience which is distracting like a concert or comedy show. Or go out for a night on the town or have a night in and plan to shift your wedding talk to marriage. Talk about the life that you intend to experience with one another. Share what your dreams and expectations are for life as a spouse. And once you’ve done that---keep things light and talk about the new movies you want to see or hobbies that you want to learn together.
This is a great tip because it can help you stay balanced mentally and allow you to focus on other areas of life (which will make you both more pleasant to be around!) Remember that intentional ‘anti-wedding time’ will not only relieve the stress but will also create a smoother transition once the wedding is over.
Stay focused on what’s important and keep your priorities straight.
Most importantly, don't lose sight of what you're planning: the day that will unite you both together forever! Treat each other with respect during the planning process so can feel like you're on the same team when you see each other at the end of the aisle.
One thing that might help when the tensions arise is to think about your marriage ten years from now. Will it have mattered if you had expensive gold chargers at your table setting? Or the EXACT shade of blue of his suit? They don’t want you to blow the budget on a dress? If you can’t get that dream performer to sing at the reception or your spouse isn’t willing to do a choregraphed dance?
Think about the details that REALLY matter and then focus your attention there. When it comes to planning a wedding, every single decision shouldn’t be put on a level playing field. Some will be more important than others, so don’t get so wrapped up that you lose sight of that.
Don't forget that the real work starts once you're married---when the parties have come and gone and it's time to live life with your mate. (This is also when it gets good!)
Want more tips? Here are some helpful articles:
7 Ways to Keep the Peace With your Fiancé While Wedding Planning via Bridal Guide
We hope that you enjoyed our five best pieces of relationship advice for engaged couples planning a wedding. Check back once a week for new articles with wedding planning, photo, and video tips.
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[Photoshoot in the spotlight: Grace and James in Los Angeles, California.]
The Joy Team