This happens every year and in 2013 I hit the panic button after almost seven years of dating. I felt like I was being left behind as one friend after another was flashing their engagement rings on Instagram and Facebook. I willingly admit and so does my husband that waiting to get engaged was no longer an option. He knew that I was over the wait and had zero patience for unnecessary delays. Obviously it was the best decision that we ever made.
Although it seems like a challenge, getting engaged is the easy part. After you say “yes,” the post engagement Pandora’s box flies open. You and your now fiancé are overwhelmed with questions and “suggestions” that seem more like demands about your wedding day. Questions about the date, location, bridal party, colors, and even the guest list come from every direction. Even if you haven’t started planning, you immediately feel the pressure of keeping the world abreast on wedding updates.
How to Survive Post-Engagement
I was engaged for a little over a year and during that time, I only had one stressful time period (within the final month) and honestly as I look back on it I wish I would have put the outside noise on mute. Enjoying your engagement and preparing for your marriage, not your wedding, is the most important part of being engaged. There are no sure fire ways to avoid the stress but here are my top five tricks to beat the headaches:
1. Remind yourself daily that it’s not about anyone else except you and your fiancé. It seems that this would be a no brainer but ironically it is the most difficult step. We have all heard the saying it’s about the bride well too often this is forgotten by those you love the most. From family members to best friends, and even those who are only receiving an invitation because your mom is making you, everyone has an opinion about what you should be doing. When you feel it spinning out of control, look in the mirror and reassure yourself that as long as you and your fiancé are happy then nothing else matters.
2. Don’t be afraid to use the mute button. Sometimes you have to use the mute button. Everyone has an opinion but sometimes that opinion is just too loud. There’s nothing wrong with seeking advice about different aspects of the wedding planning but too often people take that and run with it. Your special day becomes the remake of the day they never had. When someone’s opinions are too much, you may have to limit your conversations or avoid conversations about the wedding all together. Don’t feel bad for avoiding the stress.
3. Put your marriage first and the wedding second. With all of the excitement swirling around one of the most important events in your life, you can easily get distracted by the details and forget about preparing for the actual marriage. Prior to getting engaged I didn’t think that pre-marital counseling was important but instantly after he put a ring on it, I was pressed to seek counseling to prepare for one of the most challenging experiences in my life. My husband had a more leisure approach but once we started he knew that it was absolutely necessary. We took a more spiritual course which may not be for everyone but we knew that we wanted God to be the leader of household so we had no qualms about traveling the spiritual path. It was the best pre-marital decision that we made. Even after seven years there were still things that we needed to work out prior to walking down the aisle. Marriage is tough and just like with any challenge you want to be as prepared as possible before jumping into it.
4. Don’t let anyone steal your joy. Just like with anything in life, you will have those that are genuinely happy for you and those who make it a point to find the negative in any situation. Unfortunately, once you get engaged you will find out who are your real friends. It’s sad but it is the truth. Those you believed would always be by your side and be your biggest supporters gradually turn into someone you wouldn’t dare associate with. From frivolous arguments that stem from jealousy to drama about who you love more, you can be overwhelmed by the negative. This is not your fault and nor is it your issue. Don’t allow the misery of others to steal your moment. This is an exciting time for you and anyone who is willing to take that away from you is not your real friend.
5. Don’t rush through it, just enjoy it! Whether you’re engaged for six months or two years, it may seem like it an eternity to finally get to the wedding day. I have seen some brides dread every second of the wedding planning and therefore hated every second of their engagement. They spent so much time stressing over table linens and bridesmaids dresses that they forgot to enjoy the moment with their soon to be husband. Trust me the time goes by quickly and the last thing you want is to wish you spent more time celebrating instead of worrying. FYI it’s not worth the stress. No matter how much you plan, everything will not be perfect and it won’t matter on your wedding day. You may see a crease in the table linens or an imperfection in your wedding cake but at the end of the day as long as you walk down the aisle to marry the love of your life everything else seems less important.
I know it seems a bit cliché but my wedding day was one of the best days of my life. I enjoyed every second of it and if I could convince my husband to do it all over again I would. However, I’m more appreciative of the time we spent learning more about one another and enjoying the last year of our single lives than anything else.
Stay tuned for my next Wedding Season post…
Forever Fierce, Fabulous & Flawless