I got engaged almost 2 months ago. It was a simple and intimate proposal, just the two of us, just the way I wanted it to be. Right now, we’re in the middle of planning our wedding. A garden ceremony, something simple and intimate, something that fits our personalities. Nothing extravagant or ostentatious.
We’ve barely just begun planning, but I’m already learning so much from friends, from what I’ve experienced so far, and from my wonderful fiance.
- It’s the marriage, not the wedding. When we started planning, I believe I got a tiny bit carried away. It can happen to anyone. I know girls who aren’t the type to have details on their dream wedding filed away somewhere. I’m one of those people. I tried creating a secret Pinterest wedding board when Billy and I were dating. I got bored. I haven’t even looked at it since we started planning. Anyway, it’s good to know what you want for your wedding. But the wedding isn’t the be-all and end-all. It’s just a single day, albeit a very expensive one. The marriage, which comes after, is much more important.
- Take the time to enjoy it. After the proposal, Billy and I decided to wait a whole month before talking about anything wedding related. This was at the urging of a married friend who advised us to just take the time and enjoy the feeling of being engaged, before diving into the whole process. So we spent an entire month doing the things we loved: we went to the gym, we went on dates, we binge-watched movies and ate ice cream while slouched on my living room couch. That month pretty much set the tone for our planning season: it’s been pretty chill so far.
- Make the budget work. The first thing we did after that entire month was show up to a bridal fair. We took a look at suppliers, chatted them up, brought home a bunch of flyers and brochures and pored over them to get an idea of the rates. Then we established a budget. We decided on what we did and didn’t want (no bridal car, no photo booth), and we determined what was the most important. So far, we haven’t gone over the budget, and we’ve pretty much booked all of our suppliers.
- Don’t be a bridezilla. Easier said than done, huh? Especially for Type A personalities. As much as possible, I try not to demand too much from my bridal party. I run my errands and attend meetings on my own, and just ask my bridesmaids for opinions, since I know they’re busy with their own lives. I also try not to pressure my fiance too much. He had no idea what he wanted for his custom wedding ring up even to the day we had an initial meeting with the jeweler to discuss designs, while I already had around 2-3 options for my own ring. He ended up deciding on his ring that very day, during the meeting. I was warned beforehand by a close friend not to pressure the groom too much during the planning stage, since wedding details really are more of a girl thing.
- Date, date, date. It might be tempting – especially for men – to stop going on dates, and just focus on wedding planning. Especially since dates cost money. Billy and I still date, but we do not spend as much on these dates as we used to. It’s not about how much the dates cost, it’s really more of spending time with each other and nurturing the relationship. Our dates and our gym sessions are the times in the week that we don’t talk much about the wedding. There might be a passing wedding related remark here and there, but it’s the time when we don’t sit down and pore over spreadsheets and contracts.
- Try not to fight. There are couples who are fairly tranquil while planning their wedding… and then there’s fight club. Sometimes I get annoyed when Billy and I don’t have the same preferences when it comes to some of the details. However, I realized that this season is a test. It’s a test on how we can handle the differences in our personalities, taste, and opinions. It’s an opportunity for me (and him) to understand that the relationship is much more important than always getting our own way. It’s difficult to transition from being single to being a team and having to make decisions together, but I think it’s worth the challenge.
We still have a long way to go, what with the wedding being 10 months away. I’m pretty sure I have a lot to learn. And I am definitely open to learning from other people’s wedding planning experiences, so if you have any to share, comment away!