Over the past few weeks, I can bet either you, your best friend, three of your close friends or at least 11 of your Facebook friends got engaged. That’s what happens when friends & family are all in one place for the holidays, when the gorgeous snowfall makes for the perfect proposal backdrop, and when the new year inspires new beginnings. For those many of you who did just say YES … congrats! You’re in the clouds, I know it.
While it’s easy to lose your head up there, there are a few things to keep in mind about your wedding and future marriage. To help, we’ve rounded up top tips from wedding planners and your favorite bloggers, best-selling authors, marriage counselors, parenting experts and more…
Jen Cambell; Green Wedding Shoes – Daily wedding trends and day-to-day fashion inspiration for stylish + creative brides, fashionistas, wedding photographers + event designers
Find your style… as a couple! What kind of style do you both see for your day? Again, don’t focus on the details, but instead make sure you’re on the same page as far as the overall style and theme of your wedding. Once you’ve determined the style + theme of your wedding, many of the decisions on details will start to just fall into place.
John Gray; Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus – Leading relationship expert in the world and best-selling author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. John teaches men and women how to understand, respect and appreciate their difference in both personal and professional relationships.
When you are engaged and planning your wedding, it can create a great amount of stress. One of the biggest differences between men and women is how they cope with stress. Mentend to go their caves to solve problems alone, while women are more likely to talk about their problems and find a solution in a group. Understanding and accepting these differences will help the communication in your relationship – during your engagement and for years thereafter.
Stacy DeBroff; National parenting expert, best-selling author, attorney, and founder and CEO of Mom Central Consulting, the leading social media consulting firm focused on Moms.
Put your friendship first and foremost because the loyalty, conversation, and trust will carry you through tough times, raising kids, and family stress. In the end, you’ll come out on the other side still loving each other and with a stronger relationship. Also understand that there are some things about your spouse, unfortunately, you will never be able to change, despite your best efforts as a human emery board. Ultimately, you’ll discover that some actions fall into the category of ‘I guess I can live with that!’
Jessica Lehry Bishop; Founder and Editor of The Budget Savvy Bride
Always to figure out your budget before you begin to plan a single thing. If you don’t know what you’ve got to work with from the start, you’re pretty much guaranteed to go over budget. Sit down with all the involved parties and figure out how much everyone is able or willing to contribute. If you’re paying for it yourselves, create a savings plan specifically for wedding funds and start saving right away!
Rachel W. Miller; Loverly’s Editorial Director – Search, save, shop, and share wedding inspiration – all in one place
Be sure you and your fiance are on the same page about things before you start talking to other people about them! Before you get your families’ opinions the date, the venue, or the guest list, go through the big stuff together and figure out what the two of you consider your priorities and non-negotiables. Presenting a united front to family members during planning is so important for establishing boundaries and having a wedding that feels authentic and meaningful to you!
Aaron Anderson; marriage counselor and owner of The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO; editor for the Marriage section of The Good Men Project; writer for several publications online and locally including his own relationship blog RelationshipRx.net
Remember that your spouse will change over time. You don’t want your spouse to still act like they’re 20 when they’re 50. So make it a point to keep getting to know them as they change. Go on dates with them and make sure you’re continuing to find new ways to get to know them as you both travel down the path of life.
Anne Chertoff; Anne Chertoff Media – Wedding Editorial and Bridal Industry Marketing Consultant
You have to remember that while a wedding is one day, the whole process from the proposal to your honeymoon should be fun and enjoyable. Take mom and the girls to go dress shopping, bring dad for the cake tasting, sign up for dance lessons, attend lots of bridal events where you can sip champagne, taste sweet treats and get lots of free goodies!
If you’re getting stressed out then take a break and go back to it on another day.
Sara Burnett; Burnett’s Boards – Wedding inspiration boards for bright-minded brides
Take it easy. I promise you that with the right vendors, your dream wedding WILL happen. There’s no need to email your florist every day to ‘check in’ or to constantly call your wedding planner with new idea. Don’t turn your wedding planning journey into anything other than a joyous time and remember to listen to the pros! They’ve done this before (it’s their job) and they have fabulous ideas too – ones you might not have even seen on Pinterest yet and ones that are perfectly suited to you. It’s your choice whether you turn it into a stressful time in your life or the best experience ever. Always choose the latter!
Josh Holland from online jeweler Blue Nile.
Why wait for birthdays and anniversaries? Keep the romance alive by surprising each other with gifts and doing nice things, just because.
Mikkel Paige – New York-Based Photographer
For your wedding: remember you’re hiring a photographer, the person, and not just their photographs. You work with this vendor more than most so ensure your personalities mesh well and you’re comfortable around him or her before you sign a contract. Believe it or not, it’ll show in your wedding photos!
Michael Chidzey; Staggered – Men’s wedding blog for the groom and best man
Fall in love over and over again, go on regular dates with your missus, have fun and make her laugh. Married life can be tough and you will be faced with so many obstacles along the way, this is where hard work and commitment come in to play. Support one another through your ups and downs but ensure you both give each other space to make time for other people in your lives. Ultimately, there one rule to keeping a successful marriage and that is, you need to absolutely love being married.
Stephanie Elizabeth; Fab You Bliss – Stylish and handcrafted inspirations for engagement, weddings and married life
I think the most important piece of planning for any wedding, large or small, is the photographer. If you don’t have a great photographer, none of the rest of your planning will matter. Some people say reserve a certain percentage of your budget for your photographer. I say forget that. Just hire the BEST photographer you can afford. Even if that means your photographer is what you spend most of your budget on. This was the case for me and my husband and we don’t regret it at all! Because in 50 years all you will have left of your wedding is your memories and your photographs. And shouldn’t both be the best?
What about your experience? Do you have any tips to offer to newly engaged couples? Share yours in the comments section below!
All photos by Feather & Twine Photography