Engagement is so fun and so hard all at once. There is literally no other period in your life when you will be caught in this in-between. Here are a few quick Do’s and Don’ts that will help make your engagement go smoothly!
1. Time with Your Fiancé
Don’t: let the wedding become the only thing you and your fiancé talk about.
Do: Remember to talk about things that aren’t the wedding.These brief periods are called timeouts and should be instated during dates and other leisure time for you and your man. Believe it or not, there are things to talk about other than your wedding. You know, the stuff you talked about for the first however-long of your relationship. There are already a ton of details that need discussing, registries that need updating, color schemes that need choosing etc. Make sure to protect time with your fiance. Take timeouts where you don’t talk about the wedding– at all. This will be refreshing for both you and your fiance and will hopefully prevent arguments over petty things like invitation fonts. Yes, planning a wedding is a huge undertaking and yes, you are a team and need to work on it together. However, it is very important that you and your Mr. Right don’t get so caught up in planning a wedding that you forget who you are as a couple and why you love each other.
Goal: Go on a date once a week and don’t even think or talk about the wedding.
2. Thank You Notes
This might be the most underestimated undertaking in the engagement period. There is a new level of etiquette you never knew existed until it came time to write thank you notes. I would recommend keeping excellent documentation of your thank yous to keep your relationship with your mother, grandmother, and auntie, afloat.
Do: Make a spreadsheet listing which shower (if applicable), the guest, their gift, and whether or not you wrote and mailed the thank you. With the thousands of details going on in your head, you will find it difficult to remember whether or not you mailed your great aunt Geri’s thank you or if you just wrote it. Trust me.
Do: Print out or pull up the guest list with addresses to make this process go by faster.
Don’t: Get behind. I recommend writing thank yous immediately after the shower so they don’t build up. Also, do your best to remember what each person gave you. You’d be surprised how offended your grandma will be if you don’t mention how you will specifically use her hand-me-down gold glassware.
Goal: Have all your shower gifts and mailed in gift thank yous written before the wedding. You will find that you’ll have several more to write after the wedding.
3. Guest List
Similarly to your thank you note list:
Do: Make a spreadsheet documenting the guests, his/her address, how many people will be coming with this guest, and RSVP response. This will help you stay sane, remember which slackers to contact about late RSVPs, and allow you to personally talk with people you may run into out and about. Being able to say, “We are so excited to see you at the wedding!” or “We will miss you at the wedding!” is just one way to make your guests feel personally welcomed and not like they’re just another name on a list.
Don’t: Forget to keep track of how many people are coming with each RSVP. Just because you get 100 cards back doesn’t mean only 100 people are coming– plus ones, children, and spouses all need to be factored into the headcount.
Goal: Set up your spreadsheet and take the time to fill in each RSVP you’ve received. It will be worth it in the long run.
This part of engagement is supposed to be fun. However, this can quickly become the bane of your engagement existence. More couples fight over this issue than any other general engagement issue.
Do: Divide and Conquer. Some people will tell you to just keep the guy out of it, the homestead is the woman’s place. To these people I say: whatever. Leaving your fiance entirely out of the loop when it comes to your future home is bound to bring arguments later on. (Example: why do we have 6 different decorative platters, babe? Did we really need 6 different sets of wine glasses?) This is good accountability too, just in case you go overboard dreaming about what could be. To avoid potential conflict and keep all parties happy, divide and conquer this issue. Employ your man to research the best knives, or iron, or high-intensity blender. He can set up an online registry just as easily as you can. This can be a fun way to learn each other’s tastes while making sure you’re on the same page before gifts start coming in.
Don’t: forget to update your registry. I know this can be a long, tedious process, but it will pay off in the long run. At first, you are likely to be a little overzealous with the wish list. Your taste may evolve over the weeks/months that you’re engaged. It happens. What also happens is getting what you don’t want or won’t use multiple times if you don’t update your registry. Seriously. Just keep it up to date.
Goal: Go back through your registry online and remove the things you don’t want anymore or realize you won’t use.
Engagement is hard. You are so close to marriage, yet so very far from it. This will inevitably bring up weird fights, weird feelings, and weird funkiness between you and your fiancé.
Don’t: forget to remind yourself why you love your fiance and why you are the luckiest girl in the world. Maybe you make a list, maybe you text your love when you think of reasons, maybe you have a more creative idea than these! Whatever it is you plan to do, make sure you do it.
Do: keep perspective. This is so exciting! You get to marry the love of your life! Don’t let planning a wedding distract you from this. Don’t let petty arguments about which set of white everyday dinnerware you want make you forget why you fell in love with your bae and why you’re the luckiest girl in the world.
Goal: Make a list of reasons why you love your fiancé and can’t wait to be married. Share these with him.
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