weddings 101

6 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Got Engaged

I walked around with my head in the clouds for weeks after getting engaged. When I finally snapped out of my reverie, I stumbled, wide-eyed and unprepared, into the wild world of wedding planning. Here are 6 things I wish I knew before getting engaged.

1. Wedding Planning Consumes Your Life. Whether you’re doing “inspiration research” online and drooling over the lavish weddings of strangers or compiling your guest list, expect to spend 2-4 hours on planning per day. You’ll be tempted to skip workouts and ignore your friends’ texts in your planning frenzy, but every day should include at least one non-wedding activity.

2. You Will Write A LOT Of Thank You Cards. When I got engaged, a recently-married friend gave me a pack of thank you cards. “You’ll be writing a lot of these over the next year!” she said. Those cards came in handy when we received unexpected engagement gifts, and I also used them to thank my shower hostesses. Keep thank you cards and stamps in reserve and, if a friend gets engaged, I highly recommend this useful gift idea.

3. Everybody Will Have An Opinion About Your Wedding. Whether it’s your future sister-in-law or a coworker you hardly know, everybody will have an idea of what you should do at your wedding. Remember that this is your day and be confident in the decisions that you and your fiancé(e) make. You can thank them for the suggestion, knowing you’d rather die than have a pirate-themed lobster dinner ho-down!

4. Everything Costs More Than You Think. Great! You found an amazing photographer whose 6-hour package you can afford. But did you know that most couples hire photographers for 10 to 12 hours on their wedding day? Sure, you love chiavari dining chairs, but they can cost $8.00 per chair, whereas satin covers are usually less than $2.00 per chair. Peonies might be your favorite flower, but how much are they per stem? My point: Do your research before you make your budget, because hidden costs are everywhere.

5. You And Your Fiancé(e) Will Disagree A Lot (But In The End It Brings You Closer). If you’ve agreed to spend the rest of your life with someone, then hopefully you’ve covered the basics, such as your finances and whether you both want children. But throughout this process, you’ll face budget challenges, scheduling constraints and conflicts with parents and/or other family members. It feels good, though, to work together to find a solution that works for both of you. Consider it training for married life!

6. You Have To Make A LOT Of Decisions. From which pots and pans to add to your registry to who should sit together at the reception, you will be making endless decisions throughout your engagement. Many grooms are more involved in the wedding planning, which is fantastic, but lots of the decision-making still falls on the bride. She is also usually the main contact for the photographers, reception venue, florist, baker, designer, wedding planner, officiant, DJ, her mother and future mother-in-law!

Image(s): iStockphoto

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