You're engaged! (Congrats, by the way). Those first days after the proposal are magical. Everyone you know wants to talk to you, hear the story, swoon over your amazing ring, and give you a big hug. You FINALLY get to take a ring selfie for Instagram. #isaidyes
Then the wedding planning starts and the happy engagement bubble becomes a tornado of difficult wedding decisions. How do we choose a day? How important is it to have a wedding planner? Is it normal to be having wedding related nightmares where my veil catches fire?
It can all be a bit much.
There are AMAZING wedding planning resources out there for brides to take advantage of, but it's important through all of the information overload and Pinterest madness to take a second and relax. Here are some tips I can offer you from my time as a wedding photographer and my time as a bride.
1. Establish a wedding-free zone.
Especially at the beginning it's easy to get so wrapped up in wedding planning that you never talk about anything else. Your relationship is about more than just the wedding! Take one day a week and establish a wedding-free zone. Go on a date and talk about something else - ANYTHING else. Put your phones away and agree to not have any wedding talk or make any wedding decisions. It will help remind you why you like each other in the first place. Get refocused on what really matters - the two of you.
2. Pick your battles. Let the rest go.
For most brides there are wedding day elements that are really important and others that don't matter as much. Spend your time, money, and energy on what really matters to the two of you. If florals are really important to you, make it happen. Do your research and find the best florist in town who can accomplish your vision. If you don't particularly care what blooms are included in the bouquet, make a quick and easy choice and move on. Don't let yourself get stressed about the stuff that doesn't mean much to you.
3. Don't do obligations.
Have a childhood friend who automatically assumed she would be a bridesmaid, but the thought of her drama stresses you out? Have an amazing caterer in mind, but your mother-in-law has a friend of a friend who she wants to hire? So often it's other people who add to the stress of wedding planning. If the thought of fulfilling some perceived obligation makes your wedding seem more stressful - skip it. Your childhood friend will forgive you for not including her in the bridal party, but you'll never forgive yourself if your entire wedding day becomes about her and the fact that she doesn't think gold is her color.
4. Turn your phone notifications off.
Set aside a little piece of time each day (or week) that's convenient for you to think about the wedding. Take that time to check and answer your wedding related emails, respond to that text from your mom, and update your budget. The middle of the night (or the middle of your work day) is not when you want to have your phone blowing up with questions about the guest list. Disconnect. Be present in what is going on. A phone that won't stop chirping at you while you're trying to sleep is a recipe for engagement stress.
5. Give back.
Engagement is a time in your life when all eyes are on you, and it can wear you down. People are constantly asking questions about you. Where you're going on your honeymoon? Have you found the dress? The best way to stress less is to spend time thinking about someone else (I promise, this works!). Volunteer for a cause that matters to you, or use some of your craft skills to create something for someone else. Completely take the focus off yourself and spend some quality time as a couple helping someone else. It's tough to be stressed that way!