In 30 days, I will be walking down the steps to the beach to marry my media naranja – thus ending an adrenaline-filled 5-month engagement.
I’m so excited to become his Mrs. – To have the chance to love and honor and cherish him every single day and to have a life partner with whom I can grow old.
I gotta say though: Part of me is already missing the engagement.
Frankly, the wedding planning has been super stimulating.
And, without even realizing it, I’ve become a wedding-planning junkie. Now like never before, it makes sense why there’s such a thing as the post-wedding blues.
This is just such a unique time in my life and I can see how it will be sad when it’s over because, if I’ve chosen my mate wisely (and I’m pretty sure I have), this will be the first and only time in my life that I’ll ever be planning my wedding.
So I thought I’d take a moment to celebrate my not-long-for-the-world fiance-hood by sharing….
Some Surprising Observations I’ve Made During My Engagement (in no particular order)
I relished in the opportunity to mention “my fiancé” with whoever would listen – including my eye doctor, the gas station clerk and a parent of one of my students.
Just saying “fiancé” felt so elitist and yet I loved saying it anyway.
I’m still not in the habit of putting on my engagement ring everyday. I think part of that is because I’m not used to it but part of it is because I have this deep desire to protect it in order to keep it in pristine condition for our wedding day.
People I hardly knew asked me specific questions about everything from my dress to my venue and I oscillated between feeling eager to gab over all of the little details and wanting to keep them private.
Early in the wedding planning process, some guests made unnecessary drama for us by complaining we’d picked a day that conflicted with a work engagement and also by not even RSVP’ing – even though she was asked to be in the wedding party.
I recognized the dress that would become The One the moment I tried it on. And I was fortunate that it was during my first wedding dress shopping excursion.
I still think it’s weird that a store clerk has to be with you when you’re trying on wedding dresses and that you’re not allowed to do it alone.
The first month of our engagement, I couldn’t think of anything but wedding planning.
Once the initial rush of wedding planning wore off, I became sick of it for about two months and procrastinated on making any wedding plans at all.
Then, towards the end of our engagement, I became obsessed again about all the details left to be decided upon.
It surprised me which guests RSVPd Yes. And which guests RSVPd No. But either way, I learned not to take it personally.
My fiancé surprised me by how passionate he could be about certain aspects of the wedding (ie, what the wedding invitations looked like) while how ambivalent he could be about other parts (like what drinks we should include at the reception).
I surprised myself by how passionately I cared about certain things. For instance, I started getting really tense when my mom and dad were looking at dresses outside of the bridal party color scheme.
When I finished with planning the wedding details, I felt bummed that there was not more to plan and spun my wheels looking for anything I might have overlooked.
I became addicted to online shopping as I purchased items for the wedding. Seriously, it’s like an unannounced Christmas at your doorstep every time a package arrives!
Whenever I talked with them, I’d secretly hope my friends would casually ask “How’s the wedding planning going?” so I’d have an excuse to share about the latest plans we’d made.
I still don’t understand the difference between what we’re doing during the entrance song and what we’re doing during our first dance and at this point, I’m too afraid to ask.
I started with a conservative wedding budget and then, as I neared the wedding date, I started caring less and less about blowing it. But it’s still under $9,000 (and we’re paying for it with cash) so I’m proud of that.
Going to other people’s weddings to either A) Steal ideas or B) Critique what you didn’t like was fun for me and my fiancé.
I was amazed by how – for being a girl who never put too much thought into weddings before – I all of a sudden had an opinion on every minor detail of wedding planning.
And the different aspects of planning for a wedding just kept coming and coming and coming and coming.
Any excursion became a wedding item treasure hunt. One time we went to the Renaissance Festival and I quizzed one of the merchants on where he’d bought his treasure chest.
Writing our story for our wedding website was one of the most fun parts of planning our wedding.
Shopping for registry items was surprisingly fun – and I was relieved we passed the Registry Shopping Test. The Bed Bath & Beyond employee who helped us said she’d been a witness to many a couple’s marriages falling apart before it began over dinner plates and bedroom curtains.
There was a moment when I realized I’d been in the black hole of wedding planning for a while and I started to miss the normalcy of just regular dates with my beau and outings with friends – you know, the opportunity to just slow down and take in life instead of being in a wedding-planning frenzy.
Given that, I’m glad we had a relatively short engagement of just five months. That way this surreal time in life doesn’t drag out forever (potentially increasing the letdown of the post-wedding blues)
Going from “boyfriend and girlfriend” to fiancés definitely gave our relationship more clout. It just feels more long-term and stable.
I haven’t felt such a strong desire to hustle for money in quite a long time.
I really wanted to have more married couple friends when I suddenly realized I have no idea how to be a wife to someone for the next 50 years.
I got engaged and all of a sudden people were openly making bets on how long it was going to be before I got pregnant.
The fear of not fitting into my wedding dress was real – even though I haven’t gained or loss more than 5 pounds in the last several years.
I’m glad we saved money on certain things that wedding guests don’t even care about anyway.
Picking the color scheme and choosing the napkins was harder than picking the dress or the venue! (Why were these trivial things such a hang up for us?!)
I found Thumbtack by chance while doing a Google search and it ended up being a Godsend! Through the site, I put out requests for bids and was able to hire my stylist, my caterer, my DJ and my photographer – all for very reasonable prices!
I suddenly had a lot of of appreciation for all of the work that brides of weddings past have done. And I regretted not appreciating their efforts (much less, complimenting them on it) more in the past.
There’s a strong desire to look the best I’ve ever looked for my wedding and I’m not sure where that comes from. But I do know I have already made waxing appointments, teeth whitening investments and diet resolutions all in the name of this wedding.
Part of me wishes my fiancé and I had waited until our wedding night to have sex for the first time. But frankly, abstaining for the month beforehand is going to be hard enough!
I’m actually pretty impressed by how I avoided becoming a Bridezilla during all this wedding planning (although admittedly, I have had a number of crying spells when I hit a bump in the road with plans).
I’m also pretty impressed with how well my fiancé and I worked together to make decisions. This season did not tear us apart, it brought us closer together!
I loved playing our wedding songs on the road whenever I needed a little pick-me-up.
And after dozens of listens, our “First Dance” song still gets me crying.
I was glad we stayed true to who we are while planning this wedding – even if I am a little nervous about certain aspects of it and how my family and friends will respond (such as the fact that we won’t be putting chairs on the beach for the ceremony or providing alcohol as a social lubricant during dance time).
Every time I asked married friends for wedding advice, they said the same thing: Take it all in and don’t get caught up on the little stuff because it goes by so fast. It seems so important to remember that and yet I’m not even sure how to maximize that apply on my own wedding day.
Hearing my friend say she couldn’t wait to meet “the hubby” sounded so weird the first time I heard it.
Yet, there’s a comforting peace that’s fallen over me as I reflect on my fiancé, our relationship and the lifelong commitment we’re about the make to each other.