June 8th was not just my bridal shower (omg so many gifts and desserts) but it was also the 1 year anniversary of Randy’s proposal. On July 8, 2017, Randy and I were in the Azores and earlier that day we had just said goodbye to my family as they made their way back to Boston. We were sitting in our Airbnb with a bottle of wine, talking about the past year. We talked about our travels and how we got through long distance, together. Randy then reminded me that the previous year, July 8, 2016, was our first trip together, Burlington, Vermont. He explained how that weekend was when he knew he was falling in love with me. He then got down on one knee and asked me to spend my life with him. Through my tears of joy, I said yes and we melted into the moment.
Throughout this past year we’ve mainly been planning for the wedding and figuring out what our following steps will be after we get married. There have been great moments (getting free cake) and there have been meh moments (having to cut down the guest list), overall it’s been a year of a lot of lessons. With my helpful mantras (link here to Part 1 of Calming the Bridezilla), I’ve been able to get through the more stressful lessons. Randy and I have also learned a lot about each other and what it means to be an engaged couple. Here’s everything Randy and I have learned in our first year of being engaged:
- Stay on the same side
Situations will arise in the midst of planning that will piss you off. People will say things that will piss you off. Shit will happen and you will get pissed off. It’s bound to happen. So you have to make sure that you have each other’s back. When things aren’t going as planned it’s easy to dole out the blame and turn on your fiancé or fiancée. Remember that you’re both in this together and turning on each other will make things so much worse. Face the fight together, don’t face each other in a fight (damn, that sounded wise).
- Get ready for some serious talks
Wedding planning is not all cupcakes and unicorns (neither of which will be at my wedding, unfortunately). You two will have some serious, and maybe even difficult, conversations during this time. The unique combination of family, friends, and money that weddings consist of, can bring out heavy feelings. My advice? Speak with honesty and hear each other without judgement. While Randy and I were in Seville, we had a conversation in a cafe that lasted a few hours (and they had AC so we weren’t in a rush to leave). We both opened up and talked about a lot of the things that were weighing on us. In the end, we felt so much better and we learned what we both needed to get through the stressful parts of planning.
- Continue to date
By September 7th, we’ll have been engaged for a year and 2 months. Sounds like a long time to plan, right? It is not. Last August when we were looking for venues, some places already had most of their September weekends booked! With everything else that needs to be figured out, and family and friends’ general excitement for the big day, daily life can become consumed with the planning. Don’t let the wedding become all that your relationship is about because when it’s over, what will you have left? Take a day, an evening, an hour, whatever you need, to do something non-wedding related. You may be engaged, but don’t forget to date each other.
- Remind each other of what’s really important
We all know the phrase: a wedding is for a day, but a marriage is for a lifetime. Corny, but 100% true. There have been moments this year when one of us has had to remind the other one that September 7th is one day. It’s an important day, but a day nonetheless. Our food will be delicious (screw “healthy eating” that day) but it doesn’t say anything about our mutual respect for each other. The flowers will be gorgeous but it has nothing to do with our desire for vulnerability and honesty. At the end of the day, we’re Monika and Randy, not Monika and Randy with the perfect Pinterest wedding (okay, we do have a few Pinterest ideas…who doesn’t?).
- Remember to give back to those who are helping you
Reality check: you CANNOT plan wedding by yourself. Well, you can, but you shouldn’t. Family members and friends will probably help you with everything from pre-wedding parties to making favors. It’s understandable to get caught up in the planning and forget to thank them. But, at the end of it all, they’ll have been the ones that helped make the day possible. I don’t know how I would have finished designing and mailing out my save the dates and invitations without the help of my mom. And my sister was there to help me find some of my wedding accessories. So how do you give back to the people who have helped you? Maybe take them out for dinner, surprise them with something they’ve always wanted/needed, or do a good act to show your appreciation.
Have any of you learned similar lessons while engaged? Any lessons I didn’t mention? Comment below and let me know 🙂