1. Don’t get caught up in the details.
I cannot stress this enough. SO many people are going to tell you how fast your day will fly, and you are still not going to grasp it. My thought was, “but I am spending so much time planning! I will remember it.” Nope. Not even close. Everything was so surreal! You try to to hold on to every moment, but then a conversation, an old friend, or even breathing in your dress distracts you. You will not pay attention to how beautiful the flowers are because the people at the table are so much more important. You will take off your dress at the end of the day and spend two months figuring out where to put it.
The details are fun. They make it your wedding. Yet the minute they begin stressing you out, put them in their place. Let your friends, your mom, or your sister make decisions for you so you can place your focus elsewhere. You will enjoy your day so much more if you have spent your engagement preparing to become one with your husband rather than preparing the perfect day for your guests.
2. Accept the help offered.
While it can be so easy to do everything by yourself to keep from stressing others, allow your friends and family to help you. When the day was over, neither my family nor me ran out of money or felt overly stressed. This is largely because people offered to lend us things we would have had to buy otherwise. Family and friends I don’t usually get to see came the week before to shower me with assistance. My sister-n-law and brother-in-law traveled from so far to serve us. I felt so loved. Let them love you too.
3. Live in today.
Engagement is fun! You are popular for the entire time period, you always have lots to talk about, and you are enjoying the last few months in a life you have always known. Don’t live for the next stage of life. You have lots of time to live there. It is so important to plant your feet in the moments you have been given and use them rather than wish them away.
4. But prepare your heart for tomorrow.
Yet a time is coming where your feet will need to move along to the next stage. One conversation Austin and I had so many times was finding the balance between not living as if we were married, but still preparing to be married.
The transition to being a wife was so much easier after I had practiced responding to Austin in the way I hoped to as his wife. Or serving him in the way I hoped he would serve me as my husband. We both began speaking to one another more gently. We were more aware of how we treated the other. We prepared our hearts to be married while recognizing that it was not yet here.
5. Attend pre-marital counseling.
Not gonna lie… premarital counseling was arguably my favorite part of engagement. Let someone else tell you how it’s done! Our pastor spent hours walking us through situations we dealt with during engagement, teaching us how our hearts would change during marriage, encouraging us in ways to prepare our hearts for marriage, and helping us understand the beauty of the decision we were making. There is not a day that goes by that I do not so appreciate that wisdom granted.
6. Get recipes from your family members.
Seem random? It is. But it’s sweet. During the showers, my mom set out recipe cards that my friends and family hand wrote for me. I will cherish those hand-written recipe cards forever because they are personal, physical tokens from my loved ones.
Also, I now have the recipe for a bomb chess cake.
7. Spend time with your friends.
After getting married, I turned into an old woman. He comes home, we eat dinner together, we talk, we watch an episode of The Flash, and then we go to bed. I LOVE IT. My first priority is my husband. That being said, I so cherish the time I spend with my friends before we got married. Make memories. Grab brunch. Have movie nights and sleepovers and pool days. Love on them in these moments so they won’t doubt how much they mean once he is number one.
8. Get excited for the marriage.
Your wedding day will be the best day of your life thus far. But the wedding is not why there is a ring on your finger. You are committing to a lifetime relationship with the person you love most in this world. You are becoming a metaphor of Christ and the Church—the most physical reminder we have of God’s love. You will spend hours upon hours doing life with your best friend. You will not look back and say, “I wish I could do my wedding day again” because you will love your newfound covenant. The excitement should not rest in one day, but should await a lifetime of joy and love you have the opportunity to partake in.
I am so excited for you.