Garrett and I have been engaged for five months now with about one and a half left. Wow, how times flies… and also crawls. Right now especially, it feels more like crawling. It’s difficult sometimes planning this one special day that feels like it will never come, like you’ve finally finished the wait to be engaged just to wait some more. But oh, how sweet it is. Honestly, one of the sweetest seasons of my whole life. And it took me awhile in to realize it, but this isn’t something I really want to rush.
The Lord has been teaching me a million things through being engaged. Mostly the ways that marriage reflects Him, what to do with my own shortcomings, what to do with Garrett’s shortcomings, how to love another person well, and how to love Him even more. He’s been teaching me a few practical things, too, some things that I’m glad I know now but wish I would’ve known on the front end of engagement and wedding planning. So, here’s to you, fiancés. Whether you’re engaged now, are about to be, or are dreaming to be, here’s a few things I’ve been learning and some advice I’d give to you:
Wedding planning shouldn’t be stressful
Hey type-a girls, did you hear that? Maybe read this one again just for good measure. I know I sure didn’t feel this way the first 2-3 months of planning. There were so many appointments, so many decisions, so many things on my to-do list, and I began to focus on getting it done instead of enjoying the ride. I can hear you now though: “Okay, Emma. That makes sense. But I can’t just stop being that way!” I thought that, too. But then, around month four or so, I became so tired that I just… stopped. And I think the key was realizing why I’m planning a wedding in the first place and all I really want in the end: to marry Garrett Wilson. If you’re stressing out over which caterer to go with or what color the tablecloths are going to be, just. stop. Remind yourself of why you’re doing all this. Let some things that just don’t matter go. Be open to things and go with your gut. Your day is going to be PERFECT if for no other reason than the fact that he’ll be waiting for you down the aisle.
2. People pleasing and wedding planning don’t mix
This is a hard one, because you’re going to feel obligated to make (insert guest count) people happy. You’re especially going to want to please your family and your wedding party. People are going to complain. People are going to have opinions. But if no one else tells you this but me, please believe me when I say: It is NOT selfish for you to do what you want to do, even if everyone else wants something different. We’ve become so accustomed to laying down our desires for the sake of another’s, and I am 100% for that. But. If there’s one day of your whole life where you really ought to make yourself really happy… it’s this one. So, let other people’s trivial complaints go, and you do you, girl.
3. Be ridiculously present
Not going to lie, I knew from the get-go that this would be difficult for me, but I think I’m doing a fairly okay job. When I say be present, I mean it in two ways. First, be present with your fiancé. You’re going to be tempted to spend a ton of your time together talking about the wedding. You’re also going to spend a lot of time complaining together about how slow the engagement is going by (guilty). But your wedding day is coming, and let me tell you, you’re going to spend more years than you can even fathom with this person. I had to learn a ton of patience here, but once I settled into it, I started complaining less and embracing this season with Garrett more. Dream a lot together. Talk about what you’re afraid of and what you’re excited for together. Because once it’s gone, you are (and I am) going to miss it. Second, be present as a single lady. I mean this to say: enjoy your space. Enjoy the quiet. Enjoy your friends and movie nights. Enjoy the extra room to spread out in your bed and having the sink to yourself in the morning. Don’t become so consumed with rushing this process that you miss the end of the only season you’ve ever known: singleness. It’s a dang good one, even though we give it a lot of flak sometimes.
4. Ask your people for help
Ahem, this is for you again, type-a girls. Wedding planning takes so. much. time. And honestly, as much as I know you probably want to control the entire process, it is okay to release a few things to your maid of honor or your mom or whoever in your life you trust with making decisions on your behalf. (S.O. to my fiancé, mom, and two MOHs for constantly asking what they can do for me). This doesn’t all have to be on you. It shouldn’t all be on you. It isn’t weak or selfish to ask for help. And more likely than not, they’re excited to be able to help their bride.
5. Be in close conversation with the Creator of marriage
There’s too much I could say here. Hard things will come with being engaged. Really hard things. You and your fiancé might argue. You’ll get overwhelmed sometimes, whether about the wedding itself or about becoming a wife. You’ll feel a little trapped in the waiting sometimes (Garrett likes to call engagement “purgatory”). And at the beginning, I wondered why this season that was supposed to be the sweetest seven months of my life was so dang hard. At first, I had to just come before the Lord with the weight of it all, sometimes without words altogether. But as He drew me in deeper and deeper, even in the difficulty, I came to this side of engagement, and He’s turned me around to see where I’ve come. Now, here, almost to our wedding day, He’s been speaking over me: I have been refining you. Refining you to be a wife. Refining you as a friend. Refining you as a woman. I never would’ve known that had I not come to Him, had I just continued wondering why. Ask him to refine you. Ask him to use what’s hard. Thank Him for all that’s sweet (because there’s a whole lot that’s sweet). Pray for your fiancé and yourself and your future marriage. God is pretty dang pumped for your marriage, too.
If you’re engaged or married, leave your advice below! Or if you’re engaged/about to be engaged, leave a prayer request below! I’d love to be praying for you through it.