written by annette furio
photography by off path photography
The inspiration behind The Engagement Journal came from challenges in the engagement season experienced by many couples.
“Time is going by too quickly (or slowly). I’m dealing with a rollercoaster of emotions and difficult family dynamics. I really just want to be done with it all and off to my honeymoon!”
Do any of these sound familiar?
It’s no secret that planning a wedding is taxing on your health—sometimes both physically and mentally. We’d like to provide four foundations that can help center you when this season becomes less than glamorous. We want to make sure that your personal health and relationship health are strengthened, not diminished, during this exciting season of life.
Foundation 1 /
set expectations & boundaries around decision-making
Many difficult moments in wedding planning stem from the number of people involved in each decision. The higher the number, the higher the complication and stress. Wrangling a group can be a full-time job (enter your wedding planner!). Even when the decision solely falls on you and your partner, things can still become overwhelming. One way to mitigate this stress is to talk about decision-making at the beginning of your wedding planning process.
- How will we make final decisions?
- Who gets to be included in the big decisions?
- What will we do when we’re at a crossroads or have differing opinions?
- Will we let our wedding planner make the final decision?
- How will we handle well-meaning family/friends who want to be involved in decisions?
The sooner you establish your answers and boundaries around those questions, the stronger your decision-making will be, especially under pressure.
Foundation 2 /
practice a self-care ritual
You’ve read about it before and you’ll read about it again. Self. Care. Is. Important. But here’s the catch—it’s the first thing to go out the door when you are busy and overwhelmed. Trust me, I’m also writing this for myself. So it’s important to make this a ritual, a routine, a part of your daily life that you don’t compromise easily. If you can give yourself 10-20 minutes a day, making a routine out of it, you will be able to come back to this practice when you feel out of sorts. Here are some ideas:
- Get fresh air. Walk to a park near your house. Sit on your porch or patio.
- Read a book, a magazine, a cookbook. Reading Instagram captions does not count.
- Turn off your phone for 10 minutes. That’s right – power all the way down.
- Take a bath or shower, and stay just a little longer than usual.
- Take a walk around the block. Listen to a podcast, music, or just the sounds around you.
- Free write in your journal or type in an app for 10 minutes. Don’t hold back.
- Practice a 10-minute guided meditation. There are many great free ones on YouTube.
These are things that are low-commitment that you can do every day without causing much disruption in your busy day. You just have to make a promise to yourself that it is not something you’re willing to compromise.
Foundation 3 /
nurture your relationship with your partner
There may come a point in your wedding planning when all you seem to talk about is the wedding, or some event surrounding your wedding or engagement. If you have a shorter engagement, it may seem like there is a decision that needs to be made every week, and it’s easy to feel like you’re falling behind.
It’s important to be very intentional about setting aside a day—maybe a dinner, a walk or a night out—where you connect as a couple. Use our conversation prompts to talk about your past, your future, your hopes and dreams together, or simply what happened that day. There are a lot of “business decisions” to be made during your engagement, but this is not solely a “business relationship.” Don’t forget to nurture your relationship by showing one another love and appreciation through the way they receive love best.
Foundation 4 /
put things in perspective
This is probably the hardest thing to do for most humans. Culture (read: social media) puts a silly amount of pressure on everyone, including couples who are planning their “best day ever.” It has to be the BEST, right!? There is always a little danger putting singular moments on such a pedestal—what if something goes wrong, what if it’s not what I thought it would be, what if, what if, what if.
A healthy dose of perspective here goes a long way. Your wedding day is not your marriage. Yes—it is the “official start” to this next season of your life, but the foundations that brought you here probably started well before your wedding day and will last well afterwards. And yes—it’s allowed to be beautiful and magical and filled with people from your life that you love. Just remember where you and your partner came from and where you are going. Your engagement season is just that—a season—a finite amount of time that can be used to either fall in line with the pressures of social media, or for strengthening your relationship and celebrating your love every step of the way.