This isn’t the regular adventures which I blog about but I figured that if getting engaged is anything to go by then getting married is going to be one of the biggest adventures yet!
On 29 September 2018, my boyfriend - Andy - proposed.
I was not prepared for getting engaged.
But before I explain why, you’re going to need to know about the leading man. Andy rarely features on my social media or blogs because he just isn’t really into that. He’s very much a “live in the moment” kind of guy and is possibly one of the kindest most genuine people I’ve ever met. Now, of course you’ll expect me to say that but I’m pretty proud to say it’s true. Andy is one of those people who is genuinely your favourite person to have at a party and is loved by everyone (this also means his guest list for the wedding is HUGE!)
We have been together for two and a half years and met through my sister and her husband (Andy’s best friend is my brother in-law’s brother)
Whilst we had talked about getting engaged I was not prepared for the overwhelm of actually being engaged and so now I’ve come out the other side I thought I’d share my tips to help you navigate.
1.You’ll want to keep that moment between yourselves for as long as possible
Getting engaged is a pretty precious moment and it’s really great at the start not to tell anyone. This is perhaps not what you’d expect, as you may have been planning to shout it from the roof tops. In reality, those first few hours (or in our case days) when not many people know were my favourite. When you get to point 3 you’ll understand why!
2. Expect everyone you tell to call
Looking back now I have been totally guilty of this in the past but on the other side it was unexpected. As soon as you start sending pictures of your newly jewelled left hand to your friends they will all call and want to know every moment. Not a bad thing by any accounts but you may want to space out telling your friends so that you can factor in the calls too.
3. You’ll suddenly feel overwhelmed with a lot of pressure
After the first round of congratulations the serious questioning begins. There suddenly seems to be some sort of mad rush to know all of the details. I am not one of those girls who had been planning their big day for years. In fact, I had barely given it too much thought but it seemed not to be a problem because everyone else had. I felt bombarded to share details which I didn’t have. When requests for the date were returned by an indifferent response by me I received messages from people providing their availability dates for next year (I kid you not!)
There seems to be a sense of urgency at the start and a lot of people want answers. It can actually put a lot of stress on a relationship which wasn’t there before.
4. Everyone will have an opinion
The more people I told the more suggestions I received. We should have a wedding abroad, we shouldn’t get married in a church, we should have a really small wedding. Be prepared for everyone to share their opinion and expect that you’ll accept it. The best way I’ve found to deal with the pressure is to smile sweetly and mentally move them to the ‘maybe’ guest list. However, some people are really passionate with their opinions. I don’t mean helpful ideas like sending links to places or themes for winter weddings (spoiler alert: we are planning a winter wedding). I mean that they will tell you straight out that any ideas that you do have are not right. I am struggling to work out who I should ask to be my bridesmaids. I have two sisters and Andy has one and I am very lucky to have been asked to be a bridesmaid by a number of my friends so I’m looking at having about 10 bridesmaids. I mentioned that as an idea a few times and it was completely shot down. I then suggested I would have none and that was not well received either. People are very passionate about weddings and how they think they should be. I’m pleased to say that we have listened to all of the advice and we are creating a day which we want. (We have some pretty exciting plans and I cannot wait to share them.)
5. Ignore the hype
In the first few months as a bride-to-be you'll feel overwhelmed and torn. You’ll be told time and time that it will be the best day of your life which therefore somehow justifies spending huge amounts of money. Try and stay true to yourself. Andy and I have different ideas of how our day could look and at times when we’ve discussed things I stopped and realised that the idea from the day had gotten so far from what I wanted that I wanted to stop and start again. I have learnt pretty quickly that the whole idea of a wedding has the ability to sweep everyone up and gain incredible momentum. It can quickly take over every waking minute and I can now see how it can cause arguments. Take time to step back every now and then and check that what you’re planning is what you want not something you’ve read in a magazine or been suggested by well intentioned family members.
6. You’ll need to start a spreadsheet
Despite the initial overwhelm I am feeling pretty calm and well-planned about getting married so far. I set up a spreadsheet with all of the key items in order to get everything written down in one place. It actually helped to get everything planned really quickly. I have a few different sheets; one page has the full guest list and another page has a list of everything we will need and a cost next to it. I am keen not to let the cost of the wedding spiral out of control and spend more than the average yearly salary on one day. I’ve found that it has been really helpful to put costs down early on so that we can work out which elements of the day are most important to us.
To help in the next planning stage you may want to take a look at this fab blog post by Nichola Ludlam-Raine aka Nic’s Nutrition who has shared how she planned her big day. Nic has some brilliant tips for making the day extra special. We have made lots of progress to planning our big day and I’m feeling relieved that it’s all been relatively straight forward so far.
I hope this has helped you feel a little less overwhelmed and ready to plan your big day. If you have any more tips for brides-to-be then I would really love to hear them!