I feel like I've needed to write this for a while, but until now I hadn't found the time, the energy, or exactly the right words to explain the unique season of life that is being engaged. In the last 4 months since I had the amazing chance to say 'yes' to building a life with the man who brings me so much joy, I've felt too many emotions – some of which I can't even explain! From pure happiness to extreme feelings of exhaustion and sadness, they've all come and gone in waves.
Before I jump into it, let me say that in these last few months I've become even more sure that the best is yet to come for my life, for my relationship with Paul and for our shared future. This is an exciting, challenging time that has yielded so much growth and personal insight!
With big life changes come big life feelings.
When I shut the door to my little one bedroom Denver apartment for the final time in January, I knew it – I knew that that was the last time I would leave a home that was mine, and only mine, for the foreseeable rest of my life (WOAH). I wasn't even engaged yet - but my intuition knew better. Realizing that your life will now be combined with the one you love is so exciting – you honestly get to spend as much time together as you've always wanted! – but is also a major lifestyle shift for those gals like me who were completely foreign to cohabitation.
I moved across the country, started a brand-new-very-big-and-corporate job and got engaged all in the span of one month. To say that it was a season of change for me is an understatement! In all seasons of change, be sure to give yourself grace and be honest about your feelings. Paul was so awesome at listening to me as I gushed about how happy I was and in the same breath went off on a "but-it's-so-much-change-at-once-OMG" rant...on the daily!
You'll take a good, (very) hard look at your relationships.
As with all of life's big milestones, my eyes were quickly opened to the people in my life who were truly happy for us, and others...not so much. And that's OK! Relationships morph and mold over time, and engagements and weddings throw all of those changes under a magnifying glass – fast. I wanted my wedding party to be full of the women in my life who fully know me – the me now, and the me then. I realized that so many of my friends who I always swore would stand beside me on my day now only knew the shell of who I was in seasons past – in college, in my early career, in my bumbling intern days. No one is at fault – life simply pulled us in different directions, and sometimes you have to accept that and guard all of the great memories in your heart.
Finances come to the forefront.
Growing up, I never dreamed of getting married. Sure, I dreamed about having an amazing husband, a great job and a beautiful home, but the actual wedding? Not so much. So obviously, I was clueless to what a wedding typically costs. What a shock I was in for! Having the initial conversation with my parents about the cost of a wedding and if or how they could support us on this journey was difficult, but necessary, and I'm glad that we had it. We are unable to have your typical traditional wedding, which has come as a blessing in disguise. I'm not sharing details now, but I can't wait for the celebration that we are having, as well as where we are having it!
Don't let the costs of a wedding put a damper on your joy. I did for a short period of time, and I shouldn't have. I firmly believe that the most important part of your marriage isn't the day you say 'I Do,' but every day that follows when you will intentionally continue choosing each other and pouring respect, love and honor into your marriage.
Everyone will have an opinion - learn to sound 'em out.
The venue, the date, even the time of your ceremony. It seems that once details of the wedding begin to come together, everyone will have an opinion on what you're doing for your day and how you're doing it. Learn how to sound out all of these conflicting messages and stay true to what you and your fiancé want for your day.
When I went dress shopping, it only took three dresses for me to find the one for me – I instantly knew it was for me. However, my mom was dead set that I go with her favorite – what she calls the "Downton Abbey Dress," which will forever be burned into my memory as a garment with way too much beading that was instantly itchy as soon as it grazed my skin. She was pleading with me to get said dress – she would even pay for it! I stood my ground and went for a more simple, "me" option, which I couldn't be more happy with.
Chances are your family loves you just like mine does, and only wants to offer their opinion to help you! However, if you find that the unsolicited advice is stressing you out or clouding your vision for your day, take a step back and carve out time to clear your head before making any big decision.