It’s that time of year again; the time when we leave old things behind and start fresh. While it’s been a long time since I’ve made a New Year’s resolution (I usually pick a word for the year), this year seemed like the time to revisit the tradition of making a list of resolutions. And while New Year’s resolutions and wedding planning may not seem to go hand-in-hand, applying goals to your time of engagement can really help alleviate stress. So, without further ado, here is my list of resolutions for the newly engaged.
If there is one piece of advice, I could give you it would be to not rush the process. This time should be one that you look back on fondly. Stressing out because you were trying to cram too much into too little time, isn’t worth it. When you’re choosing your wedding date, consider what type of celebration you want to have and how much time it will take to achieve the wedding of your dreams.
Speaking of not rushing, take baby steps. Make a list of what needs to be done; then tackle one thing at a time. Depending on your schedule, that could mean arranging one new aspect of the wedding each week, or each month. Flexibility is also important. Perhaps one item on your checklist is stressing you out, consider swapping it with something that you find enjoyable (i.e. swapping narrowing down your guest list for learning your first dance).
Let’s be honest, not many of us love talking about money. But, when you’re planning a wedding (and your life together), the budget is extremely important. I know when something is the most expensive thing in a store because my eyes immediately gravitate towards it. (Who doesn’t love luxury?) But, I’ve learned my limitations. Now, I translate my expensive taste into a tasteful way to shop the clearance section. Deciding which parts of the wedding are most important to you can help you decide how to allocate your budget. If you aren’t a big foodie but LOVE looking back at memories, consider spending less money on the food so that you can allocate more for your photographs or wedding video. If music is important to you but flowers aren’t, carry a silk bouquet and then spend the savings on a great local DJ. The wedding is all about you as a couple and working together to make the wedding budget can help you prioritize what’s important to you both.
Okay, I know, we all start talking about diets and exercise in January. I’m not here to tell you what to eat or how to exercise (as evidenced by the fact that I’ve already had Mexican food five times in the last week) but getting healthy during this time of engagement and wedding planning can be a great goal/resolution. Remember, getting healthy doesn’t only relate to food and exercise (though couples yoga videos are hysterical to watch on YouTube), but also to strengthening your relationship. From finding things you can do together (hmm, couples yoga?) to scheduling your pre-marital therapy sessions, use this time to get healthy individually and together.
Marriages are about bringing two people (and two families) together. Use this time to remember and honor where you came from. Talk to your family members about your history and consider ways to incorporate that history into your wedding day. My go-to for good advice (Good Housekeeping) quotes author Dan Buettner as saying, “In happy and long-lived cultures, people often display items from their families’ pasts… They remember and honor where they come from. We find that in happier cultures around the world, folks feel like part of a continuum.” Good Housekeeping suggests hanging a grandparents’ wedding portrait or incorporating family memorabilia into your life (or wedding).
This time of planning your life together is so special. Consider keeping a journal that you can look back on in future years. As Good Housekeeping notes (see, I told you it was my go-to) in their list of New Year’s Resolutions, writing things down helps you shift your perspective. As you begin to stress and worry, writing out your feelings and experiences helps you let go of the stress and focus on the things to enjoy. Also, consider using this time to write letters to your spouse that you can give to them on the wedding day. The written word is so powerful and can be an incredibly thoughtful (and free) wedding gift.
The whole point of making resolutions for your engagement time is to enjoy this special season with your future spouse. So, don’t keep it to yourself. Share your resolutions/goals with your significant other and work on them together. You are in the final stages of your singleness and preparing for a life with this person; there is no better time to start than now.
Honestly, I’ve never been the biggest fan of resolutions because I’ve struggled to keep them. So, when I was introduced to the idea of creating a word for the year, I jumped on it. For the last 8 years, I’ve selected a word that has acted as a reminder of where I want to focus and grow. Now that I’ve been away from making resolutions for so long, I think I can come back to the tradition with a new perspective. Resolutions aren’t much more than setting goals (and I am all about goal setting). And having a partner to help keep those goals can make them fun, and even more attainable.