This past weekend I pulled this dress out of its clean, white box where it has been wrapped up and preserved. I am all for reminiscing and it sure did bring back many memories, thoughts, and feelings. If I am going to be real, I put it on and had a little tear. Then my hubby and I danced in the kitchen to our first dance song and watched our wedding videos (cue all the tears).
As I begin this journey with ESP brides soon, I wanted to share 6 important things that I learned throughout our engagement that might encourage you in yours!
1. Make time for date nights.
This could be the most important thing in my mind. There are so many details to plan out, showers to attend, life that goes on outside of the wedding planning, and there needs to be a time where you spend time being just YOU. Plan a date and promise not to talk about the wedding. This time can be so refreshing for both you and allows you to remember, amidst the chaos of planning, why you are in this together for the long haul. The details and planning can really become your life if you aren't careful. So bottom line, have a stopping point and stick to it - I promise it will be so beneficial!
2. Grab hold of your friends & find a friend in the same stage of life.
I wouldn't have made it with my sanity if I didn't try to focus on my friends. Y'all, think about all that a friend does in a bride's life. Your friend comes alongside of you in your excitement, they attend showers, give you gifts to start your home with, go to a bachelorette party, spend money on a dress and all other girl things that day; they stand up at the altar next to you watching you marry your best friend. Hold on tight to them! It is so easy to forget how valuable they are to you when you are only focused on your wedding, marriage, and soon to be hubby. These are all great things but remember your ladies - they will remember this and you are able to return the favor later when each of them gets married. Secondly, try to find a friend who is in the same stage of life as you. This is good for many seasons because it allows you to bounce ideas off each other, be frustrated together, be excited for each other, and just simply understand the other on a deeper level. I didn't have a friend in the engagement season at the same time but I had a best friend that had been through it all just a year or two before and she was my go to about all the things, as you can imagine.
And hey - while we are being real, BE THAT FRIEND for someone else. The biggest thing I learned in the engagement and wedding season of life was to sacrifice for friends. You may want to go to the beach one weekend but your bride friend needs you to attend a shower, needs you to drive to help her out, wants you there for every moment to feel even more special. I will NEVER forget the sacrifices friends and family made and Devin & I promised afterwards that whenever it was our turn to be the 'friends' in those seasons that we would do all we could to be there no matter the sacrifice.
3. Thank your man!
Girls, let's just be honest and remember that you WILL be way more into the planning than your future husband will. He may say that he wants to be involved and that is amazing, but you know him so watch him and don't let him be too overwhelmed. He will eventually get lost in all of the details, throw his hands up, and say 'whatever you want baby'. Listen to that and don't push him, keep him excited about everything. He won't mind being surprised a little bit on the big day. He is nervous, excited, anxious, pretty much all the things you are feeling too. Thank him for all he did to plan your engagement - that is about more than his brain could handle for planning! Thank him for his help along the way, thank him for being YOURS.
4. Don't rush the time.
I know how you feel. I know there is a countdown on your phone, on your computer, on your mirror, everywhere you turn. You are EXCITED and you should be! As much as you want those numbers to be in single digits and the day to be approaching, slow down. This season has so much to learn. As you can see, I learned just a couple things! :) The devil will come at you from every angle - creating tension between the two of you, causing arguments, losing sleep, friendships on the rocks, you name it. He sees two people committing their life to Jesus together and he doesn't like it. So take things slow, lean into Jesus, and learn from this time. You will not regret it, you will not look back and say 'man, I wish that time had gone faster'. You have the perfect amount of time for you and if you step back and look closely, you will see things you never would have seen.
5. Pour out your love and gratitude to your family.
Your family is sending their girl away to share you with another family. They will be at EVERY SINGLE EVENT. They will be smiling, loving you, excited for you. They will bring gifts, encouragement, hugs. They may have been there before or they might be learning & watching you. This is a special moment for them, too. Love them back and thank them for being right by your side at every moment, being just that, family.
6. Ultimately, be excited!
When you get to where I am one day, you pull out that dress and think back on all of the memories (probably even shed a few tears), nothing will be better than that moment. Enjoy every second, bride. We are all here for you and cheering you on!