Tag Archive for: Wedding Planning

11 Things NOT To Do When Planning A Wedding

Keep your focus by avoiding these things.

So you’re planning a wedding. Everyone from family and friends to social media is giving you advice so your day can be all that you could ever dream of. Plus, there are a ton of tips and lists out there of all you should do to make your wedding day perfect and memorable. It can be overwhelming.

We’ve got some of those list and blogs, too. But our goal is to help you avoid things that lessen the wedding planning experience and negatively affect the marriage. 

Here are 11 things NOT to do when planning a wedding.

1. Don’t assume you know how much everything costs.

Everyone says, “Set a budget and stick to it.” Do you know why that’s hard? Have you ever planned a wedding before? When I got married 17 years ago, I had no idea what venues, catering, photographers, gifts, etc., cost. Yes, know what you can spend. That’s important. Don’t decide how much you’ll spend without finding out what a reasonable cost is.

2. Don’t neglect your mental health.

When the urgent is always getting prioritized over the important, then the important gets neglected. YOU are important. Wedding planning can be super stressful. Don’t overlook doing fun stuff, relaxing, exercising, and “me” time.

3. Don’t neglect your fiancé.

Pay attention to their mood, stress, and attitude. How are wedding preparations affecting your fiancé? Are they taking care of themselves? Are you showing them you want to be with them?

4. Don’t forget: The wedding celebration is one day. Marriage is hopefully forever.

The quality of the wedding does not reflect the quality of your marriage. I’ve gone to picture-perfect weddings of couples who were divorced within three years.

5. Don’t ignore red flags.

Are you and your fiancé having trouble compromising? Are they unwilling to listen? Don’t brush off warning signs just because you think it’s part of wedding prep. Marriage brings about potentially stressful situations. Address relational issues now. Assuming they will go away “just because” may set you up for disappointment later.

6. Don’t succumb to the comparison game.

Whether you’ve looked at other weddings, social media, the movies, etc., your wedding is your wedding. Your marriage will be unique, and so should your wedding. Don’t aspire to have the wedding someone else dreams of. Live your own dream.

7. Don’t neglect premarital preparation.

Premarital education enhances the likelihood of satisfaction and less conflict in your marriage. Research backs this up. Don’t take the approach, “I don’t need premarital education.” We offer a great online preparing for marriage course here.

8. Don’t start planning your escape.

Once you get married, you’ve got to go all-in. If you’re already preparing for what happens if the marriage doesn’t work out, you’re more likely to utilize that plan at some point.

9. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

You’ll forget stuff, and you’ll misplace things. You will think you told someone something you didn’t. You’ll envision something one way and then realize how crazy it was. Laugh at yourself. No marriage is perfect, and weddings aren’t either. The goal of a wedding is to get married, not to have a perfect ceremony.

10. Don’t neglect date nights.

Is there so much to do that you don’t have time to go on dates with your spouse-to-be? If so, something needs to be scaled back, delegated, or dropped.

11. Don’t try to do it all yourself.

Figure out how family and friends can help, and delegate. Part of the joy of those relationships is helping each other.

Let’s face it, planning a wedding is probably one of the biggest parties we’re ever in charge of. 

I used the word “party” intentionally. Parties are meant to be fun and memorable even if they can be a lot of work, time-consuming, and stressful. Staying focused on the purpose of the wedding instead of perfection can help you find more joy as you get ready for the party.


E.B. Fawcett, A.J. Hawkins, V.L. Blanchard, & J.S. Carroll, “Do premarital education programs really work? A meta‐analytic study,” Family Relations, 59 (2010): 232-239; S.M. Stanley, P.R. Amato, C.A. Johnson, H.J. Markman, “Premarital education, marital quality, and marital stability: Findings from a large, random household survey,” Journal of Family Psychology, 20 (2006): 117-126.

Your wedding was not the most important day in your marriage. Today is.

What if I could tell you about the future of your marriage? For the moment, let’s say I can. (Because I can.) Brace yourself, my newlywed friend. I come from over 25 years in the future of your marriage. What do you want to know?

This isn’t some Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban or The Time Traveler’s Wife kinda stuff. This is way better. See, I’ve been married for over 27 years, and I’m neck-deep in marriage research. I stuffed all that in my time machine and set the coordinates for your present.

I’ve got five bold reveals about what your future marriage holds. Ready?

5. You’ll begin to take your spouse for granted.

This is a human nature thing. The newness wears off. You’ll settle into routines. The ordinariness of life inevitably sets in. You’ll start to expect your spouse to know and do things. 

I don’t wanna get into time travel paradoxes and whatnot, but you can avoid this future. One researcher advises three ways to NOT take your spouse for granted:

  • Reunite well after being apart. (Big hug and kiss. I missed you! How was your day?
  • Have a few minutes of focused communication each day. (How are you doing? Anything I can do for you? Anything you want to talk about?
  • Practice gratitude and thankfulness for your spouse daily. (And not just for what they do, but for who they are as a person and how they demonstrate love to you.)

4. You’ll discover that you (and your spouse) need individual time alone.

It may be difficult to believe right now, but in the future, you and your spouse are gonna need some time alone to take care of yourselves. This time recharges your batteries and helps your mind, heart, and body stay healthy. You’re gonna need to hang out with quality friends that encourage you and refresh you. Your spouse needs the same. This will have to be a priority that you plan, or it probably won’t happen. This individual alone time will enrich your time together as a couple and deepen your marriage.

3. You’ll have sex less frequently, but it’ll be more satisfying.

There will be seasons in your marriage when you’ll have more sex, and sometimes, less. This is totally normal and lines up with a lot of research. The flip side is that sex itself will be way more fulfilling. Sex with someone who is committed and works to nurture intimacy with your mind, heart, AND body is GREAT SEX. Put your focus there. Ultimately, you and your spouse should have as much sex as you both want and need to have. You’ll understand that sex is one of your ongoing conversations in your marriage.

2. You’ll fight a lot (especially the first few years), but you’ll learn to fight better. 

Living with someone is hard, even someone you love dearly. You and your spouse are two different individuals. Yes, you got married and formed a team, but that didn’t make your individual differences evaporate. Living together, you’ll see each other’s “real” self more clearly. You’ll hit a season when that cute thing they do isn’t so cute anymore. You’ll face decisions and have different perspectives and priorities. And you’ll find out some of your goals don’t quite line up. This is the stuff of marriage. Arguments, fights, and debates will ensue. All. Perfectly. Normal.

You can totally learn how to fight more effectively. Take turns speaking and listening. Don’t escalate with volume, tone, body language, or sarcasm and mean-spirited comments. No bringing up past healed wounds. Make sure you keep the problem, the problem—not the person. Fight for your spouse, not about your spouse. Fight for your marriage, not about it.

Work toward compromise, not winning. Now your future looks so bright!

1. Your wedding was not the most important day in your marriage. Today is.

Time looped full circle from the first line! It’s that important. Learn lessons from the past. Maybe forgive and let go of it. Let it inspire trust and security. The future? Plan for it. Look forward to it. But realize today is all you’ve got. Be in the moment with your spouse. There’s no time travel. There’s just today.

I’ve gotta scoot. There’s a newlywed in Boise who thinks her new husband will never pick his friends over her. Gotta hurry!

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***


Do I Have Post-Wedding Blues?

Don’t beat yourself up over the blues; just beat ‘em.

“Post-Wedding Blues” are absolutely a thing. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. And definitely don’t feel bad for feeling them. You don’t need to be worried or secretly guilt-ridden. 

“Blues” are totally understandable. And you can get your head around your heart. Check this out… 

Which of these television couples were you just hoping could make it happen?

  • Ross & Rachel – Friends (“We were on a break!”) 
  • Summer & Seth – The O.C. (That upside-down Spider-Man kiss!)
  • Luke & Lorelai – Gilmore Girls (We knew they loved more than coffee.)
  • Cory & Topanga – Boy Meets World (Aww… Thank goodness for Mr. Feeny!)
  • Jim & Pam – The Office (Rooting. From. Episode. One.)

This is the old “will they or won’t they” television trope. And we eat it up! Two characters that we, the viewers, just know in our hearts should be together forever, but they just can’t. As we hope, they circle each other across episodes and seasons. We’re rooting for them as they overcome obstacles, differences, rivals, or wait on Fate, Destiny… or the series finale. You can slice the chemistry and sexual tension with an iPad. Then, finally! They get to be together! Or don’t. (Lookin’ at you Dawson’s Creek.) 

★ But here’s the thing, sometimes after our favorite couple finally gets together, the big huge buildup leaves us feeling a weird combo of relief and sadness. We’re happy, but we miss the anticipation. If their relationship isn’t all fireworks afterward, we can feel disappointed. With some shows, after the couple finally makes it happen and the big buildup has evaporated, we wonder if we should have binge-watched four seasons, and we feel some regret.

Sounds kinda like “Post-Wedding Blues.” (Please revisit that last paragraph with that in mind.)

Just like you can catch some Post-Favorite-Television-Couple-Finally-Got-Together Blues, it’s normal to catch some unexpected emotions in the weeks and months after the wedding. Your real-life favorite couple finally got together! But you’re feeling some… stuff. It’s as common as Ross not being able to get out of his own way.

Honest Question:

Is it possible you were consumed by months (years) of buildup? You’re busy planning your wedding, riding the rush from checking things off your list, and drenched in anticipation—you just weren’t quite prepared for the marriage after the wedding

You might have created sitcom “happily ever after” expectations, and then “Reality TV” busts in with jobs, bills, routines, and the averageness of everyday life. Settling in can feel like settling.

How To Beat The Blues:

  1. Talk to your spouse. They could be feeling some similar things. Normalizing it helps neutralize it. This is an excellent opportunity to grow together as you work together.
  2. Look back. Remind yourself of what first attracted you to your spouse. What made you think your relationship could be special? Scroll through those pics and videos.
  3. Look ahead. Start planning date nights and your own traditions. Now is the time to think about the marital legacy you’re working toward.
  4. Look around. Rethink your routines. The “average, ordinary” stuff is lowkey the best part of being married. How can you seize “everyday” moments and soak them in as you connect with your spouse?

Don’t beat yourself up over the blues; just beat ‘em. Your marriage will be its own Netflix-worthy dramedy streaming ahead of you in Hi-Res glory. Binge it up. Or, as Pam puts it in the final line of the last episode of The Office, “There’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn’t that kind of the point?” (That’s what she said.)

Check these out:

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

You said, “Yes!” Congrats! Now, the planning begins. Where to start? The venue, music, big or small wedding, indoor or outdoor, caterer, DJ or band, wedding cake, dress, tux, bridesmaids, groomsmen… OH MY! 

Lots of preparation for the big day, but what about preparation for the marriage?

What can you do to focus on the lifetime together after you say, “I do?” 

These do’s and don’ts for engaged couples can help you think about preparing for #marriedlife:


  • Do take a premarital course. We accept driver’s ed and hours of supervised practice as part of the responsibility of operating an automobile. Marriage has more curves than any road you’ll ever drive. A premarital course will cover topics you may not have discussed yet, such as children, in-laws, finances, and intimacy. You may not get all your questions answered, but you’ll start the conversation. Check out our Preparing for Marriage Online Course.
  • Do seek out a mentor couple. Seek out a couple who has the marriage you want. Couples who’ve been married at least 10 years have experienced ups and downs and have navigated some tough topics. You may quickly learn their “perfect marriage” has taken lots of dings and isn’t as perfect as you perceive, but it is healthy and thriving. Learn from experienced couples that share your values.
  • Do talk about expectations for your marriage. A giant pothole for couples is unmet expectations. These are often unmet because couples never discuss them. Don’t assume your soon-to-be spouse can read your mind. I hate to tell you, but they can’t—and never will. Communicate your expectations clearly and often.
  • Do evaluate your habits. Ask yourself the question, “Am I ready to be a spouse?” Are there bad habits you have that you need to ditch before the big day? If you’re unsure whether you have any habits to address, ask those closest to you for honest feedback. Check out this blog for more info on preparing yourself for marriage.
  • Do look for ways to care for one another. Marriage requires a mindset shift. It’s no longer about me; it’s about we. I’m not saying you lose yourself. I’m just saying there’s a bigger picture in play now that you’re married. By helping your significant other, you are focusing on “we.” When we put the needs of our spouse above our own, intimacy and connection grow.


  • Don’t forget to make the relationship a priority. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the wedding. Don’t let your connection get lost in the busyness. Once the guests have gone, the relationship remains.
  • Don’t just plan for the wedding; plan for the marriage. You’re working hard to prepare for the wedding; make time to talk about your dreams and expectations for your marriage. Grab some coffee and have some marriage-centric conversations.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously. My wife and I laugh a lot and sometimes at each other. You both are gonna have quirks that you’ll find funny– and sometimes not. Marriage requires a sense of humor. Have fun with each other! Laughter makes the heart grow fonder.
  • Don’t stop working on your marriage. A healthy marriage takes effort. Always look for ways to pour into each other and your relationship. Just like a car requires maintenance, so does your marriage. Easy maintenance is to keep dating your spouse. Put a regular date night on the calendar and make it a priority.
  • Don’t forget marriage is a partnership. You aren’t partners in a small business named, “Family, Inc.” You are life partners. You are each bringing different backgrounds, strengths, weaknesses, perspectives, opinions, and quirks into this partnership. Allow those differences to complement, not compete.

Marriage is exciting and fun, but it’s even better when you are intentional about investing in each other and your relationship. These do’s and don’ts for engaged couples will help you both avoid problems before they start as well as build a strong foundation for the issues you can’t even foresee. As you prepare for the wedding, don’t forget to invest today in your marriage.

When you marry the love of your life, they bring so many different things to the table for the two of you to share. Their personality, adoration for you, commitment, maybe some furniture or experience with things you don’t know how to do. And don’t get me wrong—this sounds lovely (and it is…) until one of the things they bring to the table are in-laws. If you’re honest, it’s possible you aren’t crazy about your future in-laws, to put it politely. In fact, you’ve decided what you want to bring to the table in your relationship is an extra table 😡 … one that doesn’t always have seats for the future in-laws… but that’s not really the solution. (And don’t assume that your fiancé doesn’t have any issues with YOUR parents.)

It’s okay to not be fond of your fiancé’s parents, but you also have to be okay with them being a part of your lives in some capacity. You can’t marry your fiancé without also understanding you are essentially marrying into their family. So let’s put together a game plan so when the visits begin, you won’t be nervous to pull up a chair to the table!

What to Do When You Aren’t Crazy About Your Future In-Laws:

1. Talk about your concern with your fiancé.

If it hasn’t come up already, be honest with your fiancé about your concerns and why you feel they’re important. Also, consider the possibility of your fiancé not being crazy about your parents either! Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are they interfering with your relationship?
  • Do they say things that hurt your feelings or rub you the wrong way? 
  • Is it that you don’t like them or don’t get along with them?
  • Do they point out every little thing you do differently or “wrong?”

The least you can do is invite an honest conversation to try and clear up any potential misunderstandings. If you’ve never really gotten along with your fiancé’s parents, ask your fiancé to talk to them on your behalf. Try to get to the bottom of what they’re feeling or what could be misinterpreted. Perception is reality until you get a different perspective. This would be a great place to start before any serious decisions of how to allocate your time are made. 

✦ The two of you will form your own family once you’re married and you have to make decisions based on what’s best for your family (the two of you) before anyone else. When you’ve decided what to do for the holidays, for drop-ins, like calling before, use “we” statements and each of you should tell your own set of parents. In doing so, you protect your future spouse from getting thrown under the bus or having your parents put blame on your new spouse!

2. Set Boundaries Early-On.

If you know your in-laws have a knack for being overbearing, giving unsolicited advice, criticizing things you two enjoy, and even guilt trips you by saying things like, “If you lived closer we could have dinner more,” or “It’s a shame you don’t have enough time for us.” Prepare yourselves and have a plan in place. This is why the first step is to talk about your concerns with your fiancé, to get it all out there so making a plan will be easier! 

You don’t have to live in the Anticipation Zone; you have an opportunity to decide with your future spouse what the relationship with your future in-laws will look like and entail. The two of you need to talk about what the relationship expectations are for them, what you want the relationship to look like, and then work toward meeting a compromise. For example, calling before you/they stop by. Or, it could go from seeing them weekly to calling weekly and having a meal together once a month. You could trade off holidays, family vacations, or maybe decide to just see them a few times a year and send cards. 

However you decide to make it work, decide that’s how it’ll be for now, but leave room for the relationship to change. It’s possible in the future you’ll want (or be okay with) more or less time together. The last thing you want is extra stress, drama, or tension in your marriage because of your in-laws. The two of you need to come together and figure out the best way to have the least drama and tension.

Here are some great topics to get the conversation going:

  • How much time will you spend with them?
  • Topics that are off limits for discussion.
  • How you allow (or won’t allow) their behavior to impact you.
  • How do you honestly feel about my parents?

3. Location, location, location.

If you both know your future in-laws are the type to drop by, overstay their welcome, or cross boundaries like finish lines, then it may be a sign to move somewhere that makes it less of a possibility. Travel time is a great buffer. Normally, if you live further away, you have to make a plan before you see each other. This is great news because it gives you the space to prepare mentally and physically for a visit. Plus, it’s much easier to suggest coming for just a weekend every so often than feeling the pressure if you live nearby to have weekly meals. (This could be difficult because of work or school situations, but it is something to keep in mind. Downside: Less free babysitting for date nights.)

At the end of the day, you and your soon-to-be spouse will come to a compromise, and compromises sometimes include sacrifices. On the big day, you’re committing your life to them, for better or for worse, and promising to make it work. And making it work takes work! But it’s worth it when the love of your life encourages you, pushes you toward your best self, helps you realize your dreams, and has committed the same things as you. You’re about to be your own family!! Good luck, and I hope you both find the balance that works best for your relationship.

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Engagement season is upon you—congrats, by the way!! With the pretty ring comes some planning, excitement, questions, and ultimately preparing for marriage! With that being said, here are 5 tips to help newly engaged couples thrive during the engagement season:

1. Have the big conversations before you’re deep into planning.

If you haven’t already, make sure you and your fiancé are on the same page about big-ticket items by having intentional conversations. Things like whether or not you want kids, job/career expectations, finances, how you handle conflict, spirituality/religion you want to carry forward, etc. 

Here’s a great blog to walk you through why each of those is important! You’re making a wonderful lifelong commitment.  Reminding each other you’re on the same page (or finding out that you’re not) with these things can help you decide what’s best for you both in the long run. Also, consider some sort of marriage preparation to enrich your relationship! We have an online preparing for marriage course you should really check out! (And, if you live in WV, TN, GA or FL, it will qualify you for a hefty discount on your marriage license. Cha-ching!)

5 tips for newly engaged couples

2. Decide how long you want your engagement to be.

Before you worry about picking a date, consider what’s best for your relationship. Long or short engagement? Is there a particular season you want to get married? What’s going on in your life currently that could affect when you can get married? If you’re not sure how long you should be engaged, you can read research-based reasons for both a long and short engagement here.

3. Discuss your budget for the wedding.

This will affect how many people you’ll invite to your wedding, the location, and may even help you decide on a date. If you’re paying for the wedding yourselves, the length of your engagement may reflect the time it’ll take to save. Remember, this day marks the beginning of a lifetime together. You want to start out on the right foot. Because finances can be one of the main sources for conflict in marriage, consider planning a beautiful day that doesn’t leave you or your loved ones in debt. This may sound crazy, but U.S. weddings cost an average of $33,900 in 2019, including all the expenses related to the engagement ring, ceremony, and reception, according to the latest Real Weddings study from The Knot. So, remember, the cost of your wedding doesn’t reflect how successful your marriage will be.

4. Make time for quality time.

As I’m sure you’ve been told and can imagine, planning your wedding can become time-consuming, a conversation hog, and, to top it off—overwhelming. If you feel stressed, irritable, or unusually short-tempered with your fiancé, it’s probably time to do something other than talk about the future and hash out the details. Your wedding day is a celebration of your relationship! It’s sooooo important not to put your relationship on the back burner. So, make spending quality time together a priority. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but doing things to help you take your mind off of wedding planning will be helpful for sure. Check out this link for some great ideas! 

5. Don’t assume—ask!

You and your fiancé are in this thing together. Just because you know them best doesn’t mean you know everything they want or you can accurately anticipate all of their opinions. I’ll be the bearer of bad news: getting married won’t make you mind readers either. Everyone likes to feel heard and likes what they have to say to be valued. It’s possible you two have very similar ideas when it comes to your dream day, but just to be safe, talk about it. Each of you write down your dreams for what you want your wedding to be like, then compare notes and find places to compromise. You’ll find out not long after you’re married how important it is to invite the middle ground into your relationship.

This is an exciting season for you and your relationship! Don’t let the details get the best of you; instead give your best to each other and take it one step at a time. This is just the beginning of a beautiful life together. Cheers, for the best is yet to come!

4 Ways To Practice Self-Care While Planning A Wedding

Show up feeling better than ever on your big day!

If you want your best self to show up on your best day ever, practicing self-care while planning your wedding should be at the top of your to-do list. Planning a day that is ultimately about 8 hours but signifies a lifelong commitment can be stressful, I’ll be the first to admit it, having planned my own wedding. Stress can take a toll on a person and affect your relationship with your soon-to-be spouse, so to get your marriage off on the right foot, let’s get you taken care of!

4 Ways to Practice Self-Care While Planning a Wedding:

1. Set aside a day when you don’t wedding plan.

It’s important that the engagement season doesn’t drain all of your attention. You and your fiancé need to spend quality time with each other. You’re getting married because you’ve fallen in love and see a life together. The energy you felt while dating can continue into engagement season and throughout your marriage if you prioritize your relationship first—I mean it is what your wedding day is celebrating after all! Here’s a great blog with simple ideas to spend quality time together during the wedding season.

2. Delegate tasks.

I know this is a hard one—especially because you know the vision in your head and making the list of everything that needs to get done sounds just as scary as doing them. BUT if you make a list, I can almost guarantee you’ll find there are little things some of your wedding party or family can help with. Delegating some of the more mundane time-suckers would allow you to pencil in some self-care. Things like: collecting addresses, addressing envelopes, designing the wedding program, calling floral shops for pricing, etc. 

3. Cut yourself some slack and take it one day at a time.

Try not to be so hard on yourself or your fiancé. With the stress of planning a perfect day, a bump in the road can sneak its way into looking like a mountain. There will be things that don’t go as planned, have to be re-thought or rearranged, and that’s just a part of the process! Don’t take on the stress of planning the wedding as a whole—only take on the next task.

Making a list not only helps you delegate but it can help you navigate what needs to be done. Give yourself a timeline with your to-do list and only look at what’s next on the list after you check something off. Wedding planning can be overwhelming, but when you give yourself the chance to take it one task at a time rather than planning the whole thing at once, you’ll feel better. (Let’s be honest, checking things off a list feels good—so make it lots of little checks!)

4. Focus on your overall health.

A great self-care practice is being mindful of your body. Check-in with yourself:

  • Am I getting enough sleep?
  • How’s my mental health?
  • Am I expressing my feelings?
  • Am I…
    • Nourishing my body?
    • Drinking enough water?
    • Being present when I’m with my fiancé?
    • Being active or exercising in some way?

It can be tempting to go on an extreme diet or compromise sleep in the name of getting everything done, but it’s not worth it. When you get married, you’re stepping into a different lifestyle and both of you will bring different elements. If you want a healthy lifestyle, it’ll be much easier to bring something to the table you’re already in a habit of and enjoy rather than being so excited for the wedding to be over so you can stop whatever draining regimen you’re doing beforehand. Be mindful and take care of you. You want to show up feeling better than ever on your big day, so be kind to yourself and make it happen.

Before you buy into “there’s not enough time in the day” or that you have to lose sleep while wedding planning, buy in to yourself. If you prioritize yourself—you know half of the reason why this day is even happening, then you’ll get to really enjoy the process during this crazy and exciting season!

Other blogs that may be helpful for you!

You’re in love, you’re engaged, and you don’t want the butterflies you’ve had all this time to fly away. I mean who would? But sometimes, in the midst of wedding planning and preparing for marriage, you can forget to do the very thing that brought you to this relationship milestone: Date! And that’s what this blog is all about: dates every engaged couple needs to do before the big day!

You’ve probably heard it before and you will likely hear it again when you get married: date your spouse. The romance and wonder for each other doesn’t magically sustain itself; it needs fuel and your attention.

Dating can be extremely beneficial toward keeping romance alive, and making a practice of going on regular dates can be a great way to jump-start that habit,” says Denise Limongello, a licensed psychotherapist based in Manhattan. In an article by The Knot, Limongello points out that lack of romance is a common reason for breakups or divorce.

If you want to make a habit of something, you have to go out of your way and make time for it. A habit you’ll want in your marriage is dating each other, so while you’re preparing for marriage let’s jump-start this habit!

Dates Every Engaged Couple Must Do Before the Big Day:

1. Try a restaurant you’ve never been to before.

It’s easy to get comfortable with doing the same things over and over. It’s great to have your favorite spots, but oftentimes just switching up the location to a place you’ve never been will prompt fresh conversation. When you get married, it can become tempting to fall into a routine and not challenge it. Routines are wonderful, don’t get me wrong. However, it can be problematic when your routine becomes “going through the motions.” When you don’t even have to think about doing or saying something, life can feel monotonous. A simple way to practice getting uncomfortable, if you will, is trying something new!

2. Couple’s Massage.

There’s a lot of stress when it comes to wedding planning. Everything seems faster paced, small decisions have bigger implications, family and friends ask questions you don’t know the answers to and let’s face it—that can cause tension. Maybe the tension is physical, or maybe it’s between you and your fiancé. Whether you book a couple’s massage (Groupon always has a deal going!) or set-up a spa-like shop at one of your places and give each other a massage, taking the time to decompress and slow down together can do you some good. Release the tension, rest and relax. Trust me—you need it.

3. Quality time date.

Engagement season: when suddenly everyone needs your attention or wants to be best friends again. No wonder it’s easy to get distracted. All of the planning and excitement seems to creep in to every conversation and fill your phone with notifications. On top of that, anyone else guilty of sitting beside your significant other (for a time longer than you care to admit) on your phones without having so much as a full conversation?

To keep this from happening, this date has two rules:

1. Turn the phones off and turn your attention toward each other, and 2. Don’t talk about wedding details. 

What you do/how you spend this date is up to you. I suggest whatever it is, you give yourselves the opportunity for great conversation (so maybe not a movie night). You could picnic, make dinner together and set the table fancy, go on a hike or bike ride or to your favorite ice cream place. Whatever you decide, make your time together quality time.

4. Sing karaoke.

I know, I know. Not everyone’s cup of tea. BUT hear me out. You can do it in the comfort of your own home or if you’re feeling up to it, grace some strangers with your voice. The point of this date is to teach or remind you of some of the most important lessons that are essential to a happy marriage: Don’t take yourself too seriously, laugh at yourself and together …often. What better way to humble yourself than trying to reach a note Mariah Carrey invented?!

There is growing evidence to suggest that one of the secrets to a long and happy relationship is to laugh together often,” according to an article by Conscious Rethink. There’s going to be some truly difficult times in your marriage and circumstances that will be out of your control. In those serious moments, if you haven’t practiced taking yourself less seriously when nothing hard was happening, it could be much more difficult to switch gears and be positive under pressure. So pick your favorite song and get to singing!

5. Plan a date night surprise.

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of someone who intimately knows you choosing a curated experience for you both. The time it takes to think about what you want to do shows your fiancé they are worth your time, energy and effort. Then the date itself is a gift. It’s a win-win! You could set up a little fort in your living room with tea lights, favorite snacks and a movie queued up. You could blindfold them and drive to a destination—could be a historic site with a picnic packed if they’re a history buff, or maybe a drive-in movie and the back of your car is already equipped for ultimate coziness with blankets and pillows. Or perhaps you move the furniture out of the way and have a dance tutorial pulled up and a glass of wine poured. 

You don’t need a birthday, anniversary, or holiday as a reason to surprise the love of your life. Loving them is reason enough. Taking this date into your marriage is a sure fire way to keep the romance aflame. 

Dating before “I do” is a great way to prepare yourself for the lifelong pursuit of each other. Keep it interesting, try new things, carve out time to be solely with each other—even if it’s not much! You’ll thank yourselves for it later.

If you need help figuring out a creative date night, we have tons of free virtual and DIY date night ideas here!

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