you're engaged! now what?

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This time of year used to be my least favorite;  the time when the holidays are over and the winter months seemed to last forever with my eager anticipation of spring and warmer weather.  This was of course until I entered the wedding planning business.  This may not come as a surprise to all of you, but between early November, New Year's and lingering until Valentine's Day, is the most popular time of year for couples to get engaged.  The last couple of weeks I have been meeting with many newly engaged couples as they set out to plan their big day.  This is one of my favorite things about being in this business.  I absolutely love meeting new people and hearing about how they met their fiancé and about their proposal.  It is such an exciting time for the couple, their families and all of their friends.  When couples decide to spend the rest of their lives with the person they love most in the world, it is truly a special thing and should be.  Unfortunately, more often than not this time that is supposed to be exciting results in the couple feeling overwhelmed with the thought, expectations, cost etc. of planning a wedding.

When I got engaged a couple of years ago (in January of all months) I received the best piece of advice about planning a wedding that I like to pass on to all of my clients and friends.  The advice was this: Sit down with your fiancé and on two separate pieces of paper, each of you write down the four most important things about your wedding without discussing them with each other.  After you have completed your lists (and it may take a couple of days to really narrow it down to four things) share your them with each other.  Your lists may have identical ideas on them or you may need to resolve conflicting ideas (i.e. giant party vs. small intimate elopement).  This is the first thing that I tell people to do when they start to think about planning a wedding, even if they are going to elope, have a small wedding or are not planning on having a formal wedding reception at all.  Keep your lists and if you would like, draft a third list that combines both of your ideas.  Use this list as a starting place to really talk about your wedding.   Keep your lists to refer back to when you need to put things in perspective and assess if your planning is consistent with what was originally important to you.  It is easy to get lost in all of the details that go into planning a wedding, but try to remember the exciting feeling of your engagement.  The moments when you realized that person was special, that you loved them, and that you wanted to spend the rest of your life with them.