What I Didn’t Know About Marriage

6 years ago today, we got engaged! What I knew at that time: I wanted to be with him for the rest of my life and he would be a great husband. He would protect me and make me laugh. He would provide for me and teach me new things. He would take me out on dates and on exotic trips. I didn’t fully know what to expect, but I was right about these things.

What I didn’t know at the time: 

    Marriage is truly a forever-thing, and that means that it’s not like a Hallmark channel movie where romance is layered into every scenario. When you’re dating, there’s enough separation between the two of you to amplify the romantic feelings and situations. Think about it: when you’re dating, you might be planning to go on a date on Friday night. You get through the work day and are excited about what’s to come, thinking about what you will wear. He sends a text message with an emoji saying that he’s excited, too. He picks you up and then pays for dinner at the end of the night. Fast forward to when you’re married; you both wake up together and start your individual morning routines. You probably check in at least once during the day about pets or finances. And then you are home together doing your individual ‘relaxation’ routines post-work, pick up the dirty socks, before you get dressed to go out on a date. You ride there together and pay from your shared bank account before you come home together. While things can still be romantic, it’s in a different (yet still very comforting) way. 
    I always heard that learning to compromise was a big part of marriage but I didn’t fully understand what that meant. This isn’t about who is going to do the dishes or how you will share your groceries. It’s about getting used to each others habits, families, and cultures, and knowing that they come to you with an entire life that was before you. They are shaped by their past, they saw examples of compromise, life and relationship norms, from people around them, and their view on relationships is likely very different from what you once knew.
    News flash: people change! Marriage will change you simply because life changes you. It can be for the best or in negative ways and will happen to you both so it’s important to keep each other accountable. Think about it…if you were the same person 5, 10, 50 years into marriage, does that mean that you are growing? No. As individuals change, so will the relationship, and that’s ok!
    It’s not as much that marriage is hard but that life is hard, and marriage means there are DOUBLE the joys or the challenges. While one might be on the highest high, the other could be in the deepest valley. You then share the load and support each other in the best way you know how.  

Marriage is a beautiful thing and I am thankful for my life partner. I wanted ‘the ring’ so bad and am thankful that he got down on one knee 6 years ago. There was so much hope and anticipation leading up to this day and it then allowed me to have one year and two months planning for the very best day of my life. 

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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Expectation Setting When Planning Your Wedding

Once you have the shiny ring on your finger is when you need to step back and realistically ask yourself and your future spouse about expectations for the big day. The reality is that your wedding day will not meet your expectations. In many, and likely unexpected ways, it will likely exceed your expectations. In other ways, it will not meet the details of the image that you have made up in your mind.

Leading up to the big day, here are a few times that wedding planning did NOT meet my expectations.

  • Once I got engaged, I knew that planning the wedding would become a priority in my life. But I got a quick and very harsh reality check when I realized that other life priorities would still be important, and unexpected hard challenges might still come my way. Life doesn’t stop or become more smooth just because you’re engaged. My ask to you: know that juggling these priorities is a dry run for what life will be after you are wed. When two become one (even from the engagement) means there will be double the joys and double the sorrows. Prepare for that earlier and try your best to welcome what comes your way.
  • After I selected my wedding gown, I came back 8 months later for my first fitting. I thought it would fit better than when I first picked it out and would only take a few alterations to make it right. Wrong. It felt like it almost got worse than the sample gown. It took two other fittings to make it right. It wasn’t a big issue, but it definitely deflated the emotions from my first fitting after dreaming about it all of those months. My ask to you: be patient with the vision that you have for the big day. Whether it be your dress fitting or trimming down before the wedding, it will all come together beautifully.
  • I had three women in my bridal party but only two attended the wedding. A longtime friend let me down leading up to the big day and on the day itself. My expectation was that having a small bridal party with my closest would be a smooth experience, but it blew up and brought a lot of unwanted drama. It ended up working out for the best because the people that genuinely wanted me happy were standing next to me, but it was something that I wish that I could do over. My ask to you: when you choose your ‘team bride’ ask yourself if it’s someone that will be by your side for life before you invite them to join you to be in all of your photos. If there’s someone that you’re on the fence with, trust your gut.

My hopes are that hearing about my experiences, you might benefit when you’re setting your own expectations. It doesn’t mean that you won’t be happy because you will be over the moon, but sometimes a mental reset of what you might expect can be helpful!

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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Like the Parisians…

I just returned from a week in Paris with my family. We had a getaway and saw (and ate) everything. It was an incredible experience. It was my third time there but I was much younger so I saw it through new eyes.

I really connected to the fashion and the way that it laid the foundation of a beautiful and historic city. I stood next to the Yves Saint Laurent red wedding dress and was told about a 1.5 million euro wedding dress that resembled a waterfall. In Paris, people take fashion seriously, and it continues to blaze the trail for style around the world.

When it comes to your engagement and wedding season, there are a few opportunities that you will have to wear an outfit and I encourage you to put some thought into these purchases. You will have (at least) five key items that you will need to wear for your bachelorette, bridal shower, rehearsal, and then the actual big day from getting ready to walking down the aisle. It seems overwhelming but take your time to decide what to wear. Here’s what I recommend:

Once you get engaged, start keeping an eye out for these key outfits. You will likely start to daydream about your wedding and if you make these decisions earlier, you will have more space in your mind to make other key decisions closer to the big day.

And don’t feel like you have to fit into a particular style-box shared in wedding magazines or on tv shows. Whatever you decide to wear, it should feel: special and like an elevated version of yourself. It shouldn’t be something that you would wear any other day because these outfits can make you feel like this is a once in a lifetime event, and I think that’s important.

If you’re able to purchase an outfit for a special event, like a bridal shower, it’s great if you can wear it again. All of your outfits don’t need to be this way but if you can wear a white dress from a shower to a date night with your husband in the future, that can bring back your wedding day butterflies.

Take your style seriously, like the Parisians do, because it’s all much more than just a garment. Not only will these photos last a lifetime, but more importantly, your memories will.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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Planning a wedding? Is it all worth it?

When I was in the midst of the hustle and bustle of wedding planning, I kept asking myself “Is it all worth it?”, and I hear other brides ask the same thing, too.
Is it worth it to spend hours contemplating between two shades of one color, when they look the same to most other people? Is it worth it to invest in a dress that you will likely only wear once? Is it worth it to pay for food and drink for 100+ people? Is it worth it to put so much time into the DIY elements that might only be recognized by a few guests? (And the list goes on…)
Here’s the deal. Second guessing (everything) will be part of the planning process. But the answer is “yes” as long as it truly meets this criteria:

    You aren’t just doing something a certain way because ‘that’s how everyone else does it’ or ‘Grandma would be more comfortable if it’s more formal…’ Instead, you’re making decisions that are true to who you are to make YOUR day special.
    You aren’t over-extending yourselves either mentally, physically, or financially just to put up a front for your guests. You don’t throw a wedding party to please people or make them think something you’re not, you throw a wedding party to celebrate a forever-union. Honestly, the wedding invitation that comes in a velvet monogrammed box just might not be worth it, unless you’re going that route because it MEANS something to you and your future spouse.
    You aren’t making spinning your wheels and spending unnecessary energy on the drama. If there’s one way that you can actually enjoy the planning process a little more, it’s to not get wrapped up in the things that will not bring value to your big day. Like really, who cares if your mom’s friend from high school is mad they didn’t get invited. And who cares if Aunt Ruth thinks it’s inappropriate to have someone give you lingerie at your bridal shower. Dust it off, because that’s NOT worth it, and you’ll need that space in your mind and heart to focus on what is. (This isn’t meant to sound harsh, but these are the details that are not worth it because they won’t matter after your big day.)

Be intentional and challenge why you are making each decision throughout the planning process. Because then once you make those decisions, you can rest assured that your big day will represent who you are and turn out exactly they way it’s supposed to. I promise you, it’s worth it.

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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How to be a Gracious Wedding Guest

June is here: the most popular wedding month of the year! Whether or not you’re getting married this summer, you are probably invited to a wedding or two (or five!) Since every wedding varies based on the couples’ culture and personal preferences, it’s sometimes hard to know how to behave once the big day arrives.

  • When you get the invite, it will likely give you an idea of the format and theme. Take clues from this on how formal it might be and if there is a specific insight you can glean from the upcoming day.
  • You better RSVP!!! And don’t do it last minute. This is so important.
  • Try not to reach out directly to the couple with questions! You can always reach out to an immediate family member or someone in their bridal party. Instead, reach out to the couple with a word of encouragement before the big day. They are likely stressed and have a lot going on. If possible, offer help or take them out to get their mind off of everything going on.
  • Be on time! While most ceremonies never start on time, don’t assume that. Plan your day so you can have a buffer so you’re there before it starts.
  • The bride won’t get tired of hearing how beautiful she is, so make sure to compliment her if you do get to speak! Also, let the groom know how handsome he looks.
  • Take notice of the smaller details because either she or he put thought and effort into putting that entire experience together. Save those things in the back of your mind to tell the couple after the big day. Once things are all over with, they might question all of the effort, so it will be nice for them to hear a kind word of notice and appreciation.

Hope this helps! Enjoy wedding season, I know I will!

With love,

Girl with a diamond ring

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