5 Tips to Avoid 'Identity Theft' When Planning Your Wedding

I have loved being engaged. I still love it. But I have come to realize that this period of my life is just that, a moment. At my core, I am not a fiancᅢᄅe.
03/19/2014 09:51 am ET Updated May 19, 2014

If you are planning your own wedding, I applaud you. It's extremely fun and allows you to be intimately involved in your big day from the beginning.

Plus, if you're Type A, you get to control a lot of things too which (if you're like me) will likely make you feel safe and happy.

I also have a few tips for you from my own experience...

Before we got engaged, I had no idea what color my bridesmaid dresses would be, let alone who I would ask to stand by my side. In short, I had no idea what I wanted my wedding to be like beyond the fact that there must be a Catholic mass, a killer DJ, and an open bar.

I always hoped that one day I would get married, but I just wasn't one of the girls who had the whole thing planned out.

After we got engaged, that changed completely.

There is something to be said for enthusiasm and excitedly riding the wave of being engaged. It's a freakin' blast! You have a new, sparkly ring on your finger. People are constantly asking you to talk about how in love and happy you are. You can look at wedding dresses without feeling like a creeper. Your family members are unusually nice to you because they are so elated. You have an excuse to cut your hair, do your nails, or otherwise spend money on your physical appearance. And best of all, you get to talk about your abundant love for your significant other without worrying that you're "moving too fast." You are on the train and it is moving forward and you like where it's going so you move. Full steam ahead.

And then a month passes. You find yourself at a happy hour with friends, and after you talk about the wedding planning for five minutes, you have nothing left to say.

Wait, what?!

If you've ever been in this position, with a wedding or other life event, you are not alone. I have loved being engaged. I still love it. But I have come to realize that this period of my life is just that, a moment. At my core, I am not a fiancᅢᄅe. I am still Maureen. But what does that mean when suddenly all of my time is spent working or planning our wedding?

Well, first let me tell you to take a deep breath. It's okay. You are normal. You got wrapped up in your wedding planning because it's exciting and wonderful and should be celebrated.

Now, I would like to gently remind you that you are not your wedding. Let me repeat: You are not your wedding.

The beauty of planning such a wonderful event is that you get to take your whole self and combine with another person's whole self. Just because you are engaged doesn't mean that you are not still a cook, soccer player, singer, activist, writer, etc. You are still the same person. Now you just have the added bonus of getting to plan a wedding. Amazing!

As 2014 rolled in, I started to feel that my wedding had stolen my identity. Who was I when I wasn't wedding planning? Honestly, I didn't know. All of my time had become consumed by talking with vendors, browsing on Pinterest, and reworking my budget spreadsheet. Even without the wedding, I was still me -- whatever that means -- but it was extremely hard to uncover that inner self after I had piled all of the wedding planning on top.

Take my advice: Plan your wedding and have a great time, but don't let it take over your life. Here are five tips to prevent your wedding from turning into Melissa McCarthy in Identity Thief.

1. Actively decide to nurture one of your existing hobbies

You may not realize it now, but when you decide to plan your own wedding you will want to stop everything else you are doing and just live on Pinterest. That will be great for a while and then you will weep at your lack of enthusiasm for life and wish you had kept doing some of the other things you love.

Please note: This is not an excuse to make yourself do something terrible. Don't say, "I'm going to go to the gym three times each day so that I don't just do wedding planning." No. This hobby should be something you already do consistently and enjoy. Do you like to cook, run, or sing? Perfect. Just keep doing it. And if you notice you're stopping, just gently start again. For me this was blogging. I stopped because I became so wrapped up in wedding planning. And then I missed it. So I started again. Identity preserved!

2. Select one day of the week (at least) that will not allow wedding planning

You may be thinking, "Saturday, woooo, day of rest!" but don't get too aggressive here. In the first three months, you will likely be visiting venues and meeting with vendors on weekends. Instead, take a random Tuesday as your day of sanity. Go to work, go to lunch with your colleagues, go to the gym after work, watch New Girl, just don't do any wedding planning. It will still be there on Wednesday. I promise.

3. Journal out your stress rather than emotionally vomiting on your fiancᅢᄅ / family / MOH

This sounds silly, I know. But for those of you laughing at me right now... it works! When you plan your own wedding you are intimately aware of every detail and every dollar you are spending. It creates stress. Don't fight that. (I tried, it doesn't work.) Instead, let it out in a journal where you can vent or whine or cry on the pages without hurting the pages' feelings. Your loved once don't deserve to bear the brunt of your stress. Certainly feel free to use them as sounding boards, but be kind to them in return.

4. Have a non-wedding date night at least once a month

As you've noticed, what was once a fun, laid-back relationship is now a wedding-centric battleship careening into forever. But don't let this make you forget that you love each other and you want to get married because -- wait for it -- you enjoy being together! Plan at least one date night (or at least a marathon Game of Thrones sesh in your PJs on the couch) for just the two of you each month. It will remind you why you are getting married in the first place.

5. Hang out with single people

I promise you, your single friends will stop you from talking about your wedding non-stop. Why? Well, because they are awesome and want you to remain sane. But mostly also because they aren't engaged and don't have insane wedding brain like you and certainly don't want to listen to you talk about it for more than ten minutes. Your single friends will make you laugh and keep you talking about the real world. Win!