This is a crazy time for many newly engaged couples. With all the Christmas, New Year's and Valentine's engagements, it probably seems like half of your friends are involved in a wedding in one way or the another. Everybody is either engaged, a member of the wedding party, a parent of an engaged child or making travel arrangements to attend a destination wedding.
With all the crazy going down, brides and grooms sometimes get ahead of themselves and -- feeling happy and like they can take on the world -- do and say things that cause them stress and consternation down the road. Here are 10 things you should not do after you get engaged and before you get married:
1) Do not adopt a puppy. Do not buy a horse. Do not add anything to your schedule that will require extra maintenance and a babysitter for your wedding week. You won't have time for it and it's not fair to the animal. Seriously. Do it after you get back from your honeymoon.
2) Do not decide that it's time to start house hunting or move unless it's absolutely, positively necessary. The most stressful times of your life are getting married, moving, changing jobs, having children and getting divorced. Why would you want to double up on the stress when you're already committed to wedding planning for next however many months? Adding a move to the mess will only make you crazier. Plus, it will smack your budget hard, no matter how well you plan ahead. Also try not to change jobs if you can help it. Why pile on more to worry about?
3) Don't take an out-of-control vacation within six months of your wedding, unless it's your bachelor or bachelorette weekend with friends. If you have the money for a fabulous trip, please save it. Put it away and hold onto it for unexpected expenses that may come up with your wedding. Blowing it all on a cruise three months before your big day and then whining because you have 20 more guests than you'd anticipated so you're over budget is just ridiculous. Plan for the emergency if you have the resources.
4) Don't spend all of your time surfing wedding websites and buying bridal magazines. After you've planned your décor, swear off Pinterest for a whole 30 days... if that's even possible. One way to really make your wedding planner insane and blow the hell out of your budget is to keep messing with the details of the wedding after the decisions have been made, bids obtained and deposits paid. The time to choose was before you signed the contracts and locked things down.
5) Don't continue shopping for wedding gowns after you've already bought one. That's a really, really stupid thing to do, unless your original intent was to end up with more than one dress (and yes, that's a huge trend now). But if you planned to buy and wear one wedding gown, once you've ordered it, stop second-guessing yourself. And stop looking at dresses. I've had clients who bought three different dresses (and absorbed the cost of all of them and wore only one) because they made themselves crazy continuing to shop.
6) Don't share all your wedding details on social media or with all of your friends. There should be some surprises, and it's tacky to talk about it in a forum where most of your "friends" on Facebook won't be invited to participate in the festivities anyway. You may find the vast selection of favors fascinating, but you don't have to post about it. In fact, you shouldn't. Look forward to having amazing pictures that you can share after the wedding when no surprises will be ruined and those who aren't invited won't feel like it's being shoved up their noses.
7) Don't solicit the opinion of all of your bridesmaids regarding the bridesmaid dresses. That is the kiss of death and a guarantee that somebody is going to end up unhappy. Include the Maid of Honor and maybe one more bridesmaid (particularly if you have somebody who is going to be a difficult fit), but leave everybody else out of it until it's a fait accompli. Seriously.
8) Don't involve your bridal party in your wedding planning, unless it's to help you make favors or do some other bridal party project. Leave them out of your meetings with vendors and conference calls with your planner. Your fiancé and your mom are the only ones who should participate (and only if you want to include your mother).
9) Don't put off the stupid little homework assignments that your wedding planner gives you. Do not wait 'til the last minute to write your wedding ceremony. Do not wait 'til a month before the wedding to start thinking about your DJ playlist. The marriage license information form you were given at the first meeting could have been completed the first week of planning -- the info on there won't change before your wedding date. Although it seems like you have gobs of time for planning when you're looking at the "to do" list six or more months out, it's important to listen to your planner about what should be finished when, or you'll find yourself with a big old pile of homework a few weeks before your wedding.
10) Don't let the stress of wedding planning ruin the fun of being engaged. I know brides who never tasted anything at any of their showers or parties and only drank one night of their bachelorette weekend because they were so determined to lose the extra pounds before the wedding. Some of them have even been known to turn on the groom, asking him to diet too. He didn't ask you to lose weight to get the second ring, why are you asking him to drop pounds to say "I do?" I mean, for real, does that sound like fun? I'm not saying you can't slim down, but don't get so stressed out about it that you take away the bubbly fun of all of it. Don't turn dance lessons into a torture session -- go out for cocktails first (it worked for me and my husband Bill). Don't talk exclusively about the wedding when you're spending time together -- it will make you both a little nutty. Try to be your normal selves and bask in the glow of the shiny diamond. And remember to keep your nails pretty.
At the end of the day, you can make your wedding planning process as easy or difficult as you want to make it -- really, it's up to you. But if you avoid the items I mentioned above, you have a better chance at having fun during your engagement and making fantastic memories along the way.
Until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques and Weddings in Culebra!