If you're one of the millions of girls on my newsfeed who got engaged this past month, congrats! Mazel tov. This is a really exciting time, and you should enjoy a little celebration before you dive into planning your wedding. Whether you want to get married in 2018 or beyond, you might want to take inspiration from the four brides below for some New Year's resolutions to make while you're engaged.
Resolutions are the perfect way to tackle big projects, like getting in shape or saving money. And what's a bigger project than planning an entire wedding? Or so I understand, based on my repeated viewings of the Vanderpump Rules season when Scheana plans a wedding. It sounds like a sh*t-ton of work. And unlike most resolutions that are a sh*t-ton of work, this is one you don't want to break by 3 p.m. on New Year's Day. Because, you know, it'd be nice to be married someday.
Good luck with your wedding planning, try not to stress too much, and if you wind up keeping your resolution throughout the entire year, pop some bubbly at your wedding! And hey, if you wind up breaking it early, pop some anyway!
Resolution Number 1: Set A Budget Based On What Really Matters To You
It's easy to look at Pinterest, Instagram, and bridal magazines and think you need to fork over thousands of dollars on, like, monogrammed napkin rings. And sure, you could. But you also have to pay for a zillion other things, and those monogrammed napkin rings probably won't make or break your big day.
"I felt at the time that we definitely needed certain flower arrangements on the tables, or certain foods, or that I had to have these specific Jimmy Choos," says Rhiannon, a 25-year-old from Virginia who got married three years ago. "But in retrospect, I don’t actually remember the flowers, I didn’t get to eat anything during the reception, and no one saw my shoes... and Ben always likes to say that he remembers almost nothing about our wedding except for how happy he was. And of course, I feel the same."
As you plan your wedding over the course of the year, resolve not to lose sight of your budget — that is, unless you want your resolution for the following year to be climbing out of debt.
Resolution Number 2: Don't Be Afraid To Buck Tradition
There's no one "right" way to plan a wedding. If a custom doesn't feel authentic to who you and your fiancé(e) are, there's no reason to force yourself into it.
"I wish I hadn't let tradition guilt me into doing pointless, expensive things I didn't want to do," says Kelsey, a 24-year-old from New York who got married this past summer. "I wish I hadn't done a bridal party, I wish I didn't get a makeup artist or hairstylist (it was such a waste of money and effort to find the right people), and I wish I hadn't slept away from my fiancé the night before the wedding."
You're not a cookie-cutter kind of girl. You don't need a cookie-cutter wedding if you don't want one. So wear the red dress and have your little sister walk you down the aisle — if that's what you really want!
Resolution Number 3: Focus On What You And Your Fiancé(e) Really Want, And Then, Tune Out The Noise
You know how on Say Yes to the Dress, there's always one random aunt or sorority sister who makes a sour face for every dress, even when it's literally not their dress and their opinion should not matter at all? Annoying. It's only natural for your family and friends to be excited about your wedding, and they might have a lot of opinions. But that doesn't necessarily mean that you need to listen to all of them. In fact, you might be happiest when you resolve to let only you and your fiancé(e) have the final say on all wedding decisions.
"My mom lost her mind at the idea of me having my bridesmaids wear dresses that didn't match," says Tina, a 25-year-old from New York who's getting married this summer. "Planning a wedding can be a stressful time with so many opinions from other people, so always remember it's about you and your fiancé(e) — nobody else. Take those opinions, say, 'Thanks so much,' and move on. In the end, communicate with your fiancé and do what feels right for you both. I ended up sending my mom tons of examples from Pinterest with brides that have done mismatched dresses and she got over it. I'm so happy I didn't change my vision when someone wasn't happy with it."
Remember, it's your wedding. You do you, boo.
Resolution Number 4: Don't Let Bridal Party Politics Drive You Crazy
Remember that night back in college, when you were four vodka sodas deep and slurred to the group that they were all definitely going to be your bridesmaids? Yeah, um, well, now, you might have to make some awkward retractions.
"I wish I didn’t spend months agonizing about who my bridesmaids were going to be," says Melanie, a 26-year-old from Dallas who got married last summer. "There were a couple people I was leaning toward not asking, but they asked my other friends when they thought they would get the invite, and that broke my heart. I didn't love that they were in my wedding party, but I would have felt guilty otherwise. I was so worried about offending people, I let it overshadow some of the initial joy and happiness."
It's fine to have a huge bridal party packed with people from all different parts of your life. It's fine to have just your two best friends stand up at the altar with you. And it's fine if you skip the bridal party altogether. But no matter what, there's no point in torturing yourself by letting the decision-making process drag on for months. Go with your gut, do what feels right, and then, settle in and actually enjoy your engagement.
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