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To every single bride-to-be out there, take 5 minutes to completely drop all wedding planning duties – breathe and smile big. This may feel awkward as you sit in a coffee shop reading this on your tablet before your next floral appointment but do it, you owe it to yourself! You are trying to pull off one of the biggest days of your life. All while feeling the pressure of cherished friends and family who are expecting nothing but the best from you. I will not argue for a second that this isn’t a stressful time for you and those close to you but don’t forget to have fun, soak it all in, and remember planning a wedding can be a huge time of growth for couples.

My wonderful husband Wes and I experienced our special day last August, and while he recalls the days leading up to our wedding as somewhat torturous, he will also admit that planning for a wedding taught us a lot more than we could have ever imagined about ourselves and each other.

Who’s your best man/maid of honor?

Let me break it down. When things get rough who is your better half turning to for advice and encouragement? You learn a lot about your future spouse when you find out who they look up to and who has substantial influence in their life. Whether you absolutely adore your fiancé’s BFF or it's like pulling teeth to have a courteous conversation, let them know how much you appreciate them and all that they have done for your soon-to-be spouse. Chances are they are going to be in the picture long after you say, “I do."

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Are those hives? Sometimes you take the wheel and sometimes you take the backseat.

Realizing early on how we each react in stressful situations has saved us a lot of counseling sessions and money. Just kidding- but really. Some people thrive in chaotic moments and others shut down, and we had to pick up on this quickly when trying to plan a wedding in 6 ½ months. How do we read each other and how do we communicate when we are shutting down? Figure out when you may need to step in to relieve your partner from stressful duties and when it’s best to just go with the flow. If a couple details are more important to you- speak up! Also, in turn, be willing to listen when the other would prefer to take charge on a certain aspect. It’s not just the bride’s big day – it’s about both of you!

What’s your Love Language?

If you have no idea what I am talking about you need to run to the nearest bookstore and snatch up The 5 Love Languages by Gary D. Chapman. Couples contemplating marriage should take a minute to find out what their love language is as well as the love language of their significant other. Helping with a chore, holding hands, cooking a nice meal together, or simple sweet gifts are all ways that we communicate a non-verbal “I love you”. Get on the same page and know when your sweetie is saying “I love you” and how you can say it back with full weight.

Um…so…what about money?

Money comes up a lot in the midst of wedding planning. Good! Money can be difficult to talk about, but it’s an inevitable topic, so why not start now? Wes and I sat down and discussed how we each save (and what we save for) and how we spend as individuals and as a couple.  How much do we want to give to charities and organizations? How do we feel towards money and what role does it play in our lives? How does it incentivize us?  These are great questions and ones that will undoubtedly come up in any marriage. Set financial goals and start practicing good financial habits early on!

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What about the details?

Do you know what type of flower will be adorning the altar on your big day? Or the color of the seat cushions? Or you could care less and just know that the wedding is happening on a ranch or that you want some rendition of BB King playing during your cocktail hour? Maybe the two of you are both detail oriented or perhaps you both are big picture people. Either way, being aware is going to help you understand how one another tackles projects and how you formulate solutions.

Can you help me… pretty please?

Like it or not you both are going to find yourself at a point in your marriage where you realize how much you need the other person. Set aside any stubbornness. As you two become first-time home owners or start a family of your own there are tasks that he is going to be better at and tasks that she is more apt to be efficient in. You learn to lean on one another and it’s a beautiful thing; to feel needed and feel like you are accomplishing something together is what makes marriage so great. So do life together and ask each other for help!

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