the Pre-marriage minute
Bridal 101: How to Survive the First Month
By Lori D'Augostine
CBN.com Associate Producer
CBN.com It couldn’t have been a more perfect fall day. He got down on one knee, and I said the words that would determine the rest of my life. Of course, I’ll marry you.
Little did I know that those words also meant a sudden jolt to my simple, quiet life. Within seconds of our proposal, we popped our cell phones open to spread the word. And so began, the deluge of informational overload.
Everyone has their opinion, solicited or not. Looking back, it humors me to consider how fast our news traveled. We must have received over 100 phone calls, emails, and text messages that first week. Within the first hour, I was even receiving comments on my MySpace profile. Suddenly, the pace of our lives accelerated, and that is when I wondered...
Does every bride go through this? Yes, I quickly learned that they do.
But, few are aware or prepared for this sudden onslaught of stardom. If you are single or in a dating relationship, listen up! This is for you too. You can prepare for this now. If you are in a serious dating relationship, I strongly suggest you pay heed to the lessons that many brides before you have learned.
There is nothing that could have exactly prepared me for the torrential outpour of bridal magazines that first week. But, there are some practical tips that can keep you from being swept over by this pre-marital tsunami. It's better to seek refuge and take cover right away.
CELEBRITY FOR A WEEK
You’ll be asked to tell your engagement story over and over, so to eliminate the chaos, I highly recommend setting up a wedding Web site right away.
- There are some free Web sites such as TheKnot.com and some that offer free-trials such as eWedding.com. Typically, on these sites, there will be a place to share your story and other important wedding details.
- I personally prefer eWedding.com because it offers the most features such as a flash intros, video, music, maps, photo albums, online RSVP, and so much more.
- You could even send out a mass email. Of course, you will want to tell your immediate family and closest friends in person. But for the hundreds of others, do not attempt to make that many phone calls.
- If you are in a dating relationship heading towards engagement, you may want to prepare now for this. Take lots of pictures and write down any memories you might want to share on your Web site.
GET SOME R & R
After the first two weeks of engagement, the emails and phone calls should die down some. I would strongly suggest that you use this time for some R & R: Research and Rest.
- This is your chance to feel like a princess. Send away for all the bride books you can. Ask lots of questions.
- I sent out a mass email to all of my newly-married friends and invited them over for dinner (if you can steal them away from their new spouses). Young brides love to show off their wedding albums, and this is a good way for you to pick their brain. You will get lots of good ideas that way.
- Also, browse the Internet and organize all helpful wedding links. This was my favorite part. As an artist, it was fun to discover color schemes and themes, without having to consider budget yet.
The second that you feel as if your researching is becoming stressful, I urge you to STOP, DROP, and REST. You might still be recovering from your first few weeks of Hollywood attention. During this time, I started going to a massage therapist.
BACK TO REALITY
I call this the back-to-earth stage. Somewhere in the midst of all this, you'll realize that you have to go back to being the sane person that your fiancee fell in love with. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT leave him in the dust. You still need to pay bills and go to work. So, what makes you think that you shouldn't spend time with your fiancee like you did before?
All guys are different. Some desire an active role in the planning process, while others would rather focus on honeymoon planning. It's not that they don't care or don't love you, it's just that not all guys are wired to enjoy picking out the flowers and such. Make sure you communicate your expectations in the beginning to avoid conflict later on.
Don't allow for your fiancee to compete with your wedding planning either. Make quality time just for them. This will come in handy througout your engagement process. Find creative ways to enjoy each other and prepare for marriage. You may want to practice your cooking skills on your man, if you haven't already.
Okay, so you've both made the move to cleave in holy matrimony. So, what about the families you will leave? Do not leave them in the dust either. You will need their support. Spend quality time visiting each other's families, if you haven't already done so. I do encourage this to happen the dating period, but if long distance prevents this, then be intentional about traveling to see them.
I have been on the phone with my parents almost every day since our engagement. It has tightened our bonds with each other, and I am so thankful for it. I also have enjoyed getting to know my future in-laws. Both families are long distance, but our times with them are so precious and foundational to our future marriage.
COUPLES WHO PRAY TOGETHER, STAY TOGETHER
I strongly urge engaged couples to lay a solid foundation by praying together. My fiancee and I also attended a marriage conference a few months ago, called Couples Who Pray. We committed to making prayer a regular practice, not just during the hard times, but as a discipline before our day begins and before it ends.
You could also involve others in your prayer strategy. The other day, I was talking to a friend of mine. She asked me how wedding planning was going and challenged me with something else. Do you have a group of people praying for your future marriage? I really hadn't thought about that. She said that Christian marriages are a threat to the Enemy, and that we should go on the offensive. That's when I complied an email similar to this:
Hello prayer warriors!
As you all know, [insert financee's name] and I are getting married this [date]. We both recognize that Satan works tirelessly to prevent STRONG Christian marriages, and that is why we need a defensive strategy to counterattack.
Would you commit to praying us through the duration of our engagement and beginning of our marriage? Can you commit to at least one day a week? Please let us know.
We included a list of about 15 prayer requests that others signed up to pray for. We listed everything ranging from financial needs to praying for our future children. The response from our friends and family was overwhelming.
CHOOSE YOUR WEDDING COORDINATOR
Okay, so you've got your prayer warriors lined up, right? So, now it's okay to start the actual planning. You know... picking a date, finding a reception hall and church, etc... Whoah, hold on there. Not yet! Before you get on that fast-moving train, STOP and find a wedding coordinator.
I met with a newly-married friend and hired her to be my wedding coordinator, but looking back, I moved a little too quickly. I left one, very important person out in the dust. The One who created me and calls me His bride was waiting for me to consult Him. I'm talking about God. As soon as I officially made God my wedding coordinator, He began to give me many ideas. He led me on an itinerary that was way different than my own. In fact, the first few months were spent on a sabbatical away from the planning. It was just God and I. His planning consisted of Bible verses. This is some of the information He deemed useful to provide me with:
“She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear. For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people." (Revelation 19:8, NLT)
“Listen to me, O royal daughter; take to heart what I say. Forget your people and your family far away. For your royal husband delights in your beauty; honor Him, for He is your Lord." (Psalm 45:10-11, NLT)
"He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels."
(Revelation 3:5, NLT)
It was around the time that I received these verses that the Lord led me to most pure, dazzling white gown I had every laid my eyes on. My wedding coordinator, God Almighty, led me to my wedding gown.
When God is your coordinator, there is no stress. Keep Him as the head, and the rest will be in order. My fiancee and I have certain challenges already [which I will allude to in an upcoming article: Bridal 201: How to the Survive Long Distance Engagement. We live four hours away from each other, and we are planning a wedding that is six hours away. So, we couldn't do this at all, if God were not ordering our steps. He is faithful.
I hope that this will help you get started on the right foot. These are all just suggestions, that I wished someone would have told me. If you can pass these tests, early on, you are ready for the next course...
Comments? Email me
More articles by Lori D'Augostine
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