A little while ago, one of my high school friends got engaged. I was laying awake a few nights after the couple told me, and I realized that nobody prepared me for the hard parts of being engaged. In my head it was supposed to be all lace and wine, and all the hard stuff just fell into place. Everyone was at my disposal, and nobody felt put-upon or frustrated. You can imagine my surprise, then, when I hated being engaged. I knew from her fiance that, already, days in, engagement was not treating my friend particularly well. So I wrote her this letter. I’ve modified it a little bit, and left the names open for filling, but the message is still the same–and it’s one that I think every future bride needs to hear.
Dear [your name here],
You’re engaged! Hurrah! This is where it all begins. Your life together. The planning, venue hunting, cake tasting, and dress shopping. I promise that you’ll have fun, but… Well, some days it will feel hard.
If your family and friends are anything like mine, they love you very much and want what’s best for you. So this is also when the well-meaning but occasionally tactless and frantic advice begins. I’m sure that you have bridesmaids and friends aplenty who will be able to support you; still, as a recent bride, I want to preemptively encourage you.
I can’t tell you how many people–kind, wonderful people who I love, respect, and trust–said things to me like, “If you say/do/feel/tell him/act like such-and-so, it will strain/put pressure on/ruin your marriage before it even begins.”
Aaaaahhh! Way to freak a girl out, right? I know they meant well, but that is just a terrible template to follow when giving advice of any kind.
That being said, I hope this doesn’t happen to you. I hope the people who love you are more tactful than that. But if they’re not, please remember this: they are not you and [your fiance’s name here]. What worked for them might not work for you. Pay attention to the spirit of their advice, and give it due consideration–but please, please don’t let it freak you out. And don’t ever feel like you can’t tell him something because somebody told you it would be a bad idea. Secrets are a bad idea. Your relationship and marriage are yours, and always will be.
Also: Don’t let the grand concept of “Our Marriage” scare you; unless you do something really stupid, you’re not going to mess things up any time soon. Trust me, the first few months are easier than you think.
Again, I’m sure you have friends who will support you and tell you when other people are just acting ludicrous. I know I did. But I wish someone had told me beforehand about this part of engagement. It’s okay to feel stressed, but don’t let other people dampen this period of time. It’s fun and wonderful and stressful and blissful and some days you’ll want to pull your hair out or run away and elope. Chances are that you’ll cry at least a few times. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re Bridezilla. Regardless, we all love and support you, especially your bridal party and family. So have fun! In the end, you’ll be Mrs. [your married name here], and that’s all that matters.
I am always here for you. I can’t wait for you to join the Mrs. Club!
Mrs. Leah Grover