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Before The ‘I Do’s’ Checklist

wedding bride black and white

The proposal has happened, the happy tears have flowed, you have the ring on your finer, so now what? As you begin to prepare for one of the best days of your life, there are several areas that brides must consider in order to ensure their dreams come true! The decisions leading up to the wedding can feel overwhelming and time-pressing, so make sure you are looking and thinking long-term in your planning as you embark on your new married life as a couple.  

On top of the traditional to-do items, you can find advice surrounding some of the bigger picture pre-wedding decisions you will need to make.  Learn how you can ease some of that bridal stress and feel confident in locking down plans.

Life insurance

Although your life insurance needs may not seem like the most exciting part of your pre-wedding planning, it is nonetheless a vital part of your long-term financial wellness. As a couple, it is important that you have the proper coverage in the unfortunate event that there is an unexpected passing. As this type of insurance functions as an income replacement, make sure to take the proper steps in obtaining a reliable life insurance plan. There are many different companies and ways to shop for this type of insurance, so review your options and research what is right for you as a couple.

While you may feel inclined to neglect this expense as a result of upcoming wedding costs, it is important for couples to remember that your life insurance rates take into consideration factors such as your age and health. Therefore, it can be beneficial to look into getting a policy earlier rather than later in order to lock down more affordable rates to help save money down the road, even after the wedding.

Nutrition and fitness 

Feeling your best on the day of your wedding includes more than just your hair and makeup. For many brides, this will also involve setting health goals. As stress can build up in the days leading up to the wedding, finding ways to channel and release some of this stress in a healthy way can reduce anxiety and keep you feeling energized to prepare for the big day.

The months leading up to your wedding will most likely leave you with little room in your schedule, so consider planning out your meals ahead of time with healthy meal prep recipes. Not only is this an efficient use of your time, but it can help you reach your goals, so you look and feel amazing when it’s time to say ‘I do.” Different foods provide different benefits and can act as a motivation to stay on track for your health goals. For example, foods like tomatoes and avocados help skin glow⁠—so find the perks within your favorite nutritious foods!

Similarly, your fitness goals might be something you want to include on your pre-wedding to-dos. Whether your goals are weight-loss related or you simply want to get a good sweat in, working out before your wedding can help combat jitters and relieve some of the pressures associated with planning a wedding. There are even special ‘bridal boot camps’ that are aimed to specifically help brides get in shape and toned for the big day.

Self-care

It might seem unnecessary to incorporate this into your bigger picture pre-wedding checklist, but your mental health is something that everyone should make time for. It can be stressful just trying to keep up with the many mundane tasks that your wedding will call for, make sure to set aside time to show yourself some love. When you are the best version of yourself, you are able to give more love—and what a great mindset to begin your new life as a married couple.

There are several ways you can practice self-care, and what methods or practices work best will vary from bride to bride. Spa visits and massages are great ways to reduce stress, but as a soon to be bride—you might be looking for a more affordable option to include in your daily routine.

Practicing meditation has many benefits, including lengthening your attention span, which can come in handy as you discuss with your partner the smaller wedding details. There are meditations that can be completed under twenty minutes, so even finding a small window to work this in can help boost your mood and help you feel refreshed.

Vibe of the wedding

Anything from the bridal dress you select to the color scheme you decide, every little detail of your wedding will contribute to the overall vibe you are looking to achieve as you lock in your commitment to your forever person. When you start to make big decisions, like the venue or the wedding date, be sure you have a clear vision and mutual understanding with your partner on how you are picturing this day. Try to consider each other’s wants and needs on this special day and enjoy making these decisions as a couple. 

Whether you are hoping for a luxurious, glamorous, whimsical, unconventional, or anything in between, the feel of your wedding will be something that you will feel long after the day is over. The season you pick to get married in, the people you invite, and how you decorate and celebrate all play a part in making your idea come to life, so be thoughtful and selective when making these decisions.

Often, it can seem harder to organize and plan all the small details yourself, so keep in mind the different resources you have available to help seal the deal. Wedding planners are great resources for something looking to take many tasks off their plates, and with their expertise in the industry, they can help offer special tips and tricks. While this might be out of the price range for you, also don’t forget about the free information available as well. Pinterest boards and online influencers can offer inspiration and can be a great place to reference when it comes time to make some of your own plans.

Your relationship

Isn’t this obvious? While the entire point of wedding ceremonies and receptions are about coming together and celebrating finding the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, ironically, the wedding planning process can cause unwanted tension within relationships. As statistics show that the average American engagement lasts 15 months, which leaves over a year of time you could spend during this engagement period.

Setting aside quality time to focus on your partner and getting closer to them during your engagement can help prepare you as you take your relationship to the next level. Although you might find yourself disagreeing about certain aspects of the wedding, learning to overcome these challenges and effectively communicate with one another can be an important skill to take with you in the years to come.

Discover what type of bonding experiences work best for you as a couple, and try not to sacrifice this time despite your busy schedules. While you may have to cut back on costs while you save for the big day, there are still ways you can get creative in showing your love to your fiance, continuing to grow closer. For example, spending an evening reminiscing about the journey that has brought you to this point is a sweet and simple reminder of what truly matters.

Name change

If this is not something you and your partner have previously discussed, it is most definitely something you will want to talk about earlier rather than later in your planning process. It’s becoming more common for individuals to keep their maiden name, having an open and honest discussion with your fiance on your stance on this subject is significant. Since this can influence your save the dates, invitations, and, more importantly, your upcoming legal documents that will need to be changed, spend time reflecting on what the right decision is for you and your partner. 

If you choose to take your partner’s last name, remember that several items will need to be updated, including your passports, loans, your employer documentation, driver’s license, and more. This can be a time-consuming process, so starting to make these changes ahead of time will reduce stress as the actual day of the wedding approaches.

On the other hand, if you or your partner are hesitant about changing last names, there are different options and discussions you can have so that you are both comfortable with the outcome you choose. You can discuss last-name change alternatives or see if there is room for compromise. No couple is the same, so how you navigate this in your relationship can be just as unique as the love you share for one another.

Honeymoon plans

Possibly just as important as your actual wedding day itself is what you have planned right after! The honeymoon is the perfect opportunity to enjoy your new spouse with uninterrupted alone time and decompress from months of hard work and planning.

The reason behind looking into these travel plans upfront is because of how you will need to incorporate them into your wedding budget. In order to make the most financially responsible decisions to ensure your long-term financial wellbeing, you will need to decide how much you will prioritize your honeymoon and allocate funds accordingly.

With couples spending an average of $4,466, it is still something that couples need to factor into the costs. Whether you opt for a beach trip or sailing the seas, the opportunities are endless. Another consideration to think about is when you want to take your honeymoon. Some couples choose to postpone their honeymoon to a little after the wedding to alleviate some financial pressures, so this could be a discussion to have with your partner to see what works best for your situation.

Wedding song

Finding your wedding song can be a lovely break from some of the other grueling tasks you are trying to accomplish. While there is no right or wrong way to go about this, there are certainly a few tips you can follow to help you select the perfect first dance song.  From reflecting on your love story to actually deciding how it will be played at the reception, these are all factors that brides shouldn’t neglect. A wedding song is also a great way to have a piece of that day to relive in the long years to come in your marriage, so opting for something timeless and representative to you as a couple can have a meaningful impact. 

Similarly, if you are planning for other dances with moms or dads of the married couple, including the relatives in the process can be a touching experience. As your options can vary from genre to different versions of songs, your options are endless.

On top of the actual song, how it will be performed is another area to consider. If you have a live band or musician booked, going through a dry-run of how it will sound on the big day can help you better make your selection. Furthermore, this provides the perfect opportunity to practice your first dance and release any jitters you both might have about your performance!  

With these many considerations and areas to take into account, you’ll have lots to think about as you prepare for your big day. Although it may seem slightly overwhelming now, rest assured that you have found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, and at the end of the day, this comes first. 

Check our blog for more ideas for your wedding planning.

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