NOT A FUN FACT: Every year, around 5 of my booked couples call off their weddings. That’s AFTER the’ve paid their suppliers, shared their cute proposals, and invited their friends and families to a date that will now be forever cursed in their memories.
As much as i’m tickled by the thought of being paid to not work, I would much rather bring that statistic down to zero. So I prepared a 5-point checklist for couples who might be thinking of tying the knot.
DON’T POP THE QUESTION AND DON’T PUT ON THE RING UNTIL YOU’VE DONE THESE 5 Ps OF PRACTICAL MARRIAGE PREPPING.
PURSUE EACH OTHER, because if you can’t choose each other now, you won’t choose each other later. Choose to be together and gradually steer your lives toward each other. Marriage is a partnership and partnerships are about getting there together. If you can’t imagine giving up aspects of your present life (or your past relationships, hangups, and even dreams) to build a future life with your partner, you’re bound to have feelings of regret or resentment.
PINPOINT WHERE YOU ARE HEADED personally and professionally. You don’t need to have already “made it”, but have you at least started taking steps in the right direction? Are you moving forward or stuck in a rut? Are you wandering the woods aimlessly? Pinpoint where you and your partner will likely be one, three, and five years from now. If you don’t like where either of you are going, change course and commit to those changes together.
PRUNE YOUR EXCESSES, because your time is limited and you can’t do everything you want to do, so choose what is beneficial and brings true and lasting joy that you can share with your partner. Do you have any goals that aren’t in line with your marriage plans? Do you have hobbies, vices, friends, or habits that hamstring you and are keeping you from being a productive life partner? Get rid of them, or ditch the idea of marriage for now. If you are too attached to unproductive habits or destructive people, marriage is a bad idea.
PREPARE FINANCIALLY, because love is not enough and your parents shouldn’t pay your bills. Have realistic straightforward no BS answers to important questions. Where will you live? Is your income enough to maintain the lifestyles you are used to? What kind of adjustments do you need to make? You can’t wait forever for things to be perfect but you can do your best to be prepared. If you are unprepared to live life completely cut off from your parents’ financial umbilical cord, marriage will only highlight your lack of readiness.
PLAN FOR THE WEDDING YOU CAN AFFORD. Yes, start talking about it even before an actual proposal. Make sure your expectations (from yourself and from your partner) are fully in line with your actual financial picture. As much as possible, don’t expect anyone else to foot the bill for your wedding. If you can’t afford the wedding of your dreams, then STOP LOOKING AT OTHER PEOPLE’S WEDDINGS. It’s not a competition, and the people who matter won’t judge you. Ground yourself in reality and manage your expectations, then consider what’s really important for you. A wedding is two people, a minister, and witnesses—everything else is gravy.
Once you’ve done these 5 things, you’ll be ready as you’ll ever be for marriage. Remember that both you and your partner are imperfect, often selfish people, who have chosen to work together in spite of your differences to make something good in this world. Focus on preparing for a marriage that works, treat your wedding day as the least of your worries, and your best days will always be ahead of you.