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copyright Rachel Sanfordlyn Shreckengast of

A lot of focus is given to planning a wedding. After all, planning a wedding is a monumental task. You have lots of details to consider and even more decisions to make. There are issues such as colors, decorating, choosing attendants and picking out your wedding dress. Even once you get past the major details, you then have to consider things like which traditions you'll use, who will walk you down the aisle (if anyone!) and what type of favors (if any!) you will use.

Many couples want to jump right into the planning stage and give little thought to whether this is a good idea. After all, getting engaged is exciting and exhilarating. It's hard to contain your excitement and take some time to consider options that will make future planning easier. The stage before you start planning your wedding is one that I call the "pre-planning stage".

The "pre-planning stage" is the stage where you aren't actively planning your wedding, but instead are discussing items that will make active wedding planning easier. It's also the stage where you have time to reflect on your relationship, where you aren't under a deadline and where you can save money by planning ahead. The below suggestions will help you to make the most of the "pre-planning stage".
Enjoy Your Engagement

- Take time to enjoy being engaged. Reflect on your relationship with your partner. Take time to reflect on the attributes about your partner that you love. Take a moment to think about the reasons that you and your partner want to marry each other. Take some time to show your partner that you take this commitment seriously. You'll never regret spending the time to do these things, and once you start actively planning the wedding you simply won't have the time to do these things very often. Not only will this help to solidify your reasons for marrying your partner, but it will also help you during those times when the stress of wedding planning has you down. You'll be able to remember that there are reasons you are going through all of the hassle of wedding planning and many of those reasons will surface when you're in the midst of a wedding planning crisis.

Get Organized

- Figuring out an organizational system in advance of planning your wedding will save you both time and money. Take some time to think of what type of system would work best with your lifestyle. Whether you decide on a system using a three-ring binder, expandable accordion folders or a school type binder, having a system in place will serve you well every time you need to remember all the little details that go along with wedding planning. Another benefit is that you will have one place to keep items that aren't directly related to those details. For example, you can include notes about various decorating ideas that you run across, various color combinations that you like and ideas that you are considering but haven't yet decided upon. Not only can your system include details that you have decided upon, but it can also be an "idea book" that keeps all of those interesting ideas in one place. In other words, you won't have to remember where on the web you found that great idea on favors or whether Uncle Don and Aunt Patty don't get along (or was it Uncle John and Aunt Jane) after their divorce. You'll have all of the notes and ideas in one place...and that can save both time and money. Perhaps more importantly, it can save your sanity.

Discuss Your Options

- Take time to sit down with your partner and start discussing your options. One of the most important discussions to start with is what each of you expects out of a wedding. Figure out what is important to each of you and take plenty of notes. This is another thing that can save both money and time in the future. If you don't find out that your partner wants a specific type of music until halfway through the planning process, you may find yourself in a bind as you try to change plans to accommodate your partner's wishes. If your partner dreams of an intimate gathering and you dream of a big blow-out, you can save arguments if you discuss and compromise in the beginning. You'll never know that flowers aren't important to either of you unless you discuss such issues before you start planning. I personally consider this to be one of the most important steps in planning a wedding. If you and your partner can figure out a basic idea of the wedding you both want, you will be able to agree upon and "fight" for those things that are truly important to both of you. In other words, you will be able to present a united front when someone disagrees with your choices. You will also know exactly what is important to each of you and can compromise on items that don't mean much (if anything) to either of you. You'll be able to have an idea of what elements of a wedding will help both of you to feel as if you are having "the wedding of your dreams".

Taking these steps before you plan your wedding, will help to save a lot of hassle, time and money. If you think this advice is simple to follow, you're absolutely right. It's meant to be. The "pre-planning stage" is the stage where you can take simple steps to insure that future wedding planning stages are easier to deal with. It doesn't have to be difficult to work.



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