A Groom's Guide to Surviving Engagement

Amy Cunningham

You asked and she said yes! Now you're officially engaged and fully encompassed in the wedding planning process. The engagement period often leaves you feeling ready to head to Vegas to elope, but now is the time for patience, sensitivity, and romance. Yes, romance. Even though romance may not be on your mind, it's the one thing that will help you and your fiancée get through this crazy engagement period even stronger than at the start of it.

  1. Document the planning process.
    I can't stress how much your fiancée will appreciate this down the road. If you're reading this before you've actually proposed, document the proposal as well. Set up a video camera or bring along a camera and take a few pics.

    When it comes to the actually planning, keep the camera close at hand. Your fiancée is likely to be so busy planning that she'll have few memories of the actual planning process. Here are some photo ideas to get you started:
    • Take a picture of your fiancée tasting cakes. Put a little icing on her nose jokingly and snap away.
    • Snap a pic of your ring bearer trying on his tux. Take along the ring pillow and ring.
    • Sneak a photo of her and her bridesmaid laughing together while putting together favors.
    • Take a photo of her asleep surrounded by her wedding magazines.
    • Save the rejected invitation samples and take a picture of the final one.
    • Take a picture of your bride-to-be signing a vendor contract.
    • Get a picture of her and her mom going through the guest list.
    • Don't forget to include a few pics from your guy's only functions. At your bachelor party, have a friend take a pic of you and your Best Man.

    After it's all over, surprise her with the photos in a pretty album or scrapbook. Trust me. She'll be thrilled.

  2. Just nod.
    Ok, not really, but remember that your fiancée is going through a very stressful time. Be honest and speak up if you don't like something, but at the same time, don't be overly picky. If you want to write your own vows rather than using standard vows, talk about doing just that. If you don't particularly care for the paper that she's printing your programs on, it's probably not significant enough to argue about. Keep in mind that sensitivity is a requirement during the engagement period.

  3. Help when help is needed.
    Brides tend to jump right into wedding planning and take control over the entire process. If you're a groom-to-be that plans beside her, great. Otherwise, make an offer to help and then let her take you up on it. When she does ask for help, don't drag your heels. For instance, if she's putting together the guest list and needs your list, get it as soon as possible. Your fiancée may be on a short string during this period, so be patient and do anything you can do to help out.

  4. Stop talking.
    Not literally, but during the engagement period the wedding talk consumes you. Put the brakes on the contract, vendor, and planning discussions. Pretend that you're dating again and reconnect. Try talking about your days, recent current events, a good book, or a recent movie.

  5. Date your fiancée.
    Get away from the planning stress and go out a date together a few times a month. Head out for a romantic dinner or a new movie at the theater. You'll both appreciate getting away from the planning and having fun as a couple again. Check out these date ideas for a few creative ways to get out.

  6. Pamper her.
    The engagement period is completely crazy and filled with many highs and lows. Help your wife-to-be de-stress with a little pampering and romance. Surprise her at work with a bouquet of roses. Give her a sensual massage or a gift certificate for a day at the spa. Fill the bathroom with candles and settle her in for a relaxing bubble bath with a glass of wine. She'll appreciate your thoughtfulness and the de-stressing time.

  7. Keep the families at bay.
    If your wedding planning is like most, you're going insane with the silly bickering. The key to surviving the engagement period with your families is to set the guidelines in the beginning. Sit down with both of your families and let them know your plans and what you expect from them. If your parents start to butt in, draw the line. If you don't, you'll both end up more stressed and fighting.

  8. Get away.
    Head out of town for the weekend. Leave the stress behind and do nothing but relax. Go camping, head to a romantic bed & breakfast, or pick a little beach side motel for the weekend. The only rule: keep all wedding talk and wedding planners at home.

  9. Reflect.
    While your fiancée stresses over the wedding, take a little time to reflect on what the two of you are about to do. Write a letter to your fiancée to give to her on the morning of your wedding. You could include a love quote or poem that describes your relationship or feelings. Most importantly though, write from your heart. Tell her what your impending vows mean to you and what your hopes for the future include.

  10. Have fun!
    The number one tip for surviving the engagement period is to have fun with it! When you go to taste cakes, smash a little on her nose. When you're picking the reception location, grab her hand and 'test' the dance floor. Make up some funny vows and read them to her night. These little fun moments will make her laugh, lighten the stress, and bring you both back to the reality of your relationship. Just remember to soak it all in and enjoy the planning process.