You know that you’ll get there. You see it as a reward after this long period of non-stop wedding preparations. You’ll say “bye” to your weddings guests, sneak into your hotel suite, and grab your bags for a trip of a lifetime.
Your honeymoon will be sweet and memorable. Sex will be HOT.
Is it that simple?
Hmm, maybe not.
Can you just wing your honeymoon?
Can you just have a travel agent plan everything and you’re good to go?
Do you really need to plan your honeymoon?
I suggest so. And there’s a wise pacing for how you can plan it.
“But we have a million things to plan for the wedding? And then we’ll have to move into a new house which we need to plan for too? Can we just postpone the honeymoon?”
I can hear you cry.
On this blog post, I share what I’ve learned from other married couples and from my own experience. Hope this will help you prepare for the first few days of your life forever.
What is the importance of a honeymoon?
After getting married in the eyes of God, and legally (because the Bible honours earthly authorities too), you and your fiancé are then ready to consummate your marriage through sex.
The honeymoon, while a more modern concept, is what you can consider as the period where you and your new spouse lavish each other with your bodies for the purpose of consummation. And that part is biblical. Read Songs of Solomon.
It’s a precious time between you and your new spouse to build the foundations of what will be your life forever - both spiritual and physical.
While you can’t anticipate every single issue that may arise in the area of your intimate life, you can do your best to prepare for it.
Like how we are preparing for marriage. Or for parenthood. We can’t be 100% ready for any of these new life roles. But we can definitely reduce the amount of unnecessary ignorance about these important matters.
Having said that, your honeymoon needs some thinking.
What should you consider when planning for your honeymoon?
The commercial notion of a honeymoon is a grand vacation to an exotic place. Let’s go back to the goal of the days after the wedding day. It’s to consummate your marriage through sex, isn’t it?
I won’t be diving into the details of your first night as newlyweds because I don’t want to arouse anything before it’s time. I’ll reserve that for my exclusive emailers for brides who are just a few days away from their wedding day. But in a general sense, here are the key things you need to consider when you start planning your honeymoon.
1. You’ll most likely be tired after the wedding day.
After the long period of wedding preparation, and finally welcoming your guests on the big day, you will just feel like you’re done.
Most couples don’t get enough sleep the night before their wedding day. And very few actually get to eat the feast they prepare for their guests. Then there is usually a lot of “goodbyes” that need to be done the next day as you send off your guests. This part also becomes tricky because one of you would usually just want to finally hang-out, cuddle and what-not with the new spouse, while the other will be in major post-wedding operation mode.
I don’t suggest here though that you shouldn’t consummate your wedding right away! My husband and I snuck out of our wedding before it was over because we just wanted to finally see each other naked! And we think it was a great decision.
Adding long and elaborate activities like travelling and touring into the formula might just exhaust you even more. That’s what I mean.
2. You’d want to be in your most comfortable and rested state on your honeymoon.
And again, I don’t suggest putting off your honeymoon just because you need to take a full week to regain your strength.
Your honeymoon is when you’ll get to unwind from all the hustle and bustle of the wedding. And the best part is you’ll get to do it with your new spouse!
You’d want to have a lot of warm-up time before having sex anyway if you are doing it for the first time. The first night or the first day might really just be about exploring each other’s body while it enters into a relaxed mode.
On the note of travel again: unmet expectations on accommodations you’ve never tried before might also be a source of stress. A four-star hotel in another city may not necessarily be the four-star standard you’re accustomed to in your own city. I’ve heard of horror stories of what couples thought was white-bedding-fluffy-pillows-and-a-bed-we-both-can-jump-on hotel rooms that turned out to be very uninviting for sex.
3. You’d want medical assistance that you trust to be accessible.
This is no exaggeration here- the intensity of physical tension from your honeymoon can bring about some physical discomfort. Some of which might need medical attention.
For women having sex for the first time, honeymoon cystitis, a bladder infection, is common.
In some cases, it’s the exhaustion after the wedding activities that can put pressure on the immune system.
You can already imagine the stress of getting medical help from a place that you’re not familiar with.
4. If you think the honeymoon is as important as the wedding, then you need to prepare a budget for it.
For many busy couples, the honeymoon ends up being just an afterthought. Because there was not much thought and preparation committed to it, neither is a budget.
So many couples put off the honeymoon after a few months, sometimes even a year.
If what is being put off is the big trip, then call it as “the first trip as a married couple”. But I wouldn’t say you’d want to delay the honeymoon itself. Again, we’re talking about the consummation of marriage here. It’s the first few days of your life forever where you explore each other’s body with which you commit to serving each other intimately.
There is indeed something very special about travelling as newlyweds. You get to experience sights and sounds with someone you will reminisce on the memories with when you’re old and grey. This can wait if the budget doesn’t allow for it yet. You’d want to start on a good financial note as you start your marriage. But re-think about holding off the real deal of the honeymoon.
With that being said, having your honeymoon in your newlywed home right after your wedding is a great option. If you prefer not having to clean up the house during your first days as newlyweds, then a hotel stay is another idea.
If you haven't done your wedding budgeting yet, you can sign up here for my Wiser Weddings Budget Worksheet.
5. There will be pressure around you to pull off an extravagant honeymoon trip. Think hard if this is really what you need as a honeymoon option.
I’ve already mentioned about the commercialisation of honeymoons. Even your friends and family have probably asked you “So, where do you want to go for your honeymoon?” As if it always needs to involve travelling far.
With all the factors I’ve mentioned above, you will need to pray and discuss with your fiancé what your ideas are about what a honeymoon is supposed to be. Then consult your marriage preparation coaches or pastors about your thoughts.
6. The journey to your honeymoon is mostly a spiritual preparation.
The preparation that couples need for the honeymoon is largely spiritual.
Once you understand the purpose of the honeymoon then it’ll be easier to focus on what’s essential.
And the honeymoon preparations become less of logistical planning and more of faith building.
I strongly suggest for you to go through a marriage preparation course. I talk about that here.
It’s very essential to pray for your heart, mind and body to be ready to serve your fiancé.
And if you or your fiancé need any spiritual healing from past sexual relations, it’s good to pray for it now. I recommend pastoral counselling so you can be guided through the process of prayer. I’ll talk more about this on another blog post.
Those are my thoughts!
If you’re currently planning to get married, what are the obstacles you face in preparing for your honeymoon? Please share in the comments section below. And please don’t forget to follow @theasianmrsblanding on Instagram!
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Being engaged is no doubt one of the life-changing periods of your life. It’s a transition period to the most precious relationship you are committing to.Hands down, it’s also the…
As an engaged woman, you will be in demand. You’ll receive unrelenting requests for your time from family, friends, wedding suppliers, and your fiancé. So how do you prioritise relationships during this very busy…
Disastrous. That’s what it’ll be if you’d have to retract your “yes” to your fiancé after he’s asked you to marry him.
And that’s certainly not what I’m recommending here! (But if you ever feel like you ever need to do so, then you’d better pray really hard to God and consult the wisest people in your life! Though I hope that it’s not the case here.)
What I’m talking about is how you can gracefully say “no” to overcommitment.
As an engaged woman, you will be in demand. You’ll receive unrelenting requests for your time from:
- Family who will start feeling the reality of letting you go;
- Curious family and friends who would want to hear the blow-by-blow account of the proposal;
- Helpful friends who’d want to check up on you constantly to make sure you’re ok - because being engaged is a big commitment, and wedding planning a huge undertaking!
- Wedding suppliers - for obvious reasons;
- Your fiancé who now has a greater feeling of responsibility to protect you, care for you, plan a wedding with you, and prepare for marriage with you!
Simply put, this may be one of the busiest times of your life.
I’ve gone through it myself. It felt so touching to be wanted by so many people, but at the same time, very overwhelming. And a few times, even annoying.
In the past, I’ve had several calls past midnight from girlfriends who felt like they were left on their own to plan this major production called “The Wedding Day”. Some have cried tears of frustration, some even cursed at the top of their lungs.
But while some level of stress is inevitable, it doesn’t have to be the norm.
After saying “yes” to your fiancé, you’ll find yourself needing to say “no” to plenty of things. It’s not a bad thing. If you know what you should be saying “yes” to, then it’ll be easier to say “no.”
I’ve coached about a hundred people before on this subject. This is a skill that anyone can learn. This engagement season can be, in fact, the best time to hone this skill. Practicing this now will definitely benefit you and your relationships in your lifetime.
So here’s my take on how to say “no” to overcommitment after you’ve said “yes” to your fiancé.
1. Fill up your schedule with things that nourish you.
Have you ever experienced a day when you’ve accomplished so many things, but still feel oddly dissatisfied? I get that feeling when I get so many things done at the expense of things that truly feed my soul.
You may not like what I’ll say - but really, it’s like eating your vegetables and protein first.
Google “food sequencing” and you’ll read a lot about the benefits of this (I’ve tried it, and it works for me). But before we digress, there’s an analogy between this and being disciplined and wise in your prioritisation.
Eating your veggies and proteins first before carbohydrates makes you eat less. There’s just little or no room left for other food after the first two. Likewise, “high-fibre activities” cleanse your mind and spirit and fill them up in a good way. After these activities, it’s so much easier to say “no” to things that can fatten up your calendar, and leave you busy but unproductive.
See, carbs is not entirely bad. Likewise, you’re saying “no” to certain things is not because they’re entirely bad. They’re just not what you’re supposed to fill yourself up with.
Here are three things I suggest you to commit to before saying “yes” to anything else:
a. Daily prayer and meditation
This is where I speak to the Jesus believers out there. If you say you are, then this is definitely top priority - whatever your mood is for the day, no matter how rushed you are, and regardless of how sorted out you feel things are.
Why? Because our most beloved person in this life, God, deserves to have our undivided time. And also because we ought to hear (ergo read and understand) how He’d want us to tackle our day.
b. Self care
Sleep less, do more - I highly suggest AGAINST this. Trading in your sleep to try to accomplish more things during the day is simply cheating. It’s stealing from what the body needs to satisfy your other desires.
Though there are inevitable situations when we can’t avoid it - when an emergency arises, or when you’re a new parent. What greatly helped me during the first few months of our newborn’s frequent night wakings was the sleep credits. I slept 7 to 8 hours a day, as often as I could (almost 90% of the time, as 10% of the time I suffered from acid reflux), before and during my pregnancy.
Aside from getting a good night’s sleep, self care also includes getting yourself regularly checked by the doctor, eating healthily, and having me-time.
c. Key relationships
You definitely won’t be able to respond, let alone have FaceTime, with every single family or friend you have. But you can set aside time, which you will need, with a few key relationships.
I like lists. While they’re not a be-all-end-all reference to life, they provide loads of guidance. Lists, like to-do-lists, are good for your brain like what research like this one suggests. One of the yearly and seasonal life lists that my husband and I make is our “Relationship List”.
We identify who we want to be more intentional with. Having this list allows us to evaluate if we are indeed spending quality time with them - either virtually (since some of them are overseas) or physically. Here’s more about how to make that Relationship List.
Needless to say, your fiancé is now your top priority among your key relationships.
2. Put these things on your calendar.
Thinking and deciding to commit to these things is one thing; giving them a defined and scheduled time is another.
One of the productivity gurus I follow, Mike Vardy, shares about Scheduling Time Blocks here.
What I find most effective when trying to establish a routine is marking out exact times when I need to do anything. Having these things on my calendar makes me less likely to skip them. So the one commitment I have to make is to not schedule more than one thing at any given point in time!
It’s just simply impossible (and ridiculous) to spend quality time with your best girl friend while crunching wedding numbers on your laptop. Sure, many of us women love doing errands with our friends, but I suggest for you to be more discerning of which activities you place together. Having your nails done with your prospective maid of honor (MOH) is quite a good idea. Lots of conversations can still take place.
3. Pause and evaluate any invitation that comes your way.
Now that you’ve prioritised scheduling things that will nourish you, carefully evaluate how to use your remaining free time because that will no longer be free for long.
After I’ve scheduled my top 3 life priorities (as mentioned on #1), I evaluate all other invitations of my time this way:
Missional over Entertainment.
Seasonal over Missional.
Entertainment - activities that I do because I just have extra time. There’s nothing else that is requiring my attention at that moment. I’m at peace about having spent lots of quality time with God, caring for myself, and my key relationships. There’s just nothing else that requires my time right now. I get some entertainment time--call it rest and relaxation--that’s over and above my “self care” time just because I can. My aimless Pinterest-ing or social media scrolling are two examples of them.
Missional - activities that I am called to do in general - over and above my top three life priorities. I’d say that it takes some discernment, thoughtful prayer, and some form of structured thinking process to know what these personal missions are.
If you’re a Christian, you know that our purpose in life is to worship God and tell other people about Him. Now how does that BIG mission translate to smaller ones, while taking into account your personality, life experiences, and talents? These smaller missions comprise your Personal Mission.
My personal mission statement is “to help people realise and achieve God’s purpose for them.”
I make time to meet friends, friends of friends, or even complete strangers who ask if they can talk to me about their thoughts and lives. Topics they open up about are either on setting up a non-profit group, dating, marriage, pregnancy, starting a business, organising events, or even about music (NOT my cup of tea). I’m not an expert on any of these things, but I know God has gifted me with the ability to speak encouragement into people’s lives. In the process, I pray that they clearly hear from God on how to take steps to pursue their purpose in life.
I love helping women particularly in the area of identifying their personal mission statement! I’ve coached about a hundred people in the past on this subject. I’ve learned so much about the power of having this statement. If you’re interested to go through a coaching session with me, email me at [email protected].
Seasonal - required activities for the particular season I’m in. In a lifetime, we will go through different seasons - like winter, spring, summer, or fall (not apparent in the tropics, but hopefully you know how they work!). They don’t last forever. They usually require much of our focus for a period of time. I’m in the early motherhood season as I write this post. My toddler needs lots of my time. I have had to drop a lot of my previous activities - like organising fundraisers through my non-profit, or traveling for leisure with my husband Mike on a bi-monthly basis.
Once I know what season I’m in and the activities I need to prioritise for that season, it’s easier for me to say “no”, for a period of time, to some missional stuff. If I have extra time after I’ve served my seasonal responsibilities, I choose missional over entertainment.
4. Decide on how much time you’ll devote to wedding planning.
Have you ever felt like your work grew more and more, every time you decided to stay longer in the office? That’s because work expands to fill the time available. This is Parkinson’s Law which you can read more about here.
It’s totally the same with planning a wedding.
If you give wedding planning a full year, the amount of work will be equivalent to a year’s worth of work. If you give yourselves 6 months to plan it, you’ll find a way to compress preparations to 6 months.
My husband and I were engaged for 8 months, but only gave ourselves 4 months to work on the wedding. The wedding happened, and it was the wedding we wanted. It wasn’t because we’re exceptional, we were just strict about where we put our time.
Here’s a challenge that might benefit you, your fiancé, and your other relationships:
Decide together how many times a week, and how many hours you’ll spend planning your wedding. That time shall cover everything that is related to wedding preparations.
But decide on this AFTER you’ve exacted how much time you’ll give to praying and meditating, caring for yourself, and spending time with your key relationships. Since preparing for your marriage and planning for a wedding is your current season, it’s OK to say “no” to the usual missional and entertainment priorities in your life.
The interesting thing about working within a schedule is that it compels you to make a decision quickly, but not necessarily harshly. With the vast options now, especially for weddings (think Pinterest), it’s just so much harder to decide. Sometimes even after making a decision, when we see a seemingly better idea, we retract our decision and look for options again. And before you know it, you’re down the rabbit hole!
If you haven’t decided yet on how long you want to be engaged for, here are some things to consider. Hopefully this also helps you in identifying how much time you’ll give to wedding planning.
5. Gracefully say “No” and move on.
If you’re like me who still falls into the trap of wanting to please people (News Flash: No one can!), saying “no” can be tougher.
I’ve learned that saying “no” is more respectful than saying “maybe” when you really mean “no”. It sets expectations that result in disappointments when you don’t follow up on your “maybe”.
When you get invited to take part in anything, it’s an honour! So thank the person who asks. When I was engaged, I felt annoyed sometimes when people reached out to me to ask for help on certain things. Even when it’s just a cup of coffee to talk about something. In my head I thought “Don’t they have any idea how busy I am right now?! Please give me a break” Oh, how prideful and ungrateful of me! It probably is one effect of being a bride - feeling like I was the center of everyone’s world. Haha. I’ve repented since then.
Say “thank you” and extend your appreciation to the person asking for your time, and for even thinking about you. Follow this statement with “Sorry.” A statement that I use is: “I’m so sorry that I won’t be able to give time for this one at the moment.”
And of course, you can expound on it. I try to avoid explaining myself when not necessary. It unfolds plenty of other debates in people’s minds - like “Why is she placing that over me?” or “Can’t she not squeeze me in even just for a few minutes?” Believe me, you will disappoint people on different levels. AND THAT’S OK. You have to be ok with it. Sure, if you really feel like you need to explain to someone (usually family or friends) why you’re saying “no”, allow God to lead you to those conversations. Key is to humble yourself when having to decline.
If practicing saying “no” turns out to be extra challenging for you, pray. And maybe even consult a trusted mentor who’s also a believer. God might be dealing with something in your heart, and He wants you to work with Him through it.
Let’s start a discussion! What kinds of invitations did you have to say “no” to since you got engaged? Share your answers on the comment section below.
"What in the world are wedding guiding principles?" you might ask. I answer these questions on The Step to Planning Your Wedding That Nobody Talks About to understand how having guiding principles for your wedding season can help you.
After you’ve made the necessary engagement announcements to your family and closest friends, sit down together and pray. Pray about how you want this wedding planning period and your wedding day to look like.
Here are the questions many couples wish they have discussed before planning the logistics of their wedding, plus more follow-up questions:
1. How would you like your fiancé/fiancée to feel after the wedding day?
- How often will you have date nights while you’re engaged?
- How do you want your date nights to look like? Will they be:
- Wedding planning sessions to be efficient with time
- A mix of wedding planning sessions and marriage preparation sessions
- Absolutely no wedding talks
- Spontaneous / anything goes
- How will you communicate with each other whenever you feel loved?
- How will you communicate with each other whenever you don’t agree with certain choices for the wedding?
- What would you do if someone from your family disagrees with your wedding decisions?
- How will you split the wedding planning tasks?
- Are you going to have your honeymoon right away? If no, why not? If yes, why so?
- How will you receive financial assistance from either family that wouldn’t trump your decision-making powers for your wedding?
2. How would you like your guests to feel after attending your wedding?
- How much effort are you willing to give in order to provide information to your guests?
- What will be your reasoning for choosing the guests you are planning to invite?
- Are you inviting the kids of your guests? If you’re inviting kids, how would you make your wedding friendly to parents with little children?
- Are you inviting “plus ones”?
- What experience would you like your guests to have when they arrive at your wedding venue?
- What message would you like to convey to your guests through the ceremony proceedings and reception programme?
- Are you giving gifts to your friends? If so, how would you like your guests to feel when they receive them?
3. How would you like your marital finances to look the day after your wedding?
- Are you going to budget for your wedding in such a way that you’ll also have funds for your honeymoon?
- Where are you going to get your wedding funds from?*
- Who will be the bookkeeper or accountant?*
- Are you going to create a separate account for your wedding funds?
- What is your justification for taking on debt for the wedding?
- What are the things you’d like to do during your first year of marriage that won’t intervene with debt re-payment, or won’t incur you any new debt?
- How do you plan to use the monetary gift/s you’ll be receiving?
- Are you going to stick to a budget for your wedding?
- How do you plan on sticking to your budget?
*To learn more about how you can be wiser about your wedding and money, click here.
4. How would you like to use this planning season to learn?
- How do you plan to handle vendors who may not deliver as agreed?
- How will you handle unsolicited suggestions from family and friends?
- How much help are you willing to receive or ask from family and friends?
- What would you like to learn more about your fiancé / fiancée?
- What would you like to learn more about God?
5. How would you like to honour God during your engagement and on your wedding day?
- How will you protect your prayer time?
- How will you exemplify excellence in planning a wedding that’s inspired by God?
- Would you use this time to exemplify godly stewardship to others?
- How will you use this season to share about God to other people?
- How will you practice giving thanks to God during this season?
I suggest answering these questions before you even start planning the wedding. That’s the idea of guiding principles. The wedding planning process can be overwhelming in itself. You’d want to protect your relationship by being better at communicating. You'll be surprised at how rich your conversations would be!
Let me know in the comment section below what your experience was like when you talked about finances with your fiancé for the first time.
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….is actually the first step.
Venue or date? Budget or guest list? Theme or venue?
Where do you begin in planning your wedding?
If you pick the venue first, it may not match your theme, budget, or fit the number of people you plan on inviting.
If you work on your budget first, how do you know what to budget for?
If you pick a theme first, you might end up frustrated if your budget isn’t enough to execute the idea you have in mind.
Oh! What a headache! Does it really need to be this difficult?
When we were planning our wedding, we received all kinds of advice from our married friends on how to get started. But amidst all the how-to’s, we heard something resonate in all of them.
Many of them have shared what a grueling process it was to agree on the hundreds of details they had to deal with. On hindsight, they all shared how they wished they had more discussions that dealt with how they really felt about all these big and small details before getting so close to each and every deadline.
The first crucial step that no one really talks about when planning their wedding is the establishment of your guiding principles. My then-fiancé-now-husband Mike and I distilled what our friends were saying, and came to the conclusion that what they hoped they had to start with were some set of these principles.
Guiding principles are a set of rules, agreements, or philosophies to help you make better and smarter choices together.
These are elaborations of what you, as a couple, believe in - which are pretty much affected by your faith and preferences. Your vision for your wedding day will likewise define your guiding principles.
They are ideally talked about and written before jumping into logistical planning, so your planning could be easily determined by what you’ve already agreed on.
We only really fully realised the benefits of having these guiding principles after our wedding day, and we could even say that these enabled us to actually enjoy planning our wedding!
That’s why I’d like to share with you these 5 things that you can have Guiding Principles for.
1. How you’d like your fiancé to feel after the wedding day
When the dust settles, what will your fiancé remember you by the way you treated him during the engagement period up until the wedding day?
I remember when I went ahead and printed out our wedding programmes without getting my fiancé’s inputs, which made him feel disrespected. I remember when he overhauled the content I wrote for our wedding website, which made me feel insulted. We both just wanted to be helpful, but we couldn't make sense of our own good intentions because we weren't communicating enough!
On a brighter note, I felt really supported by him when he prioritised me over his family. He definitely treated my in-laws very well, but he had to make careful decisions as to who gets time first when we were all in the same town days before our wedding. And that was even with the premise that he only sees his parents a few times a year! I believe my in-laws exemplified it well to him that his future wife would be priority over the family, and he was already practicing this during our engagement.
This will help determine:
- How you’ll spend time with your fiancé when you’re planning and when you’re not planning for the wedding
- How you’ll both communicate during this season
- How you’ll prioritise things
2. How you’d like your guests to feel after attending your wedding
I couldn’t have agreed more with Maya Angelou when she said,
“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Our friends Angel and Abiel Pascual wrote each of their 100+ guests personalised handwritten letters. That really made my husband and I feel that they value us as part of their life.
This will help determine:
- The guest list
- The programme
- The gifts for your guests (if applicable)
- The welcome and send-off logistics of your guests
3. How you’d like your marital finances to look the day after your wedding
With the social pressures of pulling off an extravagant, most Pinterest-worthy wedding--which include but are not limited to an extraordinary prenup pictorial, the highest quality same-day-edit video, the most exotic location, and the most pompous menu--couples throw most, if not all, financial boundaries out the window.
The common justification is that it just happens once in a lifetime (ideally), and that the money can be recovered later on.
But what happens in overspending for a single day of fairytale wedding bliss is the exchange for many months or years of indebtedness and financial insecurity.
No couple in history has ever regretted being on the healthy side of finances after the wedding day, so there must be enormous benefits to making wise financial decisions while planning.
This will help determine:
- Where your funds will come from
- Your budget for each item
- Your choice of vendors
(I write more about how you can plan and commit to a wiser wedding through sound financial strategies here.)
4. How you’ll use this season to learn
The wedding is going to be your first ‘big project’ together as a couple. Your partnership in making decisions will be put to the test. The strengths and weaknesses of your characters will be most transparent.
Whatever you or your fiancé discover about each other during the process will be what you'll have to accept in marriage (or say ‘no’ to if there are serious red flags).
An openness to learn from each other and from what you’ll experience will bring you closer to one another.
This will help determine:
- How you’ll respond to conflicts
- How you’ll respond to stressors
- How you’ll communicate
5. How you’d like to honour God during your engagement and on your wedding day
The spiritual depth of a wedding can be easily taken for granted when the road leading to it gets very bumpy. That’s why it’s important to stay focused on its true purpose.
You and your groom are going to stand before the Lord and your witnesses to enter into a covenant. Your wedding day is a mirror of how both of you as believers and members of His church unite with Him.
As glorious as that sounds, often times, God is neglected altogether months leading up to the wedding day - because of stress, busyness, and fixation on the less essential parts of getting married. Couples go back to communicating with Him again when wedding planning has reached its conclusion.
But truth is, God deserves honour during the entire process of preparing for your marriage. He is the reason why you’re getting married after all!
This will help determine:
- How long your engagement will be (to read more on this, check out this article )
- How you’ll spend time with your fiancé during your engagement
- How you’ll prioritise things
- How you’ll respond to stressors
- How you’ll make financial decisions for your wedding (here's my blog series on 'Weddings & Money').
- How you’ll relate with people
Click the image to get all these questions as a printable PDF!
There you go!
I recommend you pray about these things, then schedule a date night with your fiancé to discuss about them. Encourage and show your appreciation to one another every time you both agree on each point.
Can't yet decide on something together? Take a break and pray individually whenever you disagree on certain things. Consult a married couple you both trust to help you navigate through tough discussions if you need to.
Do you need more help with going through these 5 ideas? I made a list of related yet more specific questions you can ask each other! Find them here.
Have fun during this season!
Your city’s biggest wedding fair is coming soon, and you just can’t wait!
A wedding fair is a good place to get a feel of what’s out there. Options are endless, and it’ll get you thinking about what you should be considering for your wedding.
But having a sit-down meeting with a wedding supplier is different though. By this time, most suppliers are assuming that you’ve already done your homework. So it would be considered a waste of time for both parties (you and your supplier) if you sit with them without having first discussed these 4 important things with your fiancé.
Here they are:
1. How long you want to be engaged for
“What month of the year do we want to get married?” usually is the timeline question couples ask, since couples usually weigh in factors such as weather, cost of venues, theme, and vacation leaves availability. After all, you can’t have a beach wedding during the monsoon season in the tropics.
But I encourage you to do something different.
Talk about how long (or short) you’d want to be engaged for, independent of the aesthetics and logistics of your wedding day. There are other more important considerations around the length of an engagement that can affect your spiritual health and your relationship with your fiancé than the wedding programme.
To help you for this talk, I wrote about the 5 Things You Can Consider When Deciding How Long To Be Engaged For.
2. Where you want to get married geographically
This was an obvious consideration for my husband and I when we were planning our wedding, because we weren’t living in either of our home countries. Whichever place we picked, there would still be a good amount of guests who would need to travel internationally.
This brings us to the topic of destination weddings.
People automatically assume that it’s overall more costly if it’s done overseas. But the real answer to this is not necessarily. For example, a grand ballroom wedding in your home city can be more expensive than doing it at a beach in Phuket. You can go cheap or expensive at any place.
Decide beforehand where you’d want to have your wedding. You wouldn’t be able to compare apples to apples suppliers from different countries - so suppliers’ offers are not a good gauge of whether you’d want it in country A or B.
3. Where you want to be legally married
Due to varying marriage laws across the globe, where you’d want to have a church wedding (officiated by a priest or a pastor) may not necessarily be where you can or you’d like to have your legal ceremony - especially in the case of destination weddings.
It may not even be a destination wedding. Maybe you’re considering getting married where you currently reside, or where most of your guests also reside. But due to citizenship considerations, you may not be able to legally marry there.
It’s important then to discuss beforehand where you’d want your marriage to be registered, and research on the marriage laws accordingly. You may decide to have your civil wedding done in one city and the church wedding (where you make your marriage vows public in the presence of family and friends) in another, and that’s possible too. Our legal wedding was in Singapore a few days before our wedding ceremony and reception in Bali.
On that note, we only considered ourselves married after we’ve said our vows in the presence of our family and friends - and that was our personal conviction. I found this useful blog on the theology of civil and church weddings if you have questions on this subject.
4. How you'd like this wedding planning process to look
Time and again, my husband and I have seen how the wedding planning process becomes a test of relationship, convictions, and faith for many couples. This was also true for us.
Since a test is something you’d need to prepare for, it’s a good idea to agree with your fiancé how you’d like your wedding planning process to look. Whether you’re doing a three-month engagement or a year, those months will go down in history and you’d want to go through it with grace.
An exercise we did before anything else was to write our ‘Guiding Principles’. These were rules, agreements, or philosophies that helped us make better and smarter choices together. Having this shared vision for this momentous occasion will help you navigate through the wedding planning process, which includes meeting your suppliers for the first time. I talk more about it here.
Once again, congratulations on your engagement! May this season be a time you’ll grow even more in love with each other and go deeper in your faith.
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Saying “Yes” to your fiancé was easy. Thinking about marrying him gives you peace. He loves God, you, and the people around you. But, in the process of wedding planning, you find out that he’s broke. Or he finds out that you’re broke.
And it’s making you think, “Will he be able to provide for me?” Or wonder if he’s thinking, “Will she be able to handle money well?”
Maybe one of you, or the both of you, may have hidden the truth out of fear, or just didn’t think that it would be an issue.
Perhaps you’ve read this blog post only after you’ve gotten engaged.
Whatever the reason is for the lack of disclosure or lack of attention towards this matter, you both have to agree on your next move as a couple.
“But why is being in debt such a worrying situation when entering a marriage?” You might ask.
- Debt can put a lot of things on hold in marriage. Think honeymoon, regular date nights, giving gifts to your loved ones, or even living in a place of your own - indefinitely on hold.
- Making bad financial decisions, if it’s what caused the debt, could be stemming from a bad habit. Bad habits, when not addressed before marriage, can add to the many challenges couples face in marriage.
Once you both acknowledge that you need to be wiser from now on, here are 5 ways to help you navigate through your situation.
1. Allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you and respond to it.
Our minds tend to rationalise situations to make them look like there’s no problem that needs to be addressed. However, if we stop trying to rationalise it, we will be able to hear the Holy Spirit better. Pray that you’d obey His leading, and not give into your own desires or external pressures.
2. Talk about the issue with your fiancé and share your action plan (or ask for his).
If you’re the one in debt and you intentionally hid it out of fear, apologise. Come clean, as there is no room for dishonesty in a future marriage. Open up about the cause of the debt, and share how you plan to pay it off. Avoid false promises at all costs. From there, it’s all up to him if he’s comfortable bringing the debt into your marriage and helping you pay for it.
If your partner is the one in debt, avoid condemning. Ask how much exactly the debt costs, the reason for the debt, and his plans of repaying it. You’d want to understand how he makes financial decisions, which both of you will be doing a lot of in your marriage. Also, you’d like to know how this debt may affect your future marriage if left unsettled.
Moreover, I agree with Dave Ramsey’s suggestion here not to help pay for the other person’s debt until you’re married.
3. Talk to a married couple you both trust.
Confronting debt during your engagement can be very daunting. A flurry of emotions may hinder you from wisely deciding on your next steps.
Seek to find counsel from a godly married couple who’s had their own financial breakthrough in life. Present to them your issue and your proposed resolution so they can assess how round your decision is and pray with you. Make sure that it’s a couple that both of you trust, because you’ll most probably have to divulge details of your past (finances mostly) which may be uncomfortable to share with someone who doesn't have your best interests in mind.
4. Get professional help.
Consulting a financial planner can help give you or your partner (or both of you once you’re married) a solid plan to get out of debt, and protect--and eventually grow--your assets. They think long-term planning, so you’re sure that they aren’t just out there to get a commission.
A professional can advise on how to strategically get you out of debt given your income ability and external factors such as inflation (as most debts have interests). Someone who believes in tithing (with or without debt) and generosity, and not merely on growing wealth, is someone you’d like to hear from.
5. Consider a restart.
“Are you suggesting that we break the engagement?” you might ask.
Re-read point # 1. It’s up to the both of you how you’d like to move on from here. The restart that I’m suggesting may very well suggest breaking the engagement until you both resolve the issue that one of you, or both, is not willing to bring into marriage. And this is healthier than forcing yourselves to proceed with the engagement just to save face in light of those who’ve already posted their congratulations on Instagram. On the other hand, staying engaged and prolonging it might invite a lot of temptations in the area of purity. I talk about that here.
It may be heartbreaking; but believe me, you would want to start your marriage right at all costs. Think of it as a blessing that you and your partner had the courage to talk about the financial issue even before you got married.
If you decide to proceed and work on this financial brokenness together, I’d still suggest points 1 to 4. And please, don’t incur more debt while planning your wedding. A simple wedding is going to be your act of obedience to God as you start saving your marriage from financial woes.
Leave me a private message if you’re in this situation and I’d love to pray for you!
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You could barely remember the ecstatic feeling of being proposed to, thanks to the monumental task of having to plan a wedding.
Sitting with potential wedding suppliers now add to your already hectic schedule at work, with your soon-to-be-husband, family and everything else in between.
Then someone asks you; “Have you signed up for the upcoming pre-marriage counseling class yet?”
It’s tempting to de-prioritize it just so you may keep your head above water. Marriage preparation classes are usually weeks and weeks of classes you sit through for hours... plus... there’re homework on top of that.
So why trouble yourself with this when you can just read about marriage from books?
Besides, every dollar counts, and you’d rather put enrollment fee money into your wedding fund.
And even if it were a free class, again, who’s got the time, you might say?
But truth is: You have time. We all do...especially for the things that we value.
That said, here are 5 reasons why I think you should attend a marriage preparation course even when you’re the busiest couple in town. Hopefully, after reading this, you’d value marriage preparation class because I know you value your future marriage.
- It Instills Discipline.
Remember that time when you ran almost faster than a bullet train to get to your class because you didn’t want to fail? We’d scramble for ways to not compromise things that we value. I didn’t want to fail my classes primarily because I valued the investment my parents had put into my schooling. So attending the classes week after week shows that you are investing into your future marriage which shows that you value it.
Speaking about investing in your future marriage during your engagement, the Start Marriage Right blog writes about it here.
- It Opens Up Discussions You Wouldn’t Think Of Having.
These classes encourage couples to share their convictions, expectations and worries about marriage. You may have asked your fiancé about what he thinks of marriage. That’s great! But that is a very general question, however. But through carefully fleshed out, real-scenario questions, marriage preparation classes are able to bring out specific thoughts from both of you. One question that you’d probably not think of or dare discuss on your own with your partner is “How often do we have to see your parents and my parents?” Having someone else-the counsellor or the speaker at the class, ask this of both of you lessens the stigma of your being prejudiced.
- It Provides Inspiration.
Everyone shares common married couple issues. While each situation has a unique context to it, yet the commands of the Bible to every married couple is the same. So you’re wise to commit to reading God’s word to help you perform your role as a future wife.
Also, having strong godly married couples around you will help you see how their obedience to the command make a marriage blossom. For short, you’ll need real-life examples to keep you inspired. Here’s an article about the importance of a marriage community that I totally agree with.
- It Lessens Arguments In The Future.
Taking the class doesn’t eliminate painful discussions you’ll certainly have with your husband in the future. But it will lessen them.
Chrina Henson says, “A lot of potential fights and disagreements come from unmet expectations. Talking through these things before marriage spares you from having to face a future misunderstanding.”
I love the worksheets we had during our classes because we’re able to go back to our answers to remind ourselves of our convictions and to re-assess them together when necessary.
- It Provides You Opportunities For New Friendships
“You get to journey with other couples who are going through the same season as you. It's a big transition from singlehood to married life and it really helps to know that you are not alone in what you’re going through. You can also share with each other tips and tricks on wedding prep,” shares Angel Pascual. We’ve indeed seen many friendships fostered through marriage preparation classes.
Convinced that marriage preparation class is good for you? Then here’s a 2-part blog on how to make the most of your marriage preparation course. Enjoy your engagement!
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