Brides Tell All: What I Wish I'd Known When I Got Engaged

Planning Tips
Marriage Proposal

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The moment he puts the ring on your finger and the two of you start making plans for the rest of your life, things start seeming surreal. It's hard to make careful, rational decisions. That's why we're doing it for you. Don't wake up with regrets after the wedding about how you might have done things differently. Instead, read the stories below. I wish:

I Hadn't Rushed to Choose a Wedding Gown
Renae became engaged in October, 2011 and bought her gown one month later, a decision she came to regret. The wedding didn't take place until April 2014. The newlywed recalls wistfully, "My tastes had changed and I no longer wanted a strapless organza fit and flare gown."

Even more of a regret is that by rushing into buying the gown, she missed out on involving her mother in the experience. Renae says, "Being the last child and only daughter to get married I know mom wishes she'd been there too."

Renae's hard-won advice: "There's a reason why it's recommended you allow yourself at least 10 months from your wedding date to buy your dress!"

See more: The 50 Mistakes Every Bride Makes

I Hadn't Stressed Endlessly Over Seating Charts
Stacey became engaged in December 2012. Her wedding was May 2014. In retrospect she now realizes, "The things I worried most about were the things that mattered least on the day."

Major worries centered on table plans. "I was so stressed which friends and family needed to sit together, and which should be apart. In reality the only people we'd invited were people who loved us and wanted us to have a great day." Stacey finishes, "The wedding had such a celebratory feel no one cared who they sat with — and I forgot all about the table plan!"

I'd Given Myself Time to Enjoy Being Engaged
When Jane happily accepted her boyfriend's marriage proposal in March 2012, she leapt instantly into wedding plans even though the actual ceremony and party weren't scheduled until May 2014.

Jane shares, "The intense pressure of choosing venues, invitations, the photographer, music, flowers, caterer — whew! All of it — put way too much stress on Jim and me. The engagement period became all about wedding planning. It should have been a loving, tranquil period to enjoy each other's company and spend time with friends and family before jumping full steam ahead into the whirlwind."

She adds, "The wedding was beautiful but it would have been just as beautiful if we'd given ourselves a few months of calm before the storm!"

Sherry Amatenstein is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.

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