There’s a statistic out there that around 40% of engagements happen between Thanksgiving Day and Valentine’s Day. There’s a ton of info about which days are the most popular to get engaged, ideas about why the past 3ish months are the most popular time to propose, and the term “engagement season” is tossed around a lot this time of year. The actual numbers may be off a bit, but there’s no denying that it feels like there’s an increase in people popping the question and getting ready to say I Do. You know we’re all about weddings, and we love all things surrounding them, but one of the things that we often don’t highlight enough is the engagement season that each of our couples go through.

Whether you’re engaged for 1 day or 1 year or 10 years before your wedding, that is your engagement season. It’s a season of your life that is entirely unique and special to you as a couple and not something that you will ever get to go through together again, so enjoy it and take it all in. They’re not lying when they say it flies by and the wedding will be here before you know it, so here are some ideas for how to make the most out of your engagement:

Take lots of pictures.

You will walk away from your wedding day with hundreds of photos – of one day. Make sure that when you’re stepping into your marriage, you’re taking memories of your engagement with you. Take pictures of your ring, sure, but take pictures of you together too. Whether it’s the random things you do during the year or the big moments that lead up to your wedding day, take pictures to solidify those memories and have something to look back on years from now. And, as silly as it may seem, take the “just got our marriage license!” picture. It might be cheesy and overdone, but it’s your marriage license and we promise you’ll be able to see your happiness in the picture. We live so much of our life through different seasons – dating, engaged, married – that it’s often enjoyable to look back and remember where you were in that season of life.

Celebrate with people you love. 

Celebrate your engagement with people you love, but also just celebrate with them in general. Go out to dinner with friends. Take the random weekend trip. Pop a bottle of champagne if a friend gets engaged. Keep those girl time lunch dates on your calendar. You can talk about the wedding or you can just enjoy one another. Whichever one it is, surround yourself with people who will make your life happier and help you create lasting memories during your engagement season. It will not only make your actual engagement more satisfying, but those are the people that will also always be by your side to support your marriage in the years to come.

Commemorate a “Negative Anniversary.”

Once you have your wedding date booked, go out for dinner to celebrate on your negative 1 year anniversary. Or, if you’re already less than a year out, celebrate on the 6 months prior anniversary, or the one month, or heck the one week. It’s so enjoyable to sit across the table from your soon-to-be spouse and think about the fact that in exactly _ months from that moment, you’ll be married. Anniversaries are special, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t get an extra year (or week) of celebrating one!

Enjoy the process. 

It is totally normal to feel stressed during the engagement and wedding planning process. We’ll say to remember that at the end of it you get married, and that the marriage is the most important part, but also to give yourself grace. You’ve more than likely never planned something like this before, you feel a lot of pressure because it’s your big day, and you constantly have people asking about the wedding and how planning is going. Of course you feel stressed occasionally. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed, just remember to take a step back and not let those feelings get in the way of enjoying the process of being engaged and getting to plan your wedding day. It can be enjoyable and a lot of fun if you focus on you and your fiancé.

Embrace the typical engagement activities, if that’s your thing.

Showers. Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties. Open houses. Bridal fairs. Wedding dress shopping. Registry building. Rehearsal dinners. There are so many little events and activities that you can take part in during your engagement season – if you want to. If you love them, embrace them fully and go all out. Wear that veil. Take those pictures in the bridal salon. Try every flavor of cake at the bridal fair. But, if they’re so not you, don’t be afraid to make your engagement season what you want it to be and tweak it to fit your ideals. Have your parties together or just take a trip with one another. Ask for cash instead of a traditional registry. Have a quiet night together or a full blown party for your rehearsal dinner. Embrace your engagement and make it yours.

Have your Engagement Photos taken. 

We really love photos, obviously, but we can’t recommend this enough. Taking engagement photos with your wedding photographer is beneficial for numerous reasons – you have photos for your save the dates, you can display the photos at the wedding, you’ll be more comfortable with your photographer by the time the wedding day comes, you’ll learn how to pose with one another so you like your pictures more as your take them all year long, the list goes on and on. But beyond that, it’s an experience for the two of you to have together. You get to tell your photographer about your relationship and the wedding you’re planning. You can whisper in each others ear what you love about one another in the intimate photos and laugh out loud together when you feel awkward or trip in your heels. You get to see your love captured in film in a way you may not have ever seen before. And, when the photos are done, you can take advantage of being all dolled up and have a date night together to enjoy one another and toast to your upcoming marriage.

Take time for each other. 

When it comes down to it, this is the biggest piece of advice that we can share, and also where a lot of the other notes stem from. Just take time to enjoy one another and be together. You know when you first start dating someone and you get all of the “firsts” together? The jitters you get from the first date, the butterflies surrounding a first kiss, the warm fuzzies from saying I love you for the first time. Being engaged is like getting to have all that new relationship goodness all over again, except with the security that this is your person and you’re about to make a huge commitment to one another. Soak it all in and take advantage of every moment you’re engaged to one another.

Like we said, your engagement season is yours and yours alone, so make the most out of it. It’s one of the only times in your relationship that you will literally having a ticking clock until it ends. It’s a fantastic ending and the newlywed season is a blast, but you have the rest of your lives together to be married. You only have this year or so to be engaged.

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