There is nothing I love sharing more than photos of my incredible couples having the time of lives during their engagement, wedding and anniversaries, but today we’re doing something a little bit different: we’re dishing out some wedding planning advice that has nothing to do with the wedding. (Crazy concept, right?) Early spring is prime wedding planning season, and it’s exciting to see brides buzzing from task to task like dainty little bees, it can be tough to watch some brides become all-consumed by planning. There really is a lot to look forward to before sealing the deal as husband and wife, but so often this season of life is rushed through instead of enjoyed.
I often reiterate to my sweet couples that I’m a champion for their relationship, not just their wedding. As such, I wanted to share a few ideas of ways to spend quality time together pre-nuptials (that’s right, this is the FUN type of wedding planning advice ;-)). And I only have one rule in order to maximize relaxation and unwind for just a bit: no talking about the wedding.
- Cook a meal together: I’m the first to admit, my cooking is less than stellar. I’m more of a you-cook-and-I-watch kind of girl. Take different parts of the meal, find an easy (read: non-stressful) recipe, get up early on Sunday morning, head to the grocery store and make a day of it. It’s a special treat to go to a grocery like Central Market or Whole Foods to add a little something extra to the experience. Once you’re home, maybe he can handle the main course and you can totally crush the dessert – it’s up to you. At the end of the night, you will have spent time together, created something delicious, maybe popped some bubbly and done a seemingly normal task that will become less frequent leading up to the wedding as you pull some late evenings pulling everything together. 🙂
- Act like tourists in your own city: Leading up to the big day, it is, of course, wise to save where you can. Add a fun ending to long week by booking a last-minute hotel, you’d be surprised how many good ideas you can get through Hotwire, Hotel Tonight and Airbnb. Looking to elevate the night to the next level: surprise your partner with this idea! Make sure they’re free, book the hotel, tell them to pack a bag in the next 30 minutes because you are getting out of the house and onto the town. Get dressed up, (maybe wear that bridal shower dress again – I mean, why not?!) and do something you’ve never done in your city.
- See back-to-back flicks at a movie theater: Do you remember doing this (or wanting to do this) as a kid? I remember some of my favorite afternoons were spent with my dad seeing movies in the middle of the day and feeling like we were playing hookie, even if it was the weekend. Stock up on snacks, pick two movies you want to see and head to your favorite theater (our favorite is Alamo Drafthouse – helllllllo reclining seats!) and hideaway for a couple hours.
- Take a short road trip to a state park: Or a national park, if you’re lucky enough to live close to one! State park admission is usually anywhere between $10-20 per vehicle making it easy, cheap and fun. Use the opportunity to do a little hiking (or maybe a little swimming), bring a picnic and spend time with your partner talking (reminder: NO wedding talk). What’s been going on at work? Where do you think you’ll both want to live in 5 years? 10? What big trips do you want to take in the next couple years? These types of conversations will lend themselves to big-picture perspective of life after the wedding and suddenly, any little issue you were stressing about previously just don’t feel so large and looming.
- Volunteer together: It’s no secret that serving others is one of the greatest fulfillment you can get. Are you both animal lovers? Reach out to your local shelter (I’m a huge fan of Austin Pets Alive and Austin Animal Center) or find volunteer listings on their website. Nothing will help you unwind quicker than petting sweet pups, taking them for walks or simply helping a community service center be able to do more good. Who knows, you may find a cause you love so much, you decide to make it a long-term commitment. What would be better than that?
You’re here to have a marriage, not just a wedding. Don’t neglect this time you have together to grow (and have a little fun while you’re at it.)
Are you at beginning of your wedding planning journey and have quite a lot left to plan? You may also like to check out some of our other wedding planning advice: Important Questions You Should Ask Your Photographer (and Yourself) or First Looks: Four Ways They Elevate Your Wedding Day Experience.