He or she has popped the question and you have answered in the affirmative (or actually answered by saying “Affirmative Captain”, if you are both Star Trek fans). After the initial emotion will come the realisation that there are a number of things you might have to do. How do you determine whether you are on the same wavelength?
Firstly, lets hope that you can talk honestly with each other and are able to firmly but kindly express your feelings without one or other of you needing to stomp off (there is no Scotty to beam you out of there). It may be worth discussing some of the following together when you are calm and happy.
Why are you getting married?
Serious question – why? It may be enlightening to clarify this!
What are your expectations of marriage?
What are the top five most important things about the wedding itself that you just do not want to compromise on? Take some time for both of you to write down your top five of what is most important to you and then share these. This will determine your master list of up to ten things where you both really don’t want to compromise (hopefully you will have some similar things on your list). For example, the photography was number one for me, for Timmy it was the styling details (that he wanted to be perfect for my benefit).
How do you express your feelings?
What are the signs that you are getting stressed?
Do you try and take out any stress on your partner?
What helps and what hinders you when you are angry, sad or stressed?
Do you deliberately try to hurt your partners feelings if you are upset?
(Watch this last one as it can be very destructive).
How do you sort out arguments?
What is your budget?
Do you want to save for a huge wedding?
Do you need to be cost conscious?
Are you able to raise additional cash without taking out a loan? I thank Heaven for eBay, selling stuff around the house for my wedding turned me into a power seller and cleared out some clutter too.
Are you good at planning? Does planning and spreadsheets mean nothing but stress to you? Have you got friends who love to plan and could help out? Can you ask for help or delegate tasks? Most people are happy to assist and just need to be asked. If not, can you afford a wedding planner?
How are relationships between your families?
What are their expectations of your wedding? Will they expect that everyone is invited even second Cousin Alan who you vaguely remember seeing once as he peered into your pram when he was a toddler?
How do you resolve conflicts with them?
This should have given you a few things to think about, hopefully you will be a lot clearer about what each others expectations are. If they are wildly apart you will need to refer back to how you resolve arguments and determine just how important it really is in the grand scheme of things that you give everyone a miniature pot of home made jam favours.
What have you decided is your number one priority?