It starts with someone on bended knee and ends with vows: a romantic opening and closing of this pertinent period of time in your love life. The middle, however, isn’t always so amorous. It’s easy to get swept away by the planning process – on top of work and other obligations – so much so that you may forget to prioritize your relationship.
You’re busy, they’re busy: the excuses begin to take hold and become increasingly relied upon. With all of the hectic scheduling, the length of your engagement is the perfect time for you and your beloved to sneak in some extra affection, whether or not you live together. Here are some tips on how to strengthen your bond during the engagement:
1. Hide a love letter somewhere they’ll see it. You can put it in their briefcase, laptop bag, or purse: wherever you know they’ll spot it once you’ve parted ways for the day. Get creative: list the experiences you’re excited to share with them as a married couple, remind them of your funny inside jokes, hide an old picture of the two of you inside for a bit of nostalgia – whatever will make your sweetie smile.
2. Create a back-and-forth booklet. Leave a notebook on your coffee table, nightstand, or create an exchange system – here, you and your future spouse can trade off week by week jotting down fun, interesting memories you share or thoughts you’ve had about your life together. It makes a great idea book when and if you decide to write your own vows!
3. Perform a chore they’re set to complete, unprompted. This can be wedding-related or an everyday activity as simple as taking out the trash, putting the dishes away, or walking the dog. If you know your partner needs to mail a deposit or send a quick email to the planner – and you’ve both signed off on the task – you can move forward with it, so that they have one less assignment to worry about.
4. Make them a modern mix-tape (a playlist). Create a new Spotify or Pandora playlist to share with your significant other, such as “Songs for My Love,” “Background Music for Wedding Planning,” or “Just Because I Love You.” Add meaningful tunes that you know he or she likes, or new music you’re sure they’ll enjoy. Send them the link and they’ll think of you every time they listen.
5. Throw their towel in the dryer while they shower. Warm up their post-wash routine to make their morning – or evening – a little easier. This can work with most fluffy robes as well!
6. Make surprise honeymoon arrangements. You can coordinate something as small as a special note or box of treats waiting on the bed when you arrive, or a grander excursion for your getaway – such as a snorkeling trip, a picturesque nature hike, or a picnic lunch overlooking the sites of your destination. Your love won’t discover your surprise until after you say “I do,” which will make the moment all the more intimate.
7. Implement the “no phones at the table” rule. Much like parents trying to get the attention of their teenagers, you can enact this policy during mealtimes to get your focus on each other. Additionally, we recommend adding an addendum that limits the amount of “wedding talk” you can engage in during this time.
8. Text or email them at work. When you have a free moment, send your loved one a message or picture during the day: even the mundane view from your desk or a quip about your coworkers’ tendencies will keep them up to date and involved in your life. This can spark a childlike “passing notes” exchange between you two and keep things light and playful.
9. Go for a walk and place a “love lock” on the closest bridge. You don’t have to be strolling near the Seine in Paris to participate in this heartfelt ritual. Inscribe your names or initials on a padlock with any added details you’d like – you can pen the words yourself or get the lock engraved – and lock them onto the railing of a bridge. However, before you proceed, make sure to check city ordinances to ensure this practice is allowed.
10. Show your gratitude. Saying “thank you,” especially during this stressful period, can go a long way with your beloved. Simply noting your grateful feelings regarding a finished wedding task, an uncluttered DVR, or their mere existence in your life will only serve to bolster your connection.
11. Catch up on their favorite show and make a casual reference in conversation. For those engaged persons that know their other half is dedicated to a certain television show – or a smattering of them – taking the time to invest in it yourself and use that knowledge with them will show you care in a unique way.
12. Keep your sense of humor: always. Planning a wedding can get sentimental and, at times, quite serious. They say laughter is the best medicine, and it is surely something you’re going to need throughout this process. Infuse humor into any elements of the coordination that you can – it will be great to tell your children fun stories from the process, not just the day itself.
Opening photo by Fred Marcus Studio