There comes a point during engagement, where you start to wonder if your wedding vows will sound something like this:
I take you, my wedding, to be my fabulously celebrated party.
I promise to love you, to plan for you, and to think about you every moment of every day.
I will be yours to have and to hold, for bigger and for better, for expensive and expensiver, in sunshine and in it better not rain.
I vow to cherish and obsess over you all the days of my engagement.
We laugh because this is so true! It can be easy as soon as that sparkly ring slips onto your fully-capable-planning finger, to shift your focus from the man you're marrying to the event where you'll be marrying him.
And, come on girls, we come by it honestly, right? When you find fabulous love, don’t you want to celebrate it fabulously?! Many of us have thought and been told all our lives that your wedding day is supposed to be the day of your dreams. The truth of the matter is, a wedding day is only one day—albeit one very special and important day—of many spent with one even more special and important man. It's your marriage to this man that makes your wedding day matter.
What troubles me is that many brides, myself included, all too often miss the sweet treasures found in the days, weeks, and months leading up to the wedding day, blinded by the singular goal of achieving the perfect wedding. The journey gets overlooked for the destination. But just like a marriage, a wedding is built, and there is so much goodness to savor and cherish in the building—if you will but take time to notice it!
During my own engagement, I wanted to remember our engagement season in a special way and be able to share it with Woody. I love to write and keep a journal (I wrote 18 pages the night we got engaged—yes, I’m serious), but during engagement there is hardly time to write novella-length journal entries, so I thought of something else.
Each day of our engagement, I would write one thing I loved about Woody or that I loved doing with him. I would number them and collect them all in a journal and give it to him on our wedding day. What started as a memory-keeper and gift for my groom, ended up encouraging my heart during engagement more than I ever expected.
A few excerpts from the love journal I gave Woody...
I love your determination on the golf course. I love how you include me in your game with confidence that I have half a clue what is going on.
I love that you came with me for Lucy’s prom. You make what is important to me important to you.
I love exploring the streets of San Fransisco with you and knowing that I get to spend my whole life exploring with you.
I love registering on Wedding Tuesday with you!
I love wearing the diamond ring you gave me.
I love how being at Melissa and Dustin's wedding today made us both so excited for our own. I loved afterward when you told me how watching them made you so ready to be the one getting married. Even as I write this, my heart is about to beat out of my chest at the thought of marrying you!!!
I intended for each day to only be a sentence or two, but as I got deeper into this journey, sometimes I had more to share.
I love when I have a very real moment of realization that we are about to become husband and wife. Sometimes the magnitude is incomprehensible and overwhelmingly joyful. It's like I just have this moment and it hits me in a fresh way, and I am overcome at the thought that I get to marry you, my best friend, the best person I've ever known, my true partner and love of a lifetime. I get to put on a beautiful, white dress and tell you vows and exchange rings. I am about to do something that, frankly, is one of the most exciting things I can imagine this side of heaven, because I'm marrying you. Because you asked me to spend my life with you. Thank you. And yes, forever yes.
I love looking at you in a whole new light because I know you're soon to become my husband. I appreciate the man you are, the decisions you make and the way you lead us even more now. I feel ready, so excited, and anxious to become your wife! As we talked about in the car on the way to church, we're tired of dating—we're ready to be married!
This simple endeavor not only created a one-of-a-kind memory and gift for my husband on our wedding day, but it also served as a way to help me stay calm and focused on what’s important during our engagement. After a few weeks, writing these entries formed into a habit, and quickly turned into one of my favorite parts of each day.
Whether wedding plans were falling into place or falling apart, every night I got to fall asleep focused on our love, and I found great peace in that. Even the wedding-planning days of disagreements and stress had something good and true worth focusing on in them, and this journal gave me a way to do exactly that. No matter what happened each day, good or bad, I ended it focusing on gratitude and true love, the very thing that would make our wedding matter.
11.3.12 Wedding Day!
Our final day to be engaged...
I love you.
And today, I promise to love everything you've been, everything you are, and everything you will be all the days of my life.
Your Fiancé, Mattye
Looking back now, just under two years later, I am so thankful for these recorded memories. It's a fun chronicle to be able to read and remember all the little and big moments we shared in our nearly eight-month engagement. More importantly, it allowed me to share my love for Woody in a fresh and personal way. Giving him the journal was an intimate expression of giving him my heart.
It's not about saying things perfectly, it's about savoring, remembering, and appreciating the love that makes your wedding day significant.
I encourage you to try this! Even if you’re not a writer, all you need to do is write one sentence a day about something you love about your fiancé or a reason you’re grateful for him. It's not about saying things perfectly, it's about savoring, remembering, and appreciating the love that makes your wedding day significant.
Wherever you are in your engagement, try it for 10 days and see if it doesn’t make a difference! If you’re already married, this is also a great way to love your husband and cherish the good things found within your marriage daily. Create a love journal for your husband for Valentine’s Day, your anniversary or just because!
Start here! What is one thing you love about your fiancé or your husband today?
Wedding photos by Sarah DeShaw