7 Things Nobody Tells Engaged Couples | Virginia Wedding Photographer


The other day we saw some friends of ours who are planning their wedding. They hit us with an unexpected question. It’s one we never thought to ask ourselves, because it would seem nobody tells engaged couples about this topic. But here was proof we weren’t the only ones who experienced it…

“When you guys got engaged, did you lose your single friends?”

I instantly smirked. Yeah. A lot of them. Most of them. And I was never sure why.

There’s a ton that people don’t tell you when you get engaged and married. Probably because the little nuances feel like solo experiences rather than tied to the season of life you’re in. It’s easy to get in your head and not want to talk about something if you feel like it’s only you.

7 Things Nobody Tells Engaged Couples, but totally should. Advice for newly engaged and newlywed couples from a Virginia and Washington, D.C. wedding photographer.

This experience chatting with our friends inspired me to bring to light other topics that nobody ever prepared me for. Maybe it’s something you are going through with your fiancé. I hope this is an encouragement that you’re not alone, and that there are many beautiful things about changing seasons of life to balance out the sad.

Here it is – the good, the bad, and the odd things that nobody tells you about being engaged and married!

7 Things Nobody Tells Engaged Couples…Until Now!

1. People will sometimes say the most awkward things about your engagement ring.

It doesn’t matter if you picked out the ring or were completely surprised by your fiancé. The first time you see friends/family as an engaged bride-to-be, the first thing they do is reach for your left hand to check out your ring. And for some funny reason, everyone feels the need to comment. Some people feel the need to say something beyond “oh how beautiful” and come up with their own creative commentary.

I pretttttyyyy much picked out my engagement ring. I hate admitting it, because I’d love to know my husband just KNEW me. But he’s a guy. And guys spend on average 0 minutes of their day thinking about jewelry. Kevin and I went ring “scouting” together and I tried on a lot of styles. But when I put on the ring I now have, I melted. I didn’t tell Kevin specifically to get me that one. But he knew by my reaction to it versus my reaction to the other rings.

I also told him don’t spend too much money. I knew I would rather a smaller, somewhat good quality diamond than a huge, “ok” quality one. The result was a beautiful, nearly perfect clarity, just-barely-under-1-carat diamond set atop an overlapped diamond and rose gold band. I LOVE my ring.

And I got a lot of compliments! But some compliments made my head tilt a bit. Anything from “it looks so classic” to “I love how tiny… not tiny… ‘petite’ it is!” Everyone means well, so don’t be thrown off by funny descriptors like “tiny” or “petite” or “vintage” or “old school” etc. etc. Just laugh it off later and accept the compliments in the moment.

2. There’s always one (or a few) people who invite themselves to the wedding – or worse, as a bridesmaid/groomsman.

Nobody tells engaged couples to prepare for this situation, unfortunately. What’s worse, some people are more blunt than others. It’s totally fine to answer back with “We are still working out our budget/guest list.” Or saying “We’re keeping things small so we can help our closest family and friends make the trip.” If they’re rude enough to ask, you can be honest enough to say “no.” Plus, “no,” is a full sentence too so you don’t even have to go as far as my suggested statements above.

3. Your amateur wedding photographer friend may try to pressure you to hire them.

Just because you have a friend with a camera doesn’t mean you have to hire them. There are lots of ways to support your friend’s business without risking your wedding photos on someone who is still learning. If you want a professional, hire a professional! Vet your vendors and make sure you are completely comfortable with the end product/service.

Never let a friend pressure you to hire them just because they provide a service you’re looking for. Consider their skill level, portfolio, and personality. If they’re pressuring you, they’re not a great friend and will likely try to pressure you for later upsells down the road too. Consider your priorities and make sure your vendors can execute effectively!

4. Your fiancé and you will not give the same level of enthusiasm on every part of the planning process.

I had to learn this the hard way. I was excited about the visuals of our wedding. My dress, the bridal party outfits, the venue, the florals, the centerpieces. Kevin was excited about the experience. Mostly, the food and beverages. And he was much less enthusiastic about the parts that made my heart sing. Some days I would accuse him of not being excited to marry me. But hear me… excitement about florals does not equate to excitement about marrying your best friend!!! (Sorry I didn’t learn that sooner, Kev.)

Give each other grace, try to hear each other’s perspective. And if your partner has apathy about any part of the wedding, then take that as permission to run with it yourself and make it work for you. Don’t let it start a fight between you to get them to mirror your excitement. You can have your own reasons for enthusiasm.

Also, you may reach a point where one of you no longer wants to talk about wedding planning. This is a sign of burn out. Make sure you’re not discussing it every time you’re together. Set aside date nights with a rule that there will be no stressful wedding talk. ONLY discuss parts of marriage you’re looking forward to.

5. If you break from tradition, nobody will care after the wedding day. Most won’t care ON the wedding day. Some will love it.

Kevin and I broke a lot of traditions on our wedding day to make it flow the way we wanted. Here are some traditions we broke:

  • Instead of cutting a wedding cake, we had only ice cream for dessert and took pictures taking our first “scoop.” Everyone LOVED the ice cream. They still talk about it with us 8 months later.
  • Our flower girl carried a bouquet of baby’s breath instead of tossing flowers. She was just too young to understand her role. And she looked adorable.
  • We knixed Best Man/Matron of Honor speeches and asked our friends who did our pre-marital counseling to give a joint speech instead. I thought our BM/MoH would be offended but both were relieved.
  • Much to my mom’s chagrin, Kevin and I shared a First Look. My mom hasn’t mentioned it once since the wedding day despite putting up a fuss beforehand. And we got more photos with our Virginia wedding photographer out of it!
  • We did not do any wedding favors, bouquet toss, garter toss, or shoe game. Nobody missed it.
  • My veil fell off halfway down the aisle and never got put back in until photos after. I’m the only one who cared, some didn’t even really notice.

6. Yes, you might lose your most of your single friends… here’s why.

When Kevin and I got engaged, a lot of our single friends pulled away (mostly mine). Some stuck around, and those are the ones where I had a friendship that spanned beyond our “single girls club woes.” Usually they were the friendships with the most substance, mostly spiritual/faith based conversations. But the friends where we used to gripe about dating and boys fell away. I was no longer in the club.

While it can be hard to feel left out or lose friends, stay encouraged. Remember back to when you left for high school? Then left high school for college? You’ve likely seen seasonal life changes in your life like this before. It’s rare we keep the same friends from these seasons of life (it happens! But sometimes you lose more than you keep.)

The good news that nobody tells engaged couples is that the friends you make in this next season are much more mature friendships and often based on deeper commonalities. For every friend we no longer hear from, Kevin and I have twice the amount now in couple friends! We met so many new people in similar seasons of life as us. And we even met people with kids who invest time and wisdom into our young marriage. Surround yourself with people like this! They are enriching, accountability-giving, and fun friendships to have.

But also, remember that the phone works both ways. Before giving up on lost friendships, consider if you’re the one who pulled away. It’s easy to feel busy planning a wedding and living in newly engaged/newlywed bliss. Sometimes our other relationships suffer. Make a few attempts yourself before giving in to the idea that those friendships are sunsetting.

7. The post-wedding honeymoon phase is more like a post-wedding hangover.

Yes, you’re all heart-eyes emoji after your wedding day. But what nobody tells engaged couples is that for the months that follow, life can get extremely boring some days. You just spent 8-18 months planning this big, major life event. The day comes, it’s amazing, you whisk your new spouse away to a beautiful honeymoon, and then … reality hits. It’s back to work, back to watering house plants, back to caring for a now shared home with dishes to wash and trash to take out.

At first, it might be a welcome reprieve. It’s exhausting to plan a wedding. So having no plans is kinda nice for the first 6 months. But the later months, I started feeling super down. I felt like there was nothing left to look forward to. Pinterest was a depressing past time now, filled with wedding images the algorithm learned to push my way… none of them necessary anymore.

My advice for couples in this phase is this:

  1. Be extra intentional about spending quality time together! At least monthly date nights, if not weekly, are a MUST. Stay connected and practice early communication.
  2. Avoid making major life decisions. Be careful that you may find it tempting to get a new pet or catch baby fever during this phase. Are you feeling that way because you’re just bored? Try a new hobby or take a weekend trip FIRST.
  3. Get involved in your community. I recommend attending your home church functions and plugging in there. Or volunteer at local organizations. Visit pet shelters to play with the kittens. Offer your friend to puppysit/babysit. Do a cleanup service at your local park. Find people with shared values to give yourself spiritual fuel after a draining season like wedding planning has passed.

More Advice Nobody Tells Engaged Couples

So that’s it! Were any of these things surprising? Or did it resonate with how you’re feeling as a newlywed/newly engaged couple? What other things are you learning that nobody prepped you for in this season of life? There’s probably plenty more topics that nobody tells engaged couples, which is why I write blog posts every other Friday sharing more personal advice & experiences!

If you’re looking for more marital advice or engagement advice, here are a few of my recent past posts!

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