After you get engaged, it is natural to slowly return to normal life. Yes, you are getting married, and there is some wedding planning to do. However, for most future brides and grooms, there are weeks where there is nothing that needs to be done related to your engagement — no parties, planning, or announcements to make. That being said, engagement is a time when people want to be excited about pursuing their futures, so it only makes sense to want to have other activities that keep the emotions running high.
If you get engaged during the holidays, it can be even harder to go from holiday excitement and joyful surprise to the cold, darker months of the year. Use these ideas to keep the engagement time exciting together, but also to make your winter a positive, productive, and emotionally healthy time for you.
Design a Home Blueprint Together
Whether you will be getting married and moving into a big house or continuing to live in the same small apartment, you and your spouse-to-be deserve the chance to rearrange some furniture in honor of this big occasion. Find some pieces of graph paper, scissors, and pens, and draw up a schematic for your house. It can be fun to make little cut-out versions of the furniture you have together, as well as any potential furniture you are considering buying together. New sofa, anyone?
What’s nice about this little daydream session is that it gives you a chance to “rearrange the furniture” without actually sweating it out as you lug the dresser around the bedroom. It also gives you both some practice with compromise. If you haven’t been living together before, you get a chance to think about what furniture from each of your current homes will make it into the final version of your home together.
Start Collecting Recipes and Trying Them
Whether you are the queen of the take-out menu or already a cooking genius, one way to spice up the months between the engagement and the wedding is to cook some ambitious new recipes. Specifically, if there is anything you’ve never tried to make but is a favorite of your spouse-to-be, this is a great time to try cooking it together and figure out whether it can be a shared love.
No one has exactly the same tastes, so cooking and eating together will also help you prepare for married life. Cooking at home is economical, and it gives you a chance to find ways to make each other happy in everyday ways. Everyday married life is not just grand gestures like flowers and dates that are probably more common during a period of dating than in marriage.
Set an Ambitious Fitness Goal (and Achieve It!)
The cold months of the year can be a great time to spend more of your energy in the gym or at a sports team practice. Getting in shape doesn’t hurt for the marathon that is wedding planning. Consider signing up for a 5K run in a month or two and then starting to jog more often to prepare for it, or find a weekly zumba class and commit to a 10-class pass. Regardless of how you set up your own fitness challenge, it will help you move forward in your engagement without feeling like you are just sitting around waiting for things to happen. The sense of accomplishment when your team wins a game or when you cross a finish line is also a wonderful high to carry over into your life together.
Immerse Yourself in a Volunteering Project Together
If you are between times of busyness, look into your local charities and see if there are volunteering opportunities you can join. Psychologists have found that few activities beat volunteering for the positive energy that you get from it. It’s well worth it to make space in your free time to help build a house, pass out flyers, package food bags, or any other volunteer activity that contributes meaningfully to a cause you support.
Plan a Friends’ Weekend
Yes, many of these earlier suggestions involve your beloved, which makes sense because this season of life is definitely about you two. However, it is also the start of a season when you may not see your friends as much as you like. Yes, many people plan bachelorette or bachelor parties, but even during those parties, it can be hard to get meaningful time with any one friend.
If it is possible, escape town with one, two, maybe even three friends. Find an inexpensive place to stay that isn’t home and do all the activities you enjoy together with plenty of time for just chatting. Relish these last few months when you are not married, and devote some of that time to the friendships that you want to carry you through the more stressful times ahead.
Regardless of which of these tips you use to keep the excitement going, remember that parties, holidays, and family time will return sooner than you think, and it can be delightful to spend some quality time with friends or your fiancé/fiancée in the meantime.