Husband and Wife Married

Conversations to Have Before You Get Married

Conversations to Have Before You Get Married

Wedding planning is always front and center when couples are engaged. However, the old adage is true, “A wedding is a day, a marriage is a lifetime.” We’re going deep today at Chicago Wedding Blog so you can prepare for a strong and healthy marriage! You chose to get engaged to the love of your life for all the right reasons, now let’s future-proof your marriage with honest communication. To strengthen your relationship and prevent future bumps in the road, there are a few conversations it’s important to have before you get married.

Money Conversations

Did you know the number one topic couples fight about is money? Did you know it’s also the leading cause of fights that lead to a divorce? Morbid, I know, but you can safeguard your marriage from this common pain point by having conversations about money before you get married. Here are a few important topics we recommend discussing:

  • Any debts you or your partner currently have and your plan to pay them off
  • Discussing combining finances
  • Short-term and long-term money goals
  • Which of you is a spender? Which is a saver? How will you combine those traits for good in your marriage?
  • Will you ever loan money to people? Under what circumstances?

Living Arrangement Conversations

While many couples live together before getting married nowadays, there are still many aspects of living together that are important to discuss. Families of origin have different customs and opinions about how a couple should live, but the most important thing is that you and your partner are in agreement, as a united front. Some important living arrangement topics to discuss before you get married are:

  • Are you going to live at one of your current residences? Are you going to stay where you are? Are you going to move somewhere new, as your first married house?
  • Is there a likely possibility either of you could be transferred soon for your jobs? How would you handle deciding to transfer or not?
  • Is extended family going to live with you? While most of you may be yelling a resounding NOit is important to have a direct conversation about it.
  • What money goals do you want to attain before you purchase a home? (For example being debt free, having a certain number in savings, etc.)

Extended Family Conversations

Depending on your family of origin, this topic could be relatively easy or fairly painful. Nevertheless, it is one of the most important topics to discuss before you get married. In-laws can definitely be a pain point in a marriage. Being on the same page is a must. Here are some critical family topics to discuss:

  • Holidays- Is there a tradition you feel strongly about upholding? How will you handle each holiday (consider all the holidays in your prospective faith or cultural traditions)? What conflicts do you see arising and how will you approach them? Keep in mind, that these events come up every year. Your plans can change from year to year, but it’s important to discuss all options so you and your spouse can clearly define your plans and boundaries around the holidays.
  • Meddling- How will you handle conflict or disagreements with in-laws? A word from the wise as a starting point in your conversation: You handle your family and let your spouse handle their family. That being said, always present a united front and always defend your spouse to your family. Then later you and your spouse can discuss how to approach in-laws. But at the end of the day, three (or four) opinions in a marriage are not healthy. Decide on boundaries early and clearly, just the two of you.

Future Family Life Conversations

One of the obvious life events to discuss with your fiance (or hopefully before you are engaged) is if you want to have children. It’s a life-altering event that will change the feel and form of your marriage, for better or worse. Consequently, it’s important to enter into having children with a strong relationship. There is nothing wrong with wanting to have a bunch of children, or not. Even then, your feelings may change once you have a child (if you’ve never had children before) and that’s okay! The most important thing is that you and your fiance are in agreement. Some important topics to discuss about your future family life could be:

  • Do you want to have children? If so, how many?
  • What religion (if any) do you want to raise your child(ren) in?
  • What type of schooling situation do you envision for your children?
  • How do you feel about how you were raised?
  • In what ways do you want to raise your children differently, or similarly, to how you were raised?

Phew! That was a deep one! However, when you’re with the right person, honest conversations and communication are part of the recipe for a happy and healthy marriage! Don’t despair, getting to know your partner on this deep level might be fun, we swear! It will grow your intimacy while also strengthening your future marriage! You’ve got this, guys! Have those important conversations. Would you add any questions or topics to our list? Let us know in the comments below! While you’re at it, share this post with a couple you love. Happy Planning!

How To Write Your wedding Vows

How To Write Your Wedding Vows

How To Write Your Wedding Vows

Your wedding vows are the goals and promises that make up the foundation of your marriage. Some couples like the officiant to do the whole ceremony. The the only thing they have to do is repeat after someone and not faint. However, if you’re among the other couples who want to write their vows, we’ve got some great tips for you! It can be daunting, in one speech, to write down your hopes, dreams and all the love you feel towards your partner. You don’t have to have a specific structure to your vows, but there are a few key things you could use. If you’re struggling to write your wedding vows, sometimes an outline will help.

First, tell your partner you’ll be there for them through thick and thin.

Everyone who’s been married knows there are highs and lows. Every married person has to choose their spouse every day, even in the hard times. One of the most beautiful aspects of marriage is you choose to love someone, unconditionally, even when life gets difficult. Don’t forget to incorporate this important aspect of marriage into your vows.

Second, make promises.

Wedding vows are promises you say out loud and will solidify what you expect in your marriage and what you will give. Examples could be “I promise…to love you through thick and thin, or I promise to let you watch football on Sundays”. You don’t have to be entirely serious – your guests will appreciate humor. We do recommend avoiding “always” and “never” because those are big words that are hardly able to be lived up to. Saying I will never fight with you is an impossible plan. Perhaps instead, you can promise to fight fair.

Third, share some personal stories.

Everyone loves to hear inside information about people. Sharing some stories is a great way to engage your wedding guests. It can also serve as a reminder of why you’re marrying your partner. The stories can be funny, sweet stories, but don’t be afraid to mention the terrible ones either. It will show that you are a strong couple.

Fourth, and finally, say I love you!

It might seem obvious, but in the chaos of wedding activities, the tiny phrase can get lost. We assume you will go through several drafts of your vows, but even starting with this simple statement is great way to begin a marriage. Writing your vows doesn’t have to overwhelm you. Start slow, you don’t have to include everything. Just include the things that really matter to both of you.

Did this post help you plan your wedding vows? Do you have a cute video clip of your vows? Do you have a photo of your vows? We’d love to see and share them! Credit your vendors and reference this blog post by e-mailing them to

Pinterest: Pins of the Week

Drawing Paper Backdrop.  We love to see the creative ways that couples designate the special space where they will say their vows.  From flowers, to fabric, to tree branches, we love to see the unique things couples come up with.  So imagine our delight when we saw this simple yet special drawing paper backdrop.  With a white background and black text, you might expect it to be overly plain, but in our minds, this ceremony space marker is anything but!  We love thinking about how easy this backdrop would be to customize, using favorite song lyrics, sweet poems, special dates to the couple, or even bits and pieces from the couple’s vows.  The possibilities are endless!

Tammy Horton Photography

Notable Navy.  When we saw this pin, we couldn’t help but love everything about this groom’s look.  Seriously, from the navy, to the bowtie, to the vest, to the anemone boutonnière, what’s not to love?  This look is the perfect example of showcasing a groom’s unique style without straying too far from the classics.

Lauren Piper Photography

Be Adventurers.  Wedding planning is an adventure in itself, but when you think about it, it’s really just a small step on the journey that couples take together.  So our advice to couples?  Go bold, go big, and go together. Have each other’s back, help one another navigate the tricky spots, and reenergize each other after a long day’s work.  This pin reminds us to be adventurers together on this crazy journey.

Outward Facing Ceremony

Your wedding day has arrived, your friends and family have gathered to share in the celebration, and they spend the entire service staring at the back of your head. If you’ve ever attended a wedding as an average guest, you know that you spend the majority of the ceremony seeing the backside of the wedding party and the expressions on the officiant’s face. Change things up a bit and let your guests get a good look at the happy couple with an outward facing ceremony.

What is it?

Basically, instead of standing with your back to the crowd, you and your spouse-to-be face them. The minister or officiant stands in front of you or below you (if you’re on a raised platform or alter) and conducts the ceremony with his/her back to the crowd while you are able to see (and be seen by) your guests.

Why it’s great?

For starters, it gives your guests a chance to truly witness the wedding ceremony. They can see your facial expressions and the reactions of your bridal party to every part of the wedding ceremony. It also prevents guests from straining to hear your vows, especially if you’re not miked, and it allows them to experience the emotion accompanying those sacred words. An outward facing ceremony doesn’t only benefit the guests, though. It also allows you and your spouse-to-be the opportunity to really take in the moment. As you look out over a sea of faces, you’re seeing the men and women who love you, have supported you, celebrate with you, and will be an active part of your life as a married couple.

Personalized Wedding Vows

Not only is it incredibly romantic and meaningful to write your own wedding vows, they can add a personal touch to your big day and sprinkle the ceremony with laughs or poignancy. If you and your soon-to-be spouse are thinking about crafting your own wedding vows, follow these five easy steps:

Step 1: Get Approval

Before you get started, be sure that your wedding officiant will allow original vows. Certain denominations require traditional vows, so before you do all the work, ask if personalized vows are permitted. Often, houses of worship will allow you to combine traditional vows with your own written vows. Regardless, be sure to let the officiant review your vows before the big day.

Step 2: Establish Expectations

While it’s understandable to keep certain aspects of your vows under wraps until the wedding, it’s important to discuss your expectations with your fiancé before the big day so you’re both on the same page. Some couples opt to write their vows together to guarantee cohesion and eliminate any potential for disappointment. If you do decide to write individual vows, discuss the length and style ahead of time to guarantee vows that are similar in style and depth.

Step 3: Determine Your Style

Like every couple, every wedding is unique and it should be a reflection of your individual personalities. Original vows are a wonderful way to add a personal touch to the wedding and create a certain atmosphere. Some couples take a light-hearted approach to vow-writing, crafting promises that are humorous and charming, while others opt for something more traditional, serious, or romantic. Whatever your preference, decide on a voice that’s fitting for you as a couple and write vows in the same tone.

Step 4: Create an Outline

To guarantee cohesion between the two sets of vows, establish an outline that you and your fiancé can both follow when writing. Structure, length, and flow are an important part of the vows. Talk about how you might want to organize your thoughts so that they make sense and complement each other’s. For example, begin your vows with a personal anecdote about your relationship, a story of how you met, or when you knew you were in love before moving onto your promises and commitments.

Step 5: Get Help!

There’s nothing wrong with seeking a little assistance when it comes to writing your vows. This is one of the most important moments of your life: you want it to be perfect! Find a trustworthy friend or relative to read over your vows and give you honest feedback. Or go online and find samples of vows that you like as inspiration for length, layout, and voice.

Wedding Vow Prompts

Writing your own wedding vows can be a daunting task so we’re here to help! If you’re stuck on where to begin or can’t seem to figure out what’s important to say, start by answering these 20 questions to get the creative juices flowing:

How did you meet him/her? What was your first impression? What went through your mind the first time you saw or talked to him/her?

At what point did you first realize you had fallen in love? Did a specific event trigger the revelation? How did you react?

How have you changed as a result of the relationship? What has your partner taught you about life, love, or yourself?

What new things have you experienced thanks to your mate? How has he/she changed your worldview?

What is the thing you miss most about him/her when he/she isn’t around?

How do you envision your future together? Where do you think you’ll be in 10, 20, or 40 years?

What facet(s) of your partner’s personality brings you the most comfort, joy, encouragement, or security?

Is there a movie quote, song lyric, or book excerpt that reminds you of your relationship or sums up how you feel about him/her?

What do you love most about your mate? What are the things you hope he/she will never change about themselves?

What moments in your relationship caused you to see your mate in a new and surprising way? At what moments have you been most impressed with his/her character, outlook, or response? Has your bond been strengthened by any difficult or harrowing experiences?

What goals or values does your partner have that you admire or respect?

In what ways does he/she inspire or encourage you to be a better person?

What unique promises can you make to him/her? Beyond vowing to love, honor, and cherish, what are some specific tasks or commitments that you’re agreeing to in marriage?

How will you make your mate a better person? How will he/she make you a better person in the future? What will be better about you as a married couple?

Why do you want to marry him/her? What unique things will he/she bring to the marriage?

What made you realize he/she was The One? How did you know you wanted to spend the rest of your life with this person?

How will you strengthen and protect your marriage? What will you do to make it stronger in the coming months and years?

What are you most excited about as it pertains to married life? What things are you looking forward to as a husband/wife?

What are your expectations of marriage? What do you hope it will look and feel like?

In what ways will you show your love, devotion, and faithfulness to your partner throughout your marriage?

Original Wedding Vows

Personalized wedding vows add romance and originality to any wedding ceremony, but they’re not for everyone. Some couples choose to recite traditional vows that have been used for generations, while other couples enjoy putting a customized spin on their commitment to one another. Before you decide to write you own wedding vows, ask yourself these simple questions:

Are they permissible? As crazy as it sounds, certain denominations prohibit couples from using personalized vows during the wedding ceremony. Once you settle on a ceremony site, ask your officiant if you’re required to use traditional vows on your wedding day.

Will you write them together? Some couples prefer to keep their vows under wraps until the wedding day, keeping their spouse-to-be in the dark. If you and your fiancé decide to write your own wedding vows, discuss whether or not you’d like to write something cohesive together or compose something separately for one another.

What style will you use? It’s imperative that you and your fiancé determine what style the vows will be, especially if you’re planning to write them independently. Some couples prefer romantic and serious vows, while others like to incorporate humor and charm. Regardless of what you choose, make sure you’re on the same page so your vows have the same feel and neither one of you is disappointed on the wedding day.

What’s the structure? Determine an outline for the vows that you both can follow so they’re structured and cohesive. Maybe start with a short anecdote about how you met, when you knew he/she was the one, or what you love about each other, before diving into your vows, promises, and commitments.

How long will it take? There’s no way to predict how long it will take you to write what will be, undoubtedly, one of the most important promises of your life. What’s important is that you give yourself plenty of time! Don’t put off the vow writing until the day before the wedding. Get started earlier so you have ample time to organize your thoughts and communicate everything you want to say to your future spouse.

Planning Same Sex Weddings

If you’re planning a same-sex wedding or civil ceremony, there are a lot of ways to adapt traditional customs to suit your celebration. Here are some tips for making your wedding day special and personal:

Walking Down the Aisle: If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of one of you meeting the other at the altar, there are ways to remedy the problem. If the ceremony site only has a center aisle, consider walking down the aisle together. If you’re planning to be escorted by a parent, relative, or friend, you can each walk down the aisle, one after the other. If the site has two or three aisles, consider entering at the same time down different aisles and meeting at the front.

Seating the Guests: Before the ceremony, designate which side of the altar you’ll each be standing on. Notify your ushers so they can seat guests on the appropriate side. Depending on the layout of your ceremony site, you can also arrange the seats to the sides of the altar to create a half-circle around you and your partner, surrounding you with loved ones.

Choosing an Officiant: While many churches and religions are accepting of same-sex marriage, you may prefer to have a personal friend or relative conduct the wedding ceremony. If they’re not ordained, fear not. There are many nondenominational or interfaith ministries that offer online ordainment. The process is relatively easy, allowing anyone to become legally equipped to perform your wedding ceremony.

Wedding Vows: The vows you recite to one another during the ceremony summarize the commitment you are making to one another. You can either opt to use traditional vows (which may require a bit of editing and tweaking) or write your own. Writing your own vows is a great way to honor the uniqueness of your relationship and express your love to one another.

Exchanging Rings: The ring is one of the most important symbols of the marriage covenant. If you and your partner have already exchanged rings and aren’t planning on adding a second ring, you may want to reenact the ring exchange during the wedding ceremony with a few words about love and commitment. Many gay couples choose to wear commitment rings on their right hand instead of on their left hand or wear a nontraditional band on their left hand.

Wedding Vows

Writing your own wedding vows can be an incredibly romantic gesture and a creative way to make your ceremony unique. While personalized vows can make the nuptials more touching, they can also add to the stress leading up to the big day. If you and your fiancé are planning to craft your own vows, discuss it ahead of time and devise a plan.

Before you begin writing, make sure personalized vows are accepted by your officiant. Certain denominations require couples to use traditional vows during their ceremony. Once you get the green light, talk to your fiancé about your expectations. A lot of couples decide to write their vows together for cohesion. Writing your vows together will take the pressure off of each of you to live up to the other’s expectations. Plus, as an added bonus, it’s a great time to join together and reflect on your relationship, love, and commitments to one another.

If you decide to write your vows separately, discuss your plans ahead of time. Determine the style, length, and outline of the vows. Do you want humorous and charming vows, or serious and romantic? Figure out these details prior to writing to ensure that you and your fiancé are on the same page. Structure and flow is an important part of the vows. Figure out an outline that you both can follow. For example, maybe begin by discussing how you met, when you fell in love, or the wonderful traits your partner possesses before moving onto your promises and commitments.

To help keep you on track and guarantee uniformity among your vows, find samples online that you like. Use them as a reference for length, layout, order, or voice. Be sure to set aside an ample amount of time to compose your vows. This is a great opportunity for you to publicly profess your feelings, adoration, and devotion to your soon-to-be spouse. Give yourself enough time to gather your thoughts and clearly communicate your heart to your fiancé and wedding guests. Personalize your ceremony. Ceremony readings and vows.

Smartphone Apps For Weddings

Gone are the days of relying on the primitive method of pens and papers to keep track of your wedding plans and inspiration. Nowadays you need to look no further than your Smartphone for a slew of helpful, wedding-related apps to make your planning go a lot more smoothly. Here is a list of Smartphone apps for your big day:

iWedding: Organize your entire wedding and reception with this comprehensive iPhone app. Keep a running To-Do list, track your budget, administrate your guest list and RSVPs, and collect wedding inspiration.

Wedding911: This iPhone app, provided by The Knot, helps brides-to-be overcome wedding-related emergencies. Users can instantly access hundreds of helpful Q & A’s and advice columns about wedding dilemmas and post their own urgent questions.

WeddingGuest: Keep your invite list organized with this helpful app that tracks and organizes your various guest lists (divided by ceremony and reception) to help you create a comprehensive list of invitees. Each list is also exportable to spreadsheets or plain text files.

BRIDES Wedding Genius: This user-friendly app from BRIDES magazine provides brides with detailed photos of bridal gowns, bridesmaids dresses, and his & her jewelry, complete with zoom and locate features. It also keeps you organized with to-do lists, reminders, inspiration ideas, expert advice, and customizable folders for various wedding-related files.

Wedding Day: If you’re eager to know the exact time, down to the second, until you say ‘I Do’, then this countdown is the app for you. After the wedding is over, the countdown changes directions, letting you see the exact amount of time you’ve been a happily married couple.

iBridalGown: This app is a shopper’s best friend, helping you keep track of potential wedding dresses after you’ve tried them on. The app stores all the pertinent info regarding each of your wedding gown hopefuls like style, designer, cost, location, and photos.

Wedding Vows: Browse through a diverse collection of wedding vows at any time with this app. Search by keyword or style and save your favorites to a customizable list. Tweak and edit the vows to create your own heartfelt oath for your wedding day.

SHAPE Bride: If you’re trying to slim down or tone up for your big day, this app is for you. Browse through workouts, diet tips, and recipes and record your progress in an interactive and shareable workout log.

iBouquet: Thinking about putting together your own flower arrangements for the wedding? Try a few samples with this interactive app. Choose flowers and colors and arrange them on your phone to view samples of what works and what doesn’t.