Wedding planning often brings stress that is second only to packing for a move. Decisions over matters small and large, generating and managing countless lists, and the general intensity that accompanies these actions are enough to make eloping to Margaritaville a serious option. And that’s even before managing family dynamics comes into the equation! So, given all the push and pull, how does a couple maintain intentionality around the marriage that will start with their wedding day?
Here are six ideas to consider that have helped other couples.

Relationship preparation: no matter how many years you’ve been a couple, you’re about to be in it on a “holy, different level.” Level up with new tools. Consider a pre-marriage counseling program. They really make a difference, and might avoid the need to activate a prenup.

Ceremony booklet: preparing a brief welcome booklet for your guests is a great way to ensure they are optimized to celebrate with you every step of the way. It also makes sure that a couple is literally on the same page in what the ceremony will look like!

Recalling deceased parents: weddings without our beloved family members present are often difficult. Consider including traditions that help you remember and honor them prior to or on the day of your ceremony. You might carve out time for a special private gravesites visit ahead of your ceremony, or lighting special memorial candles at some point leading into the wedding day or on the day itself.

Thank-you notes to living parents: both partners might hand-write a small note to all living parents, thanking them as appropriate for their presence and involvement in the big day. It’s a small kindness that has a huge impact!

Spiritual preparations: a trip to the mikveh (Jewish ritual bath) as individuals or as a couple can be a powerful experience. Many non-orthodox mikveh operations welcome these visits, and offer guidance for them.

Gift registry & invitation to hesed (Acts of Lovingkindness): consider sharing the blessing of your celebration forward. Many feel that donating 3% of the catering cost to a food organization is appropriate. Increasingly couples seek to repurpose their floral arrangements to nursing homes, rehabilitation hospitals, and even cemeteries. Identify a way that your invited dear ones can elevate your celebration by making a difference in the world with a philanthropic opportunity that is meaningful to you and your values as a couple.

Letters to each other: sitting down and remembering the start of your relationship, detailing its power that leads to this moment, and sharing your aspirations for the life awaiting you as a married couple has an incredible way of centering a person. Exchange them during a private point on the big day…or use them as the base of your own covenanting statements during the ceremony!