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An Anxious Person's Guide to Getting Through the Holidays While Newly Engaged

Because your family will probably have a billion questions you don't have answers for yet.

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Photography by: Rachel Thurston Photography

Getting engaged is a really exciting moment, but the aftermath can be a bit daunting. It seems like everyone you announce the news to wants to know immediately what you're planning for the wedding. Questions come at you from all angles, and this can be even trickier during the holiday season when you're surrounded by friends and family. While their intentions are good, navigating this time can be a bit anxiety ridden. Here are a few tactics to help you get through the holiday season without too many moments of panic.

 

Be prepared

Knowing what you're getting into is a big part of the preparation process. If you're setting up for a few weeks of party-hopping and checking in with folks you haven't seen since the engagement, you can expect to be faced with lots of questions on all fronts. Some may ask if you've started looking at dresses, while others are obsessive about you deciding on a date. Some people will even get into sharing their personal calendar with you, convinced that your wedding date should somehow be based on their availability. This is pretty common, so just know that going into it so you can be prepared with quick responses. Keep in mind that the intentions are good and not meant to stress you out, and it'll be a little easier to keep your even keel.

 

Come up with a tag line

A good way to steer clear of getting into a tumbleweed of wedding questions is to have a tag line that guides the conversation in a different direction. It can be as simple as, "I was so surprised when he popped the question, I'm still really enjoying the fact that we're engaged. We'll start planning the wedding soon enough, but for now I'm just enjoying the idea that we'll be a married couple. I have a million ideas about what I might want for the wedding, but you'll be one of the first to know when we've set a date and location."
 

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Focus on the engagement story

Focusing on the engagement story is an easy way to escape a conversation about the wedding itself. So, get used to telling the story of how he proposed and really make a good story out of it. If the person you're chatting with is along for the ride, they'll likely forget all the other questions that were churning in their minds about the wedding itself.

 

Deflecting actually works

Most married people absolutely love talking about their own wedding and are quick to give advice. If you're knee-deep in a Q&A session that's giving you anxiety about all the things you haven't planned yet, turn it around on them and ask what they did that they loved and what flopped. This can end up being really helpful information for you in the long run. For the older folks who tend to ask more questions and remember less of their own wedding, you can try asking about their favorite weddings or weddings they've been to that they remember the most.

 

Have an escape plan

When all else fails, you're probably going to need a simple strategy of escaping the conversation once too many questions start giving you anxiety. Before you head into a party, it's a good idea to set a signal (ex: adjusting your earrings) with your fiancé so he'll know when you've had enough and can cut in and gently whisk you away from the conversation with a one-liner like, "John's just arrived and I'd love to introduce him to you."

 

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