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Engaged? How to experience all the excitement of this special time

(ARA) - Congratulations - you're engaged! This is a special time, leading up to the big day that will change your lives forever. Don't wait for the nuptials to arrive, however, before you bask in the bliss. Savor every minute of your engagement experience.

"Brides may find that making wedding plans can distract them from the simple joy of being engaged," says Raymond Miller, a wedding planning expert with the Web site My Wedding Reception Ideas.com. "But some advanced planning and creative ideas can help them fully enjoy their engagement while still preparing for the wedding day of their dreams."

Miller offers brides-to-be some simple advice for getting the most enjoyment out of being engaged:

Announcing your big news
News of your engagement is one of the most exciting pieces of information you'll ever share with family and friends. Get creative and fun with your engagement announcement, but don't overlook practicality. You want to announce your engagement and wedding date in a way that will be quick and easy for you - and memorable to those receiving the message. Save the date magnets can be a great way to get the word out and put your wedding date front-of-mind for those who are invited.

Traditional engagement announcements in local newspapers limit your creativity and the reach of your news. Save the date wedding magnets can relay information about your wedding plans across the country to distant loved ones. And because we all have a tendency to hold on to magnets (How many pizza delivery magnets do you have on your refrigerator?) in conspicuous places in our homes, your guests-to-be will see a constant reminder of your special day.

Sharing the celebration
Sure, your maid of honor and other girlfriends will probably throw you a bridal shower. But you don't have to wait to begin celebrating the good news. You and your fiancé can involve loved ones in the celebrating - and do it at a time you choose - by hosting your own engagement party.

Staging your own party allows you to share the excitement sooner. Plus, you can use the occasion as an opportunity to "test drive" wedding day seating arrangements or check out a restaurant you're considering for the rehearsal dinner. You can also experiment with linens and décor; using colors you're considering for your wedding will give you an idea of what these decorator items will look like in an elegant setting. Or, use the engagement party as way to preview your wedding theme - for example, host the party at a seaside location for a beach-themed wedding.

And don't forget to celebrate as a couple, as well. If planning starts to feel too stressful, consider taking a pre-honeymoon trip that will help you decompress and reconnect as a couple. Time away together will help remind you what all your wedding planning is really about - your love for each other. The break could be as simple as a weekly date night or as elaborate as a weekend getaway.

Be resourceful
The Internet has made wedding planning easier than ever. Use online resources, like sites that allow you to experiment with seating charts for receptions, compare color schemes and create sample menus. My Wedding Reception Ideas.com can help you pick and plan personalized wedding favors, accessories and gifts for your wedding party. The site also provides tips on different kinds of napkins and how to choose them, and other useful planning hints. Visit www.myweddingreceptionideas.com to learn more.

"Planning a wedding should be part of the enjoyable experience of being engaged," Miller says. "With creativity and some expert help, it's possible to make the months of your engagement as memorable and special as the wedding day itself."

Courtesy of ARAcontent