What you need to know before saying ‘I do!’

BONA readers share their best advice!

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Carpo's version of Move For Me music video

Taking your relationship to the next level and tying the knot can be both exciting and stressful. So, we asked BONA readers to share their best wedding planning and marriage advice.

“Delegation is important; your family will always support you. It is also important to do your own follow-ups. Know what you want or at least have an idea, otherwise people will sell you their own, especially the decor companies because it is in their best interest for you to choose what is already available.” – Dorothea Sekotho

“Go for pre-marital counselling 6 to12 months before the wedding to make sure that you are both on the same page, and set the correct foundation. Also, save money for as long as possible before your big day so that you can have the wedding of your dreams.” – Tia Williams

“This year marks 25 years since we’ve been married, and he is still the love of my life. Jealousy is nasty, but as you get older you realise that you will die young if you stress about everything your spouse says to another woman or working late. I worked on myself and he did the same as we were both jealous. Now we trust each other, and when we are unhappy about something, we talk about it. Don’t bottle things up.” – Thea Lennox

“One of the challenges we faced was from our family members wanting us to put them first. We overcame this challenge by forming a strong communication bond, and it works well for us. We are close, and have been happily together for five years.”  Mpho Motitsoe

“We have experienced a lot of challenges. These include my husband losing his job, being involved in a car accident and losing our son in 2015; it was not easy. But, with the support of our family, holding on to God and believing that everything was going to pass, we overcame it all. And, none of these incidents made us drift apart. Instead, we became closer because nothing beats communication. Tell your partner when it hurts, and be vulnerable with each other.” – Vuyokazi Gqunta

“The energy that brought you together is the same energy that makes the stars shine or birds fly. So, use it as a blessing for the good of your amazing bond.” – Mmabo Mmaboleng Theku

“We have been married for over a year. Some of our challenges have been that we are both set in our ways; he does things in his own time and I want things done at that moment. So, we often quarrel about that. We also have different views about going out and hanging out with friends. We have started learning to compromise, and try to understand each other better.” – Jade Nkalane

“Remember that 10 years from now, all the glitz and glam of your big day will look like your mom’s old school wedding pictures. So, make sure that you enjoy the special day for what it is, and not how it looks.” Zodwa Ntshongwana

“When you’re in love, things such as religion or finances do not seem like important topics. But, this can result in divorce when the honeymoon phase is over. Discuss these subjects beforehand. Additionally, communicate, communicate, communicate! Resolve conflict before going to bed and forgive easily. Forget about the expectations of the toilet seat up and toothpaste tube being closed. Also, be honest about your whereabouts; no matter how crazy your day gets, always make time for an SMS or phone/video call. Trust goes a long way. I’ve been married for eight awesome years.” – Richie Plaatjies

“As a bride, be ready an hour before the actual wedding time. On my wedding day, my dad rushed me and I forgot my shoes! Luckily, my mother was arriving in another car so she brought them. And, I had at least three pairs of shoes on my wedding day; two being flat. Ensure that you have at least three days of practice with your wedding dress and shoes so you’re able to walk in them.” – Jeanine Moodley Magalingum

“Yes, a wedding day is very special. But, do not overspend because that will just leave you with debts.” – Kedibone Mkhonto

“I suggest pre-marriage counselling. It helps you understand things you will go through during your marriage. This also helps you start dealing with them beforehand. It helps you to improve your ability to communicate, set realistic expectations for marriage and develop conflict-resolution skills. I also got advice from my mom. She said seeing that we are different people from diverse backgrounds, compromising will work out much better for both of us. She also mentioned that communication should be a priority. So, keep the lines of communication open on a daily basis – send pictures and text messages. I live with my husband but when I’m at work, we communicate at least two to three times a day. It is vital that you are both committed to each other and believe in your marriage. Your long-distance marriage will fail if there is a lack of trust between you. With regards to the wedding day, deciding on the venue should be one of the first things on your to-do list. Once you’ve booked it, start looking for other essential vendors such as your caterer. Make sure that your venue suits the kind of dream wedding you want.” – Zinhle Mbatha