Some little girls grow up dreaming about their weddings. I once went to a $700,000 wedding in Boston where everyone spent the whole weekend talking about how the bride and her mother started a wedding binder when she was 3.

I often assumed I would get married someday, but I was never that prepared.

Actually, the whole thing caught me by surprise.

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I met my fiancé last year in January, and we went on our first date in April — 10 days later we were planning our wedding. In August, he proposed.

I can’t explain how we knew — but sometimes you just do. And our families and friends have never seen us happier.

In the run up to the ring, I had a lot of fun trying on dresses, looking at venues and dreaming about what kind of wedding I wanted. My one rule was that I wouldn’t spend any money — no down payments, no wedding magazines — before our engagement.

Everything happened so quickly, and I was afraid to jinx it. I was nervous and excited, and I felt a bit like a fraud. I felt certain he would propose — but you don’t know for sure until he does, right? It wasn’t until I opened my door and saw him inside a heart of rose petals that I believed it.

The next morning, the work began.

Once we were officially engaged, people started asking questions. Lots of questions. When are you getting married? Where are you getting married?? And my personal favorite: What kind of bride are you??? Are you an elegant bride? A romantic bride? An urban bride? I told one bridal consultant, “Um, a low-maintenance bride?”

I had no idea. I had no idea what kind of pressure would build in my head when I started planning a party that will be WAY bigger than any I ever held.

And there is so much pressure to obsess over every detail — from place cards to seat covers. I am convinced the phrase “This is YOUR day” is meant to make you crazy. And sometimes it does. I have spent countless hours looking at bridesmaid dresses, debating the merits of satin and chiffon.

It’s ridiculous, really. And I have to remember to come up for air.

And that’s what this column is about. I am hoping we can navigate these entirely new waters together — from dress to aisle — and leave with as much of our sanity as possible. Because someday I would like to emerge from all of this married — and I have a feeling my sanity will come in handy.

So tell me, South Jersey brides, how long have you been planning your weddings? What has been your biggest challenge so far?

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