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August 15th marked one year of marriage for my husband, Derek, and I. We got married at Berkeley Plantation under a big maple tree, and held our reception under a tent down by the river.

Ever since we got married, the number one question everyone asks us is “How does it feel?”, “What is married life like?”, and when we answer “Great, and pretty much the same!”, they ask “Do you have to say that because your spouse is right next to you?”. Newlyweds, you know where I’m at! When we got married, we had already been together for six years. We know all of each other’s antics, pet peeves, and share the same weird humor. But even though we have been together forever, being married is still a little bit different!

Before you go running back up the aisle to your bridal suite, here are a few fun “marriage tips” we’ve learned over the past year.

1. Never talk negatively about one another. This one is tricky for us, because Derek and I don’t take ourselves too seriously. We are constantly joking on each other, and we’re not really the overly gushy PDA type. With that, comes a lot of jokes and more than a few times, people haven’t realized we were joking. Can you say embarrassing?! When posting on social media or talking to friends and family, it is important to never paint your spouse in a bad light – regardless of if you think it is a harmless joke!

2. Let the little things go. You two are going to see each other and your best, and at your worst. After that stressful day at work, you can’t come home and shut yourself off from the world to binge-watch Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Your spouse is going to be there, and you’re a team now! Take five minutes to vent, and then let it go. Spend the rest of the night laughing with your hubby, not making the night miserable for both of you!

3. Get an apartment (or house) with a minimum of two bathrooms. I’m serious about this one and I’ll let you figure out why on your own.. Hint: You live with a boy now.

4. And most importantly, learn each other’s love language. Even after six years of dating prior to getting married, this is still something we make a priority to work at every day! There’s a really wonderful book on this that you can find here (that’s not a referral link, I’m not making any money if you buy that book, I really just think it is a good book!). Derek’s is “words of affirmation” – things like saying “you look so handsome today!” or “thank you so much for getting the house cleaned when I had a stressful week”. My love language is “quality time” – making it a priority to put down the phones, turn off the TV, and spend time cuddling together!

In the midst of your wedding planning, I hope you make a little time each week to soak in the fact that after the big day, you will be married! Your wedding day, while magical, is just one day. Your marriage is forever! Strive to have a marriage more beautiful than your wedding.

photo by Michelle Renee Photography