Keeping the Peace AND the Romance While Wedding Planning
For many couples, their wedding is the biggest event they will ever put together. There can be a tonne of expectations, pressure, and all-around stress associated with it. Whether you’re a gung-ho planner extraordinaire or a head for the hills until it’s all over type, these tips will help you and your betrothed live happily now and ever after.
Discuss Your Vision(s)
You and your fiancé may have very different visions about what your wedding will be like, and communicating about this from the get-go will save a tonne of stress down the road. You know your partner well, but you don’t live in their head. Your spouse-to-be may secretly be hoping for a 500-person gala, while you imagine an intimate dinner party. Assumptions are dangerous things, especially when deposits are required. This day belongs to you as a couple, and both of your viewpoints are valid. Your shared wedding day should be a reflection of both of your personalities.
As you start your wedding planning, try having each of you write down the top three things you would like to see included in your day. It helps to know what your priorities are, which is also a great way to begin the discussion of what your wedding will look like. You may or may not be able to fit everything in but you won’t know until you talk about it.
Discuss the overall aesthetics of the wedding. Are you imagining crystal chandeliers and sleek evening gowns but your partner sees a casual country picnic? There could be ways to combine these – an elegant outdoor venue might be just the ticket. Or you may want to investigate entirely new options that will suit you more as a couple – perhaps what you really want is a tropical destination wedding!
It’s important to be flexible at this early stage as you brainstorm ideas for your day. Decide as a couple what the big vision is and you’ll agree a lot more about the details later.
Party Planning Isn’t For Everyone
Some people get really into wedding planning. Other people, well, not so much. If you and your partner sit on opposite sides of this spectrum, it’s a perfect recipe for driving each other crazy.
If you’re the keener:
If you’re thrilled to be planning every detail of your big day and your future spouse isn’t, be empathetic. The wedding day details may not be that important to them because what they’re really excited about is starting a life with you. Or they may simply be overwhelmed by all the options and choices out there, and don’t trust themselves to make the best decision. Find a few things they ARE interested in, and enlist help on those pieces. Then find another friend or family member who wants to obsess about floral arrangements.
If you’re less into it than your partner:
If you just can’t get enthused about tablecloth colours but your partner keeps showing you a million swatches, be empathetic. They’re pumped to be marrying you and want to construct a wonderful memory for the two of you. A wedding is a tonne of work, so offer help where you feel able. Think of a few things you’re interested in contributing to and take on those projects.
Respect the Budget
This should probably be at the top of the page, possibly in flashing red letters. Disregarding your budget may be the #1 way to drive your fiancé crazy. When you’re first envisioning your wedding, the budget is a critical part of the discussion. Discuss the amount you’re both comfortable spending. If you disagree, talk about why; it’s not just about being “extravagant” or “cheap”. Your betrothed may imagine spending more on a lavish event to create a special memory for you to look back on for the rest of your lives. They may want to spend less in order to prioritize other purchases in your future, like a travel adventure or a dream home. Understanding why you each want to spend what you do will help you compromise and create your perfect day together.
Once planning is underway, budget surprises can, and probably will, come up. The venue might cost more than you were expecting or your favourite band becomes available–and they’re pricey. You may feel a lot of pressure to make decisions right away. Take a breath and, again, talk to your partner about it! You may be able to up the overall budget slightly or decrease costs elsewhere. Surprises can be wonderful, but not when it comes to financial planning.
It’s a Family Affair
Weddings bring friends and families together… usually this is a good thing but can sometimes turn into a tense time. Maybe your future sister in-law drives you crazy or your partner’s BFF from high school gets under your skin. You don’t have to adore everyone in your fiancé’s circle but you do need to find ways to get along with them because, likely, they’re here to stay. Talk to your partner about frustrations that come up and work with them to find solutions. Figure out ways to present a united front as a couple – the last thing you want is for your spouse-to-be to feel the need to choose between you and their family or act as some kind of awkward go-between. Finding ways to keep the peace now will set you up for a lifetime of family dinners and friend reunions.
It’s wonderful when wedding planning can involve both families. Invite both sides to help out – but be realistic about expectations. You may want to get a big group together for three days of crafting and wine drinking, but not everyone can fit that into their schedules. Don’t begrudge family members who aren’t able to contribute as much as you had hoped. Likewise, you aren’t obligated to accept assistance you don’t want! You and your partner should work as a team to set boundaries and expectations with family that work for you as a couple.
Families can have a wide variety of wedding traditions, from religious practices to speeches to who gets cake smashed in their face. Talk about family traditions and what you might like to include. This isn’t just about your wedding, it’s also a great chance to learn more about your fiancé’s background and family. This might even bring up customs you guys hadn’t remembered until now! It will help you plan your overall wedding vision and prevent last minute additions that might disrupt the flow of a carefully crafted plan. Plus, cake face smashing probably shouldn’t be a surprise. This is also a wonderful way to personalize your wedding and keep your future spouse engaged (no pun intended!)
Don’t Wedding 24/7
Wedding planning can be all consuming. It’s a tonne of work involving a million details. But it’s important to take time as a couple to do non-wedding related things. Remember all the thing you liked doing together before the engagement? Do those too! Plan a couple of evenings a week to spend time together without talking about the wedding.
If planning is getting overwhelming or starting to become a source of tension, you may want to limit the wedding-talk even more. Set aside an hour a night or a couple of days a week that are dedicated to wedding stuff and let it go the rest of the time. This will help you reconnect as a couple and give you a break from the planning madness, leaving you refreshed and reenergized during the planning sessions you have scheduled.
It’s cliché, but the wedding is just one day – what you’re really planning is a lifelong partnership together. Talking through your expectations, making compromises, and working together as you plan your wedding are all great practice for what’s really important: the marriage.