Disagreements in wedding planning are as inevitable as they are in marriage itself. Being engaged is a great time to learn how to navigate your differences without killing each other. You don’t need to agree on everything to be an amazing team. It’s all about compromise and remembering that marriage is a team sport; you either win together or you lose together.
I know that it’s a stressful time; emotions are running high, and so are the to-do lists but try to remember that your wedding day is all about celebrating love, not necessarily about hosting a flawless event.
Supercharged topics can include budget, guest list size, what traditions you’d rather leave in the past and who is doing the lion’s share of the planning.
Some strategies you might find helpful when you realise you aren’t on the same page:
Consider the big picture as it affects each decision
Some decisions will be made inadvertently as a result of other decisions, so you may need to step back and slow down when considering some of the early big decisions. For example, the guest list should be created early because it shapes decisions about venues and costs. If one of you wants a tropical beach wedding and the other wants a local winery wedding – you should discuss these options in light of other issues, such as if you want your frail grandparents to be at the wedding. Seeing the larger picture may help you resolve some differences.
Ask yourselves who cares more about the issue
You may decide to adjust your preference and let this particular thing go if your partner has strong feelings about the issue. You don’t need to win them all! For example, you may prefer a small, intimate wedding but your partner has always loved their family tradition of a large wedding where all the aunties, uncles, cousins and their partners attend. Try setting a guest list number that gives more to the person who cares the most.
Avoid discussing difficult topics when you are tired, stressed or hungry
Sometimes it is more than the issue at hand that creates the tension. It may be how you feel physically – tired, stressed, or hungry. For example, if you’ve just had a heated discussion with your mum or had a hard day at work, you may be best to postpone any wedding discussions with your partner until you’ve had a chance to recalibrate.
Periodically assess your wedding-planning stress and assigned tasks
There is often a long lead time until your wedding, and your job workload may change during this time affecting your ability to complete wedding tasks. For example, If your partner has not followed through on a task they were responsible for, or if you feel better equipped for a particular task, politely offer to help or take over. The key is to agree together on a shift of responsibility and not to be resentful about it.
Teach and learn from one another rather than assuming the other person ‘gets it’
Sometimes one of you will not see a problem that is quite clear to the other. You’ll need to both educate each other about your families and their traditions. For example, the partner from an Irish background needs to explain to his partner what his culture’s wedding traditions are, such as the expectation that the bar won’t close before midnight.
Consider whether deeper issues are underlying your conflict
If you are doing your best to deal with your differences and yet remain polarised, look for deeper issues. For example, the issue is not about the size of the wedding but about the feeling of envy because one of you has a bigger circle of friends.
Avoid behaviours that accelerate the conflict
- Criticism – attacking the other person’s character. Stick to the issue at hand;
- Showing contempt – insults and non-verbal hostility such as eyerolling or smirking;
- Stonewalling – shutting down and refusing to communicate;
- Defensiveness – seeing yourself as a victim.
Instead, show empathy. Perhaps the most important communication skill you need is the ability and willingness to understand how the other person feels. You do not have to agree but recognising how they feel is important. It allows your partner to feel like they are heard and their opinion is appreciated.
The best advice I would give any couple planning a wedding is to do a Marriage Education Course such as the globally recognised Prepare Enrich Program.
Smart couples focus not just on their wedding day but on their marriage ahead because even the best relationships take work. Over the years, you will no doubt plan for your future by investing in other areas of your life and your relationship should be no different.
If your relationship is already strong, you can expect the course to increase your bond. If your relationship has some communication issues that need addressing, now is the perfect time!
Julie Muir – Marriage Celebrant Extraordinaire
At Hunter Events Group, we first encountered Julie through our shared commitment to creating highly engaging and memorable weddings. We knew we were on the same page when we discovered that she is just as passionate about what happens to her couples after the wedding, as on the wedding day itself. We love her dedication to her couples.
Julie runs reasonably priced Prepare Enrich Marriage Courses that help build healthy relationships and strong marriages, and we are totally here for this idea! She is single-handedly revolutionising this idea so that it doesn’t feel corny in any way. If anyone can make it fun, she can! And you only need to take a look at the testimonials featured on Julie’s website to confirm that she really is a cut above the rest.
While you’re there, take a look at her Blog too. Julie is an engaging writer and her articles are full of great advice for those about to wed. If you’re more social media oriented, you can also find Julie on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
Of course, you can always contact Julie the old fashioned way, by mobile on 0413 267 238 or by email at email@example.com