Wedding planning is high stress, so it is no surprise that many couples experience some of their first big fights in the months leading up to their big day. Differences of opinion about spending money, expectations and judgements of close family members, blending different values and priorities, can all lead to conflict. Don’t let disagreements cast a shadow over your wedding or create a rift in your relationship. Here are some of the most common arguments couples have during their wedding planning and how to handle them.
Parents Who Won’t Stop Meddling
Many parents believe they have a large stake in their child’s wedding. Whether they are footing all, or part, of the bill most parents have strong opinions about wedding particulars, and these opinions can clash with your plans. Especially when one of you is a people pleaser (or just a parent pleaser) who hates conflict, parental expectations can create a real problem between the two of you.
The key to handling objections to your choices is to be sure that you and your fiancé are on the same page before addressing them. These issues will set the stage in how you both relate and communicate with the two families moving forward. It is an opportunity to negotiate between the two of you first about what you want, and then to hold strong as a unit and have each other’s back when you address your parents.
Disagreements about Budget and Spending
Weddings are expensive! Arguments over finances are extremely common during wedding planning. What one of you may think is an absolute must and essential to fulfilling your vision for your wedding, could seem totally ridiculous to spend money on by the other person. In the end, it’s not really about the cost of the wedding cake; disagreements over spending are about different values around money. Most people’s financial styles are deep-seeded, that is why this becomes such an emotionally charged topic to discuss.
Before you start a cycle of endless bickering over the cost of candles, sit down together (not during an argument!) well ahead of time to talk about how you each feel about finances, wedding spending, and how you each are sharing in the costs. Developing your wedding budget together, so no one feels left in the dark or unheard, goes a long way to paying for your wedding without secrecy or fighting.
Very few people agree 100% on saving and spending, so the sooner you discuss your values about finances, the earlier you can figure out where your differences are. While your wedding is a biggie, this won’t be the only financial hot button that will come up during your marriage. The key is to protect the values that are most important to you, for example keeping a certain amount of money in savings that you don’t touch for the wedding expenses, and then negotiate and compromise on items that are less important. Each of you must be heard and have a chance to participate in setting financial priorities.
Wedding planning arguments commonly represent broader issues.
Guest List Conflict
She wants to invite every one of her sorority sisters, you want to keep things intimate. He comes from a huge family, but yours is very small. Her parents are paying for the reception, so they feel they should be able to invite whomever they want. Cue one of the most common wedding conflicts – the guest list. The size of your guest list hinges on a lot of factors, from the atmosphere you want to create at your wedding to logistically what your venue can accommodate.
Fights over the guest list often boil down to individuals not feeling listened to, or that one person’s priorities matter more than anyone else’s. Keep it between the two of you first to figure out what your priorities are around your guest count. If you have limitations based on your venue, that is a great place to start with setting parameters. Naturally, your budget is another dictator of how many people you can host. Once the two of you are in agreement, sit down face to face, if possible, with your parents and calmly explain how you are going to manage the guest list. Let them know early on just how many invites they can have and hold firm to your decision as a couple.
Not Sharing the Load
Even with a wedding planner involved, most weddings become part-time jobs for at least one member of the couple. Keeping track of RSVPs, doing the seating arrangement, calls and deposits to vendors, there is a lot of work to planning a wedding! It’s not uncommon to hit a wall with all the details, reaching a state of overwhelm and feeling of inequality in carrying the workload. The truth is, often one member of the couple cares more about all the details than the other member. Even if perfectly tied bows, twinkling lights over the dance floor, and favors for your guests are really your passion, you may find resentment setting in as you fuss over details while your fiancé sits on the couch.
The first step is to admit you are overwhelmed, and ask for help. Even your less enthusiastic partner has skills you can recruit. List out your tasks, and sit down to figure out who will be in charge of getting what done. Maybe your fiancé could pick up cleaning the house while you complete wedding tasks, or drive around to run errands and pick up things for you. Again, this part of wedding planning represents a larger scenario in how you two will get things done successfully as a couple when life gets crazy busy.
Work hard to keep your perspective and not lose sight of the most important facet of your wedding – it’s about you and your soon-to-be-spouse starting your life together. Planning your wedding sets the stage for much of your communication and decision-making as a couple moving forward. Take this opportunity to listen to one another, and learn how to negotiate and compromise between the two of you. While you should not concede on everyone else’s wishes, in a loving relationship we need to let go of something sometimes in order to make the other person happy. Ultimately, make the final decisions as a couple, don’t feel guilty, and go about enjoying your wedding!
Featured Image Credit: Val Bozzi – Bozzi Photography – www.valbozziphotography.com