I’m a wedding planner, not a marriage counselor, but believe me when I say I’ve seen engaged couples through all stages of happiness, joy, stress and conflict as they prepare for their big day. Wedding planning can be a highly emotional process for a number of reasons. There are budget ceilings, childhood dreams, rain plans, venues you wanted but couldn’t afford, and the (seemingly) nonstop input and pressure from your future in-laws, best friends, and older siblings who had the best day ever for their weddings and absolutely must have the final call on what you do for yours (even though you never asked for their opinions!). The simple act of going to work on a daily basis while also planning the-most-important-day-of-your-lives-together-as-a-couple-so-far can seem cruel and unfair. The amount of pressure on each of you, and together on you as a couple, can stir up frustration, irritate old wounds, and trigger emotions that cause you to fight.
I wish I had a simple, bulleted list to outline exactly how to overcome these stressors, but in the end this day is about you and your future spouse, and nobody else. It is up to you to come together and first decide what your priorities are as a couple, and then stick to them. Don’t agree about all of your priorities, or what your priorities should even be? That’s even better! Because wedding planning just happens to be the ‘pressure-cooker’ version of married life.
Once you are married, your life together will always have budgets, in-laws, deadlines and – most importantly – compromise and communication. It isn’t as though you get married and your in-laws suddenly have no opinions about traditions, or you suddenly have a limitless budget to draw from. You will always have to work through challenges together as a couple, and planning your wedding is a great place to start.
Conflict during wedding planning doesn’t have to be a negative thing. Conflict is an opportunity to grow, learn more about one-another, and practice the skills of listening and compromise. These are tools that you will use on a daily basis, for the rest of your lives, and you will never forget what you learned while planning. In some ways, the planning process is even more important than your actual wedding day. A wedding is a single day, but the lessons that you learn about one-another and yourselves as individuals will last the rest of your lives. You are working on an enormous project together, and you are becoming a team. The lessons that you learn will make you stronger as a couple than you were before.
Of course, having the right crew for your wedding day is an enormous help. Nobody is happy when a caterer takes a full week to answer your questions, or a venue springs additional liability paperwork a month before your wedding. Those things can be avoided by hiring the right crew members to help facilitate your big day. What I want to tell you is that it’s normal to disagree. It can even be normal to fight. But let the resolution of each argument bring you closer together, and let each disagreement be an opportunity to learn something new about yourselves. Partnership starts long before you are married.
Above photo credit: Angela @ Hitches and Unions