You’ve probably heard it said many times before: “If you want everyone to give you their opinion about something, plan a wedding.”
For some reason, this joyous occasion has become a massive and stressful undertaking in our culture. In our post-Pinterest world, there seems to be this unspoken pressure to have the most beautiful, most fun, most extravagant, and most Instagram-able, well planned wedding that there ever was.
Because of this unspoken pressure, in addition to all of the logistics of planning a large event, wedding planning has become something dreadful that no one seems to enjoy. (Except maybe the incredible professional planners out there—I don’t know how you guys do it!)
Richy and I have certainly had our struggles during our wedding planning process. While we’re so excited to share this special occasion with our family and friends, there have been many tears shed because of the stress and because of the fights that have come about when trying to make decisions about the big day.
I’ll take a moment to say that this post is Richy-approved and I did ask him if I could share some of my thoughts about this on the blog. I figured that if we were finding wedding planning to be one of the “worst things ever,” that there were probably other couples out there who were feeling the same way.
I have another disclaimer: just because I’m sharing this, doesn’t mean that Richy and I have traveled to a land of rainbows and unicorns to plan our wedding. We still feel stressed out about our long to-do lists, but we haven’t had a fight between the two of us in a while. We’re finally getting on the same page about the plan and we’ve come to respect one another’s opinions about what we envision for our celebration.
Wedding planning should be a fun process. It should bring you closer together as a couple. I hope that today’s blog post will encourage you to become a team during the planning process and that maybe you’ll talk about some of these items early on, or know how to deal with them when problems arise!
And now, without further ado, here we go!
One of the things that couples—married, engaged, or dating—fight about the most is money. Money is certainly a stressor for many people, and Richy and I are no exception. We have dreams of buying a home, of traveling, of owning a bunch of fancy guitars and camera equipment. But we also have bills, and now we have the added costs of a wedding weighing on us.
Sit down before you make ANY decisions, and make a budget. Richy and I went to a local Mexican restaurant, got yummy food and drinks, and we hashed out a budget. What we have found is that our budget is a little fluid. For example, we didn’t include the cost of a videographer in our original budget, but the more we (read: I) thought about it, the more we wanted some of the special moments highlighted on video. So because of that, we have had to cut back in other areas to accommodate for the expense of a videographer.
The biggest thing here is to just be transparent and to talk about it often. Revisit your budget at least once a month during the planning process to track how you’re doing and to see if you need to make adjustments. Richy and I use a shared Google doc to track all of our expenses and to make sure that we’re staying on track as best as possible.
This is very closely linked to fights about budgeting and money for your wedding. When we started working with our planner Adrienne of Hearts Content Events about the overall design of the day (decor, flowers, etc.) we started to realize that we had very different views on what was most important for us to spend money on. For me, as a photographer, I want the day to look pretty and would shell out a bunch of money to make sure that the day was visually everything I wanted it to be. Richy, however, thinks it’s more important for us to spend less on decorations if it means that we can have everyone we want there to celebrate with us.
Have this conversation early on. Determine what is most important to you. Maybe it’s the wedding dress. Maybe it’s the food. Whatever you see as being the most important part of the wedding day to you, tell your partner early on and make sure that your budget reflects that. Maybe there are some “traditional” items you can forgo to make sure you both have everything you dream of (ie favors, escort cards, etc.).
I’m sure that every bride and groom planning their wedding wishes they could invite every single person in their lives who has made an impact. Richy and I are no different. However, because of our budget, we realized that’s just not possible. So, we had to make really tough decisions about who to invite. Sure enough this caused some fights because there were people on his side of the family that I had met maybe once or twice, but who were very important to him and vice versa.
Always remember to have respect for one another. Don’t make harsh judgements on your partner’s desired guest list. Instead of saying, “Do we really need them there?” (which I’m guilty of), ask something more along the lines of, “Why is it important to you for this person to be there?” and then LISTEN.
Also, when creating your guest list, don’t feel like you have to go off of traditional info graphics that you might find on Pinterest. Invite the people that are the most important to you. Unfortunately, sometimes that might not include some family members or coworkers or friends of friends, and you don’t have to apologize for that.
If you want a small wedding (because you’re like me and don’t want a lot of attention!), don’t feel bad that there are some people who will be left off of the guest list. If you want a big wedding with hundreds of people, then GO for it! It is YOUR day and you have the power to make it what you have always dreamed it would be.
Now, I realize this might be a sensitive topic or a cause of distress for some people. I for one have struck gold with my in-laws and have nothing but great love and respect for them and all they have done to support us through the planning. However, because Richy and I are people-pleasers, very early on we had to create some boundaries with our parents to make sure that we could make decisions that made us happy, rather than trying to keep everyone around us happy.
The topic of money also comes up in this conversation. Some people believe that since your parents are paying for most of the wedding that they get to have a lot of influence on decisions you have to make throughout the planning process. I want to challenge that assumption, so keep reading!
You might be noticing a trend here… communication is KEY! Talk to your parents early on in the planning process to determine how much money they are able to contribute (if any) and how much you want them to be involved when making decisions.
Part of the fun for us with our parents not being as involved in the day-to-day planning is surprising them with things like our invitation suite since they didn’t see what the invites looked like until the final draft. Of course, conflict will still arise, but if you set boundaries early on, then both parties will be primed for a quick resolution.
Do always remember that for you and your families, the wedding is more than just one day. It’s a whole stretch of time leading up to the event. So if you’re like Richy and I and want to make the decisions yourself, still share updates with your parents to keep them in the loop and to keep up the excitement surrounding the celebration!
I will admit, I have felt like this a few times, but it was through no one’s fault but my own: more on that in a second! When you are planning a large event, there is so much to do that it can feel like you’re doing everything by yourself. I’m here to tell you that, you might be planning everything by yourself… but you don’t have to.
Remember that your partner cannot read your mind. He/she can’t know what you want him/her to do to help you during the planning process. So ask! Make a to-do list on your shared Google doc so that you both know what needs to be done. Make a timeline or utilize one from your planner or from an online resource. Delegate tasks to your partner to make him/her feel more included. Ask his/her opinion before deciding something. (For example, today I asked Richy where he thinks we should put our return address stamp on the invitation envelopes… on the front or on the back flap, haha!). It might seem small, but it will help your teamwork skills and make the planning process more enjoyable.
BONUS!! Bachelor/Bachelorette parties
Richy and I have a slightly different situation here as we’re total homebodies and have a very small wedding party consisting of only my sister and his best friend. However, just from being involved in the industry and from hearing stories, the bachelor and bachelorette parties can be a source of some tension.
Always respect one another and surround yourself with people who respect you and your partner! Surround yourself with people who will build you up and who would never do anything to compromise your relationship.
Communicate. Stay in touch if you’re going out of town. You don’t have to FaceTime every night or tell your partner all your comings and goings during your bachelor/bachelorette party, but make sure that he/she knows that communication lines are open even when you’re celebrating with your guys/girls!
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