Planning your wedding can be one of the most fun and exciting times in your relationship. However, let’s be honest, it can also be one of the most stressful. There are so many logistics to work out, choices to make, and often times quite a few people to keep happy - parents, siblings, extended family, your wedding party, the list goes on and on, and that’s not even counting you and your fiancé!
As you work your way through mile-long to do lists, and negotiate what can feel like international peace agreements between family members, it can seem as though the wedding planning process has taken over your lives. There are a lot of decisions and compromises to make together, while also preparing to navigate your actual marriage as you discuss finances, family, and what your lives together will look like after the big day.
With all of this going on on top of everything else you’re juggling in your lives, it can be a stressful time, and tensions can run high.
Photo by Dustin Finkelstein Photography
Even though my husband and I dated for nearly 7 years before we got married, I was wary of the toll wedding planning stress would take on our relationship. This was partially because I am super type A (and admittedly a little on the bossy side) and my husband is...well let’s just say he is very chill. I was also working at a super busy job at the time, he was in his fourth year of medical school, and for half of our engagement we lived in separate cities. Fortunately, thanks to some great advice we received, and lots of learning along the way, we managed to (mostly) avoid frustrations with each other, remember we were on the same team, and our relationship was stronger than ever by the time our big day arrived!
So to pay it forward, here’s some of the best advice I received, and a few of the tips I picked up along the way, for keeping your relationships strong while wedding planning!
Get on the Same Page Early
As with all things in life (and especially relationships), setting and communicating expectations is key! Before you begin the actual planning process, discuss how involved each of you wants to be, and what areas in particular matter most to you. This will help ensure that you each have input on the decisions that are important to you, and will prevent you from holding up decisions waiting for the other’s opinion on a choice they’re happy to let you make. And most importantly, it will help you divvy up the tasks based on what you’re most excited about, so that the process is more fun, and you know which responsibilities are yours, his, or shared, so that there’s no miscommunication on who is handling what.
For example, my husband is super into music and I honestly don’t ever listen to music unless I’m working out (because who needs music when you have podcasts?!), so I was more than happy for him to choose the DJ and coordinate all the details with him. Likewise, he was perfectly content for me to make all of the floral decisions and had no idea what any of the greenery or flowers would look like until he saw it on our wedding day.
On the other hand, when it came to decisions like choosing the venue, deciding on the theme for our custom wedding invitations, and selecting the ceremony readings, we did these things together, and made sure we were in total agreement before moving forward on any decision.
One thing to note is that while you may be dividing and conquering some areas, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still help each other. When I was agonizing over which type of birdcage card holder to choose, my husband could sense I was going a bit over the edge and helped me pick one. And when I knew he was falling behind on choosing his groomsmen gifts, I sent him a few ideas to help spur him along.
Create Shared To Do Lists with Due Dates
Ok, my project manager side is about to come out y’all. I LOVE to do lists, absolutely love them. And the wedding planning process is the perfect time for shared to do lists! Each of you knows who is doing what (you can even include tasks your mother, his mother, or your wedding coordinator are doing) and when it needs to be finished.
That way, nothing accidentally falls through the cracks, there’s no “I thought you were handling that!”, and you’re not constantly checking in with each other to remind them to do something or to ask if it’s finished yet. Plus, there’s something so satisfying about looking at a list of crossed off tasks and seeing what you’ve accomplished!
The due dates piece is key because you and your fiancé might have vastly different ideas of what “soon” or “early in the process” mean. He may think he still has plenty of time for a task, while you’re meanwhile panicking that things are behind (and yes, I’m speaking from personal experience).
I’ll admit, I went a little extreme with this and we actually used a project management software for the last leg of the planning process to keep track of all of the small final tasks, but a shared Google doc works perfectly well!
Set Aside Dedicated Wedding Time
When you’re planning your wedding it understandably takes up a big piece of your life, and in your excitement, it may start to take over nearly every conversation with your fiancé. To avoid feeling like all of your time together is consumed with wedding talk and wedding tasks, you can set aside specific times or windows to talk about all things wedding related, check in on your to do list, and do tasks such as assemble your wedding invitations or write thank you notes.
Plus, this means that all of your wedding conversations take place when you’re both in the right frame of mind. Instead of your fiancé asking you to decide on a cake flavor when you’ve just gotten home from a long and stressful day at work, you can discuss it during the scheduled time, when you’re both fresh and excited to think about your special day.
Go On Dates with Each Other (And Don’t Talk About the Wedding...Too Much)
You may feel like your schedule is swamped with vendor meetings, fittings, and appointments, but remember to make time for each other! Going on dates and spending time just the two of you is key for recharging your batteries and reminding yourselves that there’s way more to your relationship than wedding planning. Plus dates are fun, and more fun = less stress.
So plan coffee dates, movie nights, or whatever you and your fiancé love to do, and try not to talk about the wedding...too much. Of course share in your excitement together and talk about how fun and special it’s going to be! Just try to steer clear of wedding logistics and planning minutiae, so you can focus on enjoying quality time with each other.
Remember What This is All For
If you find yourself getting impatient and short tempered with each other, remember what this is all for. You’re celebrating your love for each other with all of your closest friends and family members! If you’re stressed about the centerpiece arrangements or seating charts, keep in mind that, no matter what, the day will be amazing because you’re each marrying the person you love to the moon and back, and committing to spending the rest of your lives together - and that’s pretty amazing.
Photo by Dustin Finkelstein Photography