A wedding is a fun, romantic, once-in-a-lifetime occasion, but it can make you feel highly stressed in the preceding weeks and months
Figuring out how to plan a wedding without any stress seems impossible but by learning effective communication skills with your partner, you won’t drive each other insane.
When working through their wedding checklist, most couples end up fighting with each other, or with friends and family, about how the occasion will be planned or executed.
The last thing you want before a wedding is the lingering stress of being angry with someone you’re close to, so it’s important to know how to deal with stress and proactively acknowledge and solve the problem before it gets any worse.
These are some of the most common points of debate among wedding planners:
- Invites: You and your partner (and your families) may have very different ideas about who should be invited and who shouldn’t be.
- Venues and décor: You may fundamentally disagree on where the wedding should be held, or what aesthetics should be prioritised in choosing the décor.
- Religion and tradition: If you and your partner are from different religious or cultural backgrounds, it may be hard to find a compromise that works for both parties.
- Money: Weddings are expensive, and couples may fight about how much the budget should be (or how that budget should be spent).
- Registry: Even a registry with an expansive selection can cause disputes if each partner disagrees about the items that are most important to include.
- Effort: If one partner spends far more time and effort on the wedding planning process than the other, it can be a serious source of stress.
- Behaviour: Some people become irritable or aggressive when planning a wedding, which can cause extra stress for everyone involved.
Fortunately, almost any problem on the preceding list can be negotiated and resolved.
Here are 7 ways to plan a wedding with effective communication and without too much stress:
1. Be proactive
First, be proactive. If you notice something wrong, even if it’s something little, start a conversation about it.
Little things tend to become big things if left unsaid or unaddressed, which means even a tiny annoyance can become a source of lasting resentment. Start the conversation as early as you can.
Pay close attention to the thoughts and feelings of your partner, and anyone else involved in the wedding planning process, and focus your efforts on making the process as smooth as possible
2. Talk openly
Talking to your partner about a problem you’re experiencing can be extremely difficult; you might be forced to tell them something unpleasant about their behaviour or admit an embarrassing insecurity.
You must overcome these hesitations and speak openly if you want to resolve the problem, however. Tell your partner exactly how you feel, and why you feel that way, and address the problem head-on.
3. Listen attentively
Conversely, when your partner is talking to you, you need to listen. Don’t just listen to what they want to do – listen to why they want to do it.
This effort will help you understand their perspective and will show that you’re truly invested in resolving the problem for both of you.
4. Find compromises
As you’ll soon find in your marriage, compromise is one of the biggest keys to making any relationship work. If you and your partner can’t come to a resolution after explaining your respective viewpoints, you’ll each need to make a sacrifice.
For example, you might let your partner choose the napkins they want, but in a colour you like. Negotiate openly and try to address both partners’ wants and needs.
5. Split authority
If you’re having trouble making decisions together, consider splitting authority down the middle.
One person can take full charge of certain aspects, while the other person has a final say in a different set of responsibilities. It might lead to inconsistent themes or aesthetics, but it will certainly keep the peace.
6. Work with a third party
If you’re having trouble getting someone to hear what you’re saying or if you can’t budget on a given issue, consider consulting a neutral third party — a mediator who can help you gain a new perspective.
Talk to a friend or family member about the issue, and hear their thoughts on it. It may illuminate some ideas you might have ignored.
7. Give yourself lots of time
Finally, try to prevent problems by giving yourself as much time as possible to resolve them. A fight about invites will matter far less if you have six months, rather than only a day or two, to work it out.
This won’t make your problems go away, but it will make them easier to deal with.
If you can follow these steps, before, during, and after the wedding planning process, the few issues you’re likely to have will remain small issues, and you’ll both be far less stressed in the long run.
Pay close attention to the thoughts and feelings of your partner, and anyone else involved in the wedding planning process, and focus your efforts on making it as smooth as possible.
Paula Mooney is the author of several books (most written under pseudonyms to protect the guilty) on love and relationships. Her essays and articles have been featured in national print magazines such as Writer’s Digest, and in major online publications like Yahoo, Examiner, and more.
This article was first published on YourTango.