When we talk to people about wedding planning, we often paint this picture of it as a fantastic, wonderful, amazing experience. And it often can be! But there’s another side to it.
Wedding planning is stressful, especially if you are planning a wedding while also buying your first home, graduating from college, or expecting a baby!
It’s also really hard to plan a wedding when you’ve lost a loved one or you have a particularly difficult family member or friend involved.
So in this episode, we’re talking about the hard stuff and sharing some things we’ve experienced with our couples to help you navigate these difficult situations.
Weddings are expensive and it can be really overwhelming to look at the cost as a whole.
Our biggest tip when you’re just getting started is to be honest with yourself, your fiancée, and your family or anyone who is helping with the finances.
Really look at your finances to determine not only what you want to spend, but also what you can realistically spend on each section of your day.
Try to avoid putting yourself in a position where you’re having to go into debt.
Write things down, put it all in a spreadsheet, and get a ballpark estimate of all the costs before you’ve even dropped deposits. See if there are things you can live without. Find your priorities and figure out what do you really want vs. what is just nice to have. (This, in general, is also great practice for learning how to make decisions and compromises as a couple!)
This leads us to the next tip: good communication is key to any marriage, not just in wedding planning.
When you are feeling the stress of money or wedding planning, it is important to learn to communicate with your fiancée.
Talk to them and express how you’re feeling throughout the process.
It is a good idea to consider hiring a therapist just like how you’re hiring all the other vendors that you need. Put it on the list and prioritize your mental health.
If not a therapist, just finding a friend or trusty confidant who is available to you is a great idea too.
Sometimes other life events may overlap with wedding planning, which is where being really good at time management will be really helpful.
For example, you may be juggling other major life events like trying to finish a degree, buy a house, or are even expecting, all within the same period as your wedding.
In these situations, a long engagement can be good. Having more time can help spread things out and allow for you to have some breaks in between.
Keep in mind that wedding planning can go in peaks and valleys. In the beginning, you’ll be busy finding a venue, looking at dresses, picking your wedding party, etc., but then there’s going to be a period of time where you don’t necessarily have to be doing anything.
Take advantage of that time to take a break. Put the binder on the shelf, turn off the wedding world, and tell people that you’re concentrating on something else for a little while. Then turn it back on when you need to.
There are many wedding traditions that center around a parent or other family member, like walking down the aisle or a father-daughter dance. So, if that person is not in your life, it can be very challenging and emotional.
Some couples may not wish to address it, but for a lot of couples, it’s actually more cathartic to designate a moment to honor that person in a meaningful way, without making the day overwhelming sad.
It’s heart-wrenching to think about a father-daughter or mother-son dance when they are no longer with you. There’s no one that could take the place of a beloved parent, but if you happen to be especially close to another loved one, like an aunt or uncle, sibling, or grandparent, you could choose to have your dance with them. It can be a really special way to not only honor the person your missing, but also involve someone else who also shared a special bond with them.
Another beautiful way to incorporate loved ones into the reception is to play a meaningful song for them during the reception, perhaps in place of a dance.
If you prefer to do something a little more understated or private, you could arrange for loved ones to join you for a moment in your bridal suite. You could use this time to share a special moment in silence together or say a prayer. Something where you can comfortably release the emotions that have built up on an already really emotional day.
Another subtle but sentimental thing you can do is to use a flower or a picture of your loved one in the ceremony. Either walk down the aisle with it, or simply place it on a chair up front to symbolize what would be their seat.
Although subtle, it can be very powerful for the couple to be able to turn and see their loved ones up front and feel their presence during the ceremony.
Another major source of stress when wedding planning is dealing with difficult relatives. For example, what happens if you have an opinionated mother-in-law? Or maybe an older sibling is telling you all the things that need to be done.
We all have that person. For whatever reason, people think they are experts and want to tell you how they did it and how it should happen.
It can be tempting to just go along with it instead of saying no and offending anyone. But if you don’t say no to anyone, suddenly you’re doing all this stuff on your wedding day you don’t want to do.
This can get especially hard if someone is paying for the wedding too. That can make it feel like you have to do what they want you to do.
Say you aren’t exactly seeing eye-to-eye with the wishes of your Mother-in-law. You don’t necessarily want to burn that bridge and ruin the relationship, but you also don’t want to do nothing. And you don’t want to wait till your wedding day to have this confrontation. So we encourage and advise our couples to be upfront and honest months before you get to the altar.
There’s not a lot of people that enjoy confrontation. If the thought of having a conversation like this makes you really nervous or really angry, practice doing it first. By knowing ahead of time how you want to approach the conversation, you’ll be much likely to come across as conversational as opposed to angry or upset.
And if you really don’t think you have that conversation face to face, try writing them a letter to kindly let them know how you feel.
Regardless of how you want to handle it, it’s much better to deal with the situation sooner rather than later. (And the planning process will be much more enjoyable after the fact!)
Another thing we suggest is to give them a mission. If someone is trying to take over too much, try giving them a helpful task that you don’t want to do yourself.
For example, put them in charge of sending out the save the dates and tracking the RSVPs! This is a really important task but it’s also something that’s ongoing during the planning process. It can keep them busy, make them feel included, and it takes the task off your plate!
Keep these things in mind as you move through all your wedding planning to-do’s but as we always say, don’t let anyone talk you into something you don’t want to do or talk you out of something you have your heart set on. This is YOUR special day!
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