Wedding Planning: The First Big Relationship Challenge
by Drs. Michelle & Patrick Gannon, Marriage Prep 101
Plan the Planning Process First
This is the most important step in our approach to wedding planning. Unfortunately, this is also the step that most couples forget. Remember this: planning a wedding takes time and effort and, like any challenge, the way you meet the challenge requires planning too. Do this step first before you are drowning in the details.
Now and then couples will ask why bother with this step (that is, those who don’t forget). The answer is simple. If you look at the planning as an opportunity to practice relationship skills, planning the way you will undertake this project rather than simply plunging into the process makes perfect sense. We want you to be conscious of HOW you are doing this as well as WHAT you are doing, especially since your wedding is a celebration of your union.
So what happens if you and your partner have different expectations about who will do what? What if job stress or other distractions interfere with one person’s ability to follow through on the planning process? By first discussing how you will collaborate on your wedding planning, you will establish a framework of expectations, decision-making and action based on practical realities of who you are and what you are, in fact, able to do. Thinking ahead of the curve will reduce misunderstandings and disappointments down the road.
Ava and Shane decided early on to wait at least one year between their engagement and wedding: “I knew we would hit some friction points over wedding planning so we decided to start the process very early,” said Shane.
“And I really like to have some leisure time in the process,” Ava added, “so that I can actually enjoy it. We didn’t want to let any pressure build up because it increases the chance that unresolved conflicts might come between us.”
Don’t Assume Anything!
Like Ava and Shane, you’ll want first to ask each other how much control you each want over the wedding decision-making. Most couples assume they will share equally, but in reality, one person usually assumes more control.
Talk to each other and understand clearly what each of you would prefer—do you want to address all the invitations? Would you like to choose the flowers on your own? Do you know exactly who should be the photographer? Together reach an agreement that suits your needs as a couple as well as each of your individual needs.