Wedding Planning: The First Big Relationship Challenge
We’ve provided five different planning models; one of these (or some combination) may work for you—but make sure you both feel comfortable with the model you select, and make sure you discuss each of the options before deciding.
TRADITIONAL: The bride (and perhaps her mother) takes on most of the planning and decision-making, while the groom is happy (or not) assuming a secondary role. Couples who marry in the bride’s hometown (with the wedding paid for by the bride’s parents) most often utilize this model.
ASYMMETRICAL: Either the bride or the groom agrees to take on the majority of the planning and decision-making for specific reasons (often related to one or another person’s other commitments—work, ailing parent, and so forth). The person taking on fewer responsibilities may be assigned specific tasks based on particular areas of expertise.
EGALITARIAN: The bride and the groom share equally in the planning and decision-making. Each has their own “to do” list and they share decision-making as well. A bargaining discussion results in the assignment of specific tasks, and these are usually based on each individual’s interests and/or expertise. (If your groom-to-be’s mom is a florist, for instance, guess who’ll do the flower arrangements?)
PROFESSIONAL: If both the bride and groom are exceptionally busy (jobs, children, parents, volunteer work, illness), a wedding coordinator is hired to handle the majority of wedding planning tasks; he or she will organize the wedding based on detailed discussions with the couple. These folks are experts, remember, and most couples agree to the counsel offered.
CORPORATE: Similar to the asymmetrical model, in the corporate model one person does most of the research but both bride and groom share equally the decision-making. One person gathers information, opinions, photos, ideas, and presents these for discussion and shared decision-making in regularly scheduled “conferences.”
Now, imagine out loud the ways in which whatever model you have selected will work in relationship with your vision.
Real Couple, Real Planning
For their wedding planning, Ed and Tina decided to employ the “asymmetrical” model because Ed was committed to a full-time job and Tina had some available time coming up in her work schedule as a project manager at a public relations firm. “I like to start out with a timeline to create a schedule for Ed and me that will allow us each to do the things we know best. Then I will write up a list of my ideas—what we call in my profession a ‘creative brief’ —that will give a plan for moving forward with our choices. Our wedding will be pretty casual, so I won’t have a lot to figure out. Some of the tasks can be delayed for a few months. Certain items will be delegated to Ed, who likes negotiation. I’ll have my checklist and information about suppliers and due dates. My job will be to oversee the planning and then frame decisions for Ed and me to decide about it.”
Again, a wise couple.
Want more sage advice? Send an email to Dr. Michelle and Dr. Patrick Gannon, or visit http://www.marriageprep101.com.