There are many exciting events in life that can actually cause you more stress than joy, and planning a wedding is on the top of that list. When you are in the midst of preparing for the biggest day of your life, patience is at a premium, misunderstandings are common, and tempers flare, which make it all too easy to fight with your fiance. You’re stressed about who to include on the guest list, that the band you had to book a year in advance all came down with the flu, you’ve gone way over budget, and your future mother-in-law’s suggestions make you want to tear your hair out.
But despite all the pressure you’re under to plan an unforgettable wedding, it’s still important to shower your relationship with a little TLC to ensure that you start your marriage off on the right foot.
Here are a few tips on how to protect your relationship from the stress of planning a wedding:
- Be open, honest, and respectful with your fiance during the planning process. If you’re going to express your ideas, vision and fears, you need to extend the same courtesy to him. Remember that while you’re under pressure from your family, he is feeling pressure from his side, too. Some of the most stressful arguments couples have are about money–and with the average wedding costing $25,000, financial fights are just part of the package. In fact, according to Miss Manners, fights are inevitable for engaged couples–which is a good thing, because “people who have conscientiously fought over such matters during the engagement will find themselves only too grateful to be living happily ever after.” So expect to fight, but be sure to fight fair. And then enjoy the make-up sex!
- Set aside one wedding-free night each week. It’s easy to fall into the trap of becoming obsessed with your wedding to the point where it is all you can think about and talk about. Meeting with vendors, booking the venue, and discussing color schemes are not what your entire relationship is about. After all, your wedding is simply a celebration of the fact that you are beginning a life together. So take one night a week to do something fun that has absolutely nothing to do with the wedding. See a movie, go dancing, or have a romantic dinner at your favorite restaurant. It will be a beautiful reminder of why you are getting married in the first place, and give you and your fiance a chance to connect and relax.
- Make compromises. It seems natural that most of the wedding planning falls on the bride, and most of the time the bride happily accepts this responsibility. However, it’s not all about you. This is your fiance’s wedding, too, and chances are he also has a vision for his special day. If he wants an outdoor reception and you’d prefer a grand ballroom, perhaps opt for an outdoor ceremony and an indoor reception. Once you’re married you’ll need to make compromises, from what color to paint the bathroom to when to start a family, so the wedding planning process is a good place to practice this relationship-friendly skill.
- Delegate duties to other members of the bridal party. According to Martha Stewart Weddings, this is one of the best ways to preserve and protect your own relationship. Despite your childhood fantasies, you are not Wonder Woman, so you can’t take on everything yourself. Remember that you have populated your bridal party with dear friends who are ready, willing, and able to help you out. When you take on too much at once, chances are that less will actually get done. Not only that, but you are bound to become overwhelmed which will affect the relationship with your fiance. Before you find yourself in this predicament, set aside time to delegate small duties such as errands, phone calls, or making place cards to your bridal party. They will feel wanted and included, and you won’t be nearly as stressed about the planning process.
- Make time for yourself, and give your honey his space as well. This will give you the opportunity to decompress, clear your head, and refresh yourself. Spending time alone also gives you the chance to miss your fiance, making the reunion all the more sweet. Take a long walk in nature, attend a yoga class, meditate or see a funny movie. Whatever you do, it should be relaxing and pleasurable. If you make alone time a priority, it will be a lot easier to manage your stress.
Planning a wedding is one of the most exciting times in your life and a chance for you to set the foundation for your marriage. However, it’s inevitable that there will be stressful moments and that arguments will likely arise during the process. Remember that this is normal, so try to keep the big picture in perspective.
When you look back on your wedding, you won’t remember whether you served chicken or salmon, or if the wrong flowers were delivered, or that the venue cost more than anticipated. What you will remember is the look of absolute love and devotion on your groom’s face when you walked down the aisle, or that you danced well into the night with your favorite people in the world. Be mindful to treasure your relationship now so that it can grow and prosper for years to come.