He’s popped the question, a sparkly new ring adorns your finger and you’ve begun turning your dreams into actual wedding plans.
And then you start having some of your worst arguments ever.
He wants the best groomsman to be his old friend from college. The problem? You can’t stand him. And you know he’d plan a bachelor party that would make “The Hangover” look like a nursery school outing.
It happens, believe me. My best girlfriend glided up the aisle on her wedding day to be greeted by her fiancé sporting two enormous black eyes — the result of an impromptu soccer game organized by the best groomsman the night before. (Let’s say that their wedding photographs didn’t turn out exactly as she was hoping.)
And then there’s the guest list. You’re both contributing to the wedding so you think it should be split 50/50. But his family is much bigger than yours and he wants them all to come. So what do you do?
I recently heard about a girl who had only just gotten engaged when her future mother-in-law announced that she was going to accompany her when she went wedding dress shopping. After all, this girl was ‘taking her own precious son away’ and so she wanted to ‘be involved’ in the Big Day and decisions.
Another story I heard via my friend Sally was about her cousin, who wanted all the groomsmen to wear cravats and vests to tie in with her bridesmaids’ frocks and carefully-considered color theme. Her husband-to-be flatly refused, making it clear he had his own ideas about how he and his friends should dress.
Oh dear. Plenty of room for conflict here. Well, planning your wedding is stressful. Don’t worry if you have some fights in the build-up to your day. It’s very common amongst couples and the good thing is that you’re communicating.
So, what do you do?
First off, don’t expect your groom to get as obsessed as you are over the flowers, cakes and table decorations that you are choosing. If he’s not really interested, then that’s fine and you do things just the way you like them.
When my sister got married, I don’t even think her husband noticed her bouquet! However, he wanted to take over the whole responsibility of choosing the food and wines for the reception. He did, and did a fabulous job of it, too.
Another male friend who got married said that all he was interested in was sorting out the music at the service and the wedding party afterwards. As he teaches music in school, he knew exactly what he was doing and had the dance floor busy until the wee hours.
The key is recognizing the stuff each partner is best at and delegating!
So you don’t like his best groomsman? Well, he might not be so keen on your maid of honor either. So accept your differences, trust the best groomsman to bring your fiancé back intact or tacitly agree to ask different people. Maybe his brother, maybe your sister?
Now about your future mother-in-law and wedding dresses. If you really don’t want to take her wedding dress shopping then that’s okay. But she’s going to be a potential ally to you in future years, especially if you have children, so try to get her involved in some aspect of the wedding planning if she wants to be. Does she have any particular talents? If she has beautiful handwriting maybe she could help with the table settings or wedding invitations.
Alison Tinlin, wedding planner at Plans & Presents, suggests going accessory shopping together, which is likely to be less stressful. Your ma-in-law would probably love the fact that she helped you choose your tiara or bridal shoes.
And what about the guest list?
If your other half has the bigger family then it’s really fair to let him invite a greater proportion of guests. But Tinlin advises: “It used to be that the bride’s parents put money towards the wedding — now the bride and groom increasingly pay for their own day. How much each person puts into the marriage pot has to be firmly based on what they earn and can afford.”
Remember the caterers’ rule that 10 percent of those invited usually won’t be able to come anyway. And be strict about inviting casual girlfriends and boyfriends. If somebody doesn’t have a serious partner, do they really need to bring anybody?
I asked bridal guru Michele Paradis of The Bridal Coach for her hints to couples on avoiding arguments in the build-up to the wedding.
“The best way to decompress the anxiety around wedding planning is to designate one day a week as a wedding-free zone and don’t talk about it. Your fiancé, friends and family love you but even they need a break from the wedding planning!”
So, my advice to you? Expect some disagreements to explode when you’re planning your wedding. You want to have the perfect day but don’t let the stress get to a boiling point. Discuss your differences, accept that you’ll have to make some compromises but most of all, make sure you keep talking!
Remember ultimately what the day is all about — the lifetime of love you two share for each other.