Planning a wedding is busy and stressful. There’s lots to think about and lots of factors to consider in every decision: the budget, the aesthetic, and the cost-benefit.
The practical reality of organising the many details is complicated by the tension of negotiating differences between each other while navigating the expectations of extended family and close friends. Well-meaning parents, siblings and friends can inadvertently ramp up the stress by being too helpful, or too outspoken with their ideas.
No matter how grand the plans or how well the wedding day runs, if your relationships are strained in the lead up, the joy of the day for you and your family will be undermined. That’s not the way to start a life together. Here are three tips for keeping the stress under control.
- It’s about more than just the day.
Many couples (brides especially) have long held dreams for their wedding day. It’s easy to become overly attached to an idea when it has been percolating in your imagination for so long. Remember that no single aspect of the wedding is more important than your relationship as a couple. No matter how strongly you may feel about something, your relationship is infinitely more valuable. Anytime you hit a point of difference, try this: Pause your discussion (or argument) and take a moment to step back from the issue. Hold each other in a close hug and just breathe deeply. Let the tension go, then look into each other’s eyes and affirm your love. Now you are ready to talk about it!
- It’s a community celebration.
The wedding industry will tell you that it’s ‘your day’ but weddings are about more than just the bride and groom. They are also about the joining of two families who will be in relationship through your children forever. Even when there is no tension between your two families, it’s still an emotional occasion for them, especially your parents whose role in your life will change significantly. If you want to have family celebrate with you on the day, then you need to allow room for them to make a contribution. It’s a good idea to make a list of tasks you are happy to delegate such as the decoration of the Church, the organisation of the transport, picking up the bouquets or placing the name tags on the dining table. Remember: the day will come and go but your family relationships will endure – for better or worse!
- Get in early.
A marriage preparation course may seem unnecessary when you are so in love but such courses have proven effectiveness in enhancing relationship resilience. If you plan to marry in the Catholic Church, or in some of the many Christian communities, a course will be a mandatory requirement and will enhance your appreciation of your wedding celebration. The course will also teach you practical skills that empower you to create and sustain a strong bond, including strategies for making couple decisions and processes to help you work through emotional issues. So, get in early, before the wedding busyness peaks, and you’ll have new skills you can use during your engagement as well as in your marriage.