Plan for the wedding and prepare for the future

  • McClatchy News Service
  • February 4, 2013 - 8:38 AM

Planning a wedding is a very exciting time for couples, but it can also help you prepare for conflict management and budgeting issues you will likely face in your marriage. Wedding planning involves compromise, financial planning and teamwork. How you and your partner handle any conflicts that may arise during the planning phase may be a good indication of how you will address challenges later on in your marriage.

Planning your wedding is fun but it can often be stressful and will put your relationship skills to the test. Have a conversation with your fiancé about the process and respect your partner’s expectations and boundaries. The following tips can help you navigate the stages of wedding planning without compromising your relationship.


Discuss a planning model

Couples are unique in how they decide to plan a wedding. Some may share equally in the planning and decision-making process; others might elect to have one partner do the majority of planning. Family members and friends, such as parents or grandparents who are contributing resources or funds for the wedding event, may also play a role. There is no right or wrong approach. The important thing is that you decide on a model that works best for both of you and commit to it throughout the entire process.


– and stick to it

The issue of finances is certainly a major topic of conversation among engaged couples. If you have never managed money as a couple you will need to learn to set goals, plan and compromise. Talk openly with each other about your expectations and budget. Discuss and agree upon a maximum amount to spend. You may want an extravagant wedding, but you must be realistic. The last thing you want to do is start your marriage in financial crisis. Once you’ve agreed upon a reasonable budget, you both may prioritize which things are most important to you. For example, if he/she wants to put money toward a photographer and you are looking at a more expensive ceremony site, then you can plan on spending less on other things, like flowers or food.


enjoy downtime with your partner

Your days can get pretty hectic when you are planning a wedding. Shopping for a venue, sampling cakes and meeting with the officiate are all important, but it is easy to get overwhelmed. Don’t let it consume so much of your time and energy that you forget to enjoy being engaged! Have regular dates with your partner and talk about things other than the wedding. It is OK to take a breather, put the planning on hold and get away for the weekend.


Take a premarital education workshop

Your wedding is a kickoff event. Friends and relatives will congratulate you and will be there to witness the promises you make to each other. But you must be prepared for what comes next — life as a married couple. As you’re preparing for the wedding, don’t forget to prepare for marriage! Premarital preparation courses and workshops focus on the unique needs of engaged couples and newlyweds. They are available to help you more effectively communicate with each other, manage conflict and master other skills that will ensure you and your partner have a healthy and enduring marriage. Some states or counties offer a discounted marriage license fee for the completion of such classes and are offered in a variety of formats. Premarital preparation is an investment in your future and just as you want your wedding to be memorable, you also want your marriage to be strong and healthy.

A wedding is as much about the planning process as the event itself. During the months preceding your wedding day, you’re probably going to learn more about each other’s expectations, traditions and family dynamics. Working together as a team and being respectful of your partner’s expectations and needs will help you effectively deal with any challenges that come your way in the wedding planning process — and throughout your marriage.

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