Despite the fairytale vision that you likely had in your mind before getting engaged, planning a wedding can be one of the most stressful and emotional experiences in life. Trying to balance both family’s wish lists, blend ideas, and keep plans within budget can add pressure to any relationship. However, enduring these decisions, communicating effectively, and growing as a couple during this time, will be instrumental to long-term relationship success. It’s difficult to remember this as arguments arise over the guest list, traditions, family’s requests, and the overall vision for your wedding day, but in many ways planning a wedding prepares you for marriage.
A healthy couple exists when there are healthy relationship boundaries. Here are a few necessary boundaries to consider as you plan the big day.
Decide what really matters
You may have been dreaming about your wedding day since you were very young. If so, you probably had a vision of a flawless day in which all your friends and family gather to watch you vow to spend the rest of your life with your prince charming or the queen of your heart. While that vision has evolved as reality has set in, there is a component of it that will always remain relevant around the belief that your wedding day is “the most important day of your life”. But the truth is that it’s just one day.
Being realistic and clear about what is really important is essential to wedding day happiness. When you see an idea for centerpieces on Pinterest that will cost a quarter of your budget, step back and ask yourself what really matters. What makes the day memorable? What makes guests comfortable? What makes you feel inspired? Put decisions into this context and prioritize what’s essential over what’s on your “wish list”. It’s easy to get wrapped up in society’s messages around how a wedding should look, and for you to normalize these messages. (Side note -If you’re looking for help in reversing these industry and societal messages, check out The Bridechilla, where you can find podcasts, resources and blogs on planning your wedding the way you want.) In the end, you control the look and feel of your day based on your mindset and resulting decisions along the way..
Make communication your number one
Being willing to have the hard conversations with your finance and be honest about your needs, desires, and fears is instrumental during this time. Set aside time each day to talk about the wedding so it doesn't take over every conversation and your entire life. And, be sure to set aside plenty of time in which conversations about the upcoming wedding are simply off limits. If you’re finding yourself putting off these difficult, but oh-so-important talks, until after the wedding, you might need to reconsider whether you are planning for a wedding or a marriage. Be transparent about what you desire and why, related to everything from the guest list to the dinner menu to the honeymoon. Be willing to see things from your partner’s point of view. Practice compromise and compassion. These fearless conversations will facilitate growth as a couple.
Make time for self care
To love someone fully, you must first love yourself fully. Self-care is an act of self-love and often helps you reconnect with your own needs and desires. Wedding planning is an extremely stressful experience and without acts of self care, it’s easy to take stress or feelings of overwhelm out on your partner. Set aside even as little as thirty minutes a day for reflection, pampering, or quiet time to yourself. This can be as simple as a long hot shower with your favorite music, a walk outside, or a guided meditation. Spend time letting go of the inevitable stress that comes along with wedding planning and use this time to refocus on what really matters.
Above all, during this time, keep things in perspective and don’t lose sight of your relationship and the long-term vision of your life together. Getting wrapped up in the details of the day can easily cause you to forget the bigger picture, which is the beginning of the most important and influential commitment of your life. Understanding the dynamics of healthy boundaries now will help you grow into a healthier relationship long-term, when you'll inevitably face other causes of stress, possibly around career changes, finances, children, and aging parents.
And, when your wedding day finally arrives, let go of the vision and details and focus on the experience - focus on the commitment you’re making to the person you love. Things will go wrong, plans won’t unfold perfectly, but by focusing on where details aren’t right, you’ll miss out on the joy of the moment, the memories of the unexpected, and what you’ll feel as you actually experience the day.
Times of life transition are excellent opportunities to introduce additional support into your life, like therapy. Our team at Center for Shared Insight is equipped to help you overcome challenges and experience a more rich and fulfilling life. Contact our team for a free consultation.