Avoiding Wedding Planning Arguments: Prenups, Family, Finances and Fiance's Lack of Interest
Wedding Planning Arguments are more common than you think, and a major source of stress when it comes to organising your Big Day. Whether it's family, finances (or family finances), prenuptial agreements, or your fiance's complete lack of interest, if your engagement and wedding planning begins to feel like a minefield of topics to avoid, go through this list and work out how to deal with each situation.
- When you're planning the wedding of your dreams and your fiancé 'hates' wedding planning or shows no interest in helping you, it's easy to feel disillusioned with the whole thing. Begin a conversation by talking about why you both want to get married, and also why you want to have a wedding. Sit down together and each make a list of wedding priorities - keep them safe in your little white book - you'll return to them often.
- Agree on how much involvement (including financial involvement) your families will have. Family relations are one of the leading causes of engagement unrest, whether they have long guest lists to 'contribute', are chipping in for the wedding budget (or chipping in unevenly). If you decide to have your families pay towards the Big Day, you may also expect some demands along the way, so get on the same page now.
- If you disagree on where to spend the big bucks (dream dress or Hawaii honeymoon), it can be really hard to get in the zone together. If one of you wants to 'splurge' on something the other doesn't agree with, ask yourself how you'll feel looking back on the wedding and not having that item; whether you can make cut-backs elsewhere to compensate for the splurge, but if you're still having trouble, take a moment to consider whether it really is that important (I probably wouldn't have spent so much on my dress had I taken a few weeks to think it through and do a bit more shopping). If you still feel the same after taking a breather, explain to your future spouse why it's so meaningful to you.
- It can be even harder if you have completely different choices for the same part of your wedding, such as where to get married. This can be particularly difficult if you have families or grew up in different States. In terms of logistics, it is probably going to be easier to plan a wedding close to where you live, or if you can't agree on that, consider a destination wedding which everyone will have to travel to. Where you have completely different views, it's all about communication. I suggest reading The Five Love Languages you Need to Know - chances are you communicate differently and could benefit from seeing how the other expresses themselves, especially when it comes to love.
- You're arguing about cultural/traditional or religious influences in your wedding. if you each come from different backgrounds, particular where one partner is secular and the other has strong family beliefs or religious values, it can be difficult to find common ground. Start by explaining what traditions or customs your culture has, and what each of them mean. This may bring you closer, and even if your partner doesn't have the same beliefs, you may find they are more likely to want to include those customs because of the meaning behind them.
- Your fiancé wants to invite an ex-partner to your wedding. If the ex-girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse still has a great involvement in your lives together, i.e. you have the same friend groups, or they share a child together, consider whether it's worth cutting them out of this celebration. Remember, your partner has chosen you, not them - to spend the rest of their life with. However, if the ex-partner has caused any drama or disruption to your relationship, I would advise against their attendance, as it is likely to cause you unnecessary stress in the lead up to the Big Day.
- Your future spouse wants you to sign a prenuptial agreement and you can't understand why. Being the child of divorce parents (three times in my Father's case), as well as my legal background (I was a lawyer prior to starting She Said Yes and creating the little white book), I see this as a common-sense approach to future planning. However, any discussion about separation and division of assets is not going to be a romantic one, and may feel at odds with planning your 'Happily Ever After'. If you are starting your lives together with unequal contributions, it may be sensible and reasonable to discuss and agree on what would happen if for whatever reason the marriage did not work out. Your partner's practical and thoughtful side may be one of the reasons you fell in love with him/her, so try not to see this as them questioning your trust, commitment and faith in each other or the future of the marriage.
- If you're having trouble getting your fiancé involved at all, remind them of the priorities they identified at the beginning and see if there's a way of involving them in those particular elements. Maybe they'll want to take charge of the catering or beverages if they're a foodie, or if they love music, have them organise the entertainment.
"Planning the wedding is a trial run for your future marriage," says Tina Tessina, psychotherapist and author of True Partners: A Workbook for Building a Lasting Intimate Relationship. It can actually be very useful to have these serious financial and planning discussions so that you can work out how best you can negotiate, compromise and hopefully agree. It's far better to 'hash it out' than for either of you to feel like there are issues bubbling away beneath the surface.
As issues arise, rather than getting into an argument immediately, I suggest writing it down in your wedding journal and coming back to it when you can have a focussed and thoughtful discussion. It may even help you to take a few days to think about it, instead of coming to blows immediately.
Trust me, these won't be the last disagreements you have in your long and happy lives together, wedding planning is just the start. Of course, once the wedding has been, communication is still the most important aspect of a relationship, and having regular discussions about your future is so valuable. The wedding anniversary journal I still do is ideal to keep working at your relationship and communication, prompting you to have many of these conversations you may otherwise avoid.