Before I start this post, I want to throw out the disclaimer that this post is not just for engaged couples; you don’t even have to be in a relationship to glean truth from this. In every relationship, there is communication and compromise, and all of this information can be generalized to different facets of your life.

Flashback to fall 2015 where we booked most of our venues weeks before he even proposed. Sleepless nights followed as I thought non-stop about photographers, food, and venues. Wedding planning is addicting, and you probably jumped on planning once your engagement was announced, or before you were engaged, if you’re like me.

Planning YOUR wedding with YOUR fiancé is more than likely the first time you’ve both organized an event of this magnitude. While I’d like to say it brings you closer as a couple, there are times where even breathing the word “seating chart” can launch you two into a full blown argument.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved wedding planning. There were days, however, where I cried, argued, and told Patrick we were eloping. Below are some lessons that guided me through the planning process, and each of these factors allowed me to take a step back and gain perspective.

Manage your expectations.

Expectations are huge when it comes to wedding planning. Often, one of you may have unspoken expectations for the wedding or about the role your fiancé will take in the planning process. Below are some questions for to ask one another before you start planning.

What do you envision when you think about our wedding?

What do you anticipate the planning process being like?

What role do you want for wedding planning?

Do you have any opinions about must-haves or must-not-haves?

Is there anything you’re dreading either to plan or have for the wedding?

Take time together to answer these questions to give you an idea of expectations you both have, if any, regarding the wedding. If you don’t have any opinions or ideas about the day, congratulations! We all know the planning role is not you, and that’s okay! Expectations within the planning process lays the groundwork for each of your roles as the wedding day approaches.

Identify roles.

Who is responsible for what? Talk with your fiancé to see who will contact vendors, arrange meetings, pay deposits, schedule appointments, and control different elements of the day, such as contracts or budgets. Patrick and I identified the roles that we enjoyed and those we didn’t. For example, Patrick was all about booking the caterer and touring the venue while I looked for our photographer and rentals. Delegating each task gets you both on board, ensuring that all tasks get covered as well.

Don’t let planning consume every conversation.

You’re going to be tempted to talk about the wedding. Like all the time.  It’s a big event featuring both of you and it’s something the two of you are creating together. Delegation and roles is important when planning, but don’t let flowers and save the dates consume every conversation you have. What did you talk about before you were engaged?  Who else can you include in your excitement? Is there a relative or wedding coordinator who will be as jazzed as you to talk about cake layers and baby’s breath? Finding someone in addition to your fiancé will alleviate the need to share every component of the process and will free you up to talk with your future spouse about topics that made you fall for them in the first place.

Don’t be sulky.

This is a bullet point because I definitely wanted Patrick’s excitement to match my own. Planning is not about getting someone on board with you. It’s about managing your own expectations and identifying what your fiancé is comfortable with. Just as your future spouse is entrusting you with putting the wedding together, respect the fact that they may not want to search through potential DJ’s or color swatches with you.

Planning is not about getting someone on board with you. It’s about managing your own expectations and identifying what your fiancé is comfortable with.

Remember, you’re planning a party.

This one was the toughest for me. Patrick is a realist and would tell me that all of the planning consuming our days, conversations, and emotional well-being was for a one-day party. Think about it. A wedding is a celebration of launching a marriage while marriage is everything that takes place after you are proclaimed husband and wife. Weddings last for a few hours, but your marriage will last you until one of you leaves this earth. It just got heavy, but this perspective brought me back to reality when I would stress about table linens, first dances, or seating charts.

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.

Stephen Covey coined the quote about keeping “the main thing the main thing” and this totally applies with weddings. Ask yourself why you’re planning this wedding in the first place. Is it to throw a great party? Are you worried about what people will think? I’ve found that future brides struggle with this most, because despite knowing that they’re marrying their best friend, culture has glamorized the wedding scene.

While there’s nothing wrong with having an expensive, beautiful wedding, remember why you are having an extravagant event in the first place. This perspective means avoiding devastation when your linens are lighter than you ordered or the cake is dry. Now get excited! You’re marrying your person and can cut yourself some slack in the process. I’d call that a win, for sure.

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