The Three Conversations You Need to Have Before You Begin Wedding Planning
Let the fun begin!
You have a party to plan. Decisions to make. People to include. Guests to invite. But before any of that stuff, you have a few things to sort out.
For some, these discussions are no brainers. For others, they can turn into big tension-filled fights.
Regardless of your situation, now is the time to get everyone on the same page with clear expectations of how your wedding will unfold.
Step 1. Sit down with your fiance. Just the two of you and discuss the kind of wedding that YOU want to have and answer these seven questions.
- When will the wedding take place? (Three months? A Year? TBD) Some guys will propose with no intention of setting a wedding date, thinking that an engagement ring without a wedding date will ‘take the pressure off’. Meanwhile their now fiancee is in full throttle planning mode. Situations like this happen more often than you would think!
- Where will the wedding take place? (Local? Destination?) His hometown? Hers? A church? A backyard?
- Who is paying for the wedding? (You? Parents? A combination?) This is a larger conversation in itself, but a good time to discuss the state of your finances now that you will soon be becoming one legal entity. Just know that if parents are footing the bill, there is a chance that you will relinquish control over many aspects of your wedding.
- How many guests do you want? (Something small and intimate or a large bash?). This was a touchy one when I got married. I wanted the small, quiet backyard wedding. My husband wanted the bells and whistles. We had never discussed size until I received his family’s side of the guest list. An argument ensued. Eventually we were able to take a step back and have the mature discussion about wedding logistics that we should have had in the first place. In the end, I agreed to the big fancy party. And it was fabulous.
- Can either of you anticipate any resistance from either side of the family? What will your family members be uncompromising on? What conditions will they place?
- Will you be having a wedding party and if so, who do you want to ask? What do you expect their responsibilities to be? Will you encounter any financial or emotional resistance? This is a big stressor for many couples. It’s the number one complaint I see, time and again. Noone wants to disappoint or offend, but noone wants to be forced into inviting someone to be part of the wedding party. Think it through and talk it through carefully before you ask a single person.
- What are the 3 things that you do not want to compromise on, under any circumstances?
Step 2. Get on the same page. You don’t have to agree on everything, but when it comes to the bigger issues, you had better come to an agreement on what is important to you, and then commit to it together. How will you handle your parents who are contributing financially on your anticipated touchy areas? Is your future husband going to be able to stand up to his mother when he breaks the news that you don’t want a religious wedding ceremony? If it’s something you feel strongly about, he better!
Step 3. Open up the discussion. Invite parents/other parties who will be financially involved into the conversation. Be open to suggestions and flexible with the details, but stick to your guns when it comes to your priority areas. Be sure you all come to a mutual agreement. For some couples, this discussion will be easy. For others, it will be a battle of wills, which is why anticipating the key points of contention will be crucial in your ability to negotiate, compromise and ultimately, get what you want.
There is an art to handling these difficult conversations. We tackle that one here.
It’s all about communication people.