Tuesday, February 13, 2007

How do you plan a wedding without tears and hurt feelings?

Wedding planning is making me miserable. Too many tears and hurt feelings. What do I do?

I could bitch and rant that if the planning is causing you so much pain, then maybe you should not rethink the planning, but rethink the marriage. If you can’t sort through all this nonsense beforehand, how are you going to spend the rest of your lives together?

But that sounds mean, doesn’t it? No one wants to hear from an anonymous non-expert that they should rethink their marriage intentions. So I will say, “Yes, there are ways to plan your wedding without all the tears.”

In my experience, communication is the best policy.

Examine the source of the tears. Are they from frustration or exhaustion? If so, then step back and take a break from planning. Wedding planning should not consume your life. Is it really what you want to be doing all the time? Talk to your partner, friends, and family about anything else for a while. A lesson I learned early on is that while the wedding is of major importance in my life, it’s not the most important thing in the life of everyone else I know. It’s too easy to alienate people with non-stop wedding talk. (Do you friends get a glassy-eyed, glazed-over look about five minutes into the conversation? If so, then stop talking immediately!) Make sure you continue with all the normal things you did pre-wedding planning time.

Are the tears due to some sort of miscommunication? If so, then you need to talk it out with whomever you feel has mis- or non-communicated with you—preferably over the phone or in person. Email exchanges are far too impersonal for a conversation about something that is making you feel so bad.

Are they due to the fact that you’re just not getting the wedding you wanted? Have you compromised yourself right out of your dreams? Whether the concerns are family or budget related, you still have to talk about them. With your partner—what is the dream wedding for the two of you? What are your must-haves? What can be changed or eliminated if the budget dictates? With your family and friends—What roles do you want them to play in the planning and actual wedding and what roles do they expect to play? Without talking to them, how will you know what they expected and how will they know what you expected? I know it’s not easy to put all of this talking into practice with everyone, so do it for the important stuff. It’s so cliché and tacky to say, but “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Is your mom being too overbearing? Give her a project to work on, take her out for lunch and shopping; she just wants to help and feel included. Is your great aunt going to give you crystal swan salt and pepper shakers that aren’t on your registry? Just let her—it’s not a big deal in the long run.

Or you can just say, “Screw this,” and elope.

Never forget that while the wedding is a fun party, the marriage is the important part.

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