May 11, 2020
No matter what the situation – whether it is planning a wedding, training for a race, apply to universities, seriously any topic- it’s always a good idea to reach out to people who have walked through what you are currently living in and hear what they did that was wonderful and what they did that they would suggest steering away from. We hope we can be those people for you today!
For you engaged couples out there, this episode will hopefully help you learn from our mistakes. For any married couples tuning in, we would LOVE to hear if any of these topics are ones that resonated with you and your wedding planning experience!!
Including One Another
Alright, the first thing that Cody and I would change about our wedding planning process would be how much we included one another…ok so really how much I included Cody.
Cody was really kept out of the loop with wedding planning, which was both of our faults. Cody had the idea that wedding planning was primarily my job. But we wish we would have communicated better on that, because communication would have helped us include each other in the entire process.
We have heard from so many couples that they have experienced this as well, and it is yet another example of a cultural norm placed on couples during engagement and marriage. It’s seen as “normal” that the guy doesn’t do anything. It’s assumed that the guy doesn’t care at all. It’s natural that talking about wedding details makes the guy roll his eyes.
To dudes who are expecting their lady to do everything- come on man, you can do better than that! Marriage is all about serving and helping one another. You are going to have to be a team then, so PLEASE don’t give up this opportunity to deepen your relationship in the here and now. Wedding planning together as a collaborative team can only benefit your relationship and future marriage!
There will be plenty of life situations where your partner is passionate about something that you don’t have an opinion on or maybe don’t care much about at all. But when your bride needs you to help or support her, remember that you signed up to care for her and stand beside her in her passions and dreams. This is your first opportunity to build that teamwork.
And ladies, you have to be able to trust your guy to get things done. For me, and this will come up multiple times in this episode I am sure, my need for control overrode my want to ask for help or include Cody. I got so sucked in to having an answer for every single question, I couldn’t loosen my grip on the reigns. But that is NOT what marriage is about. If we were to go back and plan our wedding, I know that I would need to let go of the sense of control in order to plan a wedding that not only was an incredible day, but helped us build a foundation of teamwork for our marriage.
Here’s how we would do it as a team if we were to plan our wedding now! First, setting clear expectations is CRITICAL. If you listened to our 5 Things To Do Once You’ve Got The Ring episode, you heard me mention making a budget of everything imaginable that you might have to spend money on for your wedding. Well, setting clear expectations is like creating a budget. You’ll want to think about all the tasks you can think of in order to plan your wedding.
Take a look online for checklists and ideas, or reach out to a friend who was recently engaged and married! Once you have a clear idea of what needs to be done, start to discuss who will take over the tasks. This is where you’ll want to think about who you are as people. I know that I wouldn’t put Cody in charge of choosing the bridesmaids dresses…duh! There are certain tasks that only one of you can be in charge of!
But there are SO many tasks that either of you can be in charge of that you can divvy up between the two of you. For instance, gathering addresses for your guests can be a task you split. One of you can find a DJ and the other can find a baker. One of you can be in charge of buying stamps and addressing envelopes. The other can be in charge of ordering invites.
The trick of splitting up tasks like this is that 1) you need to talk briefly about things beforehand and 2) you need to let go of taking control of the situation. Let’s take finding a baker and use that as an example. It’s important that you don’t give one of you that task without actually talking about what kind of dessert you want. Because what you both want will determine what kind of baker you are searching for!! So, be clear in your expectations about what you want.
But once you’ve been clear about your expectations, it’s time to open your hand up and let that task float away unless it is on your to do list. This can be super challenging, especially if you are like me! Make sure to keep communicating clearly through the process, letting each other know about tasks you have each completed. Communicate with one another about vendors before booking in order to ensure that the vendor is one you both love. Being clear about your expectations and communicating frequently and clearly will help you to truly work as an incredible team!
Make Big Things Big and Small Things Small
Ok, let’s get to the second change we would make in our wedding planning process. If we could go back, we would want to do a better job of making big things big and small things small. Here are some examples of what we mean!
We will start with something that should be a small thing but it can turn into a really big thing when you are planning a wedding- what other people think. Your friends, your family members, the internet- everywhere you look there will be a different opinion about what your wedding day should be like. We don’t suggest becoming a total bridezilla who only can handle things done her way who is cruel to those who share their opinions. What we do suggest is making sure you and your partner have clear boundaries when it comes to other people’s say in your wedding.
This can be SO hard. It can be hard to tell people that you like their idea but you are envisioning something else for your wedding day. It can be hard to try to veer from the ever popular barn wedding to try something totally unique and more true to who you are! Opinions about what “should be done” at a wedding can leave you feeling overwhelmed and crushed.
If an opinion is coming from someone in real life, be ok with letting them know that you will think about it and get back to them. That gives you time to discuss the topic as a couple and create a plan for how you will respond to that opinion and whether it is one that you are ok with accommodating or whether it is one that you need to nix.
If the opinion is coming from societal norms about what “needs to happen” at a wedding, talk about it as a couple. Does that match your personalities? These norms can be as simple as cutting a cake at the reception, or even having a cake at your reception! If something doesn’t excite you or showcase your unique love- don’t feel like it needs to be included in your wedding day! Keep reminding yourself that other people’s opinions and the opinions of society should be small things, not big things!
Here’s an example of a big thing that can sometimes be turned into a small thing when it comes to wedding planning: focusing on the meaning behind it all. I will admit that this was an area that I struggled in most when it came to our wedding planning. You’ve heard us talk a little about how we were wedding planning during my first year of teaching. The stress of my job and the stress of wedding planning caused me to totally overlook the fact that the reason I was getting married was so I could be with Cody for the rest of my life.
Now, I am proud of all of the work I did to plan our wedding, and I honestly believe that you can have stress free wedding days as long as you are willing to work hard and plan in advance. However, I was missing the point. The point of being engaged wasn’t to have every little thing go according to my perfect plan. The point of our wedding day- pink bridesmaids dresses or lavender, cupcakes or donuts, veil or no veil, was that at the end of it Cody and I would be husband and wife. That was literally the only thing that mattered.
Spend time with one another during your engagement. Focus on building one another up and doing things that have NOTHING to do with wedding planning. Talk about your hopes and dreams for what marriage will look like. Talk about why you were attracted to one another. Write down your favorite stories or memories together in a journal that you can add to when you are finally married. There is SO much you can do to continue to build your relationship while you are engaged. Don’t let wedding planning turn so big that it makes your relationship small.
Stay Healthy: Mind, Body, and Soul
The last thing we would change about our wedding planning process has to do with overall health and balance. This is still something that Cody and I are figuring out to this day, but it is important enough to mention here!
We know we don’t have to convince you that wedding planning is stressful. You have to be prepared to face emotions as a team in respectful and supportive ways.
I was dealing with so much during my first year of teaching that I never really talked about with many people. It was very difficult for me to share my emotions and my situation with others, and this was definitely not healthy! I remember when we were so excited to book our dream venue and then we found out that they weren’t available. I probably cried all day…haha! Looking back now I can tell that my emotional response was extreme- but I can also tell that the reason why was because I wasn’t really healthy during that time!
Communication AGAIN is key to being healthy and being able to work as a team. Frequently touch base with one another to see how you are each feeling. Ask each other about what is stressing you out, what is making you feel anxious, what is making you feel excited.
Get outside together as a couple and go for a walk or go to a park. Doing something physical after hours of wedding planning can be a great way to help your body and mind stay healthy during this fun but challenging time.
Don’t forget that the stress and pressure of planning a wedding is REAL. You will need to prepare yourself mentally and physically in order to endure this unique time in your life in a way that is healthy and balanced.
Hopefully You Can Learn From Us
Cody and I had an amazing wedding day- it felt perfect in so many ways!! Because we’ve grown as a couple since then, we know that had we done these few things differently, not only our wedding day but our early marriage would have been set up to be even better than we could have dreamed! Remember that in all of this you are a team and at the end of your wedding day you will be husband and wife.
If these tips helped you, we would LOVE to hear from you! Take a screenshot of you listening to this podcast and share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us @morethanmarriagepodcast so we can see that you’re tuning in! Until next week, happy wedding planning!