The ball lights up. It begins to drop. Ten. Nine. Eight. Seven. Six. Five. Make my resolutions quickly. Four. Keep the peace with wedding planning. Three. Have a great marriage. Two. Learn to compromise better. One. Happy New Year!
How many of us have waited until the very last second to finalize our resolutions? For some it may be diet or exercise-related. During the wedding planning process, resolutions typically include compromise, sticking to a budget, and the ever-important keeping of the peace with those closest to you. Many of my clients have told me that the visions they had for their weddings were in jeopardy because of the opinions of others. This does not have to be the case.
Just because your long lost relative is allergic to flowers does not mean you cannot have them at your ceremony or your wedding reception. You just may need to incorporate high-end artificial flowers into the mix or hypoallergenic ones. Is there a special touch you may be tempted to set aside in an effort to follow your budget? There are almost always ways around that, while keeping your budget in line, and having your dream day. Compromise does not mean giving up on your beliefs, ideals, or dreams. It merely means finding creative ways to incorporate things into your wedding while leaving others feeling respected, when appropriate.
Wedding planning is stressful but it doesn’t have to control your destiny. A good wedding planner will alleviate a large amount of this stress in a professional and creative manner. A perfect wedding planner will understand your vision and make it a reality – on budget. While a budget is a necessary (and practical) evil, it should also be thought of as a way to reduce stress in the planning process. For example, if you know that you cannot spend more than a specific amount on your wedding dress, than the dresses you are looking at should be within that budget. Knowing this usually keeps the distractions at bay and enables the bride to focus on the dress of her dreams…that she can afford.
Food is another example of a place where budgets are spent very quickly. When working with your wedding planner and your caterer or hotel banquet manager, if you begin discussing your vision but make your budget clear from the outset, it is easier for your vendors to either include your first choice menu items or to suggest reasonable substitutes that will have the same panache. Like everything else in life with a budget, this blog has one too – a budget for the amount of time to be spent on the financial side of wedding planning, especially since this is about resolutions and not budgets.
Many of us feel stress or anxiety when it comes to holidays, family gatherings, and other larger events. A wedding is usually the crème de la crème of these events and brings both excitement and anxiety at the same time. A recent groom told me that he was concerned because he knew the bride’s side of the wedding was going to be significantly larger than his side and he was concerned about feeling overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of people he would be meeting; people that had been a part of his soon-to-be-wife’s life for decades. My advice: take it slow. Focus on your new bride and remember these people are all at your wedding to celebrate YOU. There is no pressure to remember every name; and as far as memories go, you are creating the most important ones together, beginning with your first date, engagement, and now on your wedding day.
Everything in life has a story and a wedding is really chapter three in that of a couple. Chapter one began when you met; chapter two led you to become engaged. In chapter three, you are planning the most important day of your life, which just in concept alone, can be overwhelming. But there are so many wonderful ways to detox from the stress. Another client once told me that she and her fiancé had to take an “engaged couple’s time out” when the planning became too overwhelming and the families stressed them out throughout the process. Like that of a small child that needs a few minutes of quiet time to relax, the same advice applies to couples, parents and friends (at times) as well. The bride told me that she believed that “those that were on her cheering squad would understand…and they did.”
This is a great segway to, what is absolutely the most important resolution on the list, to have a great marriage. There are so many books and magazines that focus on the engagement, the wedding, the registry, and so forth. It is always surprising to me that so few focus on how to have a happy marriage, beginning when the guests go home and the thank you notes have been mailed. This is when “real life” begins.
Understanding this, there are three simple pieces of advice I give every couple I work with so they can start off on the right foot. First, celebrate each other every day. In other words, make time for each other, even if it means scheduling it in your calendar. Second, don’t ever give up on date nights. Date nights were so special in the beginning so there is no reason to end them when you are married. In fact, the couples I work with who come back for other lifecycle events always tell me that date nights make them fall in love with each other time and time again. Finally, compromise fairly. Regardless of the age or stage of life in which you get married, it is important to remember you are a team. Teams work together and compromise for the good of the team. Now I am not suggesting that compromise means giving up on your beliefs. In fact, the compromises that mean the most are probably the smallest. For example, seeing a movie you might not have wanted to see because your husband really wanted to see it. Or going to dinner on a date night instead of watching a football game to show your wife how much her happiness means to you. Little things add up and they mean a lot.
It’s time for me to stick to my resolution to wish each and every one of you reading this blog a happy, healthy, and love-filled new year. I look forward to sharing your stories with you and celebrating your life cycle events as I help make your dreams come true.