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Becoming One: How Wedding Planning Can Prepare You For Marriage

Apr 28, 2008
In many ways, planning your wedding can be considered your marriage preparation boot camp. The skills necessary to plan the 'perfect' wedding are also required to maintain a 'perfect' marriage. The planning process can test your strength as a couple and force you to improve the weak areas.

Communication and Honesty

Communication is vital to a successful wedding and more importantly, a successful marriage. Proper communication cannot exist without honesty; dishonest communication is an oxymoron. After allowing yourselves to bask in your new engagement bliss for a few weeks, you and your fiancÚ should begin by setting the ground rules for the wedding. You should have an initial wedding conversation(s) in which you decide on a date, a budget, the size and general style of your wedding. Once these parameters are set, any changes should be openly discussed. Family, friends and even vendors will pressure you to venture outside the ground rules set by you and your fiancÚ. Your mother, or future mother in law, may insist on stretching the guest list from 100 to 175, your florist may tempt you to add hundreds to your floral budget and the bridal party may insist on a more expensive band. You cannot, without clear and open communication with your fiancÚ, make changes to the boundaries set in the initial conversation. Making changes without discussion, or being deceitful will only lead to discord in your relationship. The lesson to be learned here is that you should be an unbreakable unit, immune from attempts by others to split you apart. Of course, your family and friends have no ill intentions in their efforts, but they are thinking about your wedding while you should consider the marriage to follow.

Finances

Financially, planning your wedding is a microcosm of your future marriage. Just as your household budget will be crucial to the financial condition of your marriage, the success of your wedding will depend on your budget. As mentioned above, your initial conversation with your fiancÚ should include setting a budget. Be honest and realistic with yourselves: How much can you afford to spend on a wedding? What, if any, financial support can you depend on receiving from family? What sacrifices are you willing to make? Are you willing to use credit, if necessary? For the record, I strongly advise against going into debt for your wedding. However, everyone's financial outlook is unique and there may be cases where a couple can effectively use credit to pay for wedding expenses. Whatever you do, BE REALISTIC. There is nothing worse than a deluded bride, who has tricked herself into believing thatshe has more money than she really does. This was the case with one of my most recent brides, and the result was not pretty. She spent the last week before her wedding scrambling to find money and asking (begging) vendors to lower their prices. Avoid this embarrassing fate by being realistic from the beginning.

Love & Romance

As beautiful as it will be, your wedding day is just that - ONE DAY. So many brides put so much energy and effort into planning for the day, that they neglect their relationships. Once the wedding planning begins, you will be surprised at how many of your conversations and interactions involve planning. You may find yourself wondering what you did before planning your wedding. The time you would normally spend snuggled on the couch together becomes time you spend surfing the wedding sites and message boards, meeting with vendors or talking wedding business on the phone. Saturday afternoon outings become vendor meetings. The result is that the wedding date arrives and you feel further apart than ever. Don't let this happen! Turn off the computer, set aside time to spend together and make no exceptions. Vendors, the web and wedding business can wait. After marriage, you'll have kids (maybe) and life that will stand in the way of your romance and intimacy. Don't start bad habits now.
About the Author
Tiffany R. Wright is a top wedding planner in Washington, DC. She is the founder of PIROUETTE, Inc., a premiere wedding planner in Maryland, founded in 2005.
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