Weddings are a beautiful celebration of love, but they’re also a source of conflict. Time and again, brides and grooms-to-be along with their families seem to find a million and one things to fight about before (and even on) the big day. Leading up to your pending nuptials, avoid these common fights:
- Guest List
- Dress & Tux
- Bachelor/Bachelorette Party
Money is the top cause of arguments among married couples, so it’s not surprising that couples fight about money before the wedding too. Often times, fighting is more likely to occur if one side is solely paying for the wedding because it creates a perceived imbalance of power. For instance, a groom may not feel he has much say in what the wedding will be like if the bride’s parents are paying for it. While other couples fight over the budget when they’re paying for it themselves and one wants a lavish affair while the other would rather save the money or spend it on the honeymoon.
Save yourself the arguing by setting a budget, regardless of who is paying for it, and sticking to it. It’s a wise idea to build in a contingency fund for unexpected emergencies but agree in advance on what constitutes an emergency and don’t spend that extra money unless it’s absolutely necessary. Include both people in the decision-making as much as they’d like to be involved, taking input from both sides fairly to ensure everyone’s ideas are considered.
The choice of venue is highly personal for many engaged couples, especially if they’ve been planning or imagining their dream wedding for many years. Some couples find conflict because their picture-perfect wedding setting are very different. She wants an evening wedding at a fancy hotel and he wants a day wedding by the lake. There’s conflict and both people feel like they’ll miss out on their perfect day if they have to compromise.
One great exercise to avoid conflict is to brainstorm venues together. Each person can suggest 5 wedding venues and then you can work together to find overlap that might make you both happy. You may find that you share a second or third choice venue after all!
If you and your spouse-to-be are still at odds about where to have the wedding, consider non-traditional ways to appease both sides. Perhaps you can have the wedding ceremony at one place and the reception elsewhere. Or maybe you can have the big formal wedding reception with family at one location and then a separate more intimate party with just friends at a different location the following weekend. Don’t feel like you have to stick with the traditional format just to satisfy your families.
How many people will you invite? Who will you invite? Does crazy Aunt Edna get an invite too just because she might be offended if she doesn’t? Should coworkers be included? Is it okay if one side has significantly more guests than the other? The guest list can be dangerous territory!
As the guest list is being developed, give both people veto power to exercise if one person doesn’t feel comfortable with someone being invited. Then pledge to respect this power no questions asked. The fallout from not inviting someone is always going to be better than inviting someone who will ruin the big day.
The bride is usually the one complaining that she’s doing all the work, but either person can start to resent the planning process if their spouse-to-be isn’t helping enough. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re drowning in a sea of details that need planning while your spouse-to-be is shirking responsibility.
Prevent this fight before it starts by agreeing on who will be responsible for which aspects of the wedding. Remember that the maid of honor, best man, and family members can help too! Just be sure to come up with a backup plan in case any of them drop the ball.
Some couples share religious and cultural traditions that are important to them that they want incorporated into their wedding day. Other couples, however, run into conflict over traditions that aren’t shared. One spouse-to-be may view the other’s traditions as silly or unnecessary, resulting in an argument over whether they should be part of the big day.
Unless your fiancé’s traditions are offensive to you, let him/her weave them into your wedding ceremony or celebration. This will ensure that the day includes everything that’s important to you both.
Even couples that share the same music tastes can disagree on what the music at the ceremony and reception should sound like. Add in budget constraints, and this one is sure to produce some disagreement.
Unfortunately, when it comes to music there’s not often a lot of opportunity to meet in the middle. If he wants a ska band or heavy rock selections being spun by the DJ and she wants a string quartet or harpist, doing both is going to confuse guests and create a strange feel to the wedding celebration. Instead, select something traditional that you know your guests will love. Truth be told, you’re going to be so busy at your wedding that you probably won’t be paying much attention to the music yourselves, which is why it’s best to just select something that you know other people will enjoy.
Just like the music, personal style can vary significantly between people. The bride may want a simple white dress while the groom wants something outlandish. Or the bride may want an expensive fancy designer dress while the groom just wants a casual dress coat and khakis.
Also like the music, letting each person do whatever they want style-wise isn’t really an option because it will throw off the whole look of the wedding and can make the pictures look like an eyesore. Instead of letting each person do whatever they want, find a way to compromise to result in an acceptable solution for both people. If he wants a full camouflage suit but she hates that idea, maybe camo shoes are the way to go. Freedom with accessories is a great way to give a special individualistic flair to your look without overwhelming the entire style of the wedding party.
Some men and women hate the idea of their spouse-to-be going out for a “traditional” bachelor or bachelorette party and the debauchery that may follow. While other men and women eagerly anticipate their stag party as a way to go out and have fun with friends to de-stress before the big day.
If your husband or wife-to-be is offended by the idea of a bachelorette or bachelor party, find a way to get together that’s more acceptable to them. Go fishing, hiking, skiing, or camping, or plan a spa day, art class, museum outing, or something else gives you a reason to get together with friends without the temptation of a traditional pre-wedding girls’ or guys’ outing.
People who are opposed to prenuptial arrangements often cite trust as the main reason that they don’t want to sign them. They feel that their spouse-to-be should trust that their relationship will last. Others say that it feels like they’re planning for a divorce instead of a wedding, which is something depressing during what should be a happy time.
Regardless of how you feel about a prenup, if your spouse-to-be brings up the subject with you, be responsive to listening and discussing the idea. They may not be asking you to sign one directly, they may just want to know where you stand on the issue in case you want to arrange one.
If your fiancé asks you to sign a prenup, try to understand where they’re come from to get a better idea of what they’re trying to accomplish. This can be a great gateway to discussing other financial decisions like merging bank accounts, setting up beneficiaries, and adding each other’s name on assets like cars and houses. Having these discussions before marriage is key to understanding each other’s expectations.
You wouldn’t think that couples would argue over something as great as the honeymoon, but many couples do. Just like fighting over the venue choice for the wedding, each person probably has an idea of what they want their honeymoon to look like.
Try to find a vacation that incorporates all the things that both people want to do. Cruises are a popular choice among couples that are torn on where to go and what to do for their honeymoon. Going on a cruise is a great way to see lots of different places and have a variety of experiences while also indulging in great food and entertainment, checking boxes on both people’s lists.
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