Planning a wedding can be incredibly stressful. You may notice you and your partner feeling tense, overwhelmed, and even a bit snippy with each other. But sometimes—only sometimes—you may notice some bigger issues. Wedding planning, with all of the pressure that it entails, can be an incredibly revealing time. You may start to notice incompatibilities or sides of your partner that you have never seen before—and that can be really worrying.
The important thing to remember is that at any point in a relationship—whether it’s one month in, during wedding planning, or after years of marriage—you can walk away if it’s not healthy or if it’s not making you happy. Yes, you may owe it to the person to try to work through any issues you have or give it another shot, but it’s never too late to remove yourself from a situation that isn’t in your best interest. If you’ve made it to wedding planning, there's a good chance the relationship is strong and secure—and that’s great. But for those few people who realize that something is off—really, really off—it’s crucial to know that you have a choice. Here are five red flags that can come up during wedding planning—because how your partner responds to stress can tell you a lot.
They’ve Given up Trying
Sometimes, it’s all about getting the ring on it. As much as it sounds like a cliché, it’s amazing how many people put in their all at the beginning of a relationship, only to immediately turn into someone else once they feel settled. For some people, that’s as soon as the engagement is official. If you notice that your partner seems apathetic, complacent, or that they’re suddenly not interested in any of your needs, then you may have a major relationship issue on your hands. This may manifest as them dragging their heels when it comes to the wedding planning itself or it may be a more general sense of them no longer investing in the relationship. Either way, it's a problem.
They Don’t Respect You
One of the most common red flags that can come up during wedding planning is that they don’t see you as an equal partner in the relationship. Planning a wedding is tricky—it’s full of compromises, awkward conversations, and balancing not only your needs but the opinions of both of your families. Many couples navigate this brilliantly, but sometimes it becomes clear that one person just doesn't respect the other's opinions, their wants, or even their needs. If you find that your partner is bulldozing you or ignoring you when it comes to wedding planning, you may need to ask yourself some deeper questions about your relationship.
They’ve Been Hiding Financial Problems
This is a practical issue that can sometimes become clear during wedding planning—and it's a big one. Many couples don’t start talking about their finances early enough in their relationship. They feel too uncomfortable so they avoid the issue until it’s almost impossible to bring it up. But once you’re engaged, you may be forced to talk about finances. It may be because of the wedding costs, because one of you brings up a prenup, or just in discussing the legal consequences of marriage. But you can learn things you don’t like about your partner's financial history. The financial issues may be significant or the real issue might be the fact that your partner hid them from you. Whatever the problem is, it needs to be discussed.
They’re Not Good to Your Friends and Family
Often, before wedding planning, you and your partner’s families will have had little reason to interact. Maybe they’ve met a holiday party, maybe you’ve had a few dinners, but wedding planning is usually the first time where families really overlap and, possibly, end up clashing. Ideally, you both will feel like you’re working together to balance your families’ needs. But if your partner doesn't take the people you care about seriously or if they’re rude or dismissive, that’s a big red flag for your future. These are the people closest to you and your partner should respect that.
Your Future Plans Don’t Line Up
Usually, things like raising children, where you want to live, religions—all of those deal-breaker issues—are discussed well in advance of the engagement. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Some people wait until they’re planning the wedding to really get into the big issues. Sometimes, they just assume their partner wants the same thing they do, so they never bother to ask.
Sometimes, one person says they want the same thing as the other, but they don't really mean it—and that doesn't become obvious until they’re already engaged. But with these big, deal-breaker issues, there’s not really any room for a gray area. You and your partner need to be on the same page about life-defining choices and preferences. If you realize that your partner doesn't want the same things you thought they did—or the same things they said they did—then you might have a good reason to walk away from the relationship.
Once you’ve invested time and energy in this person, it can be difficult to walk away. And if you’ve already announced your engagement and started planning a wedding, it can feel almost impossible to call it off. But it’s never too late. If you realize that there are some foundational issues that you just can't get past, it doesn’t matter when they come up. You can’t spend the rest of your life with someone out of politeness or awkwardness. So be honest with yourself about the relationship and if you see a red flag, pay attention to it. The sooner you acknowledge them, the more heartache you can save yourself in the long run.