Few things in life cause resentment as thoroughly as money. Few things in life amplify resentment as thoroughly as family. Put money and family together, and the possibilities for stress are endless. Welcome to wedding planning.
So you want to have 200 people at the reception, a sushi table and the string section from the New York Philharmonic to play as you walk down the aisle. Your family can afford it, so no problem, right? Here's the thing: What might seem appropriate to you could come off as over-the-top to your future husband and in-laws.
Let's suppose you're about to marry a man who comes from a family that is — how can we put this delicately? — poorer than yours. Not destitute, necessarily, maybe even well off by most standards. But not as well off as your family. This relative difference in wealth has never mattered to you, and doesn't seem to matter to your fiancé. But families can be prickly. If his parents think your parents are using the reception to show off their bank account, their hackles might go up. Not only could this cause added stress leading up to your big day, it might lay the foundation for years of future family issues.
Don't assume that your man is immune, either. There are a lot of traditional gender roles that come with marriage, and they remain potent, even in the most modern and feminist grooms. He may feel a little ashamed if he's not seen as the primary breadwinner. If your family goes all-in on the type of big-ticket items he could never afford to give you on his own, your fiancé may start to get worried. A voice in the back of his mind may start to ask, "Does she expect this type of lifestyle once we're married?"
So what do you do? You want to respect your future husband and in-laws. But you also want to have your dream wedding, complete with the fireworks and the custom chocolate fountain and the acrobats from Belarus. Well, here's our advice, and it's pretty common sense. Relationships are built on compromise. If you feel that your extravagant wedding budget is creating an undercurrent of conflict, you need to find a way to balance your desires and his point of view. Decide what your heart is set on, and what you could, in a pinch, do without.
Absolutely have to have Beyoncé personally perform "Crazy in Love" as your first dance? Then you may have to forgo the rare orchid centerpieces flown in overnight from Malaysia. Talk about this kind of stuff with your fiancé. Including him in the decision-making process and discussions about the wedding budget will pay off in the end. You're telling him that he is the co-captain of this enterprise, that his opinion bares more weight than that of your family or friends, and that you are willing to collaborate — and compromise, if necessary.
Also, by reining things in a bit, you are showing that you are capable of being realistic when it comes to finances. You might go on a spending spree for this wedding, but once it's done, fiscal responsibility will be the name of the game.