There’s an irony that planning the biggest celebration of your relationship—your wedding day—can also be an incredibly difficult and stressful time for that relationship. It’s a hard truth that many of us are not our best selves during wedding planning. No matter how much we thought it we would be different, how much we planned on staying cool, collected, and calm, and no matter how much we thought we were on the exact same page as our partner, the reality often turns out to be very, very different.
But nobody wants to go into their wedding day feeling frustrated with their partner or even in the middle of a full-blown fight. So it's important to keep your relationship happy and healthy (or as happy and healthy as possible) during your wedding planning. If you can keep communicating, and keep a little perspective, you can get through almost any issue. Here are seven ways to keep your relationship strong during wedding planning, because admitting it’s stressful is half the battle.
1. Know That You Won't Be Different
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is assuming you’ll just breeze through wedding planning. Maybe you’ve watched your friends struggle and you’ve rolled your eyes with a smug half-smile, assuming you and your partner would never be that way. Instead, accept that it will be tricky. Finding that you don’t agree on everything, feeling the stress—these things don’t make you a bad couple, they’re just side effects of a normal wedding planning process. Accepting this from the beginning means you won’t be blindsided later.
2. Share the Load
A lot of wedding stress comes from one person feeling like the other isn’t pulling their weight or investing enough. In fact, sometimes both people feel like they’re the only one doing anything. Keep touching base and making sure that you’re both on the same page about what needs to be done and spreading the load evenly (or as evenly as works for the two of you). It may be that one person wants to take the lead, but you still need to check in and make sure you’re both feeling like you can handle what you’ve taken on.
3. Put Up Some Wedding Planning Boundaries
Wedding planning can eat into every corner of your life. Even if you never imagined yourself to be a "bridezilla" or even someone who cared very much, you’d be amazed how it can take over. So make sure to set some boundaries: have evenings where you don't talk about the wedding at all or a limit on how long you can talk about it for. You need to keep your relationship alive outside of the wedding planning, so remember that there are other things happening.
4. Get Some Time Away
If you really want to have a break from it all, consider booking some time away. Even if you don’t feel like you need it when you book it, you might be surprised how happy you are when the time comes around. Call it a mini-moon or just a vacation—just make sure that it’s wedding-free time. Feel free to dodge phone calls from pushy relatives and ignore texts from difficult bridesmaids begging to have their second cousin’s friend to sit at the head table. No wedding talk, just enjoy each other and fun!
5. Stop Aiming for Perfection
This is important advice for every aspect of your wedding planning: remember it’s not going to be perfect. One of the ways you can lose perspective is if you become obsessed with everything being just so. It can drive you and your partner up a wall. Remind each other that things will go wrong, and that it won’t matter in the long run.
6. Communicate Problems Early and Effectively
You may find a time when you’re genuinely upset with your partner during wedding planning—it’s not the end of the world. Maybe you don’t feel like they’re pulling their weight or maybe they’re not doing enough to keep their demanding family at bay. There are lots of things that can happen. The most important thing is that you don’t let these issues fester. If you're upset, deal with it immediately, or else the resentment might drive you apart at an already stressful time.
7. Focus on What Really Counts
Finally, no matter how stressful wedding planning is, remember what this day is really about: the two of you. It’s not about having the perfect table centerpieces or the ultimate bridesmaid dresses for Instagram. It’s about the two of you acknowledging how far you’ve come and being able to start the next phase of your life together. Let the rest of it be white noise. If you feel it getting on top of you, try a nostalgic evening when you remember your first date or your engagement—a simpler, pre-wedding planning time. If you keep the two of you in focus, the stress won't seem as important.
Planning a wedding is virtually never smooth-sailing, but it also doesn't need to have a huge impact on your relationship. There will be bumps in the road, but if you keep approaching things as a team, you'll be able to tackle them together and keep your sanity intact.