The more involved your other half is in wedding planning, the more likely you may butt heads. If you don’t have a tell-me-where-to-show-up kind of partner, it’s a good idea to put a few systems in place to help keep the peace while wedding planning side by side. Below are a few tips and expert insights on how to plan a wedding with a hands-on partner—without the fight.
Create a Wedding Email
Set up a wedding-specific email account so you both stay in the loop with vendor communication and meetings. “This will make it easier for you to prioritize tasks that need to get done and keep it separate from your personal/work emails so nothing gets lost in the shuffle,” shares Kristie Meluso of KMEvents. You can set a plan to check it together every evening at a certain time and go over what needs to be done. That way you also avoid one partner marking an email “read” before the other has seen it. In addition to setting up a wedding-specific email, you should also create a shared calendar. That way both partners can stay in the know on upcoming meetings, deadlines, and more.
Paper Your Priorities
Individually, make a prioritized list of your three most important aspects of the wedding vision. When you come to a stand-off on a certain decision, the partner with that priority highest on their list should be responsible for the final call. “This could be helpful if having a disagreement,” says Kate Caffrey, Event Coordinator at The Event Group. “If the groom has food as one of his top priorities, he’ll get the final say over deciding on something like what the final hors d’oeuvres will be during cocktail hour if they can’t come to an agreement.”
Get Into Role Play
Save the dirty thoughts for the wedding night! When you start the planning with an involved partner it’s a good idea to establish roles for who will handle what along the way. Gary Pope, lead photographer of GDA Weddings recommends whoever has a very strong opinion on a subject—even if it's an aspect they hate—may want to lead the charge. “It's typically the person who enjoys photos more who takes the lead on photography since they have the look they envision,” Pope says. “But I've booked a wedding where the groom took the lead even though he despised taking photos. He hated taking photos so much that he took the lead on getting a photographer that would not bother him a ton for portraits and who was professional enough to take photos of him quickly.”
It’s also important to play to each other's strengths. If your fiancé has the brain for logistics, let them handle the budget, floor plans, and hotel blocks, while the design-driven mind controls creative vendors, styling, and overall aesthetic.
Plan by Numbers
You may have already tackled the budget talk, but once you’ve assigned roles, you’ll want to agree on a budget for each individual component of the wedding. The catering budget may be set at $15,000, flowers at $6,000, and so on. “A lot of arguing happens during wedding planning because the bride or the groom wants to spend more money on what's important to them,” says Lynn Goldberg, founder of Ms. Wedding Planner. “So, getting specific budgeting numbers early on avoids problems later. That way if the bride is choosing the flowers, she knows not to go over $6000. If the groom picks food under $15,000, the bride will probably be OK with it.”
On the topic of finances, JoAnn Gregoli, owner of Elegant Occasions by JoAnn Gregoli, also advises that co-planning couples set up a joint bank account strictly to manage the wedding expenses. “Only use this account to pay deposits and the vendors; this way you both know what the account holds and there will be no problems in keeping track of spending.”
Have a Quick Huddle
Make time for a touch-base before every vendor meeting so you both go into the conversation on the same page. “For couples where both partners are very involved in the planning process, I advise them to carve out some time before each vendor meeting to make sure they are in one accord, and their visions are aligned,” says Randi Smith, owner and creative director of Sugar Euphoria. “It becomes less stressful for everyone involved when the couple can communicate a clear picture of their dream wedding. Work it out in the car before your meeting if you have to!"
Track questions and meeting notes in a collaborative document such as Google Docs. That way you can add questions as they pop up and if one partner takes a call solo, they have access to what needs to be asked and can jot down notes for the other partner all in one place.
Set a Date
A planning date, that is! Don’t give only your tired, end-of-the-day energy to your wedding planning. Set a recurring date and make your meetings fun and something to look forward to. Angie Alexander of Getting Married in Scotland, warns that unscheduled or end-of-day planning sessions could lead to unnecessary arguments even if you agree on things. “Why not go out for brunch or afternoon tea if you need to write things down?” Angie says. “Sit in a hot tub or go for a nice walk if it’s a discussion!”