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Advice for Conflict Free Wedding Planning

Most of us are unwittingly enjoying luxuries in our lives that make decisions like wedding vendor choices, venues, dates, gifts and gowns feel extremely important. Apocalyptically important in some cases. A ‘disaster wedding’ would certainly be a bad omen. Well, as someone who’s spent a lot of time with men and women about to get married, I’d like to remind you of something: None of this is really all that important.

What is important is the commitment you are making to one another. Really.

Imagine your circumstances were less fortunate. Imagine your partner were drafted into a foreign conflict and would be shipped off 8 months before your wedding date. What’s important then?

My point is, the importance of things is relative to our luxuries. Throwing a party for hundreds of people, that takes a year or more to plan, is important because we have the luxury and the freedom and the desire to do it. We have the capacity for a major celebration over a huge event in our lives and we want to act on that. That’s good, it’s okay to embrace that. Go ahead, create some spectacular memories to ground a new family in.

Though the importance of things is relative to our luxuries, only one element sits central to everything: the commitment being made to one another. That means that absolutely nothing else about the wedding should interfere with that central priority. And that starts way before your wedding day.

With all of the choices to be made, there are going to be points of disagreement. Money. Styles. Guests lists. Music. Vendors. Alcohol. Religion. Where there is disagreement, there is the potential for conflict. Remember, all these choices are simply undergirding the unity between you and the person with whom you’re disagreeing. Do you see where I’m going with this?

Planning your wedding day is going to cause disagreements–and that’s okay. But you should try not to let it cause conflicts. Conflicts happen when disagreements  go from the head to the heart. Remember, your wedding day is important to both of you. Sometimes in different ways. Coming to agreement without conflict means listening to your partner, and being willing to speak when they are listening.


Meet on Your Side of the Disagreement

Your partner is a huge fan of strapless dresses and would like you to wear one, but since you were a teenager, you’ve been dreaming of wearing your mother’s dress, which is low cut with puffy shoulders. This is important (relative to the misfortune of not having, or not liking, your mother’s dress).

Even though this might feel like a non-negotiable for you, resolving the disagreement without conflict means listening first. Why does your partner like the strapless dress so much?

That all might sound silly, but I’ll bet you there’s a couple out there arguing about it right now. In this case, after listening, you both agree that (relative to your luxuries), it’s just more important to you to wear your mother’s dress, than it is to them to see you in something strapless.

Your partner saw how important it was to you, and decided not to continue disagreeing.


Meet in the Middle of the Disagreement

But what if it were a different disagreement, and after listening and sharing, you found it hard to decide.

“I want to have my brother’s band play at the wedding.”
“I want to have the club DJ from the night we met at the wedding.”

It’s kind of a stalemate. How do you solve a stalemate without conflict? Luckily, weddings have almost no rules. In most cases, you can have it both ways.

Disagreeing on the first dance song? So have a first dance, and a last dance.
Disagreeing on the cuisine? Do barbecue and lasagna.
Candle Ceremony or Sand Ceremony? The supplies are cheap, do em both.
Band or DJ? First half, Band. Second half, DJ.

The ‘right way of doing things’ is an illusion that the industry uses to make it easier to sell you stuff. But you can do it however you want. Considering the point of all this is to celebrate the commitment you are making, these kinds of things just aren’t a very good reason for conflict.

couple kissing in courtyard maryland botanical gardens

Meet on On Your Partner’s Side of the Disagreement

When I was a kid, and to this day, my Dad says “You have to pick your battles”.

Maybe when you listened, and you shared, you found that this disagreement was more important to your partner than it was to you. A lot of us keep disagreeing at this point. But you can stop now.

All of this is so that you can celebrate a newly affirmed unity. You know how important this point of disagreement is to your partner, and you know that you might do it differently if it were all up to you. But you know that it is your own interest of supporting the unity this day commemorates and celebrates.

You can just let it go. This issue isn’t worth a battle. And if you’re both listening, sharing and willing to break whatever ‘wedding day rules’ necessary, you shouldn’t need any battles to get there in the first place.

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