Planning a wedding is one of the most exciting projects many people ever embark on, but it can also be one of the most stressful.
It can seem as if organising a wedding requires the strategic know-how and precision planning of the most complex military campaign!
But before you start to get buried under the details of planning your wedding, take a moment to grasp some of the myths, and truths, that we believe every engaged couple should be aware of.
- You can have a perfect wedding – this is likely to set you up for disappointment. Aim instead to have a wonderful wedding involving imperfect people.
- Your wedding day is for you and your fiancé(e) – of course, this is your special day, but recognise that it is also an important day for at least two sets of parents and two or more families. Involve them in the arrangements and you will reap the benefits in the long term. The wedding industry has only your interests at heart, and you’ll be inundated with the latest ‘must-haves’ for the perfect wedding. Remember that the ‘wedding business’ is just that – a business.
- Planning a wedding is glamorous and stress free – if you plan carefully and stick to your budget, arranging a wedding together can be fun. However, it is also hard work and there will almost certainly be times when you have a difference of opinion. Be realistic about what you can achieve within your budget and the time you have available.
- You have to spend a fortune to have a fantastic wedding – it’s quite possible to have a fantastic wedding on a limited budget. Be resourceful and use your common sense and initiative. Ask friends to help with things like flower-arranging, cake-baking and dress-making. Look online to find discount prices. Do your homework and be creative.
Building a strong marriage requires strong foundations
Building a strong marriage means you’ll need to lay strong foundations. This may take time and effort, but the result is a marriage that can stand both the test of time and external pressures. Here are some principles that will set your marriage on a solid base:
- Create a friendship – whether you got to know each other gradually or you had a whirlwind romance, a strong friendship undergirding your relationship will enable it to withstand the test of time. Your friendship will continue to grow even after the intense feeling of being ‘in love’ has lessened. Building a friendship involves spending time together.
Take a moment: Think back over the length of time you’ve known each other. Talk together about how you can continue to build your friendship when you have been married for five, ten, fifteen years.
- Spend time together – this is crucial to building a relationship, and one of the tasks of engagement and the early years of marriage is learning how to balance time; time when you’re together and time when you’re apart. Both are needed. Time apart (sometimes alone and sometimes with others) can cause us to value and appreciate the time we have together, and it prevents either partner from feeling ‘smothered’. Talk honestly together about how to achieve the right balance in your relationship.
Take a moment: Think about how you can prioritise time together. Fix a regular slot when you can do something you both enjoy (other than planning the wedding), e.g. going running or watching a film every Wednesday evening.
- Recognise your differences – getting to know your partner in the early days of your relationship is an exciting adventure. As time goes on, you’ll continue to learn more about each other, discovering hidden aspects of each other’s character you haven’t noticed before – not all of which you’ll enjoy. One of the challenges of engagement and the early years of marriage is to learn to work together to manage those differences creatively. Rather than weakening or having a negative effect on our relationship, our differences can complement each other and strengthen our marriage.
Take a moment: Talk together about one or two new things you’ve discovered about each other, and consider how these differences might strengthen your marriage.
Finally, think about attending a marriage preparation course such as Marriage by Design to take a break from wedding planning and lay foundations for your future married life together.
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