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Because family life matters

Surviving the big day… and beyond

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Planning a wedding is one of the most exciting projects many people ever embark on, and 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.

Wedding Myths

You can have a perfect wedding: ‘Perfect’ is probably just impossible. 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: You will be inundated with the latest ‘must-haves’ for the perfect wedding and it’s all too easy to get side-tracked. Be aware 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 is 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, dress-making. Look online to find discount prices. Do your homework and be creative.

Building a strong marriage means that you will need to lay strong foundations

Building a strong marriage means that you will 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 or died away. Building a friendship involves spending time together.

  • Take a moment: Think back over the length of time you have known each other. Talk together about how you can continue to build your friendship when you have been married for 5, 10, 15 years.

Spend time together: Spending time together 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 are 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 time when you can do something you both enjoy – other than planning the wedding – e.g. each Wednesday evening from 8.30 to 10.30pm.

Recognise your differences: There is often expectancy and enjoyment about getting to know your partner when you first begin a relationship, it is a season of adventure and discovery. As time goes on, you’ll continue to learn more about each other and see hidden aspects of each other’s character that you haven’t noticed before. Sometimes you may not enjoy everything you discover about each other. We are all different. 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 have discovered about each other.

Finally, attend a marriage preparation course such as Marriage by Design to take a break from wedding planning and think about your future married life together.