Engagements can be a very precarious time. The older and more financially independent you are, more often the easier they can become, but generally speaking they can be times full of people pleasing. A time when keeping the family happy blurs with your first priority to your future husband.
If you don’t have your wedding planner to confide in, then sometimes it can be difficult to be objective. But rest assured it’s completely normal to experience some kind of anxiety, it all depends on how you deal with it that makes the difference. So be armed with some of the most frequently occurring problems that tend to arise during your engagement.
Who pays for the wedding may matter.
This is a big one. The common complaint is that those with financially contributing family members behave like their “investment” buys them a voice or vote in the wedding plans. Those who do contribute financially should do so for the happiness of the bride or the groom and not as a means to manipulate or control. But if you want to be able to truly make your own choices then being financially independent when it comes to paying for the wedding is the only way to go. If that isn’t an option, then have an open and honest discussion with those contributing about your expectations before you accept any offers for financial help. Because once you’ve committed to your big ticket items it’s going to be hard to give the money back.
Long engagements can be difficult.
The benefits of having a long engagement are great if you plan on getting married and hosting the reception at a popular venue. And also great if you want to book a popular wedding vendor. Other than that a long engagement can be difficult, especially if you are encountering problems with additional pressure from family (note the first bullet point!).
You don’t need a bridal party.
Would you believe that many couples today are choosing to forgo a bridal party all together? It can get more complicated with a bridal party (especially a large one). The expense, the expectations, and sometimes the drama with having a bridal party is just making it easier for many couples to say, “thanks, but no thanks”. Instead, just choosing two close friends/family members to act as witnesses (without the formality) can be much easier than having the fanfare. If you do decide to have a bridal party, there’s no reason at all to ask people for the sake of keeping the numbers on both sides even. If you have two close girlfriends who you want as bridesmaids and your fiancée only wants a best man, then that’s fine too. The rules of the cookie cutter bridal party went out the window about the same time as making all your bridesmaids wear the same frock.
You don’t need to keep with tradition.
Traditions can sometimes be contentious, especially when you’re blending families with different cultures and traditions. If you’ve chosen to have a family affair, then it pays to at least take the time to consider and respect the wishes and desires of your parents and to sit down as a family to discuss it. If you aren’t comfortable with accommodating some or any of their wishes, and this is something that might possibly cause undue tension in the lead up, then you must consider whether a) this is something that they can live with (even if they’re not happy about it) b) whether it’s likely to impact your relationship in the long term c) in the most serious scenario – whether you are prepared to continue on with the wedding with the possibility that they decide not to attend.
If planning your wedding is causing you more tears of grief, than tears of joy, it’s never ever too late to postpone or even cancel your wedding (yes, the biggest thing that no one ever wants to talk about). Or you can hire us for some independent advice. But most importantly talk to your fiancée and deal with the issues at hand, whether they be about family or friends because the problems will long be there long after the wedding is said and done, unless you try to actively resolve them.
If you feel like the problem is bigger than either of you to handle alone, speak to a professional counsellor who can help keep things in perspective for you. Remember planning your wedding is supposed to be one of the best times in your life. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t brush it under the carpet. Face it head on, so you can move forward and make that walk down the aisle with a smile on your face.