Congratulations! You’re engaged! That shiny rock is shimmering on your finger, your manicure is rockin’, your status has officially been changed on social media, and now it’s time to start planning your wedding! YAY! Or, is that, “yay…”? For some of you, your S.O. is completely on board with the planning process, and is excited to take responsibility for their portion of the wedding planning. For others, it’s pretty common to have one partner much more involved than the other. So how the f*ck are you supposed to find and adhere to an appropriate balance of duties? It’s not easy, but there are a sh*tload of tools to help you and your partner break it down so that you can avoid a breakdown.
This happens with ALL couples, and across gender lines. But, whether it’s due to societal gender influences or just personal preferences, I see it more frequently in heterosexual partnerships; the bride is the one bearing the brunt of the “project management” work. Oftentimes, the bride is put in the position of pestering her fiancé to complete the tasks he promised to do. And it sucks! And it’s bullsh*t! Outside of the wedding world, this actually has a name: emotional labor. Originally a reference to the workplace, emotional labor recently evolved to reference the weight and effort of acting as project manager in the home―especially the seemingly invisible jobs no one else seems to track or recognize. Sound familiar?
If you’ve listened to my podcast or read my blog, then you know that I preach perspective. I am a firm believer in that how you and your S.O. plan your wedding (together) sets the tone for the beginning of your marriage. So, get your marriage started on the right foot by evenly distributing the emotional labor of the wedding planning process. Communicate with each other! Connect with each other! Use technology to your benefit to help reduce potential friction, so that you can stay sane during your wedding planning and actually get closer to your partner along the way. How? I’ll give you six ways.
1. Communication Is Key
Talk to each other! Have a level-setting conversation. Before you begin the wedding planning process (um, they don’t call it a process for nothing), talk about what each partner wants the wedding day to look and feel like. Discuss what’s most important to each of you, and how you can plan on incorporating those personal touches into your day. Then help your partner understand the enormity of the wedding planning process. It’s a f*cking undertaking! And, with a full-time job and other responsibilities, it’s a process made for two! Dude doesn’t have to be excited about the flowers, or color scheme, or fine china. He just has to be excited to marry you, and help with the logistics.
2. Keep Your Friends Close, And Wedding Tech Closer
Make wedding tech your friend! We use technology every. single. day. So, why stop now? Technology has the ability to be your ultimate project manager/wedding planner. For example, this cool-ass wedding tool, Coda, is amazing! All you have to do is enter your wedding date, a few key details, and POOF! It creates a timeline and sets (loose) deadlines for you. Coda blends documents and spreadsheets that can go everywhere with you; it’s like an app, but so much better. Check out this template. It breaks down big wedding tasks like the guest list and mailing invitations into a series of smalls tasks. It includes automated email reminders for your S.O. to keep things on track, among other cool planning tools. Plus, it’s completely customizable. So use it, bride!
3. Divide And Conquer
Remember that term, emotional labor? Talk about it. This comic cracked me up, and pretty much nails the definition. Discuss what it would look like to have a balanced wedding planning process, and once you have your task list, divide ownership. Make it clear that it’s important to you that your S.O. puts in the work. There will be many instances in your future where each partner is going to need to work on something that they don’t really want to do or go somewhere they don’t want to go, etc. Welcome to marriage. Here’s your head start!
4. Speak Up But Not Out
Don’t lose your voice! If there’s an imbalance, don’t be afraid to call it outーbitchlessly. If your S.O. is dragging their feet on a responsibility they said they would own, avoid the temptation to bluntly criticize or nag them (I know this is SUPER hard, but resist). Instead, keep it solution-oriented. Tell them how you feel when you are overburdened with wedding planning responsibilities. Hopefully they’ll respond with empathy and compassion. And, if not, then table the discussion for a time when you both have a minute to chill out.
5. Make Sure You’re On Track
Check in often with each other, and with that tech tool you’ve been using. Treat planning your wedding like a second job, because it is. Like any good one-on-one meeting with a manager at work, these check-ins should not be a run-through of outstanding action items (ugh). They should be a time to talk about how the division of work feels, what’s going well, and what could go better. Point out progress that you’ve made as well as your S.O.’s progress. And be a good listener. If you hear something you don’t like, stay receptive and absorb your partner’s feedback without being defensive or feeling like it’s a personal attack. Seeking to understand your partner is a great way to feel reconnected with them and get back on track.
6. Look At The Bigger Picture
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Keep it in perspective. Odds are, you’re still going to notice an imbalance of duties. Usually, planning and project execution is one person’s forte much more than the other. That doesn’t mean they’re any less suited to be your partner. Try to keep things in perspective and recognize that wedding planningーjust like marriageーwill be full of ups, downs, and compromises. This is just one event (one very, very important event) in the grand scheme of your lives together, and your relationship with your partner will always be evolving.
When your partner does get it right, don’t forget to acknowledge and appreciate them. That’s good advice for married life, too. Got it? Good.
Images: Morgan McDonald / Unsplash; betchesbrides / Instagram (3)