My Partner Is Not Participating Enough
Face it. Some people are just born planners, decision makers, and visionaries, while some of us are all too happy to relish our loved ones’ talents and go with the flow. However, when planning a wedding, it’s important that both partners take an active role in the planning process in order for the celebration to be a true reflection of both personalities. But what do you do when your partner isn’t showing as much enthusiasm as you’d like?
Maybe you’ve come to understand that not everyone can be expected to react to chair back covers the same way you do–with a tear in your eye and a tug at your heartstrings– but you thought for sure that you could pique your hubby’s interest with a cake tasting. He has always had an insatiable sweet tooth, after all, and who can say no to cake? Apparently it’s possible, because here you are, at a cake tasting, by yourself, with little more guidance than, “I trust your judgment. You know what I like.”
Perhaps you’re thrilled with your partner’s trust in you and the extensive and unbridled freedom you’ve been granted in the decision-making process. However, if you’re finding that you’d like a little more participation and a little less passivity, the first thing you’ll need to do is to sit your partner down for a little talk. The key to remedying that worrying lack of interest is identifying exactly why your spouse-to-be has taken a willing backseat in the planning process.
When left to your own devices, it’s easy to start overanalyzing the situation– maybe the seeming apathy has been brought on by a case of cold feet. Perhaps your sweetheart simply doesn’t care about the festivities–or worse yet–doesn’t even want a wedding. It’s altogether more likely, however, that your partner’s reasoning is far more innocent and far less complex. Perhaps he really does trust you enough to let you plan a celebration he knows you’ll craft perfectly. Or perhaps he has truly agreed with all of your choices thus far and has not had cause to object or add to your stellar record.
Once you know your partner’s true motivations, it’s important to communicate why full participation is meaningful to you. Do you see it as a reinforcement of your partnership, with the two of you acting as a team to fulfill your goals? Do you want to ensure that you are both fully represented in the festivities, allowing you to enjoy the celebration equally? Or are you simply unable to handle all the work yourself? No matter why you’re asking for more participation, having you explicitly request it may be all your partner needs to jump into full-on planning mode.
If you find that a simple discussion isn’t quite inspiring enough, you can go about making your sweetheart a more active member in the celebration planning. For those who simply aren’t excited by the prospect of spending an afternoon looking at, say, 20 different tablecloths or floral arrangements in every shade of blue imaginable, do your best to make the process as enjoyable as possible. If your partner is competitive, turn each item on the to-do list into a game. If your spouse-to-be responds well to rewards, follow each planning task with a fun activity–such as dinner at a favorite restaurant, or maybe a spur-of-the-moment weekend camping trip.
If you don’t mind handling a few of the planning tasks on your own, you can save the bigger and more exciting decisions–like scoping out a venue or attending a catering tasting–for you and your partner to tackle together. Another way to encourage your hubby’s participation is to narrow the options; it’s easy to get overwhelmed when one is faced with too many choices. Assemble a handful of your top picks (like invitations, place settings, or boutonnieres) and have your partner choose from among a limited selection.
Some people respond well to direct requests. Pull out a few of the tasks you think that your partner would do well with, and politely (but firmly) assign a to-do list along with an expected deadline. Virtually anything you can do to make the process easy or fun is guaranteed to help your cause. The less stress your partner associates with the planning process, the more appealing that being involved on a more intimate level will seem.
Whether you embrace your partner’s relaxed attitude and make most of the decisions yourself, or your partner is there almost every step of the way, it’s important to ensure that you always feel you have the support you need. Consider enlisting a friend, family member, or even the help of a professional planner to serve as a planning buddy if you think you’ll need a little added support during the duller moments. And don’t dismay if you still aren’t seeing that special twinkle in your partner’s eye when you’re looking at, say, napkin rings. While you probably won’t inspire an ecstatic response over every decision, just having your betrothed by your side may be enough.
Can’t Agree on the Size of the Wedding
Have you spent a good portion of your childhood and virtually all of your adult life dreaming of a big, white wedding? Have opulent additions like entry by elephant, a twenty-tier cake complete with gold-dipped orchids, or a venue rivaling Buckingham Palace taken over a majority of your wedding-idea binder? If you’re finding your soon-to-be spouse isn’t quite as excited as you had hoped about some of your more grandiose ideas, it may be time to talk.
While it can be easy to get carried away with your own vision of the perfect wedding, in order for the celebration to be its very best, it’s important that it is a representation of both parties’ wishes. So unless your partner has given you the go-ahead to do whatever you’d like, make sure you iron out some of the more important details before you begin the planning process.
The size of your impending wedding is something you’ll need to discuss early on, as it affects virtually every other aspect of your celebration. Perhaps you’d feel more comfortable saying your vows strictly in the company of your witnesses and your officiant, while your betrothed won’t be happy unless he or she has invited everyone you know. You’ll need to make sure you’re both on the same page before either of you starts booking entire circus acts or wedding locations accommodating a 300-person guest list you two haven’t had the opportunity to discuss quite yet.
If one of you wants to go big but the other wants to keep it small and neither of you are willing to concede, now is the perfect time for a little one-on-one. The first thing you’ll want to establish is exactly what your partner means when referring to a “small” wedding. Is it about an intimate celebration intimate with a guest list limited to only your nearest and dearest? Or is it more important that the festivities be kept a little more low-key? For example, perhaps your partner wants to invite a fairly large group to an outdoor park ceremony followed by a reception at your favorite restaurant, versus a more exclusive affair at one of the most in-demand and extravagant local venues.
Once you’ve each established what the other is looking for, it’s equally important to explore why each of you want what you want. Does your soon-to-be spouse want an unrestrictive guest list to accommodate his or her large family or extensive circle of friends? Do you have your heart set on a lavish celebration because your parents weren’t allowed such a luxury? Do you want to keep the affair smaller so that you can treat your betrothed to a dream honeymoon, or do you simply get nervous in front of large crowds? You may find that once your partner understands the reasoning behind your choices, his or her hesitance may disappear completely.
Still polarized by the issue? A little compromise can go a long way in finding a healthy middle ground. Consider going big for one portion of the celebration while pulling back a bit on the other. Depending on what you’ve defined as a “big” wedding, consider complementing an intimate ceremony with an elaborate reception everyone can attend, or vice versa. This way you can both get a taste of the celebration you’ve envisioned.
Another option is to try to meet somewhere in the middle. Is your partner’s idea of a big guest list, say, 100, but you’ve already gotten it up to 150 without even including his or her side of the family? Consider trimming down your list and you may find that your concession will encourage a renegotiation to, say, 125 as a number you can both agree on. Have your heart set on a fancy reception venue but feel that you may not necessarily need to include semiprecious stones in your wedding flowers? Such compromises can ensure that the aspects most important to you are fulfilled exactly as you’d imagined without sacrificing your partner’s vision.
Whether you can find a compromise that works for you both, or you simply go one way or the other, the decision to host a large wedding versus a smaller affair should be made together and should take both sides into account. Whether you want to save your beloved from his or her debilitating fear of large crowds, or you want to ensure that your over-the-top celebration will be talked about for years to come, find the perfect balance between what you both want to ensure a celebration that is the perfect combination of you.
Deciding on a Wedding Location
Whether you were born just across the city from one another or hail from opposite sides of the globe, if the two of you come from two different places, things can get a tad tricky when it comes to deciding where to have the wedding. Above and beyond the difficulty of choosing the perfect venue, you may be facing the added challenge of resolving differing opinions on the city, state, or even country where your venue will be located.
While you might want a small backyard wedding in, say, your gorgeous Santa Barbara childhood home, your soon-to-be spouse and in-laws may have their hearts set on a huge reception at their Berlin family estate. With all of this added pressure, it can be tempting just to close your eyes, flip a coin, and let fate do the deciding for you.
However, with just a little creativity, compromise, and outside-the-box thinking, this can be a great way to test out your and your betrothed’s problem solving skills, as well as offering a fun refresher course in your favorite elementary school subject: geography! So grab a few maps–and possibly a handful of translation books, should you need to prepare yourself for an exotic adventure in a foreign land–and get ready to exercise a little geographical know-how to find the perfect location for your marriage celebration.
Meet You in the Middle
For the literal-minded, finding the geographic midpoint between your two birthplaces can be the perfect compromise in answer to your quandary. For example, the midpoint between your California and German locales rests right in the middle of Northern Canada–and they say Nunavut is lovely this time of year.
While you can get as geographically specific as you’d like, any location roughly near the middle will do. This flexibility can be especially helpful if your geographic midpoint lands you directly in the middle of a large body of water or another equally unsuitable wedding locale. Conversely, you may choose to embrace these unwieldy coordinates with an at-sea or desert-oasis wedding that will make for a fun and unforgettable celebration.
Split It Up
One way to ensure that both locations get the attention they deserve is by splitting the celebration. Consider hosting the ceremony in one location and the reception in the other. If you know for sure that one side of the family is more excited about one aspect of the celebration over the other, this can make your decision fairly easy. For example, if your mom is gushing about watching you say “I do” at the same church where she, your sister, and your grandmother all said their vows, while all your soon-to-be father-in-law can talk about is the sweet potato fries your catering company has promised–your choice should be obvious.
If you couldn’t dream of separating the festivities, and you have the budget to accommodate it, consider hosting two weddings–one in each location. Not only will this ensure that you’ll be able to celebrate with friends and family who may not have been able to attend otherwise, but you can customize each wedding to the attendees whose location you’re celebrating in–giving both sides the wedding of their dreams.
Make It Meaningful
Consider a location that can serve as the perfect representation of the act of marriage–a transition from the old and an embracing of the new. Opting for a wedding location that has played a meaningful role in your love story is a great way to spotlight the uniting of the solo paths that have led you to this point and the new life that you are embarking on together. Whether it’s the city you met in, where you said, “Yes,” or even a random pit stop you made on an impromptu summer road trip, any location that speaks to you can be the perfect fit for your upcoming festivities.
Destined For Greatness
If you two simply haven’t been able to make a definitive choice on your location, a destination wedding may be the perfect option. Couldn’t concede to your betrothed’s requests for a Wisconsin wedding locale over staying in your hometown for a New York nuptial celebration, or vice versa? Take the opportunity for disagreement out altogether by choosing an exotic, far-away locale. Whether you want to celebrate in a winter wonderland or on a tropical beach, consider a location that’s new to both of you for an adventurous option that can lead to a new staple in your travel diary, as well as the perfect yearly anniversary destination.
Finding the right location to host your wedding can prove to be a difficult but meaningful decision. Whether you want to keep it close to home or celebrate somewhere completely foreign, make sure to choose a place that speaks to your individual pasts, your love story, or your future aspirations for a celebration that represents you perfectly.
Lisa is a special needs teacher and a hugger. She always makes time for everyone and lightens up everybody’s lives with her presence. When she is not chasing her students around the yard, she finds time to write about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.