Fighting Before The Wedding? The Rules of Engagement To Make Sure Your Pre-Wedding Time Is A Happy One

Dr Pam Spurr
Yahoo's Wedding Blog

With spring heading our way you may be planning your big day over the next few months, and with more proposals happening over Christmas than at any other time of the year thoughts everywhere are turning to weddings.

But just like the festive period, the ‘engagement phase’ you’ve entered is the time couples have some of their biggest arguments. So how can you avoid a meltdown?

Follow the rules of engagement to make it a happy time:

Rule No. 1: Don’t put off the ‘big conversation’ –
What spoils the engagement phase for many couples is the power struggle that develops between them. They sweep little upsets under the carpet like that she wants a covers-band and he wants a DJ. They feel ignored because their partner doesn’t listen to their suggestions or take their wishes into account.

Don’t allow this to happen. Sit down and have a conversation about how you won’t let frustrations build and then land yourselves with a massive row where one of you threatens to call off the engagement.
This kind of honest communication establishes a fantastic precedent for all the hurdles to come.

Rule No. 2: Keep an open mind –
Don’t freak out when he says he wants you to arrive in a horse and carriage which you think is a terrible, old-fashioned idea. And don’t get riled when he the best man he pick is your least favourite of his friends. Instead take a moment, reflect on how to respond and then put forward your thoughts.

Flying off the handle the minute one of you suggests something the other doesn’t like makes it an unhappy process.

Rule No. 3: Your day, your rules –
Agree together to set firm boundaries on people making suggestions of what you should and shouldn’t do. Whose wedding is it anyway? It’s both of yours and you both need to be strong in the face of relations and friends who think you should do it their way.

Together plan how you can handle these busybodies. Keep it simple when rejecting their ideas. Both of you can say something like that’s a good idea but we’ve been planned X, Y or Z.

Rule No. 4: Take a reality check –
Okay, so you’re now talking what’s going to happen on the day. Can you afford these plans? Are they doable? Do you need a reality check? It’s easy to get carried away thinking you want to have the most amazing celebration that’s even happened in the world ever, especially if you’re interested in budgets and how much things really cost.

Sit down and think in black-and-white about your incomings and outgoings. This will reveal what you really can spend before you plan to have horses dressed as unicorns striding down the aisle before you.

Do your sums before making your big plans (REX)

Rule No. 5: Give and take –
So you two are completely loved up – you want to spend your lives together after all. But he loves football and you love ballroom dancing. He loves Italian and you love Thai.

In any relationship there are going to be compromises to make. And playing ‘swapsies’ between you, where one of you gets one wish of yours, and the other gets a wish of theirs, is the trade-off that can make the process so much easier.

Rule No. 6: Mind the wedding plans hysteria –
Your engagement phase is a crucial time in your lives. And your wedding is a big day. But it’s not the be all and end all. If you find yourself spending 24/7 on your plans it’s time to back off.

Every time you’re together you shouldn’t be talking weddings, weddings…and more weddings. Remember the other things you have going on as a couple to keep some balance in your relationship.

Rule No. 7: Making it all about you –
You’ve checked you’re on budget, you’re setting boundaries on those who want to interfere, and you finally agreed on the best man. Now for the fun of planning things in your wedding and your vows that reflect the two of you.

Together think about how you first met, what drew you together, the things you’ve done together, etc. How you can use these to put a personal stamp on your big day? Be creative and have fun planning how to use them in everything from your vows to your table decorations. This will make your day a memorable day for everyone.

Here’s to your happy engagement-phase - do it right and you’re shaping a happy future too.

The planning's fun! Enjoy it (REX)

Dr Pam Spurr’s latest book The Emotional Eater’s Diet is out now, and follow her on Twitter for more tips and advice.

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