Q: What do you do if your partner wants to spend much more money on a certain aspect of wedding planning (food/flowers/band) than you do? My fiancé and I are constantly at odds about the budget and what is most important. Help! - Caitlin, Maine
A: Fret not Caitlin, this is a common difficulty that couples encounter when they’re making decisions for wedding day. Here are a couple tips to help keep your heads, hearts and wallets in the right place!
Consider where the money is coming from
In these modern times lots of couples are pitching in their own money on wedding day, or sourcing from extended family beyond Mom and Dad. Thinking about who is supplying the money might be a good start for considering what to do with it. For example, if you have been dreaming about a Jenny Packham dress for the last ten years, and you are contributing a large sum of money from your personal earnings, then you should be able to make the ultimate decision to say yes to the dress. On the flip side, if buying the dress is going to tank the budget, and the money is coming primarily from your partner’s pocket or family, that dress may have to stay in dream land only.
Compromise is key for the big vendors
Although we discourage bickering over all vendors, small and large, we definitely recommend seeking compromise on the big six: location, venue, photographer, caterer, band and support staff (planners/consultants). These vendors are going to make or break the experience for you and your partner, so nobody should feel unhappy or unheard when hiring these big players. Getting particular about the color of napkins won’t matter nearly as much as having a band that your newlywed won’t want to dance to, or food that they won’t want to eat.
Pick your battles
In private, make a list of all of the important decisions (i.e. ceremony MUST be in a church, DJ!), rank them, and then cut down to only the top 3 or so. Once you have your list, compare with your partner. Most likely your numero uno won’t be the same. But if it is...
Give to get
Cede control of some of the other decisions as a bargain for getting the go ahead for your #1 priority. If you both wanted to pick the band, maybe you offer food, location and photographer of your partner’s choice in exchange for your preferred musicians (this is great practice for married life too, ha!).
In the end… remember your purpose!
If you find yourselves going around in ugly circles, take a little break from talking about it with a promise to return to it another time. When you sit quietly and think about your partner, see what images and feelings come up. Try to use those positive vibes and most fuzzy feelings about your guy or gal to encourage a compromise or surrender. If you always put your love at the center of the planning, you’ll know that the day will be special no matter what you (or they) choose.
Once you’ve chosen, commit
If you decide to cede control or compromise, never look back! Committing to your shared vision of the day will create a seamless and cohesive party for your guests, and an unforgettable celebration for the two of you!