Singaporebrides | Weddings 101

January 2013

No More Pre-wedding Fights!

Planning your wedding can bring out the worst in you and your groom-to-be. But don’t let angry face-offs and shouting matches tear you apart from each other. SingaporeBrides shows you how to remain (more or less) conflict-free in the months leading up to your Big Day.

Saying an elated “I do” with a diamond ring sitting on your finger is the easier part of getting engaged. Now here’s the downside: snapping at each other during a bridal show, bickering over the march-in song, and having a public meltdown because neither of you could decide on a wedding date.

Yes, what you’ve heard in hush-hush whispers is true: The engagement period (aka the wedding planning stage) is fraught with hot-button topics that can trigger the major blowouts between you and Mr. Right. After all, even the most easygoing couple can be overwhelmed by the seemingly endless list of wedding tasks, from contacting hotels for banquet packages to visiting numerous bridal studios in town to putting together the bridal party. And each task will only be more challenging than the next.

So it’s little wonder why most engaged couples fall victim to pre-wedding fights. Take human resources executive Adriana Ong*, who started her wedding planning with rose-tinted glasses. “I had some wonderful ideas that I wanted to implement, like serving Western cuisine and decorating the venue with cloth bunting. And I thought I’d be able to have things my way, since it was my wedding after all,” says the 30-year-old. “But obstacles started cropping up, like both sides of the parents insisting on a Chinese banquet.”

pre wedding fights 2 Genive and Allen’s Handmade Wedding at Da Paolo Bistro and Bar in Rochester by Bittersweet Photography

Soon, Adriana found herself snapping at her groom-to-be, whom she felt was not supportive of her plans for the wedding. “We started quarrelling more. Once, I mentioned that my parents expected the traditional guo da li, an chuang and ‘fetch the bride’ on the actual day. I felt that those were not unreasonable requests, but he just kept quiet. I could tell he didn’t like the fuss, and was unhappy about it. We ended up shouting at each other on Orchard Road.”

Things got worse as the pre-wedding stress mounted. The night before their wedding, Adriana and her fiancé got into a big fight. “I had to finish making the place cards by hand, as well as prepare small jars of flowers to put on every table,” says Adriana. “I got really annoyed because he didn’t lift a finger to help. Instead, he kept nagging at me to have an early night. He wasn’t wrong, but it irritated me so much.” The couple shouted at each other again, leaving Adriana so frustrated she cried herself to sleep.

The good news is that their wedding went without a hitch, and the couple is happily married now. In fact, both realised that they had let the pre-wedding stress get to them – and shuddered at how it almost ruined their relationship. She explains: “Looking back, I realised that all these disagreements were over minor details, like whether or not to do the gatecrash, or over how many people to invite. But these were definitely blown out of proportion because of the pressure we felt.”

Your wedding planning does not have to end up like Adriana’s – as long as you and your groom-to-be are well aware of the inevitable gradual build-up of pressure, and how the both of you might react to it (for instance, screaming your head off!). Here are five ways to stop bickering and stay loving through it all.

Tip #1: Let your groom-to-be know that you need his support

Problem :Unfortunately for us, men do not immediately realise that the proposal is only the beginning of the hard work involved in wedding planning. So it is likely that you will be more excited and start organising the wedding first. As the to-do list adds up, chances are that you will be the one getting stressed first while he can’t seem to take his eyes off that soccer game. And when you reach boiling point, everything he says will be wrong.

Solution: Ask for your groom-to-be’s support for the wedding planning instead of taking on every responsibility yourself. Men are not psychics. So ask away – and delegate tasks to your man – before you end up fighting at the slightest provocation.

pre-wedding fights Linh and Yong Xi’s Lavender-Filled Wedding at Hort Park by Smittenpixels Photography

Tip #2: Work out your wedding budget early

Problem: Everything you’ve ever dreamed of having at your wedding costs money. Even the honeymoon to Bali will cost a fair bit. Financial stress is the number one source of discord between couples – engaged or otherwise. Without a budget to keep you two in check, quarrels will definitely erupt after a big-ticket impulse buy or two.

Solution: Make a plan to sit down and discuss how much the both of you would like to spend on the wedding. If you’re splitting the total bill, decide how much each of you can afford to fork out. Then, list out the must-haves (like the bridal package) and the frills (like a photo booth) before deciding how much you’d like to spend on each item. Trim the frills or lower your expectations to fit your budget. The thing is, when the both of you agree on a figure for each item, such as $3,500 for a bridal package, it is easier to manage expectations and shortlist a few bridal studios of your choice.

Tip #3: Kill your inner Bridezilla

Problem: If you follow a dozen wedding blogs, track wedding forums relentlessly and obsess over sorting out your albums on Pinterest, you might be a Bridezilla. Well, know that fretting over the details just ain’t worth it. As you do so, it is likely that you may be sacrificing your relationship just to achieve a “perfect” wedding day. It is actually unlikely that your groom-to-be will be able to stand living with a woman under the spell of wedding mania. In fact, he may just lose his cool when you next insist on having that five-tier lychee martini cake. And this means that you will lose your cool too.

Solution: Chill out, and constantly remind yourself not to succumb to your inner Bridezilla. One way to do this is to stop checking wedding blogs, forums or photo albums without respite. Also, tell yourself that maintaining a harmonious relationship with the love of your life is definitely more important than whether or not you have a cupcake stand. If all else fails, schedule me-time like spa sessions or shopping marathons to release all that stress and negativity.

pre wedding fights 3 Dramatic Coastal Pre-Wedding Photography at Cape Town by John Lim Photography

Tip #4: Have date nights where the “W” word is taboo

Problem: When you have a long list of wedding-related tasks to complete, you may find that you are drifting apart from each other over time. You may also realise that you’re communicating less, and no longer share about your day. All that you’re chattering non-stop about is whether to hire that make-up artist, or whether to buy over that banquet package you saw on the forum. As your groom-to-be grows tired of wedding talk, he may tune out – and this will lead to you feeling resentful and overwhelmed.

Solution: Consider having regular date nights where the “W” word is taboo. On these nights, do not discuss the wedding at all – even if your hotel coordinator may be pressing you for a decision. Instead, relax and enjoy each other’s company – just like how the both of you used to date. If you share a common hobby like cycling, devote time to it. All that matters is that the both of you make time to reconnect as a couple.

Tip #5: Compromise whenever possible

Problem: He wants a laid-back beach solemnisation; you want a fantasy-themed Chinese-style banquet in a hotel ballroom. You want chocolate bars with customised wrappers as wedding favours; he thinks that wine bottle openers make much better gifts. You prefer a colourful wedding theme; he insists that an all-white look will be far more elegant. In a nutshell, the both of you cannot make a single decision without wanting to strangle each other!

Solution: This is the time to learn how to work as a couple by prioritising, negotiating, and eventually compromising. A good way to do this is to decide which aspects of the wedding matter more to each of you. For instance, you may care more about the bridal gown while he feels that hiring the right photographer is crucial. In this case, compromise by giving each other full authority to decide on matters relating to each sphere – and remember to do so with a smile!

*Not her real name.


Credits: Feature image from Weddings in Pictures: Elegance with a Touch of Vintage by Wishwander Pictures