A wedding is big deal, and that's true not just for you and your soon-to-be spouse, but also for your parents, family members, and friends. "Weddings are loaded with meaning for the couple, their families, their social circles, their community, and society as a whole. That's a lot of people," says Sara Stanizai, a licensed marriage and family therapist. While it's great that the people closest to you want to be part of your special day, it can also be a little overwhelming, especially when everyone has a different opinion about how you should manage the planning process. "It can be stressful because you feel the expectations of all these other people," Stanizai adds.
All that stress you're feeling is bound to lead to conflict. If you feel like you're fighting with just about everyone—your future spouse, your parents, and your bridal party—over the wedding, it's important that you understand this is a very normal reaction. When emotions are running high, conflict with the people you love is pretty much inevitable. How you navigate it, though, is what's important. That's why we talked to the experts about how to deal when you just can't stop arguing about the wedding.
What should you do when you can't stop arguing with your partner?
The love you share with your partner is the reason there's a wedding happening in the first place, but this is the relationship that typically deals with the most stress during the wedding planning process. If you and your future spouse can't seem to stop arguing, it's important to address what's really going on and solve any problems before you walk down the aisle. When you're in the midst of an argument, it's important to take a step back. "Take breaks, and make sure you aren't trying to solve a problem when you're upset," says Stanizai. "If you're raising your voice or otherwise getting heated, you won't be in the position to resolve anything." She says it's worth giving each other a little space—a few hours is a good starting point—and then revisit the problem when you've both calmed down.
It can also help to change the setting when talking about challenging wedding topics. According to Christi Garner, a licensed marriage and family therapist and former wedding planner, couples who use creative communication tactics to discuss stressful subjects (wedding-related or otherwise) end up with longer, stronger marriages. "Doing activities side by side, like hiking, jogging, or making dinner, while discussing the issues means you'll be more likely to handle the stress better," she explains. You should also spend time together doing things that aren't related to the wedding in order to stay connected. "Set good boundaries about your time and the time you are willing to spend every week discussing and working on the planning process," says Garner.
What should you do when you can't stop arguing with your parents?
Aside from you and your soon-to-be-spouse, your parents are likely the people most involved in planning the wedding. They'll have opinions on everything from who should be invited to what kind of ceremony you should have—and all those opinions can lead to conflict. "Listen to what this wedding means to them. Often people just want to be heard. It will not only potentially bring you closer, it will give you insight into why a certain aspect of the wedding is so important to them," says Stanizai.
You don't have to incorporate all of your parents' opinions, but just giving them the space to share their ideas will mean a lot. Then, keep them in the loop. "Give your parents tasks. Ask them to be involved in certain pieces of the process," says Garner. "When they're engaged and giving you something, they feel useful." And the more involved and useful they feel, the less likely you'll have to deal with conflict.
What should you do when you can't stop arguing with your wedding party?
They key to avoiding conflict with your wedding party is to set expectations from the beginning. Let everyone know what you'll need from them during the wedding planning process, what they'll need to invest for the wedding (like tuxedo rentals or a bachelorette weekend), and how involved you expect them to be. Getting everyone on the same page from the start can help you avoid arguments entirely.
Also, make sure to cut your wedding party some slack. "You never know what weddings can trigger for other people—loneliness, isolation, body image issues, insecurity, or bad memories from their past," says Garner. Being sensitive to how they might be feeling as your wedding approaches—and taking the time to consider their feelings—can help strengthen your relationships long after you've walked down the aisle.