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“HE WAS GETTING too involved in the small details, which drove me insane,” says a Huntingdon Valley bride of her then-fiancé. The two tied the knot in 2008, but not before the stress of wedding planning started to wreak havoc on their relationship. Besides his hovering, there was stress from his parents, too. “In the beginning, he kept telling them to call me. I would go insane with how many times they called,” she says.
That’s a whole lot of insane when you consider that the process — planning what’s supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life — typically lasts more than a year. “The flaws or negatives are magnified during this stressful time,” says licensed psychotherapist Tracey Ellenbogen, whose office is in Center City. “People act crazy, and the other person is wondering, ‘Can I live with this for the rest of my life?’”
Yes, the road from engagement to vows may test your relationship in totally new ways, but that doesn’t mean you’ve got cold feet or he’s ready to bail. The two of you can address planning panic together. In fact, with the right approach, you can even make the experience fun.
START OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT
Common advice that’s hard to follow: You two should revel in just being engaged for a while. The way to do exactly that, says planner Lynda Barness of Philadelphia’s I DO Wedding Consulting, is to get a few of the must-dos out of the way. “The very first thing should be the guest list,” Barness says, “because it affects so much. With the guest list handled early on, other things fall into place.”
Next, you should line up your choice of pros and book them for your Big Day. But you don’t have to work out every last detail yet. By all means, tell your favorite floral designer when your wedding will be, but don’t get right down to choosing between pink roses and hydrangeas.
If you use a wedding planner, this initial planning stage will probably go more quickly, says Barness: “A wedding planner can narrow down the field. You don’t have to call 50 photographers.” Then, Barness suggests taking a break. “Take a vacation from planning and use that time to look through magazines and get ideas” — but, ahem, not to make appointments or definite decisions.