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Balancing Family Demands with your Dream Wedding Plans

Planning a Wedding,
Building a Marriage

being ENGAGED is a DREAMY, EMOTIONAL, sometimes panicky and stressfull ROLLER COASTER


For better or for worse, you are not only marrying your fiancé on your wedding day. When the two of you join together in matrimony, you are also combining two families. Wedding planning is exciting yet challenging in many ways. Everyone has an opinion about what you should and shouldn’t do, and you are bound to receive advice and input from many sources. If your parents or future in-laws are contributing to the budget, you will need to bridge the gap between what you desire as a couple versus your family’s wants. This can be a sensitive issue. How do you strike a balance between your family’s expectations and your own wishes for your wedding?  Here are a few tips for curbing any potential drama:


First, talk with your fiancé about your desires for the wedding. Create a list of the most important things that you can’t live without on your big day. Next, discuss which parts are not as crucial that you are willing to compromise on if necessary. Also, decide together how you will handle disagreements that may arise when your families become involved. Once you two are on the same page, broach the wedding planning topic with your family on a united front. Serve as each other’s support system during any times of stress and conflict that may arise throughout the process.


Be Respectful
Listen to and acknowledge the opinions of your family, and think carefully about their requests before you react. Whenever you disagree, take a deep breath and craft your response with a level head. Remain calm, acknowledge the other person’s opinion, but be assertive and stand your ground on the things that are important to you. Thank them for their feedback and explain as gently as possible that you only get to do this once, and you want your wedding to reflect your personalities as a couple. Maintain a level of respect and consideration for your future in-laws at all times. Remember, these are the people who raised the man you love. They will be sitting across the table from you at family dinners in the future. Choose your battles wisely.


Your wedding is not only a celebration of your love for each other; it is about the joining of families. Weddings are a time of major transition for both families. It can be difficult for parents to accept that you are starting a new life. Mothers may feel especially vulnerable and often just want to be needed by you. Therefore, try to keep your mom and future mother-in-law involved and informed. Consider handing off some decisions and tasks to alleviate your own stress. Give in to their wishes occasionally to keep the peace.


Keep Things in Perspective
It can be easy to lose sight of the big picture when dedicating all of your time, energy and effort to wedding planning. Enjoy the process, but never forget what really matters. Maintaining a positive relationship with both each other and your families is the key to a happy life together.



by Robyn & Jim Vining #TeamVining

PHOTOGRAPHY  Robyn Vining Photography


    Things can get a little crazy as you plan your wedding. This is a special time, a good time and an exciting time! But even special, good and exciting times can bring with them stress. Being engaged is a dreamy, emotional, sometimes panicky and stressful roller coaster. It isn’t long after you make your first calls to loved ones to tell them the great news that people will begin to ask if you have a date set, if you found a dress, where will it be, etc. In a split second, you go from the proposal to planning a wedding and, if you're not careful, preparing for the actual marriage can very quickly get left behind.


    It’s important to take a step back and remember the engagement is not forever. It has a beginning and an end, both of which include those moments you depict on top of fancy cakes. And there is a lot of planning in the middle that can bring about a lot of busyness, and sometimes a lot of stress. The closer that you are to the end, the sooner you want it to be over. And then it is.


    On the other hand, it is important to keep sight on what the engagement helps you work toward. Your relationships, including your relationship with your partner, continue long after your engagement is complete. In your engagement, you and your fiancé are, by the very nature of relationships, building your marriage.


    You are getting to know one another and are defining your priorities.You are also setting your communication patterns and establishing how you navigate conflict. Planning a wedding brings to light how you are (wonderfully) different. You are learning to work as a team. And your engagement officially ends the moment you walk down that aisle and out in to the world together as a brand new team.


So, we've put together a guide on how to help you plan your new life together.


1. Walk together down the aisle and into the world.

    There is this moment that I, as a photographer, see often. I see the faces of our couples right after that "You may kiss the bride" moment. I see your eyes shift toward all of your family members and friends. I see your shoulders turn toward the aisle. I see you standing there, hand in hand, with all the excitement in the world on your faces. And then I watch you take your first steps as a husband and wife, down the aisle and into the world.You are a team, a freshly minted team ready to face the world…together.No marriage is like your marriage, no dynamic like yours. Each of you is a distinct individual, and together you will create a unique team. You will walk down the aisle and into the world together, with a marriage the world has never seen before. And it's going to be fantastic! But first, you will need to figure out who you are and how you’ll work together on this team.


2. Create the centerpiece of your home.

    As you plan your wedding, you'll likely think about centerpieces. And to think about centerpieces, you'll likely think about who you are as people. Centerpiece design if often a reflection of the couple; what you love and what you love to do. This type of reflection is similar in marriage. As you merge your lives together you will create a home, and you get to decide what will be central to it. Comfort? Peace? Fun? Adventure? Will your newly minted life together be built on traditions? Spontaneity? Both? Will your home be open to hospitality or kept intimate? Your home will be built on certain foundational blocks that will support these centerpieces of who you are as individuals and who are you are as a team. Talk through the kind of home you want to create together. Ask questions, design together and figure out how to mix together what you each love, as well as what you hope for in your future.


3. Find the sacrednessof marriage.

    Whether or not marriage is religious to you and your fiancé, marriage is sacred. Your marriage is just the two of you. People will have advice for you—good advice, healthy advice, helpful advice. And people will also get too close, infringe on your space or climb into your world. No one else is a part of your marriage. Not in-laws, not friends, not pets. Your marriage is set apart from the rest of your lives. Of course you have other people in your lives, but now there are parts of your lives that are just for the two of you.


    On your wedding day, you are choosing to give yourselves to each other. There is no a greater gift that you can give and there is no a greater gift that you can receive. On your wedding day, you make the choice to give and receive that greatest gift with one person. You choose them above all others, trusting them with all that you have and accepting all that they are. In marriage you give and receive, and continue to give and receive with your spouse in ways that are unique and sacred.


    This changes life. All of a sudden best friends take a different role. Parents take a different role. Your marriage rises up above all your other relationships, and at least initially that can be challenging. Give yourselves room for the adjustment. Expect to fail as you settle in. Extend grace to each other as you shift into this new world as a married couple.


4. Communicate.

    Planning a wedding can squeeze out a lot of chatter about your relationship and your future marriage by the mere fact that there are so many details involved in planning and only so many words that can be spoken in a day. Don't let this happen. Carve out time to work on communication now, and work on how you want communication to evolve as you get married.


    One of the best things you can do for communication in your relationship is to talk. Sounds elementary, doesn’t it? Yet so many times we forget to keep talking with one another and take for granted that our loved one knows a lot about us. We tend to assume that means we can talk less over time, but in reality we need to continue the conversation. And one of the best ways to talk through life each day is to ask questions. Sometimes you ask questions of your spouse, sometimes of yourself.


Here are some questions we have found helpful:

• Am I clearly and accurately expressing myself?

• Am I listening to understand my fiancé (spouse)?

• Is it worth an argument?

• Am I acting in love?

• Is it just about winning?

• Am I giving my fiancé (spouse) the benefit of the doubt?


Engagement can be stressful, but it is a special time set aside for nurturing your relationship before you make your marriage vows. Don't let all of the wedding planning prevent you from building a marriage that starts right with that first kiss.


What to do
Before "I Do"

    It’s official—you’re engaged! No amount of chick flicks or fantasies could prepare you for that moment your beloved got down on one knee. Your new bling has hundreds of “likes” on Facebook, and you can’t help but stare at it whenever the light catches it just right. As you scroll through Pinterest and bombard your wedding board with dozens of ideas, you think you have this planning game in the bag…until you realize you have no idea where to start. Don’t hit the panic button! We’ve got you covered.




    It’s easy to get swept up into the excitement of planning a wedding. Before you dive in, lay out your budget. Family may be helping pay for portions of the day, and if that is the case you’ll want to have a candid conversation at the onset about what they have budgeted for you and what that budget is intended for. For example, traditionally the groom’s parents pay for the rehearsal dinner, but that doesn’t mean you should expect that of them. Communicating your needs with their expectations will alleviate tension early on and keep you and your fiancé within your means so you can enjoy this day instead of having it financially cripple you.  Once you have a budget determined, you’ll want to set aside a “safety net” for any unexpected costs that may come up, as well as a small reserve for tips for your vendors.



    Let’s face it, you’ve probably been envisioning your wedding day far longer than your fiancé. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have ideas for what he would like your celebration to look like. Sit down with your budget and discuss what areas are most important to each of you. From there, consult one another before any final decisions are made. His input may be “it doesn’t matter to me” for some details, but giving him the chance to be included sends a strong message to him about how much you value him.




    Now that you’ve communicated expectations, you can begin digging into planning. Your guest list will be important in knowing what venues you can consider based on capacity size of the space. You don’t need an exact number, but know what your maximum head count will be so each location you visit can help decide if they can accommodate your needs. Many venues book up well in advance, so you’ll want to find your location as soon as possible. You may have a specific date in mind you’d like for your big day, but be willing to be flexible if you dream location is already booked on that date. Likewise, you may need to veto a venue if the date is a deal breaker. Know which is more important to you—the date or the place—and proceed accordingly.




    When it comes to making memories, the caterer and entertainment set the mood for the evening and will be talked about for years to come, and the photographer/videographer will be the ones capturing it all through their lens. Visit with at least three vendors in each of these areas so you can not only do a cost comparison, you also feel confident that whomever you hire doesn’t just fit your tastes but is someone you trust.



    You likely already have a theme in mind for your wedding, but now is the time to plan out the finer details of how it will all come together through things like flowers, décor, centerpieces, color palettes, etc. Finding a florist who can help you create a lot of these elements through their knack for design and talented vision will bring a sense of cohesion to everything else you incorporate. We have great tips for finding vendors that will match your style in the pages of Veil Magazine, as well as our online resources.




    The gowns and tuxes should be planned out about 9 months in advance to allow enough time for ordering and alterations. While you will likely take the lead on a lot of the planning initiation, having your groom take ownership of menswear will eliminate a lot of undue stress to you. Plan a day that you can go with him to come to an agreement on colors and styles, and then let him coordinate the men from there.




    Once you have your guest list and date set, you can send out Save the Dates so your loved ones can plan ahead to celebrate with you. Actual invitations don’t need to go out until about 45-60 days prior to your date. It’s inevitable that you’ll have a handful of guests that will forget to send back their RSVP by the due date. Plan in an extra week for you and your fiancé to be able to follow up on any unknown RSVPs before your final guest count numbers are due to vendors.


    When it comes to the registry, starting early on isn’t a bad idea as some people will want to buy you a gift as early as your engagement party, but don’t feel pressured to create a more complete registry until the bridal shower invites are ready to go out. You’ll want to revisit your registry after your bridal shower to make sure wedding guests have enough of a selection of items at various price points to browse through. For ideas about what to register for, visit the Veil Magazine website.




    Plan as you may, there will be the inevitable surprise or two that comes up during the wedding day. However, you can help alleviate a lot of that unnecessary stress by creating a list of things to remember to bring with you on your wedding day, having an agenda printed for your bridal party, and noting any final payments or other vendor-related items that may require your attention. Having a bridal attendant in charge of keeping track of this list and your wedding day needs is a great way to incorporate an important member of your family or friend who couldn’t be a part of the bridal party while allowing you to relax more knowing someone there to help you through the day.


    If you feel lost or in need of some guidance, we offer page after page of valuable information and quality vendors within the pages of Veil Magazine. You can also find us online at and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest for hundreds of articles, advice and daily inspiration to carry you through from “Yes” to “I Do.” We would love to hear about your wedding day and all the wonderful details that went into it. Learn how to enter our UnVeiled Love Story contest online, and you could be featured in a future issue of Veil Magazine!


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