When you marry vision with reality you get a plan.
Have you ever had a project to complete that seemed absolutely pointless only to find years later that it prepared you for something real? That’s wedding planning.
To the surprise of no wedding professional, wedding planning is a dry run in preparing for the rest of your life.
Here are four ways that planning your wedding will prepare you for your marriage, and your whole life to come:
1. Emotional Processing
In my last piece, we discussed the emotional labor of wedding planning. If you can learn to process your emotions, especially with the guidance of a mental health practitioner, you’re adding years to your life and your marriage. Learning how to do it now will set your relationship up with a tool it’ll use again and again.
2. Communication Under Duress
For those of us who grew up without learning how to effectively communicate our feelings (me!), finding the words can be physically painful. You may shut down or start a fight to avoid what you’re really feeling. Weddings provide a time constraint that forces you to open your mouth if you don’t like the way things are going. Do not let that emotional cocktail steep or bottle up. Acknowledge it, process it, and communicate it to your partner. Get it out. Don’t let it contribute further to your stress and anxiety. Unmanaged, it will get a lot worse and end up turning you into an anxillla.
3. Problem Solving
When money is tight, people are tired, and you’re over it, you’ll find ways to pivot and improvise that you never imagined. You know what that resourceful spirt is great for?! Living! Raising kids, going back to school, moving, starting a new career, buying and renovating a home, health challenges, and financial hardships. Being able to be flexible and figure things out is a skill you will employ for the rest of your life. A wedding is an amazing “education” in how to do that.
4. Setting Boundaries
I love boundaries. They’re amazing opportunities for growth, change, and healing. The most difficult part of wedding planning — the part I watch my clients struggle with the most — is setting boundaries. Having to tell a parent that their way is not your way, having to tell an overbearing wedding party member that you have it under control, scripting phrases for your aunt who thinks every party is an opportunity to put on her best “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” performance — these are incredibly difficult and necessary things to do.
Mapping out what boundaries you want to set at your wedding is really telling people how you want them to show up in your life. Some people with toxic behaviors will be offended by this, but for the most part people will respect and abide by your decision to establish that boundary. Sometimes we can get so afraid of people saying no or not liking us anymore that we bend to the whims of people who don’t have our best interests in mind. You have to manage YOU because you feel the effects first. You know what it’s like to put up with toxic behavior and you owe it to yourself to advocate on your behalf.
Learning how to set boundaries gets easier as time goes on, but it sucks when you first establish them. Why? Because it’s counter to what you’ve learned to do. It’s a new muscle you have to condition. You’ll get the hang of it and when you do, you’ll be able to maintain the emotional equilibrium you’ve always wanted.
Learning these skills now may feel like you’re drinking from the water hose but in a few years you’ll be grateful you learned them!
Jordan A. Maney is an Assistant Editor at Catalyst Wedding Co. and is a San Antonio-based wedding planner. She she started her company as a planning haven for all the couples the industry chooses to ignore. Instead of just making a brand, she's building a community. Find more of her sass, humor, and Southern hospitality at loveallthedays.com.