5 Wedding-Related Fights You May Have With Your Groom (And How to Handle Them!)

Published on Brides.com on March 6, 2016 by Jillian Kramer

Wedding planning isn’t always pre-wedding bliss. Says Jaclyn Fisher, owner of Two Little Birds Planning in Philadelphia, “Wedding planning can be an incredibly stressful time for couples. It’s a huge undertaking filled with emotional highs and lows, and between the money, family dynamics, decision making, and scheduling, it’s easy for couples to fall victim to wedding planning quarrels.” Here are five wedding planning fights you might have and how to handle them.

1. How to spend your wedding budget.
Sometimes the way you spend your dollars doesn’t make sense to your partner. For example, you may want to put the bulk of your budget toward your big day, while your partner wants to splurge on an extravagant honeymoon. Your difference of opinions could cause sparks of the fighting variety to fly. “Money is the number one thing that married couples fight about, so it’s not surprising that it’s also a common disagreement in the planning process,” says Fisher.

When it comes to your wedding budget, our experts agree that compromise is key. But coming to an agreement you can both live with is just the start. “Now is a good time to talk about what you both feel comfortable spending money on and where you might be willing to negotiate,” explains Lesli Doares, marriage coach and author of Blueprint for a Lasting Marriage. “Being open to each other and being curious about why you each feel the way you do is important. You each must be willing to go beyond the cost of the flowers or reception and identify what is driving the desire to choose one thing over another.”

2. Who’s more enthusiastic over planning.
Your wedding may be your passion project, while your partner can barely muster two cents to contribute to any wedding-related discussion. His or her lack of enthusiasm — as you chat over centerpieces or anything else wedding-related — could cause you to think he or she doesn’t care at all or care enough. But Doares warns, “Just because one of you is more interested in the flowers or where you go on the honeymoon doesn’t mean the other person doesn’t care about you or the event. People have different levels of emotion and focus about all kinds of things, and expecting your partner to care at the same level that you do is unrealistic.”

So rather than expecting your partner to plan a certain way, “it’s important to move out of the right or wrong, good or bad view and allow your partner to feel the way they feel,” Doares says. “It’s what you want around your feelings so you have to be willing to give it to your partner. Stay away from judgment just because you feel a different way. Taking a position of curiosity is always more productive. Ask about what each is feeling, really listen, and be open to a position that is different from yours.”

3. Who’s doing the lion’s share of planning.
Fights often erupt during the planning process, Fisher says, when one person feels as he or she is doing all the planning him or herself. “This can be hurtful because the one doing all the work feels like their spouse-to-be doesn’t care, when in reality, he or she may just not know how to help,” she explains.

If you feel as if you’re running the show without so much as a single hand to help, Fisher urges you not to turn those feelings into a fight. “Talk to your honey about how it’s a celebration of the two of you and you want the wedding to reflect that,” she suggests. “Find out which areas of planning they are most interested in and have them take the lead in those categories. If he’s a music aficionado, have him lead the band search. If she’s a foodie at heart, have her coordinate the caterer.”

4. The people who’ll make it onto your guest list.
You’d think choosing the friends and family members with whom you’ll surround yourself on your big day would be easy, but it’s not. “This is one of the first opportunities to set boundaries around yourself as a couple,” Doares explains. “The people you invite to share your special day are an indication of who will support you going forward in your life as a married couple.” Not only that, but Fisher points out that how big your guest list grows also affects your budget, venue choice, and the overall feel of your wedding day.

So don’t leave this sticky subject for the last minute. “Get clear with each other what kind of event you want and how the people there will support you in your life together,” Doares suggests. “If you don’t want children present, that’s okay. Just be willing to understand the why. Try to take it out of the right or wrong view and see it as just different.”

5. Your opinionated family members.
Says Fisher, “Whether it’s overly opinionated parents or a know-it-all sister, family tends to find a way into many wedding planning arguments,” warns Fisher. And while it’s important to listen to your family’s requests, bending to their wills rather than setting boundaries could create “a slippery slope in designing your life together,” Doares says.

So when it comes to fighting over family, it’s most important to let your partner vent about his parents without joining in. “Since we instinctively feel defensive of our family and emotions are already running high, this can quickly lead to a fight with your partner,” she says. “When family becomes a wedding planning topic, be sure to keep the conversation constructive and respectful to avoid conflicts.”

Then, adds Doares, you must realize that even though you love your families, the new family you are creating together must come first. “If as a result your family’s wishes aren’t followed, that is their issue to handle,” she says. “Presenting a united front to each family is critical to stake out your own place. Really listen and be open to what is important to each of you as you build your new life because it has to be a good fit for each of you.”

5 Little Wedding Details That Can Lead to Blowout Fights

Published on Brides.com on June 23, 2016 by Jillian Kramer

There’s a saying that the devil is in the details. And when it comes to wedding planning fights, that saying couldn’t be truer. “While you may argue about the big things, like the budget or venue, you’re likely going to bicker most often about the little things,” warns Amy Nichols, owner of and co-founder of The Poppy Group. “Recognizing early that even the small things require cooperation and consideration will help the wedding planning process flow much more easily.”

With that in mind, here are five little things that can lead to big wedding fights, and how to solve — or better yet, avoid — each one.

1. Your Partner’s Attire
We know what the bride wears on the big day is a big deal. But you may find yourself bickering if your partner wants to pair a tuxedo with his Chuck Taylor’s. “Brides and grooms often argue over the look and style that is expected of them on the wedding day,” says Nichols. “Staying as true to the actual likeness of the couple in everyday life is always the best bet. But arguing happens when couples can’t agree on what that is exactly.”View our complete list of celebrity-approved honeymoon destinations.

2. Your Invitation Wording
You may have never imagined you’d have war or words with your significant other over your invitation wording. But, as Two Little Birds Planning owner Jaclyn Fisher explains, the order in which you list your parents on this piece of paper can be a touchy subject, especially if one set is footing the bill for your big day. Don’t let wording lead to a disagreement between you by choosing a neutral invitation phase, such as, “along with their parents,” Fisher suggests.

3. The Cost of A Small Item
When you’ve already booked and paid for the big things, it can be easy to overlook that little costs can quickly add up. “Favors cost how much? It’s not uncommon for one partner to begin calculating the small things and begin getting frustrated by the total,” says Nichols. “This finds you arguing about whether the mercury glass candle holder is worth the extra $2.” Sidestep this argument by building even the smallest items into your initial budget, and being open about your spending as you plan. View our complete list of how to find the perfect wedding dress for your body type.

4. The Bachelor or Bachelorette Party
Whether driven by finances for a costly out-of-town celebration or concern your partner will cross the line, couple’s often fight over these particular parties, says Fisher. “Avoid arguments by discussing your feelings, possible scenarios, and how you would both handle them if they arise,” she suggests, adding it’s best to host the parties far before the wedding, which will give everyone time to recover and recoup.

5. Your Wedding Flowers
It’s tough to imagine bickering over something so beautiful. But when you ask your beau to choose between English garden or American beauty roses and get a non-committal answer, an argument can soon blossom. “It’s not the actual flowers causing the fight,” says Fisher. “It’s the groom’s lack of involvement or opinion.” So, be sure to clearly communicate to your partner how much you value and need his opinion. Or, “if it’s already an issue, don’t let it escalate,” encourages Fisher. “Let him know that you want him involved so the wedding reflects both of you.” View our complete list of the most iconic celebrity brides of all time.

8 Things You Should NEVER Say to Your Partner While Wedding Planning

Published on Brides.com on July 12, 2016 by Jillian Kramer

Wedding planning is stressful, and it can make an otherwise rational and kind guy or gal say something they’ll regret on the road to the big day. With that in mind, here are eight things you should never say to your significant other, from experts who’ve seen these otherwise innocuous phrases go terribly awry.

1. “You always …”
According to Amy Nichols, owner of Amy Nichols Special Events and co-founder of The Poppy Group,, this is a bad way to start any sentence during the wedding planning process. “This comment starts with blaming word,” she says. “It makes assumptions about what the other person wants or might want. Listening before assuming what your future spouse might want is essential. Consider that your fiance may have a thought that surprises you.”

2. “Your parents are driving me crazy.”
You feel like can tell your partner everything. “But speaking negatively about his or her parents and family is a big no-no,” warns Jaclyn Fisher, owner of Philadelphia-based Two Little Birds Planning. “Even if your love is complaining about his folks, don’t join in and criticize his family. This can lead to a quick fight with your fiancé since we instinctively feel defensive of our own family. If family is a topic of discussion, it’s important to be respectful.”

3. “I don’t care what you think about …”
You swoon for peonies, but for some reason, your partner can’t stand them. That’s A-OK, Nichols says. “But what’s not OK is to dismiss the other person’s opinion,” she says, with a comment that tells your partner you could care less. Instead, “listen, compromise, and make a mutual decision,” she suggests.

4. “You’re overreacting. Relax.”
Just because your partner is overreacting doesn’t mean you can or should call him or her out on it. “Telling him or her to relax will actually have the opposite effect, because it is diminishing the way he or she feels,” Fisher explains. “Instead, you should acknowledge and respect his or her feelings, then work together to come up with a solution to the problem.”

5. “No, you’re not having that.”
Perhaps you have your heart set on designer shoes for the big day, but your partner can’t justify the expense on your budget, so he gives you a hard-no. “This absolute-no mindset in wedding planning can be detrimental to your relationship as well as the success of the wedding planning process,” warns Nichols. “Try to come up with ways that both partners are able to receive what they’d like for the wedding day.”

6. “My ex …”
In the same way you really shouldn’t invite your ex to the wedding (except for special circumstances), you shouldn’t really mention his or her name while you’re planning your wedding with your current love. “Bringing up your ex during wedding planning is a sure-fire way to upset your partner,” says Fisher. “It shows that you’re still thinking about him or her, instead of focusing on the future.”

7. “You decide.”
According to Nichols, “Apathy in wedding planning always leads to disagreement,” and that’s especially true if you say the words “you decide” following a big-day disagreement. After all, when you really want someone’s opinion, this is the last thing you want to hear. “Change your mindset to ‘we decide,’ and keep talking it through until you can come to some kind of resolution,” suggests Nichols.

8. “Why are you so emotional?”
“Wedding planning is a really emotional time,” says Fisher. And asking your partner why he or she is feeling all the feelings, she says, “is only going to make it worse and will probably lead to an easily avoidable argument. Start by offering comfort, then a sensitive approach to find out what’s truly wrong.”

10 Small Things You Shouldn’t Sweat on Your Wedding Day

Published on Brides.com on August 29, 2016 by Jillian Kramer

You spent months or even years planning out the perfect day. So when a single, solitary detail goes awry, your gut instinct is to sweat it — or worse. As Jaclyn Fisher, owner of Two Little Birds Planning in Philadelphia explains, “couples expect for the wedding day to go exactly as planned, so therefore even small things that may not bother them any other time will seem huge on the big day.” But that being said, our experts promise these 10 things are nothing to sweat on the big day. After all, you’ve got enough to worry about.

1. You’re running a little late. So your family portraits were supposed to start at 3 p.m. on the dot, but it’s 3:05 p.m. and you haven’t yet made your way through the church door. You can stop checking your watch, however. “Your planner padded your timeline to account for some things running a little behind,” explains Fisher, “so don’t panic if you’re starting photos 10 minutes after you were supposed to.”

2. Your vendor is running late. It’s not exactly an ideal situation when your cake is stuck in traffic. “But it happens,” says Aviva Samuels, owner of Kiss the Planner in Palm Beach, Fla. “If they can hustle to make up for lost time, and they’re smiling, and in the groove by the time that your guests first interact with them, then there’s no real damage done. Unless you want to freak out and cause yourself unnecessary stress, the only damage you would be doing is the damage you’d be doing to yourself over it.”

3. You know you blinked for that last photo. You want to look perfect on your wedding day, but “couples should not worry about looking perfect in every photo,” says Fisher. “Thousands of shots will be taken by your photographer, and he or she will only deliver a few hundred edited photos. That means you’re getting the best photos that were taken, and you’ll never even see the ones with your eyes closed.”

4. Your centerpieces look nothing like what’s on your Pinterest board. If your centerpieces miss the Pinterest mark, take a deep breath and remember that while you know what they were supposed to look like, your guests have no clue. “As a general rule of thumb, fresh flowers in any color, shape, or style are beautiful,” says Samuels. And while you have a right to be upset that what was promised wasn’t delivered, she says, “is it really worth getting aggravated over?”

5. You fear your friend is about to give an embarrassing toast. Try as you might, you can’t control what comes out of another person’s mouth. “You can ask them to keep it positive, but you can’t control whether or not they respect your wishes,” points out Fisher. “So if a toast takes a bad turn, shake it off, move on, and get back to enjoying your day.”

6. Your DJ goes rogue. Let’s say he plays the wrong song for your first dance. Or, “when everyone is up, dancing, and having fun, he threw a curve ball, played a song that bombed, and it cleared out the dance floor,” describes Samuels. “Sure, he may have made a big faux pas. And it might have been a real doozy. But it’s done. And it’s still not the end of the world. It’s still a wonderful wedding and the mistake will long forgotten by everyone there, and hopefully even you.”

7. You checked the weather forecast — and it’s not good. You’ve made a rain plan and checked it twice. Just make sure you love Plan B — and Plan C and Plan D — as much as you love Plan A, says Fisher. Because if you do, “you won’t need to worry about what Mother Nature brings on your wedding day,” she explains.

8. Your ceremony music is off. So your pianist is supposed to hit the high notes just as you walk down the aisle, but she starts the crescendo long before you’ve taken your first step. “That’s not how it was supposed to go,” admits Samuels, “but does anyone really know that, and does it really matter? I bet all they were thinking is how beautiful the melody was, how happy your loved ones seemed, and how stunning you looked.”

9. You haven’t had time to talk to every guest. Whether you’re making the rounds at dinner or mingling during cocktail hour, realize you may unintentionally miss some people — and that’s OK. “Your friends and family will understand,” assures Fisher. “Just do your best and don’t let it take the focus away from having fun.”

10. You tasted the chicken, and it’s dry. Or maybe the rice was cold. Whatever the problem, “you tasted it just the month before and it was perfect, and now it isn’t,” describes Samuels. “But your guests are surrounding you, having a wonderful time and feeling your joy as they see and feel your wedded bliss. They aren’t nearly as critical as you are. They didn’t come for the food, they came for you. That part of course was perfect, and happily, they got what they wanted.”

The 4 Signs You’re Spending Way Too Much Money on Your Wedding

Published on Brides.com on September 23, 2016 by Jillian Kramer
Worried you’re spending too much on your big day? Here’s how to tell.

Bills, bills, bills. For even the most budget-savvy bride, they’ll pile up when it comes to paying for a wedding, making you question if you’ve spent too much on (one) big day.

“Since people rarely spend so much money on one thing, couples often experience sticker shock and worry that they’ve spent too much money on their wedding,” commiserates Jaclyn Fisher, owner of Two Little Birds Planning in Philadelphia.

But there are ways to know for sure. Here are four signs you’ve spent way too much on your wedding day.

1. You’re adding items to your budget that weren’t there to begin with.
“Spending money on things that weren’t originally in your budget is a surefire way to spend too much on your wedding,” Fisher says. You know, like that fancy monogram you’ll have flashing on the dance floor. “If there isn’t an extras category in your wedding budget to account for these last minute additions, it’s important to redo your budget, taking money from other categories to make up for the unexpected costs,” Fisher advises.

2. You feel guilty.
“Did you fall in love with the Rolls Royce of wedding dresses and your money just fell right out of your wallet at the bridal salon?” asks Amy Nichols, owner of Amy Nichols Special Events and cofounder of The Poppy Group. “Now you’re feeling an overwhelming sense of guilt that maybe you didn’t make the right choice.” Yep, you probably splurged when you should have saved. But it’s not the end of the world. “Be sure you plan ahead before going to your next vendor or venue appointment,” Nichols advises. “Know how much you’re allowed to spend on your shoes or flowers before you begin shopping and you’ll be less likely to fall in love with something you can’t afford.”

3. You’re having nightmares about your wedding bills.
Severe anxiety is a red flag that you’ve gone overboard with your wedding budget. “While a wave of uneasiness is manageable, constant anxiety about your spending isn’t healthy,” says Fisher. “It’s normal to dream about your wedding, but if it’s a nightmare and the reoccurring theme is your spending, it’s time to talk to your partner about the budget.”

4. Your credit card bill sent you into shock.
Wedding bills are more than what’s in your budget. “It’s so easy to just swipe that card when it comes to wedding-related expenses, not to mention how much you’ll spend on other things like eating out, organizational tools, traveling to showers, and of course new outfits for every occasion,” says Nichols. “If the first credit card bill after you get the ring shocks you, then you know you should reign in your spending a bit throughout the planning process. Try to write down any expense as they relate to the wedding, or use an online budget tracker to help you keep a good handle on what’s being spent on the wedding on a day-to-day basis.”

6 Signs You Have a Toxic Bridesmaid

Published on Brides.com on December 27, 2016 by Jillian Kramer

Is her negativity casting some major gloom over your big day?

Bridesmaids are simply the best. They’ll keep you sane through the wedding planning process, and even help you pee in that wedding dress (yes, seriously!).

That’s not to say there won’t be a few bumps on the bridesmaid road, but an ideal ‘maid is there to support you and not stir up trouble. But, if one does… she may be a toxic bridesmaid. Here’s how to know.

1. She’s bad mouthing your partner.
Saying mean things about your soon-to-be spouse is a sure sign you have a toxic ‘maid. “A toxic bridesmaid will find things to not like about your partner, while a true friend will love and appreciate him or her because he or she makes you happy,” says Jaclyn Fisher, owner of Two Little Birds Planning in Philadelphia.

2. She’s totally disinterested in wedding planning.
Your ‘maid can’t muster up an interest in your wedding or plans. “You picked your bridesmaids hoping that they would be excited to be by your side on the big day,” says Amy Nichols, owner of Amy Nichols Events and co-founder of The Poppy Group. But, “a toxic bridesmaid is often disinterested in the process and isn’t available when you might need her.”

3. She criticizes everything about your wedding.
Your bridesmaid cringed when you showed her your wedding dress, told you that your color palette is off-season, and every time you bring her to your venue, all she can do is point out its ugly carpeting. Yep, you’ve got a toxic ‘maid. “Bridesmaids should make you feel good about your planning decisions, not doubt them,” says Fisher.

4. Your other bridesmaids can’t stand her.
From not pulling her weight to picking fights and “forgetting” to chip in her cut for the bachelorette party, a toxic bridesmaid is the bane to your other ‘maids existence. “She may not be the most agreeable person, or have a slightly more abrasive personality,” describes Nichols. “Your other bridesmaids may become resentful and feel like they have to pull her weight, which isn’t fair.”

5. She’s constantly complaining about costs.
Even the most intimate weddings can be expensive. But if your bridesmaid is whining about everything from the cost of her dress to the gift she is buying for your big day, she may be toxic. “It’s true that being a bridesmaid impacts her bank account, but she knew what she was signing up for when she said yes,” says Fisher. “She shouldn’t make you feel bad about it every step of the way.”

6. She’s making your wedding all about her.
It’s your big day or so you thought, until this bridesmaid made it clear it’s all about her. “You may find her trying on wedding dresses when she’s supposed to be helping you choose yours,” describes Fisher. “Instead of focusing on you and your wedding, she’s worried about finding a date to bring. When she’s shifting the focus from you to her, it’s a sign she’s a toxic bridesmaid.”

Of course, knowing you have a toxic bridesmaid doesn’t mean you know why she’s behaving this way. So before you give her the boot, “be a good friend, and ask her if there’s something she wants to talk about,” suggests Fisher. “It’s hard to imagine or come to grips with the fact that one of your best friends is showing a different — and terrible — side to herself. And if her negativity and bad attitude are casting gloom over this happy time, it’s OK to ask a toxic bridesmaid to step down.”

What to Consider when Planning a Post-Holidays Engagement Party

Photo by Michael Falco of Christian Oth Studio

Posted to Brides.com on December 30, 2016 by Jillian Kramer

Congrats! You found a ring under the tree! But is this really the right time to throw an engagement party?

Hands down, the holidays are the most popular time to get engaged. And if your partner proposes — or already asked for your hand! — over the holidays, you may have your mind set on an equally-festive engagement party to celebrate your commitment to one another.

But before you book a venue and send out invitations, you might want to press pause and ask if now is really the right time to throw en engagement party.

“A lot of couples get engaged during the holidays, and it’s only natural to want to celebrate with an engagement party right away,” commiserates Jaclyn Fisher, owner of Two Little Birds Planning in Philadelphia. “But there are a lot of things to factor when choosing a date for your engagement party.”

People Are All Partied Out
For starters, Fisher points out, many people — if not all people — are tired and all-but-broke after the holidays. And they need a break from that (expensive) busyness. “They’ve been to holiday party after holiday party, and the thought of Netflix on their couch may be more appealing than yet another party,” she says. And Viva Max Kaley, owner of Viva Max Weddings in New York City, agrees. “People just spent a lot of money buying gifts, traveling and running around for the holidays,” she says. “They are spent — in all senses of the word. If your party means another plane ticket or more days off work, it might be difficult for them to swing it in early January.”

Traveling Can Be Tough
What’s more, the friends and family you want there most may not be able to attend. If they live out of town or would need to travel to your party, “they may not be able to take the time off work, or travel again so soon after the holidays,” Fisher points out. That’s if they even spot your engagement party invitation in the pile of holiday cards and catalogs they’ve surely come home to find.

Finding a Venue Could Be Easier
But of course, there are plusses to hosting an engagement party after the holidays. For one thing, “it’s a slower time for restaurants, so you’ll have more dates to choose from and could save some money,” says Fisher.

People May Not Have Plans
“A party could be a well welcomed distraction,” says Kaley. “People often need things to do early in the year.” And, of course, if out-of-town friends and family are still in town when you throw your party, you may just make their lives easier.

Ultimately, it’s up to you, and there’s no right or wrong answer. And if you’re having a tough time deciding, Kaley says you can really whittle all that worry down to a single question: “Where are people coming from?” she asks. “Depending on your friends and family’s means, you may want to consider the proximity to the holidays. If most people need to travel, then these things should be considered more heavily.”