We’re coming up to less than 30 days away from our wedding and we couldn’t be more excited. However, being wedding photographers ourselves, we know that planning is the most stressful part.

And yet, we still fell into the same trap that we could have easily guarded against.

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We’ve gone through layouts, and tables, and garlands and no garlands. Vendors who don’t respond, decor that was paid for, but perhaps won’t even fit, and lastly the emotional toll that it takes on two partners.

I wanted to write about planning together. I must be something else because we’ve heard this over and over from grooms regarding what it takes to put on a wedding:

“I just show up”

“I just have to show up”

And it was normal and accepted that wedding planning was a bride’s affair. Other brides were happy to relieve their partners of any and all cares from planning.

A year ago, as we sat down to plan things out for our wedding I had agreed to do most of the contacting of vendors, emailing back and forth, choosing the decor, deciding what was rented and what was not, organizing and designing invites, menus, etc.

Even though we, as photographers highly recommend that clients get a wedding planner, we didn’t even discuss it. There seems to be a pattern in what and how we expect certain things of our partners.

In our relationship, we had gotten into the habit of buyer and non-buyer duties.

Kevin footed the bill for most of the wedding purchases and in his mind his participation in planning is fulfilled. I would handle the managing, running and setting up of things.

Pretty good deal right? Sure, except for one thing.

During planning I believe we let some things slip through the communication black hole. For a while, I wasn’t sure why I was so upset and stressed.

I found out that for me, just paying for something doesn’t fulfill the emotional need of feeling like we’re in this together.

It makes me feel like he’s the boss and I’m the employee. While I’m happy to work in my role, I’m not happy feeling like I’m working alone. To feel alone in planning your wedding, doesn’t feel like a partnership it feels like a job.

The work is in the little things, the day to day adjustment of all the pieces that will eventually fit together (or not) on the day of.

And while I completely understand that it also takes hard work to attain the money to pay for things, it’s the simple act of feeling like we’re in this together. For me, I need to know that we’re both in it. We’re both struggling and we’re both winning when something finally works out.

On a night not too long ago, I told Kevin “I’m not happy”.

For weeks before this I didn’t know how to say this. I felt like I was shouldering stress that I very well could handle if I just sucked it up, but I didn’t want to suck it up. I wanted to share it with him, and I didn’t know how. It was like I was back to my old self afraid to say “I need your help, because I’m stressed the fuck out!”

Why?

I don’t know, old habits die hard I guess.

But this is why I’m marrying this man. One night not too long ago, he was trying to be intimate and loving and I couldn’t receive it. I didn’t want it. I did, but I couldn’t shake this distance I felt.

He asked me why. “What’s wrong?” One night not too long ago, I quietly confessed “because I’m not happy”.

Silence.

I wasn’t mad, I just didn’t know how I could feel connected and loving again. I started slowly, “All these little things. The planning. The house…”

Silence.

Instant change. The next morning he tells me we’re going to make time for planning together and we sit up till 11pm making sure the seating chart is perfect. We curse at the world when we ache over who will be good sitting next to each other. I smile in my heart.

I show him what I’ve been DIY-ing while he was away shooting or flying out to San Francisco. I’m excited again.

Like 99% of couples out there, we just came back from an IKEA run to furnish our office. Our office. This has been a dream of mine since I started to work from home. And while we’re cursing at the most frustrating instructions and funky assembly, I’m so elated that we’re doing it together. I smile at him across the room, trying to figure out his filing cabinet.

Yep, I’m weird. This is it. This is what does it for me. Working, struggling, and winning together. Don’t take me out, just assemble some furniture with me.

So how do you know you’ve picked a winner? I know I’m in the best partnership and that Kevin is my best match because there will always be times when we’re unhappy or frustrated or feel unloved. It’s a matter of making your needs known and their ability to respond in force.

We’re two weeks away, the planning is mostly out of our hands and our ability to communicate has been tested, yet again. So with that I’m glad to know that the next time I’m unhappy, it’s up to me to recognize it and allow my partner to have my back as I will have his.

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