It’s all about you…both of you.

Many brides start dreaming of their wedding well before they are actually engaged. Sometimes, they’ve been thinking about their wedding since they were little girls. Guys? Not so much.

In our culture, wedding planning is almost always a bride’s task. Truth be told, there are plenty of guys who are happy to stay out of it, either because he honestly has no preference about wedding details…or because he is willing to defer to his fiancé’s stronger feelings about colors, décor, themes and so on. There are also grooms who have very strong feelings about certain things – or everything! – and brides who are less than thrilled with the tasks of wedding planning.

Your wedding, however, is about you as a couple. Grooms can and should have some input. Here are a few tips for turning “my big day” into “our big day.”

1. Make a list. Each of you should identify the ten most important and five least important aspects of your wedding and reception. Almost always, what’s least important to one of you will be on the other’s most important list, and that makes it easy to let the other person make the final decision on those items. Where both of you agree on “most important” items, commit to thorough discussion and compromise. If you both agree something is “least important” – aisle runner or unity candle or tossing the bouquet and garter – maybe you should just axe those items from your wedding altogether.

2. Make a budget. Sometimes, engaged couples have differing ideas on acceptable costs for things like wedding clothing, reception food, flowers and so on. Using the priority lists you just made, set an expenditure range and total budget that is acceptable to you…and your family members who have offered to help pay for your wedding.

3. Talk about family traditions early in the process. His family might have important cultural or religious customs that he can’t imagine marrying without, but she’s never even heard of before. Her family may have always had pot luck receptions, something his family would never understand. It’s important to accommodate both families as well as both spouses-to-be.

4. Look for ways to showcase yourselves as a couple. Rather than the colors being her favorites, pick one of hers and one of his (third and fourth colors are also becoming more common). If those mason jars and burlap centerpieces are “so her,” and he’s rarely seen without a plaid shirt, add plaid ribbon to make his style part of it.

5. Commit to being politely honest. Don’t start your marriage being too afraid to say you don’t like what your spouse-to-be seems to love. But be respectful in your disagreement. If she picks a color that he can’t stand, he needs to feel comfortable saying, “Could we come up with another option than chartreuse? It’s just not a color I like.” If he is opting for the most expensive items the caterer has to offer, she should be able to say, “That would be great if we had a bigger budget, but we should choose a more balanced menu.”

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