How to Avoid Those 'Inevitable' Wedding Planning Fights

11/02/2016 12:25 pm ET | Updated Nov 02, 2016

Getting engaged is one of the happiest, most exciting moments in a relationship. Planning a wedding, on the other hand, can be super stressful—even the most seemingly laid back couples may find themselves randomly arguing over everything from cake flavors to the guest list.

But planning your big day doesn’t need to be rife with conflict. If you and your dearly beloved can communicate early on about your expectations, planning styles and project management skills (boring, yes, but oh-so-necessary), you can avoid the fights that most couples find themselves having in the months leading up to the big event.

Here are five things you need to talk about before you set a date and tour those venues.

1. Who’s in charge

Of course, both of you are the helm of wedding planning, but one person may be more organized or more into leading the process. If that’s the case, designate said person to be the one who sets up appointments, keeps track of the paperwork and makes sure everything’s moving alone. If you both want to share the load equally, discuss what that looks like: As in, will you divide and conquer contacting certain vendors? Split up key tasks and check in periodically about your progress? If you go this route, be clear about who is handling what so you don’t overlap on, or overlook, anything.

2. What your planning styles are

One of you may be more type-A, the other may be more relaxed about planning. Talking in advance about how you expect this process to go will keep you from getting annoyed at each other for having different approaches. The tasks that one of you feels are totally necessary may seem superfluous to the other person—you may have different viewpoints on which details really matter (say, favors or monogrammed bar coasters) and which ones can be passed over in the interest of keeping things simple.

3. How planning will fit into your daily life

Discuss how often you’re going to talk about, and execute, your planning. One of you may want to do a little bit each day, while the other may prefer spending one weekend getting a bunch of tasks done. Or, one of you may want to plan everything right away so you can relax in the months leading up to the wedding, while the other would rather to chip away a little bit at a time in an effort to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Whatever your preferences are, figure out how to come together on a planning schedule that works for both of you.

4. What tasks you need to do—and decide on—together

Some couples want to choose every last detail as a team, while others have different takes on what details actually matter the most to them. Figure out if you can divide and conquer your planning to-do list and, if so, how much you expect the other person to weigh in when it comes to making decisions about the other’s tasks. You may want to do separate research but ultimately select vendors, menu items and so on as a team, or you may choose to surprise each other with what you each picked for your DJ, linens or what have you, depending on what items you took on individually.

5. Whose opinions matter

Other than you two, there may be other people in your lives guiding your decision making process. Perhaps your parents are paying, and therefore have a say in where or how you get hitched. Have a candid talk about this pre-planning so that you’re clear on whose opinions actually matter—and how much.

To make these conversations quicker and easier, take these three wedding planning quizzes excerpted from the new book 101 Quizzes for Brides & Grooms

What Are Our Wedding Planning Expectations?

Circle “me” or “you” based on how you each feel about the following statements.

It’s going to be fun. Me You

It’s going to be a lot of work. Me You

It’s going to be stressful. Me You

We’re going to see eye-to-eye on most things. Me You

We’re going to need to learn the art of compromise. Me You

We should talk about planning every day. Me You

We should designate a certain day of the week for planning. Me You

We should try to plan everything ASAP to get it done. Me You

We should plan things in stages to keep from getting overwhelmed. Me You

We should plan most things together. Me You

We should involve our parents/whoever is paying in our decision-making. Me You

We should divide and conquer our to-do list. Me You

What Are Our Wedding Planning Personalities?

Circle “me” or “you” based on how you each feel about the following statements.

I like to make lists and will use them to stay on-task. Me You

I like the idea of tackling our to-dos once a month in one long session. Me You

I like the idea of planning a little bit each day. Me You

I’m type-A all the way and really good at planning things. Me You

I’m a more laid back planner. Me You

I’m not a planner and tend to be disorganized. Me You

I like planning things over email and using online tools like Pinterest and Google Docs. Me You

I like planning by talking and making vision boards using real photos and magazine tear-outs. Me You

I want to have a clear schedule of when things should get done. Me You

I want to be more spontaneous with planning—we do things when we do them. Me You

I want to eliminate as many to-dos as possible by really thinking about what we actually need to do, have and include at our wedding. Me You

I want to plan the wedding with our guests in mind, first and foremost. Me You

I want to plan the wedding with our wants and needs in mind, first and foremost. Me You

What’s Our Plan of Action When Wedding Planning Gets Overwhelming?

Answer these questions together to get on the right track before planning begins.

1. What’s our wedding-planning mantra, AKA the one thing we truly believe matters when it comes to our big day?

2. What are three things we can do to relax if we start getting stressed?

3. If we decide we need a break from planning, what should that look like and how long should it last?

4. If we have trouble making a decision, what should be the final decider? (Flip a coin? Ask a friend? You choose!)

5. Designate a funny word or phrase we can say if we don’t want to talk about the wedding anymore that moment, or that day:

6. What should we do if one of us really wants or cares about a certain detail and the other person doesn’t?

7. What’s the best way to (gently) let the other person know when they’ve gone off the deep end while planning?

8. How should we deal with the not-so-fun planning tasks that start stressing us out? (Delegate to a parent? Make a quick decision? Put on hold for another day?)

9. How can we remind each other to not sweat the small stuff while planning?

10. When we look back on our wedding years from now, what’s the one thing we want to be able to remember or say about our big day?

CONVERSATIONS