Marriage therapists aren’t the only ones who have insight into whether a newlywed couple will stay together.
Turns out wedding planners know a thing or two about a marriage’s potential, given all the time they spend with their clients in the months leading up to the wedding. Working closely with couples ― and seeing them on their good days and their bad days ― gives these wedding professionals a strong sense of which pairs will likely stay together in the long run.
Below, wedding planners share the signs that bode well for a couple’s future together.
1. They’re willing to compromise.
A couple’s ability to give and take is crucial, not just when deciding on a wedding venue or a cake flavor but also for the success of the relationship as a whole. Sometimes it means meeting in the middle, other times it means letting your partner have it their way, knowing that they’d do the same for you.
“In wedding planning and in marriage, being able to understand the perspective of your mate and adapt to find solutions that you can both live with is a key skill,” said Lori Stephenson, founder of Lola Event Productions in Chicago. “Problem-solving skills and being willing to work together to find solutions to challenges are strong indicators of relationship success.”
Even when differences of opinion arise, a strong couple is able to stay calm and truly listen to each other.
“Not all couples have to agree on everything all the time, but respecting the other person’s ideas, viewpoints, experiences and working to meet them in the middle ― without always needing to be right ― opens the door to a successful marriage,” said planner Jove Meyer of Jove Meyer Events in New York.
2. They’re more focused on the marriage than the wedding.
A wedding is a momentous occasion, no doubt, but it’s also one day of a hopefully long marriage ahead. Couples who have their priorities straight stay focused on the bigger picture: the marriage itself, rather than fixating on every little wedding planning hiccup.
“Couples focused on their marriage more than their wedding still care about wedding details, but they don’t freak out about minor issues during the planning process or on the wedding day,” said Tracie Domino, founder and creative director of Tracie Domino Events, based in Tampa, Florida. “When a couple doesn’t freak out that we need to move the ceremony inside due to rain or don’t get angry if the band accidentally plays one of their do-not-play songs, that’s an immediate sign that the marriage is built to last.”
Planner Maggie Gaudaen, co-founder of Pop! Wed Co. in Washington, D.C., made a similar observation of the couples she’s worked with. The happiest ones “aren’t wringing their hands over everything being Pinterest-perfect.”
“They’re simply over the moon to be married,” she said. “When all the wedding glitz and glamour is gone, and you’re sitting there on the couch in sweats next to your new spouse, marriage is all that’s left. And that’s the best part.”
3. They plan the wedding together, making decisions as a team.
It’s not unusual for one partner to spearhead the planning process, especially if that person finds the work enjoyable or has more time in his or her schedule to devote to it. But if one partner is calling all the shots and the other is totally uninvolved in the decision-making process, it may mean the couple isn’t acting as a team in other areas of the relationship.
“Couples who jump on a conference call with me together, who both show up at vendor appointments and evenly divide up tasks are more likely to last,” planner Liz Coopersmith of Silver Charm Events in Los Angeles said. “I had a groom who wanted tacos at their wedding. They went to five different taco places before picking one, and she came along each time because it was important to him that she liked the tacos, too.”
4. They’re on the same page when it comes to the wedding budget.
It’s no secret that money is one of the biggest stressors in a marriage. Couples who see eye-to-eye on wedding spending, or can at least talk it through when they don’t, are better prepared for big discussions about mortgages, bills and childcare expenses they may have to deal with down the road.
“Whether you are footing your own wedding bills or you have family helping out, having frank discussions about your spending priorities and not keeping budget challenges from each other is key in wedding planning and life,” Stephenson said. “No one should go into a marriage in debt up to their ears from planning a party that was too expensive for their lifestyle.”
5. They can be assertive with pushy family members when need be.
Once you’re engaged, parents, siblings ― heck, even second cousins ― may begin voicing their unsolicited opinions about your wedding. If both partners have healthy boundaries with their family members, they should be able to hear this “advice” and respectfully ignore it if it doesn’t suit them.
“If a groom chooses his mother’s ideas over his soon-to-be wife’s ideas, that’s not good,” planner Summer McLane of My Simply Perfect Events in Atlanta said. “There comes a time when a couple has to start moving as a unit, independently of their families. Oftentimes an overbearing family member will make matters tough. When the bride or groom takes the side of their soon-to-be spouse, it’s perfect. It shows that they’ll protect their spouse when they need it.”
6. They have realistic expectations about the wedding and the marriage.
Couples who are prepared for the inevitable bumps in the road ― whether it’s a wedding vendor who’s running late or a rough patch in the relationship ― are better equipped to go the distance.
“Do you expect the sun, moon and stars on a limited budget? Do you expect Mother Nature’s full cooperation and lament less-than-ideal weather when the big day rolls around?” Stephenson said. “Do you expect things to happen on to-the-minute timing that doesn’t allow for spontaneity on the big day? These are all signs that your expectations are unrealistic and need to be managed.”
7. They’re capable of having difficult conversations without jumping down each other’s throats.
Even the healthiest couples are going to disagree at times. The key is how you manage those points of contention. Do you yell, name-call or stonewall? Or do you take a deep breath and express your feelings in an honest, mature manner?
Wedding planning often brings tricky conversations and touchy subjects (like family and money) to the forefront.
“Planning a wedding isn’t just about pretty flowers and cake,” McLane said. “I’m part of really difficult conversations and decisions with my couples, and when a couple is open, honest and realistic, for them, it’s a great sign that the marriage will last. I’ve had grooms hide financial issues from their bride, and it makes me so uncomfortable because if you’re being sneaky before the wedding, you’ll be sneaky after the wedding.”