Keeping the Peace

How to plan a wedding without immediately wanting a divorce.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photograph by Jim Graham

 

 

The road to “I do” is paved with decisions: what venue to use, how many guests to invite, which flowers, which church, which photographer. Every wedding is as unique as the bride and groom. But that individuality can lead to disagreements about almost anything wedding-related: family participation and decision-making, the groom’s involvement, money, religion, ceremony and reception location, even what music to play.

But at the end of the wedding day, it’s how those disagreements are handled that is important.

Samantha Passarinho and her husband Miguel compromised when they disagreed about their Ocean City, Maryland wedding. She was like every bride—filled with excitement and hope that things would go as planned on the wedding day, July 22, 2006. After only hitting one snag during planning—how many people to invite and who—it did. To this day, it’s the one big battle the couple has suffered.

Originally, both wanted a smaller wedding—just family and close friends. But Miguel’s dad, who co-owns the family business, wanted to invite associates. Her list of possible attendees: 100. His: 300.

“I felt we were getting married so we should invite people who would be on both our lists,” she says. “He wanted to make his dad happy.”

And so they argued. “We had our five minutes of yelling and then it was over,” she says.

Eventually, they decided to solve the problem. “We said we’re not going to talk like this anymore. We can’t plan a wedding like this,” she says. “We kind of laughed about it. We’d be better off eloping. This was supposed to be fun.”

Part of the problem was solved when none of the venues they liked in Ocean City could accommodate 400 guests. The number of invitations had to be cut and that was difficult. They didn’t want to hurt any feelings. And because some of the budget came from their parents, the couple felt parental input was important.

“But it became ‘Is this our wedding or theirs?’” Samantha says. “We needed to do the wedding we want to do.”

So the couple sat down and figured out an exact budget, how much the couple would contribute versus how much their parents put in, and what three things were most important to spend that money on—food, music and photography. Anything else would be included if they could afford it, including extra guests.

It took a lot of retooling, but eventually everything was settled and the guest list numbered 235. Compromise complete and crisis averted.

Everything else the couple agreed on, in part because of Miguel’s philosophy and advice to grooms-to-be: “Say ‘Yes, dear, whatever you like.’”

His only request was to pick the food and entertainment. “Whatever else she wanted, she got,” he says. “We had a good wedding. She did a great job.”

The important thing is that Miguel and Samantha discussed the issue together and presented a united front to their parents regarding their involvement and demands. Psychologists say that couples need to do that. And the wedding planning is a great place to debut that togetherness.

Marilynn Denn, a psychologist practicing in Newark and Wilmington, says the wedding is the couple’s first presentation as a unit. “It can strengthen relationships. It’s the first major decision-making as a couple,” she says.

If you have a partner who’s not willing to compromise or who pays more attention to what their parents want, you may want to stop and think, she says. Afterall, marriage is about building a team of two whose members’ needs take priority over others.

During the planning, keep in mind that a wedding can bring couples closer and bond two families. The bride and groom should be courteous and try to include family members in the process or the event. But couples don’t need to sacrifice their preferences for requests from Mom and Dad.

As the bride and groom, you should discuss your needs and priorities freely. Present your feelings and listen to each other and ask for input. While it sounds simple, it can be a tough task. “It’s amazing how many people get defensive instead of really listening,” Marilynn says.

Don’t be afraid to compromise: If something is extremely important to your partner, consider giving it to them. And say, “I can give up this if you’re willing to give up that.”

If parents are trying to overtake the wedding, the couple needs to stand united. “People respect that. People are marrying off a son or daughter, but the kids are part of another unit now and parents should support that unit,” she says.

Jenny Morgan and Lance Haldeman listened and expressed their feelings during the wedding planning process. Because of that, they were united and enjoyed planning the details for their big day—May 19, 2007, in Lewes—together.

One of the main discussions they had was about budget, a topic which can cause arguments for many couples. But Jenny and Lance talked it over and checked the numbers again and again. Discussions got heated, but there was no fighting.

“And that’s mostly the way we’ve always been,” Lance says.

The couple compromised along the way. Lance wanted to get married near the ocean. Jenny didn’t want to be right on the beach. So they selected a yacht club on the bay. It fit both their needs. There’s water and scenery, but no sand whipping around.

Danielle Rykaczewski and Fiore Celano III are learning to compromise as they plan their June 16, 2007, wedding in Wilmington. They’ve had some arguments, mostly about his lack of participation. They’ve decided on specific responsibilities each had so no one got overwhelmed. Sometimes, however,  the list backfired and Danielle wound up doing things on Fiore’s list.

Other tiffs have come up about photography and the tuxedos.

Yet, they’re trying to compromise. “We sit down, turn the TV and phones off and talk it out till we are both happy. Sometimes it’s 15 minutes, sometimes an hour. But regardless, we work it out,” she says.

Planning their wedding has added stress to their relationship, Danielle says, but they can communicate.

In the beginning of planning, it didn’t work that way. Fiore just was agreeing with everything Danielle wanted and keeping his feelings inside, the bride says. Fiore finally opened up and shared his wants and needs, too, and they’re both happier for it.

“It’s not just the bride’s day, which I feel a lot of brides forget,” Danielle says. “Guys do have particular things that they like, even when it seems they aren’t interested.”

And though some issues may seem superficial, they can be stressful, says Jay Ann Jemail, a psychologist in Centreville. “As with any negotiation, it is essential to start with clear and direct communication,” she says. “It’s not the place to resolve old issues and differences that have not been dealt with directly in the past.”

Brides and grooms should be sure not to team up with friends and relatives against one another. Planning should start with the couple, and advice is welcome from others. But decisions should be resolved between the two. If the couple can’t discuss things between themselves, then maybe they’re not ready to marry, Jemail says.

“Essentially, if the communication and purpose is kept clear and genuine, most other things will fall in place,” she says.

Samantha, the Ocean City bride, knows that to be true. During planning her emotions ran raw in the pursuit of the perfect wedding. But a couple of days before the ceremony she calmed down.

“I just knew no matter what happened, we’d be married at the end of the day,” she says.

And after all the planning, discussing and compromising, that’s what matters most.

 

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January 2017

January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

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Belly Dance Classes with Zahra Beginner & intermediate classes open to teens and adults Sundays in January starting Jan 8th Beginner: 2:30-3:30 p.m. Intermediate: 1 - 2 p.m (must get...

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Take the Lead Studio
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Elements of Nutrition
4710 Kirkwood Hwy
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The Pond Ice Arena
101 John Campbell Rd
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The Rehoboth Beach Film Society will present its popular What Makes Us Tick? program during the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend, January 13-15. This analytical film and discussion series...

Cost: $9 - $10

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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World Cafe Live Wilmington
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Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-658-9111
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Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

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Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
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Cost: Free with Admission

Where:
Delaware Museum of Natural History
4840 Kennett Pike
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Telephone: 130-265-89111
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January 14, 15, 16 – Saturday, Sunday, and Monday – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Invention Convention Lights, camera, action! This year’s Invention Convention features hands-on video...

Cost: $8 for adults, $6 for children between 4 and 14, and free for children under 4 a

Where:
Hagley Museum
201 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Sponsor: Hagley Museum
Telephone: (302) 65802400 x 238
Contact Name: Jessica Eisenbrey
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Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

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Cost: see description

Where:
The Annex
501 Chandler Mill Rd
Kennett Square, PA  19348
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Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
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Cost: $2

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Aetna Fire Hall
400 Ogletown Road
Newark, DE  19711
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East Coast Garden Center
30366 Cordrey Rd
Millsboro, DE  19966
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East Coast Garden Center
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Cost: $30

Where:
University and Whist Club
805 N Broom St
Wilmington, DE  19806
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Cost: $9

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

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Cost: $2

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Aetna Fire Hall
400 Ogletown Road
Newark, DE  19711
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Legislative Hall Library
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Dover, DE  19901
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Cost: 45

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Liquid Alchemy
28 Brookside Dr.
, DE  19804
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Do you want to learn how to make soap? This is your chance! Join me for a fun and informative class @ Liquid Alchemy. I will teach you how to create your own recipe and the in-and-outs of soap...

Cost: 45.00

Where:
Liquid Alchemy
28 Brookside Dr.
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Sponsor: Rocker Soaps + Herbals
Telephone: 302-544-0391
Contact Name: Rachel Binkley
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

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Cost: see description

Where:
The Annex
501 Chandler Mill Rd
Kennett Square, PA  19348
View map »


Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
Website »

More information

Sports Card & Collectible Show at Aetna Fire Hall on Jan. 22—sign up now! -Sports Cards McFarlane Figures Comic Books Non-Sports cards Wrestling Items Vintage Starting...

Cost: $2

Where:
Aetna Fire Hall
400 Ogletown Road
Newark, DE  19711
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Telephone: 302-983-2636
Contact Name: Bob Harper
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Cost: Cost: $30 for TLC members / $40 for non-members

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Bucktoe Creek Preserve
432 Sharp Rd
Avondale, PA  19311
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Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
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Cost: Free

Where:
Wilmington University - Doberstein Admissions Ctr.
320 N DuPont Highway
New Castle, DE  19805
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Sponsor: Wilmington University College of Social & Behavioral Sciences
Telephone: 302-295-1164
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Cost: Free Admission

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The 3rd Place
1139 W. 7th Street
Wilmington, DE  19805
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Sponsor: West Side Grows
Telephone: 302-690-9459
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Cost: $0

Where:
Copeland Room, Hagley Library
298 Buck Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Sponsor: Hagley Museum & Library
Telephone: (302) 65802400
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Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
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Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
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Cost: $15

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Sports Card & Collectible Show at Aetna Fire Hall on Jan. 22—sign up now! -Sports Cards McFarlane Figures Comic Books Non-Sports cards Wrestling Items Vintage Starting...

Cost: $2

Where:
Aetna Fire Hall
400 Ogletown Road
Newark, DE  19711
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Sponsor: A2Z Promotions
Telephone: 302-983-2636
Contact Name: Bob Harper
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Where:
Tutto Fresco
514 Philadelphia Pike
Wilmington, DE  19809
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Cost: $10

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World Cafe Live At The Queen
500 N Market St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Cost: $15 - $30

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Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
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Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
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OperaDelaware Studio
4 South Poplar St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Cost: 0.00

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Bayhealth Kent General Hospital
640 S. State Street
Private Dining Room #3
Dover, DE  19901
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Telephone: 800-855-2CALLGA
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Cost: $30 per person

Where:
Delaware College of Art and Design
600 N. Market St.
Wilmington, DE  19081
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Sponsor: Delaware College of Art and Design
Telephone: 302-622-8000 x 123
Contact Name: Mark Tajzler
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
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Bucktoe Creek Preserve
432 Sharp Rd
Avondale, PA  19311
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Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
Website »

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Executive Banquet & Conference Center
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Cape Henlopen High School Theater
1250 Kings Highway
Lewes, DE  19958
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
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Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
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Bethel United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall
Fourth & Market Streets
Lewes, DE  19958
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Sponsor: Coastal Concerts, Inc.
Telephone: 888-212-6458
Contact Name: Edna Ellett
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Cost: 45

Where:
Ballroom at University and Whist Club
805 N. Broom St.
Wilmington, DE  19806
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Cost: $20 General Admission

Where:
Frankford Fire Hall
7 Main Street
Frankford, DE  19945
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Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

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Cost: $10 + FEES

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern
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