Merging, decorating, and cleaning… OH MY!

Whether you are moving from your parents’ home or from your own, moving in with your spouse is not always as easy as it sounds. One of the most stressful times in your life will be during the planning phase of your wedding and if you add buying a new home, furnishing, decorating and possibly doing some rehab or construction into that, you have a recipe for lots for arguing. Not exactly the way you plan to begin your lives together? Then, don’t!

You say potato, he says potato. When you put it like that it hardly seems like there is any difference at all, right?  Take step back and value what is important and it will make this transition very smooth. You should both be able to  voice your opinions and concerns without it turning into a fight.

When it comes to your home, you will both be living there and you should both feel like it is your sanctuary. Long gone are the days of the woman buying decorating and furnishing the house and the man standing on the sidelines paying for everything and nodding. In today’s society both parties work and provide and should have an equal say in what goes into their home.

Compromise is the key to a successful living arrangement. Well, duh. Unless you both have the exact same taste in everything, you will find yourself in a situation where you don’t see eye to eye on some form of decorating and planning. It is important you both have equal input. There is no reason that a woman should be saddled with decorating and wedding planning simultaneously and there is no reason that the man should not have a voice and be forced to sit idly by while his wife decides how and where  he will spend his future. In the beginning of my marriage  my husband wanted to buy a leather sofa. I don’t care for leather sofas but, I never flinched…. I agreed to whatever sofa he wanted, knowing that it would last less time than our marriage it was not worth a fight. The salesman tried and tried and tried to convince me this was the best option for kids (we have two) and pets (we had two). We bought the very expensive leather sofa which lasted about three years and looked good for about one.  I wanted white silk curtains, he wanted velvet drapes; I wanted terra cotta in the kitchen, he wanted green. Not one argument. Not one. The reason is that we both had the good sense to compromise on everything.  Remember this – you are no longer a single person and cannot paint your living room hot pink and expect your husband to be thrilled. Compromise. Let him keep the ugly chair and you keep the equally appalling Hello Kitty lamp. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter.

The one thing you should both agree on is buying a new bed. A new frame, box spring,  mattress and bedding. Buy nice sheets, at least 800 thread count. Buy a nice, comfortable duvet cover or comforter set that you both love. The bed should be neither feminine nor masculine, it should be the focal point of the entire bedroom and the  place where you can both be comfortable whether it is reading, relaxing, snuggling or being intimate. The bedding is something that you can definitely put on your registry so, register for several sets of nice sheets. Go with neutral colors so it will work with anything. Don’t skimp on thread count and whatever you do – don’t ever skimp on a mattress.

Getting married is also a great time to clean house. I’m not talking about dusting the mini-blinds or scrubbing the toilets, you will figure that out in time. I’m talking about getting rid of all of that old stuff you don’t need, like pictures of your ex. If you have photos of ex boyfriends or girlfriends scattered around your apartment, its time to get rid of them. Keep them in a photo album if you must, cut the other person out of the photo if you will but, having portraits of former lovers in your home is a huge no-no. Its also a good time to get rid of meaningless objects like weird mugs and raggedy towels. It might be time to let go of the doll collection that takes up half of your living room wall. Start your married life clutter-free. You can always start a collection of tchotchkes together, later… if you must. If your fiance objects to anything in your home, get rid of it. If you haven’t used it in over a year, get rid of it. If it has no value, get rid of it. If it takes up space that you might need, get rid of it. If you cannot wear it or use it  any way at all, get rid of it.

In my opinion, planning a wedding is stressful enough, leave the home improvements until after the honeymoon. Don’t try to do everything at once or you will find yourself  longing for a straight jacket. Take one major step at a time…. and compromise (did I already say that?)

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago