Brandon writes: My fiancée, Ashley, is against wedding traditions like the garter toss and particularly the “cake smash,” where bride and groom smear frosting on each other’s face. But I’m a big fan of these traditions! Please order a cake-smash compromise.
The easiest and most just path is to split the difference: Ashley shoves a piece of cake in your face, the end. But it’s best you learn early that beneath the icing of negotiation, marriage is actually multiple layers of zero-sum-game sponge cake. Big questions — whether to have kids, where to live, what to have for dinner on Wednesday — will often come down to deep, immovable preference that cannot be solved by compromise but by one-party surrender. The trick is to suss out these contentious points before you’re officially smearing anything on each other and then share the surrenders equitably.