Getting engaged and planning a wedding is often a joyful, exciting time. However, it can also be an unexpectedly stressful and conflict-filled time, particularly if you find yourself navigating unfamiliar territory with your family…or even the family of your new fiancé!
For some reason, weddings can bring out the best and the worst in people. You’ve spent your whole life daydreaming about going dress shopping with your mom, only to find yourself fighting with her about the neckline, the train, the color, and the accessories…not to mention the reception space, ceremony vows, and number of bridesmaids you’ve chosen. Maybe you’ve had fantasies about waltzing around with your father, sharing a special dance on your wedding day, but now you’re facing the realities of a man who can’t seem to stop saying, “That’s too expensive! I am not paying for that!”
Often, family members can butt heads over wedding planning details even if both parties are coming into the conversation with the best of intentions. Remember, you and your fiancé have a vision for your wedding day, but so you do your parents and his parents and your grandparents and perhaps relatives you aren’t even that close to. In an effort to make sure your wedding is done in the best way possible, family members might steamroll right over your opinions in an effort to save you from yourself. The answer to this problem is to stop, take a deep breath, remember they love you, and follow these three tips:
(1) Give them a way to be involved. You may want your family to just leave you alone and let you plan your wedding day, but if they’re driving you crazy by trying to get in on the action, it will be a lot easier for you to just redirect their energy by giving them something to do. You don’t have to give them total control over the planning, but you also don’t want to make the task too small or silly because you’ll risk offending them. A good idea is to pawn off things that aren’t important to you. If you don’t care about invitations, have them scout some out. If you don’t care about take-home favors, ask for their input. Just remember not to throw a fit if you don’t like their choices. Relinquishing a little control will save you stress in the long run.
(2) Remember that money equals power. If your parents are paying for a substantial part of your wedding, tradition dictates that they get to plan a substantial part of your party. One would hope that they’ll listen to you and do what you want, but at the end of the day, if they’re writing the check, they have say over what they’re buying. That might mean switching to a cheaper location, going with a cheaper menu, or even having a full formal dinner when all you wanted was a fun, casual affair. If you really can’t come to terms with letting them have this much control, it will be a better idea for you to wait until you can pay for the wedding on your own than to butt heads without being able to pony up for what you want.
(3) Focus on the good stuff. A major fight with your parents over whether or not you’ll get a limousine can put you in a major bridal funk, especially if you let the stress keep you up at night for days on end. If you really can’t resolve the problem, do yourself a favor and shift your focus to everything you love about the way your day is coming together. Focusing on the stuff that makes you upset is pointless, particularly if you can’t change it, and you don’t want it to spoil your whole day (or ruin relationships between you and your family members). It’s rough when your wedding has a grey cloud, but looking for that silver lining will pay off in the end.