Dealing with family while wedding planning can be one of the most challenging aspects of the wedding planning process. Most people have heard the expression “weddings bring out the ugly colors in people” and it is true.
Weddings bring up a lot of emotions and feelings. It’s a new beginning, a closed chapter, merging of two families, reality check that life isn’t getting any longer. It also is a change and while change is exciting – it can also be scary and cause people to act out of fear.
If you’re struggling with dealing with family while wedding planning, today I am sharing five tips that will help you get through this exciting yet difficult time.
#1 Define who is (or is not) contributing to the budget
Deciding who is contributing to the wedding budget can be one of the most awkward aspects of dealing with family while wedding planning. As much as I would love to say that money doesn’t matter when it comes to weddings, unfortunately it does. Money makes people act a certain way and can be the thing breaks relationships during the wedding planning process.
The unfortunate truth is when you accept a contribution towards the wedding budget from your family – you are giving them power to make decisions and have opinions about the wedding. Most of the time when someone contributes to a wedding budget they are expecting to have a say in a few decisions and rightfully so. If you were investing tens of thousands of dollars into something you would most likely feel some small form of entitlement and have some opinions to share.
So before you start accepting people’s money towards your wedding budget, think long and hard if you want that person to have a say in your wedding day. If you know you have a stubborn dad who likes thing “his way” – think if doing it “his way” is worth his generous wedding gift, because you know it will come with stipulations and demands.
If you’re reading this and saying “this didn’t happen to me” or “my family would never act this way” – I’m not saying this happens to everyone. I sincerely hope that this doesn’t happen to anyone, but unfortunately I have seen lots of fights, drama and broken families stem from wedding budgets and I think it’s worth mentioning. An awesome wedding budgeting software I recommend is Aisle Planner. It also allows you to invite friends and family to join to oversee things.
Reader’s real story:
“My fiance and I determined a set number for our guest list based on our budget. We provided the set guest list number to our family and asked for them to create their guest lists. We asked over and over again for the guest list and once we finally got it, it was 55 people OVER the set number. We had to end up standing up for ourselves and resolve it with an upfront conversation. When we told them the cost for those extra 55 people, they were not willing to pay so we respectfully ask them to remove 55 people from the list.”
#2 Keep everyone in the loop
One of the easiest tips to dealing with family while wedding planning, is to keep everyone informed or in the loop. You would be shocked at how not sharing minor details will make a parent, sibling or relative feel “left in the dark” – this comes from wanting to feel included and like they are contributing (even when they are not contributing to the budget).
Make it a point to call your mother-in-law with a monthly wedding update or shoot your parents a text every time you make a decision (i.e. “we just booked our caterer and here is the menu!” Invite your family along for the fun events like food tastings, cake tastings, dress shopping, meetings with the floral designer. This will make them feel included and give them something to talk about when their friends ask “how is wedding planning going?”
#3 Set boundaries
Though keeping everyone in the loop is important, it is equally (if not more) important for you and your partner to set boundaries with your family about the wedding. It’s important to decide how much (or how little) you want to share with certain family members about wedding details.
If you know you have a super opinionated sister – it may be best to not invite her to dress shopping and only share surface level information with her. If your future father in law stresses out easily – then maybe keep the info short, sweet and positive. If your parents are feeling insecure about not contributing as much as your future in-laws did – then keep them out of budget talks and don’t discuss how much things cost with them.
Setting boundaries is not only key when dealing with family while wedding planning, but also important for your and your partner’s relationship and something you should start practicing now.
#4 Be honest (and respectful)
Now this is more than just a wedding planning tip, but a life tip.
I’m convinced that the majority of life’s issues stem from a lack of honesty. So many people are too afraid of hurting people’s feelings or looking like a witch, but we are actually hurting people more by not being honest. When you are not honest with someone you are saving yourself for a short amount of time, but down the road it will come back to bite you.
If your parents want your Uncle Bob to give the blessing before dinner, but Uncle Bob drives you nuts and isn’t your favorite person – then you have to tell them. Because if you make up a lame excuse like “I already promised our officiant could do it.” then they will just find another task for Uncle Bob to do.
If your mother in law picks a dress with the most bold pattern on it that you know if going to be distracting or overpower the photos – tell her. Or else you will get the photos back and all you will see is that bold patterned dress.
Also with being honest, don’t forget to be respectful. Think about how you would want someone to address the problem or situation with you and consider their emotions. Remember, weddings are these weird things that bring our weird colors in people so emotions are already high. Don’t act out of emotion or anger – act out of love.
Reader’s real story:
“At my mom’s wedding, she had to “handle” a situation where her soon to be Mother-in-law wanted to wear a white dress. To the mother-in-law, it was beige dress, but to everyone else it looked white. To deal with this, my mother asked her fiancé to politely tell her to find another dress and recommended that she wore a pink shade (to match my dress).”
#5 Remember this day isn’t just about you
Wait, what?! Yes, I’m probably going to be the only person that will ever tell you this day isn’t just about you. As much as people say this day is all about you (and don’t get me wrong it is) – it is also about your family and friends that have gotten you to this place in life. They are proud of you and feel invested into you, so that’s why they are so invested into the day.
- Your mom that was in labor forever then pushed you out of her you-know-what
- Your dad that spent hours teaching you how to ride a bike
- Your aunt that contributed to your college fund
- Your sister that stuck with you when you went through that weird phase
- Your best friend that still loved you when you wore gaucho pants and croc shoes in middle school.
This day is about gathering all your favorite people into a room to celebrate a new beginning so let them feel involved and share a few thoughts and ideas.
#6 Bonus tip for dealing with family while wedding planning!
Make your family and friends feel important by giving them tasks.
Ask your aunts to be in charge of lighting candles before the reception. Have your mom come over and ensemble invitations. Ask your dad to pick the song for the Father-Daughter Dance. See if your cousins and step-siblings will great guests and pass out programs before the ceremony. People want to feel involved and they want to help, so by giving them a task will make them feel important.
If you have a family member that you know will upset you or rub you the wrong way on the wedding day, keep them busy with lots of tasks on the day. For example, If you are your mom butt heads – then ask her to oversee the set-up at the venue or run to go get the desserts from the baker.
Those are my 5 tips for dealing with family while wedding planning. Comment below and tell me some of your best tips for dealing with family while wedding planning!
Have you read our post about Being The First of Your Friends To Get Married?
Photo: Allie & John Photography