One of the most overlooked parts of wedding planning is one of the most fundamental: building stronger relationships with those we love.
And not just with your intended! Photo by Cinderella Photography.
Part of being a planner is that I help to foster better communication between my clients and their families. I am their advocate, as well as their guide.
Wedding planning can be a stressful and difficult time for all involved- oftentimes, it's the first time you're meeting your future in-laws, everyone wants you to use their idea, and you're trying to get what you want and keep it under budget.
What most people would rather do than talk budget with family.
Sometimes family can be difficult to navigate, especially if you're going upstream. Here are a few suggestions to help cope:
Take the time: This is one of the things I believe we struggle with the most in our society. If you're working two jobs, caring for children, and trying to keep up with the laundry, it can be next to impossible to shower regularly, let alone take the time to have a sit down with your future in-laws.
That being said, family meetings are vital to keeping down your stress level. Even if you have to plan it a month out, do it. If you have a planner, invite them to come. They will help you negotiate the rough road of budgeting, event design, and family objections.
This was really just an excuse to put a GIF of kittens.
Compromise: This one's tough, especially if you have strong personalities and people that want to be involved. What I always suggest, is to have a sit down with your significant other before the family meeting. Decide on the things that are non-negotiable. Decide on the things you don't care about- flowers? Invitations? Let the strong-willed relatives helm that project, with parameters.
Just keep an eye on the direction in which they're going.
Don't mess with your in-laws: My uncle calls this the "River Jordan" concept. To explain, there's a story where several tribes all settled in the same area around a river. Rather than go to war, each tribe sent a prince to discuss and decide matters. After the meeting, each prince would go to his tribe to enforce the decided rules.
In case you missed the message there, one of the best ways to resolve difficult situations is to make the decision with your significant other, and then each person handles their own family. It can be extremely difficult when in-laws do or say hurtful things, but it will have more impact when it comes from their own relatives.
I can find a way to explain this in D&D terms, too.
Ask your planner for help: We are here as a resource. If things are getting impossibly bad, give us a call. Oftentimes having another party in the room can keep things from getting heated.
Learn to say NO: This is something this generation seems to have some difficulty with. There are legitimate sociological reasons for this, and it's why ghosting exists. However, this is (most of the time) a soft situation to learn the skill. Use it!
Let #10 be your guide.
Identify toxic relationships: This is an optimal time to point these out, as people are under more stress than usual. If you feel like someone is manipulating you, getting angry out of proportion, or making you feel guilty for asking for help, you may want to take a closer look at these friendships, or family ties. If it's not your family, gently observe behaviors to your significant other. Remember, you can't make that decision for them.
Captain Hammer is a great example of an all-around toxic guy.
Family is family, friends are family you choose: if it's feeling like everyone's trying add in their two cents, and it's getting overwhelming, either loop in your planner or an extremely tolerant friend to help filter the noise. Ask them to listen to the suggestions/questions/comments from friends and family, and help you sort through what's a good idea, and what might not be.
I'm looking at you, Auntie-That-Suggested-A-Bird-Release-Indoors.
The point of a wedding is to gather your friends and family into one place to celebrate your union with another human being. Your families will be coming together to have fun. If the stress is getting to you, check out my article about self-care in the wedding process.
And don't forget, if you need help in the wedding process, my door's always open. Give me a call!