A common saying you may have already heard if you are planning your wedding is this “Their wedding, your marriage.” It is a common saying to help brides and grooms navigate the wedding planning process as it can often be challenging (to say the least!) with the various family, friends, etc. who want to have input in your wedding. You’ll never make everyone happy, so our advice? Brides and grooms should work together to plan the wedding of YOUR dreams - the wedding that will make the two of you happy and best reflect who you are as a couple.
Understanding that it is often easier said than done to ignore requests from key family members, we’ve pulled together a list of tips to help you plan YOUR dream wedding and (hopefully!) reducing the number of issues along the way.
Have a Clear Vision for Your Wedding Day
Once you get engaged, the questions will start immediately! When’s the big day? Where will you have it? Am I invited? As a couple, discuss your “have to haves” and “nice to haves” for your wedding to get on the same page prior to starting to look for a venue or location. Discuss particulars such as indoors our outdoors, tent or no tent, ballroom or barn, backyard or vineyard, mountains or beach.
Getting on the same page about the type of venue and location will help set the stage for the rest of the wedding. Do you want an intimate wedding with only close friends or family, or do you want to have a big wedding celebration with extended family and lots of friends? Do you want an informal outdoor ceremony or an elaborate ceremony in your family church? Without a clear vision, it will be easier for others to try and insert themselves and their opinions for your wedding.
Create a Sense of Ownership for Key Family Members
If you are finding yourself with an overly opinionated mother or mother-in-law to be, try delegating specific tasks so they feel a sense of ownership over the decisions. For instance, tradition states that the groom’s parents host the rehearsal dinner. Why not turn over all of the planning to your future mother-in-law? Chances are that she’ll love the autonomy to make decisions but will most likely ask for input too. You can also engage other key family members and friends with specific tasks along the way such as key vendor appointments like cake or food tastings, or help with hotel welcome bags or favors. By delegating tasks or asking for specific assistance, you’ll give each person a purpose and focus, which means they will be less likely to focus on other details.
Get on the Same Page
During the wedding planning process, it is so important that as a couple, you are both on the same page about the details for your wedding day. This helps reduce misunderstandings among family and friends. So, when requests or questions come up, such as why can’t kids come to the wedding or can Mary bring her boyfriend of 2 weeks, either one of you will be able to answer decisively. However, if something comes up and you aren’t sure what to do, be sure to discuss it with your fiance.
Choose Your Battles
Sometimes a request or suggestion will be shared with you, and honestly you don’t really have a strong opinion either way about including it within your wedding day. In those cases, learning to compromise and go with the flow will go a long way to make a key family member or friend feel their opinion was heard. For example, if your mother thinks printed programs are an absolute MUST but you could go either way, it is probably easier to print programs and let her win that battle. That way, if you are strongly opposed to another suggestion in the future, you’ll have your ammo saved up to fight and win.
Hire a Wedding Planner
Hiring a wedding planner can be the an excellent way to to have an unbiased third party in the mix to help you make key decisions for your wedding day. A wedding planner is a professional with years of experience planning weddings, so they have most likely seen it all when it comes to dealing with difficult family members or delicate situations. Lean on your wedding planner to help with communication to invested parties as necessary - let them be the bad guy!
The bottom line? There is no “right way” or “wrong way” to plan the wedding of YOUR dreams, as your wedding should be as unique as you are as a couple. By having a clear vision for your day and plan to make it happen, all you have to do is stay firm in your must-haves and learn to choose your battles wisely to ensure a smooth wedding planning process for everyone involved.