You haven’t even finished telling your future in-laws the whole proposal story, and they’re already gushing over how cute their neighbor’s bratty kid will look as your ring bearer. Maybe you’ve taken your fiance’s sister to see the wedding venue you picked out, and she’s already pulling the manager aside to ask where the seven-piece Mariachi band will go. If you sense your wedding plans are spiraling out of your control, don’t just sit there and take it. Regain control of your wedding!
The Power of the Pocketbook
If you aren’t paying for the majority of your wedding, give up all hope of control right now. The only way to demand that your wedding goes your way is if it really is your wedding. If you’re relying heavily on either set of parents to make the celebration possible, you’ll need to graciously accept their suggestions–after all, they’re giving you the wedding they always wanted.
On the other hand, if you’re paying for the bulk of your own festivities, you’re more than entitled to put your foot down and insist that your wedding goes according to your own idea of perfection. To regain control, you have two options. You can either postpone your wedding until you and your partner have saved enough funds to give yourself the lavish reception you desire, or you can opt for a smaller, less extravagant wedding–but one that goes entirely your way.
If you’re paying for your own reception and nosy family members are still trying to influence your celebration, it’s up to you to put your foot down. Contact each of your wedding vendors and let them know, politely but firmly, that there are to be no changes made to any wedding-day plans without your express permission.
Mend Divided Loyalties
Where are most of the pressures coming from? If it’s your family members that are being overbearing, it’s your responsibility to tell them to stop. Never send your partner to argue with your relatives. The temporary relief you will feel from avoiding a confrontation will only lead to more stress when you create a rift between your family and your spouse. While it’s wonderful that your partner wants to support you, support is sometimes better shown by rubbing your shoulders or making you a nice cup of tea after you come back from the difficult family discussion.
If it’s your partner’s family that’s causing most of the dissent, he or she needs to make it clear to them that, as a couple, you stand together on all of your wedding decisions and no additional advice is needed. If your partner isn’t willing to represent your joint wishes to his or her family, this is a red flag and should be discussed. After all, the family members in question won’t magically become less bossy after the wedding, so you’ll need to stand up to them eventually.
As a couple, you may want to “play nice” after a difficult discussion and grant the overbearing family members one of their more minor requests. After all, the color of the tablecloths may not affect your reception much, but the gesture will go a long way in smoothing relations.
Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
Planning an elaborate wedding can start to feel like you’re writing, directing, starring in, and editing your very own Hollywood blockbuster. Orchestrating every aspect of a wedding by yourselves is an immense amount of stress, but you don’t have to do it alone. If you’re feeling frazzled, resist the urge to snap at the next person who offers you some well-meaning advice. Instead, take that helpful spirit and channel it into something that’s actually helpful.
When your mother-in-law offers to pay for a crumpets-and-tea course, you can respond with, “That’s very generous of you. We already have our catering menu set, but we could really use some help with the flower arrangements.” The more appreciation you show for their generosity, the more generosity they will want to show you. If you seize every opportunity to delegate, you may even find yourselves with enough free time to take a deep breath and enjoy the wedding planning process.
Keep Your Calm
Nothing diffuses tension like a smile and a well-placed, “Thank you.” What seems like a simple truth at the beginning of your wedding planning, however, can become rapidly harder to remember as you become wrapped in the stress of coordinating vendors and troubleshooting emotional drama. If you receive wedding advice that really gets your goat, resist the urge to spit out a snappy comeback. Instead, excuse yourself (telling the person that it’s a beautiful idea and you need some time to consider it works well) and use the time to compose a graceful reply.
Keep in mind that, however annoying some suggestions may seem, they nearly always stem from a desire to give you a “perfect” wedding. Thank the busybody for their suggestion, try to channel it into something useful, and regain control of your wedding day.
Lisa is a special needs teacher and a hugger. She always makes time for everyone and lightens up everybody’s lives with her presence. When she is not chasing her students around the yard, she finds time to write about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.