You're engaged. Congratulations! Everyone's so excited for you–perhaps, they're a little too excited. Now you're suddenly bombarded with ideas and requests from every direction as you start planning a wedding. Grandma wants you to have a purple-themed wedding. Mom has an idea for your venue (that is NOT where you had in mind). Now, your dream wedding is slowly transforming from YOUR day to OUR day.
While you love your family and want them to be part of one of the biggest days of your life, you also have your own ideas you'd like to see at your dream wedding. Thankfully, there's a way you can have your family involved and happy while still getting that fairytale wedding.
We have eight tips to help you plan that perfect wedding and keep your family happy.
- Your wedding day is about you, so you get the final say on all design options.
- Giving family small or controlled tasks allows them to feel involved without overstepping their boundaries.
- Knowing what you want before involving others and limiting who contributes financially will set boundaries ahead of planning.
Tip 1: Plan Some of the Wedding before Involving Others
Your wedding is your day first, so your plans are a priority. Before the opinions of others influence you, know what you want. One way to keep your own ideas guiding the planning is to sit down with your fiancé and discuss what that perfect day looks like, whether it's a venue you've had your eye on for months or a specific food dish you've always wanted to serve.
You can organize your wedding ideas into categories as you plan your event:
- Must Haves: These are aspects of your wedding you don't want to budge on
- It would be nice to have: These ideas you like but would adjust if necessary
- Neutral: These are the areas you have no strong opinion about
Even when you involve family, keep this list updated to ensure you get the parts of the fairytale wedding you've been dreaming about. You may even want to share the list with others so they know what they can offer opinions about and what's non-negotiable.
Tip 2: Be Careful about Accepting "Gifts"
Your wedding budget can become awkward once others start getting involved. When someone in your family offers to pay for part of your wedding, it might seem like a generous gift. However, sometimes those gifts come with strings attached, like giving that person power over wedding plans.
For example, an aunt might volunteer to buy your cake, assuming she can also choose the wedding cake.
You can eliminate some of this awkwardness by specifying who can donate towards your wedding and politely declining offers from others by telling them you already have that part covered.
Tip 3: Give Your Family Smaller Parts to Plan
If you have someone close to you who loves to plan out every detail of events, you can find a minor part of your wedding day that you can give them complete control over. You can pull out that list you made of must-haves and neutral items. Then, you can hand over some of the neutral areas of your wedding for your family to plan.
For example, if you know you want a cupcake bar but don't have strong opinions over specific designs or flavors, you can ask a design-savvy family member to plan the table. This gives them a feeling of control while staying within your original idea.
Allowing your family to help out will also save you time. The average couple spends around six hours each week planning their wedding, so a bit of help might be welcome.
Tip 4: Limit Choices When Asking for Opinions
Asking your family's opinion can become more complicated than you originally bargained for. For instance, you might ask for ideas for the bridesmaid dresses, then suddenly you have over a dozen texts with pictures of what your family likes and doesn't like, along with a dissertation on why they feel one way or another.
To control the situation and avoid saying no, you can use closed-ended questions rather than open-ended ones. Open-ended questions are general, like, "What bridesmaid dress should I choose?" Closed-ended questions have specific choices to limit the answers, like:
- Should I have knee-length dresses or full-length dresses?
- Would tan or dark brown dresses look best with the mocha color scheme?
- Should the bridesmaids have matching dresses or choose their own using the same color palette?
Tip 5: Give Your Family Their Moment
While your wedding is a significant milestone in your life, it's also a big moment for your family and friends, who all helped shape you into the strong woman you are today through their love and support. So, one of the best gifts you can give your family is providing an opportunity where they can share in the emotion, aside from planning the wedding itself.
Some ideas for honoring your family at your wedding include:
- Schedule one-on-one time with your parents or close family before the ceremony
- Include them in the ceremony or reception
- Schedule time for them to give a speech
- Plan a dance just for them
- Wear accessories that belong to significant people in your life
Tip 6: Keep Everyone Informed
When family members want to contribute to the wedding, it might be because they want to feel part of the big day. Simply keeping everyone informed can help those closest to you feel involved.
For instance, you can call your mom to excitedly share a song you found for your first dance or send images of the venue you booked.
However, carefully choose who and when to share these details with, as sharing too soon might give some family members the impression that your decision is still up for debate.
Tip 7: Hire a Wedding Planner
Nearly a third of couples hire a wedding planner. A wedding planner does more than manage your schedule and book vendors. They're there to relieve your stress as best as possible. This can include being the mediator between you and a particularly opinionated family member.
For example, if a family member insists on décor you don't like, your wedding planner can step up as the one to tell them no. They've been there before and know how excited families get, so they have all the tricks for softly saying "no" without hurting feelings and taking that responsibility from your shoulders.
Tip 8: Always Have the Final Say
Your wedding is about you. Therefore, you are always in the right to respectfully and lovingly tell someone no and stand your ground, especially for areas you feel strongly about. This can unload considerable stress and ensure the wedding matches your dream.
Time to Plan the Perfect Wedding and Keep Your Family Happy
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