No family is without a couple of strongly opinionated members, and the bride doesn’t even have to be one of them to create a lot of wedding drama. Mothers and siblings also seem to up the ante on everything from guest list and budget to the color of table linens. Fathers aren’t exempt from creating tension, either. There are all kinds of expectations about the style of the ceremony and who gets to be in the wedding party. And even siblings will find themselves vying over wedding dates, who gets married first, and their parents financial resources.
As we move closer to our wedding, more and more of these issues are making themselves apparent. For the most part, though, my family is very understanding of my limitations, and I am of theirs. I’d like to think I’m pretty no-nonsense about our plans. And where I can be flexible, I think I allow others to give me their input.
On the other side of the coin, I know there are a LOT of brides facing moms who have already decided many details of their daughter’s wedding without their input. Sometimes they are insisting they cut back, but just as often they want something far more extravagant than the bride is comfortable with. And there is the ever-present “bridezilla” who will have this wedding her way no matter what. They are known to trample all over their family’s, friend’s and even fiance’s feelings and budgets.
A lot of brides are at a loss for how to deal with all the unwanted input, and each case is different. If the bride and groom are paying for (almost) everything themselves, they should get the final say. But it’s always important to try to accommodate whenever possible. Good manners go a long way.
If parents are putting up the majority of the budget, well it’s only fair to assume that they’ll want a little more control over where the money is spent. In this case it’s EXTREMELY important for the bride & groom to communicate their vision so they don’t feel run over by an overly eager Mother of the Bride or Future Mother-in-Law. On more than one occasion a MOB or FMIL has taken a lack of input up front as an “Okay” to move forward with their vision.
So how do we deal with some of these issues?
Bridezilla: Usually if you’ve been overindulged by your parents when you were growing up, you have no reason to expect any different now. However, try not to lose focus on the big picture. You may get the big white dress, but the day is to celebrate the MARRIAGE of you and your fiance. You’d like to get the rest of your lives together started off on the right foot, wouldn’t you? Keep your expectations reasonable (perfection just isn’t going to happen), and respect the people who are helping you get to your big day.
Your siblings: So your sister just got engaged too and wants to sneak in her wedding before yours. Arg, indeed. You can try to talk her out of it, you can try to ask your mom to reason with her, but probably neither will change anything. If you have at least 6 months in between, try not to sweat it. Check with your parents to see if their promises to you are still good, and adjust your plans accordingly. If you have to wait a couple extra months, it will be worth it to have the focus back on you AND be the “better person” for not starting WW3.
Your parents: Check above and make sure you’re expectations are reasonable. Talk to your parents about their ideas that you most oppose and offer a compromise. Don’t pout. The only way to ensure your parents treat you like an adult is if you act like one.
His parents: Talk to him and make sure he knows you’re uncomfortable with the situation. Keep in mind his family may have different traditions than yours. Whenever possible, let him handle talking to his folks, as long as you know he’s not going to throw you under the bus. If you have to do the talking, bring him with you. And try to listen to their point of view; they’ll appreciate the effort on your part.