Pretty much half of my friend group is currently engaged. I was on the phone with one of my friends the other day and she said, “Congratulations on ALL of your friends getting engaged!” LOL. Truth. I asked some of them what they, as a future bride, would like to read on my blog. A helpful asset to running a wedding photography business: have lots of engaged friends. ;)
One of them suggested, "How to deal with opinionated mothers". I laughed and thought about the challenge of writing a post like that, and after a couple of weeks thinking of the reality of this, today I’m accepting the challenge! It happens brides more often than not, and brings about SO many tears & stressful days if not orchestrated well.
If this sounds like some of the hiccups that have been happening in your planning, take a deep breath and keep returning to tip #1 throughout your planning.
1. Remember why you’re getting married.
Tablecloths, food, the socks your fiancé will wear… these details seem important at the time, but your main goal is to marry your best friend, right? If you’re solely in it for the glam & the party instead of getting married, I suggest thinking through spending the rest of your life with your fiancé. Before you know it, the wedding will be over and you’ll question why you spent $400 on golden plates and why you cried over what hairpiece you were going to wear.
Don't get me wrong, though! I was a bride and I completely understand the weight of all of it. That it’s the only day of your life you get married, and the best day of your life at that. It’s your time to shine, and maybe splurge a little bit. These things ARE important, however, if it’s taking control of the reason you’re getting married, it’s truly not worth it.
2. Make a list of what you and your fiancé can’t do without.
What are some things that you simply will not negotiate on? Make a list of these things. Have you always wanted a brunch reception? Have you been following a photographer for years and always knew they’d shoot your wedding? This may bring up some conflict with you and your fiancé, but it’s always great to compromise and be on the same page. Practice #1 for married life. ;) Having this list will also let your parents know what you will and will not budge on.
3. Ask your parents what’s important to them.
You made your list, now it’s their turn to make theirs. Since the day is supposed to be about you two, their list should not be as long or as detailed as yours. However, giving them a chance to voice their non-negotiables will help them feel more respected and involved in the process. Make sure you take these things to heart - especially if they’re funding the wedding. Remember that they've done a lot for you in your life!
4. Set boundaries.
Do this early on in the planning process. Go over your non-negotiable list you and your fiancé made and be honest & clear about what you expect from them (rules such as being able to compromise and respect one another). Share your thankfulness if they’re funding the wedding, and delegate specific tasks to them so they feel that they’re part of the planning. For example: “Mom, you can be in charge of planning the cocktail hour, booking the DJ, and finding the flower girl’s outfit.” Give your parents a role to help them be a part of the day.
5. Meet in the middle.
From the boundaries you initially set, they hopefully will be willing to respect your wishes and meet you in the middle on things. If there are two opinions that you two simply cannot agree on, find a way to meet in the middle. Sometimes this requires you to bring your fiancé or your dad into the picture to help you think clearly of a compromise.
6. Learn to say no.
If their opinions are constantly getting in the way, be okay with saying no (especially if you're dealing with your future mother-in-law). Be polite and state your reasoning for why you don’t agree with them.
7. Hire a wedding planner.
This way you’ll have a professional guiding you a long with decision making, and they'll be there to back you up if someone else’s opinions get in the way. This will also help your parents be confident that the wedding planning is in good hands. If they suggest something you don’t agree with, simply say that the wedding planner is in charge of that aspect.
8. Have fun!
Wedding planning is a blast (for most of us), and shouldn’t be as stressful as people make it out to be. Have a clear plan of what you want your day to look like and don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s an important day, but how many people are going to remember the exact arrangement of your floral design? Enjoy the process, and enjoy your day of marrying your best friend! The details will work themselves out eventually.