Whilst weddings are generally considered as hugely celebratory events in most social calendars, there are some who contemplate the idea of bringing their family together, under one roof, as nothing short of terrifying. Weddings can be a testing time for families who don’t see eye to eye, or for those who have some deep-rooted issues with one another. However, it is vital to try to overcome some of these issues in order to make sure that the most important people – the married couple – have the best day of their lives.
Pushy parents are often cited as one of the most stressful issues to contend with when couples are asked about their wedding-planning challenges. Taking on board suggestions and ideas is great, but there is a fine line between helpful advice and just being downright forceful. You must remember: it is your day. The mother of the bride might have always dreamed of the day her little girl gets married and excitedly catapult herself into planning, mood board firmly under arm and suppliers on speed dial. However, you have to firmly, but gently remind her that, whilst you appreciate her ideas and suggestions, you are the one who is going to be making any final decisions.
One of the factors that can make keeping pushy parents at bay difficult is if they are contributing, or in fact completely paying, for your wedding day. It is quite traditional for the parents of the bride to financially cover a large proportion of the celebration, however this is becoming less common and many couples now save up themselves to pay for their wedding, their way. If you are receiving monetary contributions off someone for any aspect of your day, it is sensible to have a conversation with them first about whether this means they feel they ought to have a say in proceedings. For example, your parents might be happy to pay for the reception, as long as they have control over the guest list and can ensure that some of their distant and dear friends can be in attendance. This is something that, as a couple, you need to deliberate over. If you are happy for this to happen and don’t mind a little bit of compromise here and there, that’s great. On the other hand, if you would prefer to have more control over your big day and not let other family members start calling the shots with the details of the wedding, you might be better off politely declining the offer and funding the event yourselves, to make sure that you don’t feel indebted to anyone and ultimately end up making decisions to please them.
Sometimes dealing with pushy parents can simply be a case of trying to carefully manage any misplaced enthusiasm. At the end of the day, we would assume that anyone involved in your wedding wants you to be happy and so any attempts to get involved are never intentionally pushy or overbearing; it is often just a case of eagerness spiralling slightly out of control. Therefore, when dealing with a particularly keen family member, it might be a smart idea to delegate something to them, such as a small project, to make them feel as though they have an important role whilst keeping their influence contained to one aspect. You could choose an area of the wedding that you’re not too picky about and then let them take charge and sort this for you. It means sacrificing a small part of your planning, but may ultimately result in stopping any arguments and keep the peace- you may even find you appreciate the help!
Another difficult issue to contend with during the wedding planning stages can be family feuds. It is probably fair to assume that every single family has its fair share of disagreements particularly where the parents have divorced and re-married. Feuding family members can be particularly difficult to manage when trying to bring them together for a day of celebration, especially if that celebration includes alcohol which can often be a catalyst for escalating feuds even further! Firstly, you need to make a choice about your invitations: does everyone involved in the feud have to be invited and would it cause any issues if anyone were left out? If the answer to this question is yes, all members need to be invited, then there are a couple of ways you can try to overcome any potential problems.
Communication is key: speaking directly to the people involved can sometimes be a great way to ensure that harmony is maintained. Being really honest with a family member, sitting down with them and saying, ‘Look, I know you don’t get on with so-and-so, but it is really important to us that you are all there to see us get married, so could you please put aside your differences for our sake?’ can sometimes be all that is needed. You’re not asking them to dance together at the reception; surely adults can be expected to behave civilly and courteously at a big gathering of people on your wedding day. Make it clear that they don’t really even need to acknowledge each other if they don’t want to- just turning up and being in the same room as each other without resurrecting whatever the disagreement is will be enough to reassure the married couple. Who knows, a wedding might actually be what is needed to get feuding family members talking again and help to rebuild relationships.
If you are worried that simply speaking to the quarrelling parties wont be sufficient enough to prevent any unsavoury reunion, there are a few steps you can take to limit the possibility of problems. Think very carefully about your seating plan and ensure that guests in disagreement are seated well away from each other, preferably surrounded by neutral, calm mediators who can distract them and intervene in the event of a potential dispute. Involving other trusted guests in the process can also be helpful. Having a quiet word with a sensible uncle and asking them to make sure the two feuding members don’t get too close to one another and act as a sort of buffer between them can be a good idea.
It is vitally important to remember though, that your wedding day should definitely not be consumed with worries of who is talking to who and whether everything is going to run smoothly. You have enough to think about without having to consider your guests’ behaviour, so if you genuinely can’t trust that a family member will behave properly, don’t invite them. It seems harsh, but this is your day and people who love you should be able to put their own pride to one side for the sake of your enjoyment. The same principle applies to pushy parents. Don’t let the planning of your wedding become a chore or unpleasant because you’re being forced into making decisions that you really don’t want to. You have to be firm and set out your stall early on: this is the wedding you envisioned and you would appreciate people’s support and encouragement. Try not to let family politics take over the celebration and fun. At the end of the day, everyone who has your best interest at heart eventually has the same goal: to see the married couple have the best day of their lives. Some may just need a gentle reminder about how best to go about this!
At BWR-London, we believe your wedding should be tailored to you, which is why we work closely with our clients to create the perfect wedding rings. We specialise in crafting bespoke wedding rings that you’ll love forever. We can make almost any ring so have a look at our portfolio for inspiration and get in touch for more information.