Help! My Family is Trying to Run My Wedding!


Weddings can be a highly emotional time for families, and when you mix all of that emotion with varying personalities, things can quickly get out of hand. Instead of stressing, let us help you diffuse the situation.

It’s your wedding. It’s your soon-to-be partner’s wedding. It’s not your family member’s big day. So what do you do?

Readers Ask

Help! My family is trying to run my wedding! How do I avoid the drama and get control back?

Our Answer

First of all, breathe. Planning a wedding is stressful enough without the adding family drama to the mix.

Before you react, talk with your fiance about what’s happening. Going at the issue together is the best way to handle this situation and set the precedent for similar things that may happen in the future.

Whether it’s your family or soon-to-be partner’s family meddling, it’s a good idea to go in as a pair to try to talk to them. Speak calmly, talk about your concerns, fears, etcetera and remind everyone that it is your wedding and you want to feel comfortable with the decisions, what’s going to happen on the big day as well as what the bill is by the end of it all – especially if your paying for it yourself.

If you’re family’s are helping with the budget, then that’s when things get tricky. A lot of time parents feel like that have a bigger say since they’re using their own money. But again, a calm, caring conversation may really be all you need to keep everyone in check. You want this day to be special and reflect the two of you and sometimes that can get away with everyone in the heat of the moment.

Just make sure to keep conversations face-to-face or over-the-phone, texts can easily get out of hand and be misinterpreted.

Other Expert Answers

Smart Groom

“The very first time you find your fiancée’s mother running the show behind your back and a decision is made without telling you or against your wishes, you need to take action. Letting it go ‘this one time’ sets a precedent that you’re going to find it difficult to get back from.

The biggest issue usually centers around the people invited and their roles in the wedding. No doubt you and your future wife settled on the numbers you wanted at the reception and compiled a list of people you wanted there. This is where both mothers will usually cause some trouble, wanting you to invite fourth cousins once-removed and Mary from the local shop. If your fiancée’s mother is already too involved, she will no doubt try to bully your fiancée into adding extra names, claiming she’ll offend people, cause trouble or embarrass her mother if she doesn’t.

Another area is adding random family members as bridesmaids, groomsmen, ushers, page boys or flower girls. Not only does this ramp up the food bill – and maybe even interfere with a ‘no children’ policy – you also are expected to buy outfits and gifts for anyone who plays an active role in your wedding.

Unless you’ve genuinely forgotten someone important, do not budge on this. If the person has been invited without your knowledge, don’t uninvite them because that WILL make you look bad. Instead, let that go and sit down with your fiancée and her mother to discuss the issue. Say that it is your wedding too, that decisions made by you and your fiancée should be respected and nothing should be finalised or decided without you.

If you really want to drive the point home, you should also point out that you have set a budget and that this extra person has cost €X extra, suggesting that your future MIL foots that bill. But that’s only if you want to cause World War III….” – Smart Groom

Bridal Guide

“Your well-intentioned mom may not even realize that her tri-weekly phone calls asking what she can “help out with” are not really helpful at all. You don’t have to shut her out completely in order to maintain control—but you do have to set boundaries early on. Talk to your mother about the role you’d like her to play. This is where you lay down the law—gently. “It’s easy to get off on the wrong foot if you constantly say ‘don’t’ to your mom,” says Claro. Statements like “Don’t worry about the cake” or “Don’t visit the reception site, I’ve got it covered” bruise her ego, make her feel left out—and probably put her on the defensive. Now you’ve got a worse problem! Instead of listing all the things she shouldn’t do, keep her focused on what you would like her to do.

Advises Claro, “Target her strengths. If she’s creative, put her in charge of something artistic, like the flower arrangements. If she’s a crack negotiator, let her haggle with the pastry chef while you select the style of cake you want. A mom who’s good at making people feel comfortable might be happy tackling the seating arrangements.”

“Communication is key,” stresses Lenderman. “Take time to find out what’s most important to your mom. Is it the church decorations? The favors? Once you’ve got a sense of her priorities, make sure she gets a voice in those decisions. If it’s the menu, for instance, find three different menus you and your fiancé like, then let her make the final selection. That way, both of you have your wishes accommodated.” – Bridal Guide

wikiHow

“Articulate your vision for your wedding. Perhaps your parents are pushing back on your wedding plans because they don’t fully understand them or they just want you to do things their way. Spend some time talking to them about your ideal day and you might find that they will get on board and support you in achieving it.” – Wiki

Loverly

1. Assert yourself as a grown-up. Demonstrating that you are a competent adult will do wonders for winning over your parents trust. You’ll need to gently but firmly establish yourself as a reliable and reasonable person. Your parents may feel the need to step in to prevent problems from arising (they’ve done that your whole life, after all!) so show them that you’ve got this wedding thing down, and they’ll most likely ease up and let you do your thing.

2. Be firm in your vision… When it comes to planning a wedding, there’s nothing more important than communicating clearly. If you have a strong opinion about the cake flavor, make it known. If you don’t care about the napkin colors, and you’d like some input, open up the conversation. And when you’re unsure what you want, be careful about mulling things over in the presence of your parents — they may see that as an open invitation to insert their ideas. Manage the discussion so that you aren’t inundated with unsolicited advice.

3. But leave room for their ideas. Repeat after us: Just because you know what you want doesn’t mean everything your parents suggest is a bad idea. They may see ideas you miss (like painting those Mason jars) or may have creative solutions for those pesky planning problems (hey there, seating chart. Sometimes it’s helpful to take your mom’s idea to a friend you truly trust before shooting it down completely. They may be able to play devil’s advocate with you, or maybe they’ve been at a wedding where they had a unity candle lighting and can convince you it’s not such a bad idea. When you hear it from a friend rather than your mom, you might be more willing to consider the suggestion…” – Loverly

Other Helpful Resources