Parents, in-laws, siblings, friends and even your great aunty who you met one time when you were 12…. it’s funny how when you say the word ‘wedding’, people imagine the day will crumble without their assistance. It’s touching that they care so much, but take a quick glance around our forum and you’ll see that family interference is one of the biggest stress triggers in wedding planning. Even if you’re blessed with laid back folks who would make the Dalai Lama look highly strung, there’s bound to be something someone feels inexplicably strongly about, whether it’s your mis-matched bouquet or that wedding rock band you booked. So when the inevitable happens and well-meaning words creep across the ‘helpful’ line into ‘blatantly interfering’, here’s how to handle it without any fall-outs.
1. Keep people occupied
Delegate jobs to your most enthusiastic wedding guests and they won’t even notice what else you’re working on. Choose research tasks that they can really get their teeth into – whether it’s asking your mum to make a Pinterest board for cakes, or your dad look up wedding bands, give them a brief and leave them to it. They’ll be so flattered you trust their taste that they won’t even ask about the other stuff.
2. Manage expectations
The earlier people know what you’re planning, the less likely they are to kick up a fuss if things don’t go how they imagined. If you’re eloping to France with couple of close friends like Keira Knightly, let everyone know early on so that your aunties don’t go out and buy their hats. If you’re open about what you want, there can’t be any disappointments.
3. Keep their good intentions in mind
An overly zealous family member is a huge compliment – after all, they just want to make you happy by making your day as perfect as possible. So don’t get angry if you feel harassed, but see it from their point of view. If they won’t let something go, ask yourself why they feel so strongly about it. Maybe they didn’t have a good time at a similar wedding, or regretted that detail about their own day? Once you know their motives, it’s easier to reassure them that your way will work out.
4. Make some things a secret
A confetti bomb for the first dance, fake snow at a winter wedding, or a magician working the crowd: it’s the fun finishing touches that make a wedding stand out. However, once the ‘tacky’ word raises its head it might curb your enthusiasm, so surprise people on the day and they’ll have such a good time and think everything is wonderful.
5. Pay for some of it yourself
One of the biggest reasons why couples bend to their parents’ requests is because, as they’re the ones paying, it seems fair to give them a say. But wait a minute, if they’re treating you to a wedding dress, would you let them have a say in that? Accepting cash is no reason to sacrifice your wedding dreams, but it can definitely take away some of your ammunition in a debate.
6. Meet up with them regularly
If someone’s constantly bombarding you with wedmin emails, it could be a sign that that they feel out of the loop and are trying to muscle back into your wedding bubble. They’ll back off if you get some drinks dates in the diary, as it’s chance for everyone to share the buzz and excitement in one place.
7. Use a referee
Do you have an ultra diplomatic sister or a MoH who can charm people to putty? Tell the most persistent meddlers that you’re really busy, so you’ve asked that person to play wedding planner for a while. Then you can get the low-down through them and choose which advice you take, without having to tip-toe around anyone’s feelings.
8. Please yourself
The only person you need to please is yourself and your groom. Do you want to look back at your day and think it represented you as a couple, or Great Aunty Meryl? Your wedding is the most personal event you’ll ever plan, so you’ll regret it if you feel like a guest on your own special day. You’re never going to please everyone, so you may as well please yourselves.
9. Stay firm if you feel strongly
Ok, there are some things you might want to let go. Is it really so bad if the disco DJ is your dad’s friend from his bridge club? But when it comes to the things that really matter to you, leave your compromising self at the door. Big decisions such as the venue or food menu are worth disappointing people over because as soon as they see how happy they are about it, we guarantee they’ll share your excitement.