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Weddings versus Families - Part One

At times it can feel as though there's nothing like a wedding to bring out the worst in families. With blended families you get one set of understandable issues; where do you sit mum, her new partner and dad with his new partner? But some issues can hit like a bolt from the blue. How do you plan for the ones you don't expect? In this 'series' I'll look at some of the common reasons for family disputes and the warning signs, and hopefully offer some ideas on how you can work through them.

Let's start with a big one

'My [insert family member] doesn't like my partner'.
It happens and we have to deal with it. At the end of the day we aren't all going to like everybody but we can all behave like adults. They may feel they have legitimate reasons but the two of you have decided to get married so they need to put it behind them. The hardest thing to do at this point is to listen to them and not judge. The fact that you know they don't like your partner gives you the opportunity to talk about it and hopefully agree a way forward. Ultimately, they may have to push their concerns to one side in order for it not to affect the whole wedding but, and I'm not sure who said it, 'do not say in haste that which you will later come to regret'.

Basically, try to stay calm as you talk it through and give them the choice to be involved in your happy day, or not. If they can't make that decision without creating a drama then you may have to calmly tell them that they can't come. Calmly. My philosophy is only people who can at least fake happiness for the couple should attend someone's wedding. If you can't even do that then don't bother.

If they really can't muster the strength to keep their opinions to themselves then you are better off without them looming over your wedding day. It's likely they'll spend the whole day with a face like thunder, they may even get drunk and start sharing 'truths' with anyone willing to listen. I get that if they're a close family member you really want them there but if they're likely to cause trouble, you really are better off without them there with the chance of ruining things. But this should be the last resort, not something you scream out in the heat of a moment.

If you go with the invite, then you need to set some boundaries. Let them know that you're grateful for them being there but that this is not the day for any negativity, and that includes any snide/passive aggressive comments along the lines of 'are you sure you want to go through with it?'. You might want to consider designating someone to look after them. I know it may sound drastic but weddings plus booze and plenty of it, can result in some unpleasantness and you really don't need to get involved in that. It can be done subtly of course; you don't have to make a big deal about it. A trusty maid of honour or another relation who knows about the issues, (or even your wedding planner - cough cough) can make a great deflector shield. They deal with the drama so you don't have to.

This is your day, your wedding, you want it to run as smoothly as possible, with a bit of thought you can make it happen even in the most difficult of circumstances. Good Luck X