Stories from Your Wedding Friend - The Wedding Planner's Blog
Wedding planning raises so many why questions - why do we need a photographer, why is everything so expensive, why is someone taking over my wedding plans? With this blog I'm looking at some common challenges between adult children trying to plan their wedding and their nearest and dearest who seem to have other ideas. Because it's very easy in the heat of the moment to say or do something that is hard to take back, and quite often we say these things not to hurt someone but because they don't understand why you want to do Your wedding Your way.
One reason why some mothers especially, try to take over their daughters wedding (it usually seems to be that way round in my experience) is because they feel like they have unfinished business from their own wedding. Maybe they didn't get the wedding they wanted or are trying to recreate it through you because it made them feel so happy and they want you to feel the same way. What the mum here doesn't realise is that what they are doing is potentially continuing a cycle of disappointment or resentment for not being in control of their own wedding. Or starting one! It often comes from a place of good intention though, not deliberate sabotage.
Another reason is that a mother usually never stops being a mother. They think they know you better than you know yourself because they raised you. They also think, or rather hope, that you still need them entirely Too often I'll have a parent tell me 'they don't know what they want', when I can tell from their faces that they do, they just aren't able to say it. A parent so rarely admits to not really knowing their child and dishonest relationships, where families continue to maintain the same dynamic from when you were little, can cause huge friction once you're old enough to make up your own mind.
We often find ourselves saying 'yes ok' in order to keep the peace, because we don't have the skill to have an open discussion in a calm helpful listening way. But giving in on one thing often leads to another thing and another thing. It's like a game. The parent (or wedding poacher) won't admit that they're trying to hold on to their own idea of a perfect wedding, which may not be Your idea of a perfect wedding, so everyone ends up feeling stressed, unheard and resentful. And with parents, the 'children' often end up feeling and reacting, the exact same way as they did when they were young and not getting their way. Break the cycle gently.
Of course you also get pushy parents/siblings who just seem to be hell bent on making the whole thing as painful as possible; they don't like the venue, or the outfit, or the food you've ordered, or they want to go off colour theme because they don't like purple, etc. And they tell you so in no uncertain terms, which is so painful. You also have the issue of who is paying for the wedding; nb I do not believe that anyone outside of the couple, whether contributing financially or not, should get 100% say/veto over decisions, as it's still your wedding day. Unfortunately, the people paying money tend to want their own way. Ask yourself this question but go deeper, try to really understand their motivation - is it the financial one or is it real sabotage or jealousy? Maybe they don't realise they're doing it, but it's not their wedding, so does their input really matter? If not, stop telling them the details, find someone else you can talk to and get feedback from, who you really trust.
Being able to see another person's point of view is critical for diplomacy and that is exactly what you are whilst wedding planning; a diplomat. Staying calm, even when all you want to do is cry or scream, is incredibly powerful. And if you're actively listening rather than responding emotionally it's amazing what you can pick up - maybe they are trying to do their best for you and think this is what you want. Maybe they didn't realise or think they were taking over. Maybe they need to stop and listen to what you want and need, rather than continue assuming they know. Ask them, just politely, to think about why they are suggesting what they are. Sometimes, you might need a mediator to act as go between, so have a think about who you trust, say an aunt/uncle or sibling, to help you let them know gently that they need to back away with the ideas.