Goals: making it to ‘We do’ without a murder charge. Photo by Dan Brannan.
The further along you get in the wedding process, the more you begin to understand that the day isn’t just about you and your partner – it’s also about the people who have played (and continue to play) a significant part in your life.
We don’t mean you suddenly start making decisions to please people (you know our golden rule – big day, your way). Rather, you start to realise and reflect on how important they are: they’re the people you lean on in tough times, who you celebrate life’s little and big wins with, who you call on for advice and for a yarn.
BUT (and it’s a big but) they’re also the people who can be a bit of a ball-ache in the lead up to the big day. You know, the people who have strong opinions about everything and don’t know when to bite their tongue. They mean well but their unsolicited advice can also be very taxing and often, very unhelpful.
So, it’s helpful to know how to plan a wedding without killing anyone. That is, how to manage family while wedding planning.
The good news: it is possible! Hallelujah. Try and remember that most of the time, any nit-picking, nay-saying, raised eyebrows and flat-out “well, IIIII think you should do it this way” comes from a place of love. Most people want you to have the best day, but they might think they know better than you when it comes to wedding planning.
That said, you want practical tips to stop poison *accidentally* landing in their drink right? OK, here are some tactics we stand behind.
Involve them in stuff they can genuinely help with
Give any pestering family members something to do and you’ll find that they’ll be more positively invested in your wedding and will feel like a valued part of it. The trick here is allocate tasks where you can genuinely use whatever research or help the person provides – not stuff that’s highly reliant on personal taste, like finding your wedding shoes (otherwise, if you don’t take on their feedback they’ll feed offended and like their time was wasted). Or, get their opinion on a shortlist of options so that you’re setting them up for success as you’ll be happy with whatever option they choose.
Change the subject to focus on them
Go into conversations ready with a slew of topics to talk about that are focused on them to detract from your wedding. First rule of people: people love talking about themselves and it has the added bonus of helping this person connect with you and feel like you’re on their side = less negative or provoking energy towards you regarding your wedding.
Keep your energy nonchalant and open-minded
Nod, appear interested and respond with a sweeping statement like “that’s interesting, we’ll keep that in mind, thanks for your thoughts”. Then either bank the idea if it actually was decent or turf it into the mental junkyard of never-to-be-thought-of-again. Keeping level energy is key, because some people are like a moth to a flame at the first sign of aggravation.
Ever-so-gently shut them down
It helps we’re mums of small children because a lot of the techniques for dealing with the shiz that a three year old throws at you is uncannily applicable for a wedding scenario.
You don’t want to say a flat “No. Nope. Never. No happening. That’s a dumb idea”. Instead, frame things like you’re really hearing them. “Hmm, that’s interesting and I can see how [their suggestion] would suit many couple’s wedding. For us, we’re thinking that for [X reasons], we’re going to do [alternative thing] instead because of [X reason]. But we’re loving hearing all the ways weddings play out – isn’t it an amazing time to get married!? There’s so much diversity in weddings now!” *Quickly excuse yourself for the bathroom, take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back. You did good back there*.
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