Fortunately, you’re the bride-to-be, so your opinion is the one that matters the most. Oh, and your fiancé’s opinion matters quite a bit too. It’s up to the two of you to band together and put your feet down when it comes to your special day. Between opinionated mothers, overwhelming in-laws, and friends who truly do mean well (but do more harm than good), this article has you covered!
1. Don’t feel obligated to invite more people than you want (and can afford).
Long ago, parents controlled many aspects of their children’s weddings for one simple reason: they were the ones dishing out the big bucks. The times have changed, however, and these days more couples are paying for their own day with little to no outside help. Still, many parents share the misconception that they have the right to invite their coworkers, family friends, and distance relatives.
There are a couple of ways to keep your guest list at a more manageable size. First, calmly explain that the wedding budget has been pre-planned with a predetermined guest count factored in. Sometimes, speaking in terms of dollars and cents will make the most sense.
On the rare occasions when parents offer to financially pitch in, take the time to consider the guests that they are suggesting. Perhaps set a cap at the number of extra guests parents can invite, and kindly remind them that your day isn’t the time to invite every person they have ever known.
2. In addition to creating the guest list, it’s up to you and your fiancé to decide who sits where.
Seating charts are the stuff nightmares are made of. At least, they are when you’re planning a wedding. Aunt Mildred really wants to sit near cousin Sue but does not want to sit near Uncle Sam. However, Uncle Sam wants to chat with cousin Bob who is married to cousin Sue.
Try your best to seat your guests near the people they will have the most fun with, but remember that you’re not a miracle worker. If it’s inevitable that two non compatible people need to be at the same table (like Aunt Mildren and Uncle Sam), try placing them at opposite sides of the table and strategically arrange a centerpiece to block their view from each other.
3. Don’t buckle under dress stress.
Did your grandmother’s dress get passed down to your mother and now they want to pass it down to you? You may acknowledge that while it was once beautiful, the dress’ style may vary considerably from your own. And that’s ok.
Is it possible to have the dress altered? A combination of an older design with modern tweaks may produce beautiful results. There may also be the possibility that you fell in love with a completely different dress. Ask your mother and grandmother if there is another garment or piece of jewelry that you can wear instead. Show them that you value their traditions while not making yourself miserable in the process.
4. Pick the music that you think the majority of your guests will enjoy.
Does your fiancé want a country band but you want a DJ who specializes in pop? Do your parents want to hear 80’s ballads? Consider each opinion carefully and come up with a decision that will make the most sense to the most people.
Even while staying true to your preferences and identity, don’t forget the value of compromise. Is music a passion of his? This may be a detail of the wedding that you should let him choose.
5. There will be times when you simply need to say “no”.
Are you planning to get married by an officiant on the beach, but your parents want you to be married in a Catholic church? Has a bridesmaid repeatedly asked you to let her wear a long gown, despite the other bridesmaids wearing knee-length dresses? Bluntly saying no may be difficult, but sometimes it is necessary.
There may be some aspects of your wedding that can be compromised and tweaked, but others that are deal-breakers. A simple but firm “no” will be the best way to go. You can always explain why later.
6. Nip surprise help in the butt by keeping details between you, your fiancé, and your most trusted helpers.
Sometimes, plans will turn out better when fewer people know the details. Remember, too many hands in the pot will spoil the sauce. If you’re lucky to be surrounded by lots of loving people, chances are high that they will want to help. This is the time when opinions and hands will fly about in an effort to ease your workload. Unfortunately, they may not see how their actions will have the opposite effect.
When you find yourself needing to say no, be kind without compromising your desires. Meet questions with as few answers as possible and keep those answers vague. When asked about the menu, assure your family that you have considered multiple dietary preferences. Express excitement about the music without going into detail. Don’t completely avoid their questions, just tell them as little as possible. And if they question your vagueness, fall back on a the classic answer: “It’s a fabulous surprise!”