Navigating Family Nuances From Wedding Planning to Your Wedding Day

Navigating Family While Wedding Planning

Wedding planning while keeping everyone happy can be a big goal. Your wedding day is all about celebrating with your friends and family. It’s about the love between two people being shared with loved ones. We all know family sometimes isn’t that simple and keeping everyone happy can feel like your top wedding priority. First thing to know is you aren’t alone. Most couples have some challenging relationships or family dynamics to overcome on their way down the aisle. Realizing that your family isn’t the exception should be some comfort. 

Next, it’s important to keep perspective. Weddings are a big deal to everyone, especially your family. Emotions can run high, tempers can run short and lots of expectations can exist. Knowing this, you can be more prepared if someone appears to overreact in a way that’s out of character. This is a big, once-in-a-lifetime public moment. As much as you’ve dreamed about this day, they may have too. Keep that in mind if someone loses their cool and bring a big dose of patience and empathy to the conversations. 

Here’s a few of the most common questions and scenarios that couples often have. Advice isn’t one size fits all. It can be helpful to feel empowered knowing that you’ve thought out the situation and you’re equipped with knowledge and perspective. You will have a fabulous, memorable wedding day and even if there are bumps in the road to get there, it will be worth it for you and your loved ones when you get to your special day. Your people are there to support you on this special day and they’ll be there when you need them.   

My parents were recently divorced, how do I navigate honoring them both?

You’re probably going through a lot of emotions working through your parents separation. But this drama doesn’t need to affect your big day. It may be helpful to seek the help of a family counselor who you can meet with along with each parent individually. This way you can have an objective, trained third party help you navigate through this delicate dynamic. 

If that isn’t possible, communication is key. Ask your parents how they feel and what they’ll need to be happy and enjoy the day. Respect their wishes while honoring your own boundaries. Don’t feel pressured to take sides. Inform your photographer and allow time with each parent for photos and special moments. Work in buffers so they aren’t back to back and forced to interact. Remember although you can help keep them distanced, they’ll need to be mature as well for you and it’s not your entire responsibility to make them happy. Allow them to be there for you.  

I have very elderly family members coming to the wedding, how do I make them feel comfortable?

That’s a great question! Your wedding will be very special to grandparents, great-grandparents and other elderly guests. You can help them feel more comfortable by seating them in toward the front at your ceremony. 

Do a tour of your ceremony and reception areas for possible mobility challenges. Are there slippery steps or challenging terrain? Designate family members who will help your older loved ones to safely celebrate. Having shawls, blankets or umbrellas ready for them is also an easy way to make them feel comfortable. 

Give relatives a space to relax that’s comfortable and away from loud music so they can talk. Don’t forget to make sure they have a way to get to and from the wedding party, as they may not be comfortable driving at night. 

When you sign up for Guestie, take a few minutes to show them how they can easily log on (we promise even your 100-year old great-grandfather can do this!) so they can get to know all of your guests via their Guestie guest gallery profiles. This can even be a fun bonding experience to show them all your friends and partner’s family before the big day. Finally, after your celebration, print out photos from your special day so they can enjoy the memories since they may not be on social media to see all the photos from that night. 

There are some people in my family that do not get along, what do I do at my wedding?

Your wedding doesn’t mean you’re in charge of perfecting all of your family’s relationships. Communication again can go a long way. Consider speaking to each person individually, framing the conversation about what they need to feel comfortable. Hear them out without making any promises or decisions. Go back to your partner and planner and discuss. Can you seat them on opposing sides of the room? Can they agree to be cordial for a few hours? Asking them this question can help you decide if they can handle attending your wedding. Remember, your wedding is a special trust you are giving to each person you invite that they will be there to support and celebrate you. If they are unable to do this, you may need to reconsider your guestlist. 

We both have family members who are very opinionated about our wedding planning, how do we keep everyone happy?

Listen to your family. Sometimes people just want to know they are being heard. But be honest with everyone about your decisions. Although it can be tempting to ask for forgiveness later rather than be transparent about decisions beforehand, you don’t want to be stressing during your special day. Consider giving each family member who wants to be a part of the wedding planning process a special task. It can give them an outlet for their creative energy. Choose things that don’t mean the world to you, maybe your favors or selecting the photo booth vendor. 

Because of COVID, we haven’t seen much of our family in a long time. How do we reconnect during wedding planning?

Many of us are feeling disconnected and out of sync when it comes to socializing again. Rebuilding bonds can start well before the big day. Reaching out with a text or call can be a nice way to begin reconnecting, especially before your invitations go out. Since everyone is probably feeling a bit isolated after the pandemic, breaking the ice is essential. Get everyone geared up to party by signing up for Guestie. It will give everyone a virtual way to get acquainted with all of your attendees. 

My mother says she feels left out of wedding planning? I’m not sure what to do?

For parents, your special day is also their special day. From the time you were a baby, they have probably dreamed about this moment in your life. So it’s understandable that their emotions will be high and they may be sensitive about making the most of the big day and the wedding planning process. Help your parents feel a part of the wedding planning (while maintaining your own happiness). Honor your boundaries at all times. 

Maybe go outfit shopping with your mom but flower shopping with your maid of honor. Give your parents a chance to virtually meet the guests they may not know. Let a parent help you manage a part of your wedding. Inviting them to co-host your Guestie page can be a great item to delegate because it’s easy and user-friendly. It will also help them feel more connected to everyone and they just may make a new friend that will take some of the heat off of you.  

Our parents want us to invite their friends and co-workers, many of whom we’ve never met. How do we tell them no?

If your parents are financially contributing to your wedding, you may want to consider allowing them the opportunity to invite some of their special friends. Understand their motivations a bit. They’re proud of you and want to show you off on your special day. By having their friends attend, they’ll also have people that will keep them entertained. 

If you don’t feel comfortable having people you’ve never met at your wedding, you can offer to go out to dinner with everyone beforehand, so you can get acquainted. Or talk to your parents about your emotions and boundaries. If you really only want your most beloved people at your wedding, explain your perspective and ask them to be respectful of your decision. 

Guestie helps you create a more connected, more personal wedding experience. Sign up now so you and your guests can start the celebration today. All it takes is a quick upload of your guestlist to kickstart the party. Think of Guestie like the pregame to the wedding of your dreams.   

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