keep calm and stick together!
Weddings are wonderful, but planning them is stressful and can threaten special relationships. Here’s how to survive the process with those precious bonds intact.
By their very nature, weddings bring people together. But when you’re feeling overwhelmed by your to-do list and are losing sleep over rapidly mounting costs, it’s easy for tempers to fray. It’s also easy to forget to make (non-wedding related) time to simply enjoy the company of family and friends.
The relationship: your fiancé
The status: You love each other (you are, after all, getting married) and although you don’t always see eye to eye, you’ve learnt to resolve your differences using conversation and compromise. Mostly.
The hiccup: There’s been a breakdown in communications and if that lazy whatsit who calls himself your fiancé thinks you’re doing any more of this wedding stuff single-handed, he’s got another thing coming…
The solution: Encourage your fiancé to get involved. Ask him for his opinions and make sure you listen to his suggestions and incorporate them into the wedding plans. If he’s dragging his heels and presents as unenthusiastic, find out what the underlying issues are and resolve them – this will generally result in a more helpful and participatory fiancé. Lastly, don’t force the issue that the work needs to be equally divided – accept that the bride generally is more involved than the groom in the planning of the wedding.
The relationship: your mom
The status: You’re two peas in a pod and get along like best friends. She cried when you found the perfect dress and listens to your endless ramblings about decor, menus and whether or not peonies are better than proteas. She also loves you regardless of how many tantrums you throw.
The hiccup: She’s trying to relive her glory days or create the wedding she never had, using your big day as her canvas. Your ideas aren’t gelling and she is very vocal about loathing your colour palette.
The solution: Make it clear that you appreciate her input and support. Listen to her suggestions, but if you find that she just shoots your ideas down, stand your ground. Inform her that there are aspects of the wedding plans where you don’t require input as you have already decided on them, then point her in directions where you do actually require her assistance.
The relationship: your dad
The status: You’re daddy’s little girl, that’s all there is to it.
The hiccup: Dad is starting to feel like a walking bank. And worse, nobody’s paying him or his suggestions any attention, unless he needs to swipe his card and sign the slip.
The solution: Ask your father how he feels about financing aspects of the wedding and address his concerns constructively. Include him in drawing up the budget and explain the role of the different service providers that you require. Show him quotations from different service providers and highlight each one’s pros and cons. Involve him in the decision-making and take cognisance of his input as well as of his financial status.
The relationship: his parents
The status: You get along quite well and although you think your fiancé might be a bit of a mommy’s boy, his folks are both quite sweet.
The hiccup: There’s a reason for all those in-law jokes. Her über-polite suggestions are starting to grate and you really don’t care if she thinks a three-course meal is classier than that seriously cool food truck you’ve booked! Unlike your own family, his doesn’t have to forgive you for any bridezilla moments…
The solution: Be mindful not to exclude his parents from the wedding planning. Ask if there are any particular areas in which they would like to assist and give them some options. Keep them updated regarding your decisions and ask for their feedback. Include his mother in outings when you go shopping for wedding items – either together with your mother or one-on-one. Incorporate his parents in wedding rehearsals and food tastings, in music selection and when arranging with the photographer for family portraits on the day.
The relationship: your best friend
The status: She’s your maid of honour and you’ve been best friends forever. You know everything there is to know about each other and you still like what you see.
The hiccup: She’s not being as helpful as you need your second in command to be and, if you’re honest, you’ve checked out of the friendship a little because there’s just so much on your plate right now…
The solution: Be considerate of the fact that although your wedding may currently be the centre of your universe, your maid of honour has her own life to lead. Tell her what you need assistance with and ask her to confirm that this is in order. Check if there is anything that she would not be able to manage or requires assistance with. Ensure that she is feeling appreciated, be respectful of her time and be flexible with your time in trying to accommodate her.
The relationship: the friend you didn’t ask to be a bridesmaid
The status: You’re good friends and you’re happy to hang out and have a gossip, but you only wanted three bridesmaids and she didn’t make the cut.
The hiccup: She’s upset and making her thoughts known. After all, she asked you to be a bridesmaid at her wedding (you and six more of her “BFFs”)…
The solution: Explain to your friend in your kindest manner that you apologise if you have hurt her feelings and that this was never the intention. Emphasize that you value her friendship, as you do the other guests. Arrange special times to go on outings with her and call her from time to time to keep her updated with the wedding planning. Make it known that the logistics of your wedding dictated the number in the bridal party and that it was a joint decision taken by you and your fiancé. Pay special attention to her at the bachelorette party or bridal shower.
The relationship: your boss and co-workers
The status: You’re a team. You work well together, there’s little tension and you often go for after-work drinks.
The hiccup: Yes, they’re happy for you; no, they don’t want to spend the next six to eight months listening to every little detail, plan or disaster. You’ve heard the word “bridezilla” being muttered over morning coffee and, truth be told, you’re not fully focussed on your job.
The solution: Remind your co-workers how excited you are regarding wedding planning, but that you are aware that you may spend more time talking about it than they care to listen to. Ask them to remind you from time to time that there are other events happening in other people’s lives – and that you promise not to take offence when they do so. Assure your boss and co-workers that you take your career seriously: ask that they draw your attention to it if they perceive you to be distracted.