Maintaining Your Vision & Relationships When Others are Helping with the Budget (& Have Opinions)
They all say that little girls grow up dreaming of planning their big day - but “they,” whoever they are, forget to tell us that sometimes we have to balance the opinions of others with our own! Maybe it’s your parents, or maybe it’s your honey’s parents - perhaps it is grandma and grandpa chipping in to make your wedding day the “stuff” that wedding dreams are made of. While it is incredibly generous that there are others that want to contribute to your wedding and reception, it’s important to set expectations - both with them and with yourself - before getting caught up in a scuffle on the defining details.
You’re on a neutral color scheme but your mom wants fuschia stationary, your mother-in-law thinks she has picked out your wedding dress, and you are starting to think about eloping to avoid the conflict (and to keep your MIL from unintentionally crushing your princess ball gown dreams). We. Get. It. While the easy way out may be masquerading around in your mind as running away and getting married in a drive-thru in Vegas (totally fine if this is what you truly want to do), remember that it is entirely possible to keep the dream alive and keep everyone happy, too. Often times, those helping with the finances of the wedding feel a certain level of entitlement in making the big decisions - and to an extent, understandably so! But, they have to remember that this day is about you + your future hubby, and that your happiness on this day is what matters most.
That said, I want to be clear when I say that I am in no way encouraging you to go full-on “Bridezilla” and squash every opinion that conflicts with your master plan. No way, girl. Just as they need to be considerate of your vision, you need to consider the contribution that they are making, and try to find ways to make them feel appreciated during the planning process. More than likely, you will be able to find options - in any area of the big day - that make most everyone happy! Here are some tips that can help to smooth over - or prevent - the arguments that can happen!
Start with the conversation, instead of waiting for the conflict to happen later. If others have contributed to your wedding budget, let them know where your + your honey’s priorities are in terms of spending. Do you want to spend more money on food and less on flowers since you’re being married outdoors, and flowers won’t be as necessary to the natural aesthetic? Do you want to splurge on a retro getaway car? Let them know where your head is at, and then inquire. While not everyone who provides financially to the wedding will want a stake in the decision-making process, it’s a thoughtful gesture that can go far with those who do.
If they are feeling very passionate about a decision, dig a little deeper. Is mom rooted in tradition? Ask her how her mom + women in her life were involved in planning her own wedding - this can help you to understand where she is coming from. Not only will her requests begin to make more sense to you, but you will also be more inclined to be empathetic when hearing out her suggestions. Understanding the origins of her behavior will help you to relate when having these conversations, and ultimately, can diffuse particularly passionate situations when making decisions. She will also be more inclined to leaning your way if you are understanding!
While it is totally okay to be emotionally-involved, make sure that you are coming from a rational place. Would it really be the end of the world to incorporate a few hydrangeas in the floral arrangements if it means making your mom happy? Probably not. But again, this is your day. If you truly feel like this would hinder your ability to enjoy the day, really spend some time thinking about why, rationally. Is it because you prefer the body of peonies, and want to keep the complementing florals airy and light? Are they even in season during your event? That’s a lot more understandable than “I just don’t want them!” Remember: Mom is more than likely living vicariously through you at some level, and maybe opting for a few hydrangeas will make declining that fuschia stationary less painful for her.
Make sure that if others are contributing financially to your wedding day, that they are invited to an appointment or two. Even if they decline the offer, extending it shows that you value their input and want to provide an opportunity for them to share ideas or feedback. This seemingly small gesture can have great power, so use it! Just being at a part of your “Say Yes to the Dress” experience or accompanying you while you tour venues can make them feel organically involved in the planning process, whether they are making the final decisions or not.
If you feel like you need a mediator or someone to provide expert insight, consider working with a planner. We help families reach design and planning decisions that provide the best outcome all the time. Sometimes, having a third party involved helps to reduce some of the tension since they can provide objective input! Not only that, but they can truly help you + your family come to decisions that make the most sense based on your budget, your vision, season of event, wedding capacity, and every other variable going into your wedding and reception. If you would like your XO Event Co. planner at all of your vendor meetings, we are happy to oblige!
All in all, it is really helpful to go into the process with these tips in mind to put your best foot forward when working through wedding planning conflicts. In the end, everyone loves everyone, and they all want the best for your big day!
Have any questions, comments, ideas, or maybe you need some help through your wedding planning process? Please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would absolutely love to help you make all your wedding day dreams come true!