Professional Wedding Planning Advice; What The Experts Want You to Know!
“Bringing two families together for a wedding can be very stressful on a couple. What advice do you have for any bride and groom to avoid family drama on the big day?”
Bringing together two families on a wedding day can be stressful but it can also be fun. Really and truly, the bride and groom have the opportunity to set the tone. I always tell my bride’s to be sure and be very matter of fact when planning the wedding and accommodating all parties involved. Everyone wants to play a part in the bride and groom’s big day so finding responsibilities for those family members and distributing them to each side can help merge the two families. Some different ways to do this may include having a family member from each side give a reading during the ceremony, or making sure you include little ones from both sides for the ring bearer and flower girl(s). This helps make families work together. I also suggest that if people are offering to help that the bride and groom find jobs that would be great for those specific family members so that they can feel like they are contributing to the big day but also engaging with family from both sides of the bride and groom.
Planning and delegating and remaining as neutral as possible is key for a smooth wedding day. The last thing you want is to be dealing with family drama hours before a ceremony starts. If you are fortunate enough to afford a coordinator in your wedding budget, I highly suggest to do so, as they can help take some of the emotion out of the family drama and be a neutral party to remind everyone who the big day is really about.
-Abbie Cole Hillis, Owner + Planner, ACH Events
That is such a good question and one that has so many answers. And not one answer that will work seamlessly for all couples and families. But, there are two things that come to mind that you can do to hopefully best avoid that drama.
First is to set clear expectations early. By early I mean immediately! Have open conversations with first your fiance and second your families about what they want and expect for not only the big day but everything leading up to it. That way you can prepare for what may come. During that time you can also stress to your family neither of you want to stir up drama because of decisions that have to be made. Communication is after all one of the biggest causes of conflict, why not address it right off the bat?
Second piece of advice is to remember that although as a bride or groom the big day should be about you, it also happens to be about others in your family too. Recognize that your wedding is super important to your mother in law and try to make an effort to involve her in the planning and decision making (you know, hypothetically) even though relinquishing that power can be painful at the time, it will work out in the end.
And as a freebie, my last and best piece of advice I can give is to hire a wedding planner or coordinator! Bet you didn’t see that one coming. A wedding planner can be the best buffer between family and the bride and groom. Someone doesn’t agree with your seating decision? Blame it on us. Having a hard time saying no to someone in your family? We’ll do it for you. Our priority is the bride and groom and to make sure that their big day actually does turn out to be the best day ever WITHOUT the drama.
-Christine Blasl, Calliope Events
One of the things I find common amongst wedding families is that most want to participate in some form or another. One way that a bride and groom can help families feel purposeful throughout the celebration is to give them a particular task to do. Getting together and assembling 200 to 250 wedding favors over a glass of wine might just do the trick! The bride and groom know their guests the best and so it is important that they heed their instincts about what would work.
-Geri M. Schwartzman, CWP, Event Designer/Coordinator, Milestone Memories & Events
I have had a lot of experience working with various family dynamics. I encourage brides and grooms to think about their parents in the planning process. Though, the wedding is all about the bride and groom; it’s also about the parents.
Regardless of who is paying for the wedding, it is important to find a way to show your appreciation to your parents in a small way. A few gestures of appreciation could be demonstrated in father/daughter and mother/son dances or parent announcements. Taking a moment out of your special day to recognize your parents makes them feel like they are a part of your wedding.
-Crystal Howard, LoveGush Events
When trying to avoid family drama on your Big Day, keep in mind communication is key. It’s best to discuss any issues prior to the wedding so you don’t have to deal with it on your Wedding Day. Be straight forward and honest with difficult family members, reminding them this is a day to celebrate your love.
-Walter McClellan, Owner, Toast Entertainment
Hire Professionals to help with the Special Day and this will take the stress off of the family as well as the Bride and Groom. This will keep everyone at ease..
-Donna Solbrig, The Party Affair
From the day you get engaged and start the planning process you get tons of unsolicited advice and opinions for family and friends. Your parents will definitely put pressure on you especially if they are paying for things. It is important that you stick together and remember that you are becoming your own family. You are one unit now. As you research and navigate the whole planning process the two of you need to make decisions together on what you want and then inform you family and bridal party about your decisions, regardless of where the money for the wedding is coming from. If parents contribute money to the wedding, it is important to have a discussion with them about expectations for the money before you accept it. Sometimes, the strings attached aren’t worth it.
As for transportation, it is one of the most stressful components of the day. It can make or break your timeline so it is important to use a good, reputable company with great reviews. Make sure you see pictures of the vehicles you are renting. Make sure you or your planner has all the drivers names and cell numbers the day of the wedding and above all, make a detailed travel itinerary and communicate it to everyone! Pad your times to get to and from places the day of because getting in and out of the car takes a lot longer with a huge dress, entourage, and wedding day jitters!
-Natalie Hart, Owner + Creative Director, Country Sugar Weddings + Events
Bringing together two sets of family can be amazing and exciting, but it can also be full of hidden landmines and emotions that sometimes can get stressful. I like to sit down with my clients and talk through these potentials soar spots a the beginning of the planning process. Having everyone on the same page from the beginning can set the mind set that we are all working together with the same goal: Celebrating your union in the most peaceful and fun way possible! I find that clear communication about everyone’s expectations can solve so many problems before they even occur. Questions to talk through would be: Who is paying for what? If someone is contributing money how involved do they expect to be in the decision making process? What are the things you and your finance can compromise on and what are those things that are non negotiable?
My other piece of advice would be to hire wedding professionals that you trust and see eye to eye with. A set of great vendors can help you mediate and walk through those difficult situations, especially when though decisions need to be made. I like to tell my clients that I am happy to be the scape goat in any difficult situations between family members. I get to go home at the end of this event but you still need to have an intact relationship with your family and future in laws, and as much as I can help make that possible, I will do my best.
-Sara Martin, Owner/Head Designer, Kindred Event Studio