How to cope meeting the whole family on your wedding day
Your wedding day is usually fondly remembered as one of the best days of your life – but in the run-up to the big event, matters can be stressful. And fairly often, the source of the stress comes down to one thing – family members. It’s probably precisely because of how much we love them and value their opinions, but trying to please everyone can sometimes feel impossible. Even though your wedding day is about you and the person you’re pledging to spend your life with, it is also about celebrating with all your loved ones, and naturally you want them all to have an amazing time. Yet we know there’s nothing so complicated as modern families – from warring divorced parents to demanding siblings and competitive cousins – on either side. So how do you cope with two entire extended families – plus friends – and all those family politics being in the same place at the same time?
Respect People’s Feelings
Yes, your families should be mature and gracious enough to realize that it’s your day and put all other grievances aside, but there’s nothing like deeply-felt family drama to upset people and cause tension. Don’t try to pretend these things don’t exist. Take the opportunity to have an honest dialogue about how people are feeling if there are any complex situations, and how they intend to handle it on the day. Sometimes it’s enough for people to be able to air their hurt feelings and have them acknowledged. So if you have a situation like divorced parents where one will be there with a new partner, take the time to let both sides be heard and work out a way to make the day more bearable for everyone.
Communication Skills Are Key
Sometimes the simplest solution is just to keep the lines of communication open – and not just within the family. Cluing up people who are vital to the success of the day can also help. For example, let your wedding photographer know in advance about family situations and any politics. A skilful photographer can usually arrange things so that you get the shots you’ll treasure without upsetting anyone, or work out a way to take group shots while keeping certain people apart or appeasing others. That’s why it’s vital to choose a wedding photographer with people skills. If you have a master of ceremonies, it would also be wise to let them know of any potential awkward or embarrassing family issues in the immediate wedding part, as well as the celebrant or registrar.
Get People Involved
When it comes to a wedding, there are always plenty of little jobs that need doing, so a great strategy for managing anyone whose behaviour you’re worried about is to allocate them a particular task. Think about what they could help with. Does your prickly mother in law to be love gardening and could be great at helping to choose the flowers? Does that awkward cousin have an eye for fashion to help pick bridesmaids dresses? Asking someone to help appeals to their better nature, and it makes them feel involved in the day, so they are less likely to do anything out of turn. Plus, it could be a great way to build some bridges for the future.