For most couples, planning a wedding means dealing with at least some level of stress, so it can be a huge relief when family members offer to help. But when everyone has an opinion, it can be difficult to set boundaries and stick to them. That's why we asked wedding planners to share their best tips for standing your ground during wedding planning. While there's nothing wrong with accepting assistance from those around you, the wedding day is about you and your fiancé, so it's important that your vision comes through and your love story is represented.
Come up with a clear vision and communicate it those helping.
In order to maintain the integrity of your wedding vision, it's important for you and your future spouse to be on the same page from that start. Talk through what you dream day looks like early on, and be sure to discuss which aspects are absolutely non-negotiable. Then, when anyone offers to help, you'll be able to share your ideas. If family members start offering their own opinions, be firm about what you want; there's nothing worse than agreeing to their suggestions to end the conversation only to have to go back and tell them you've changed your mind. If you're having a tough time holding your ground, Jennifer Thye of Imoni Events recommends sharing your original vision again. "Reminding them what you wanted is simple," she says. "The tone of those conversations goes over better than ones where no one has expressed wants and needs."
Learn how to respond in the right way.
Susan Norcross, owner of The Styled Bride, says managing how you respond to those pushing back on your ideas is crucial. "I think it's always important to say that you will take suggestions under advisement," she explains. "That way, you aren't giving a yes or a no, and you also aren't hurting anyone's feelings while you are 'thinking on it'. This statement can defuse a situation quickly." Instead of simply saying no, you're making sure your family member feels heard but still not committing to an idea you don't feel comfortable with.
Make sure your vendors know who gets to make the final decisions.
Norcross also recommends keeping the lines of communication open with your planner, florist, stationer, venue, caterer, photographer, and entertainment so that they know to take direction from you, not your relatives. "A good planner can help, as we can buffer these situations," she adds. "We are able to break down why an idea may not work for the overall aesthetic, budget, timeline or whatever the case may be."
Utilize your wedding planner.
Kristen Burgess, Creative Director at By Emily B., knows family drama can make standing your ground hard. That's why she actually encourages her clients to make her the bad cop. In the past, she's taken the blame when her bride wanted her future mother-in-law to wear a different dress and when a couple took their family members off the task of addressing envelopes and hired a calligrapher instead. "I tell my clients that one of the perks of having a wedding planner is you can blame things on them in order to avoid awkward family situations," she says.
Give family members alternative jobs.
It's totally possible to involve your relatives without letting them overhaul your big day. Planner Marcy Blum says you can assign them low-priority tasks and give them free rein. "Give them a job like creating the hotel welcome bags or hosting brunch," she explains. They'll keep your relatives busy and ensure they feel valued, but since these elements aren't ones you're super invested in, you're okay with whatever details they chose.