Wedding Angst: 6 Ways To Deal With Overbearing Parents
Congratulations! You’re newly engaged and just about to plunge off the deep end into wedding planning. There seem to be a million and one things for you and your future spouse to think about. The last thing you need at this moment? Overbearing parents.
While this isn’t a universal problem, it certainly can make your wedding planning journey more frustrating and strained than it has to be. Here’re some tips from those of us who’ve been there done that, and survived through it all with our relationships and families unscathed.
1. Understand why they are overbearing
When it comes to defusing tension, it’s always important to understand where the other person is coming from. Somewhat ironically, the people that we are least able to empathise with could be those closest to us, like our parents and other family members.
Take a step back and consider why your parents are making certain demands. Get your significant other to help out here, since he or she didn’t grow up with them and may be more level-headed in considering their perspectives.
Their demands may seem absurd on the surface, but dig a little deeper and see if there may be a justifiable reason beneath it all. This is your wedding, but it’s also a family milestone for your parents.
2. Get your partner to be your support and back-up
After all, you guys are gearing up to be partners for life now, and it shouldn’t be something new for you to be facing problems as a team instead of leaving one in the lurch.
Being in such close proximity to each other all the time, families can sometimes be so deeply entrenched in their impressions of each other that communication may fail before it even begins.
This is where your partner may be able to help. As a relative newcomer to the family, he or she may be able to add some much-needed freshness to the dialogue when negotiating aspects of your wedding with your parents.
3. Hear them out and actually consider what they’re saying
All too often, we may be carried away by our emotions and attempt to put our foot down on certain things without even hearing our parents out. This is, understandably, frustrating for them to feel like their wishes are unheeded and will make them less receptive to what you want. Before you know it, you’re stuck in a vicious cycle.
Of course, you are entitled to have your own ideas of how you want your wedding to be, but also keep an open mind about what your parents are saying and look at it level-headedly. You never know if you might actually want to adopt some of these suggestions!
We’re not saying that you need to submit to your parents’ wishes in every aspect of your wedding and disregard your own preferences. The key here is really to show them that their opinions are being seriously considered and not immediately dismissed.
Having actually considered and discussed things with your fiancée, succinctly outline to them your train of thought and how you had tried to make things work out between their ideas and your own.
If there’s a way to make both sides happy, great! If there isn’t and you end up rejecting their idea and pursuing your own preferences, the likelihood of them kicking up a fuss is a lot less than if you had rejected it off the bat.
4. Pick your battles
There will always be differences in opinions when it comes to wedding planning – it may not only with your parents, but even with your future husband or wife – and an important life skill to deploy in these cases is to know which battles are worth fighting.
For example, compare a situation where your parents insist that you wear a piece of gold jewellery on your wedding day against your preferences versus a situation where they insist that you hold your wedding in a venue that you don’t like.
Between those two situations, it’s likely that there’s one you would be reluctantly OK with, and another that you absolutely don’t want to compromise on.
Save your energy and the unhappiness of arguing when you wouldn’t even be that mad going along with it, and only fight the battles that really matter to you.
5. Always keep the channels of communication open
Just because your parents feel like they’re being too demanding in your wedding planning doesn’t mean that you should shut them off. This might make them feel neglected and even more anxious than they were before.
You don’t need to keep them in the loop for every detail, but keep them updated about the big stuff. If they don’t agree with your decisions, keep the conversation as non-confrontational as possible. The important thing here is to keep communicating so it doesn’t feel like your wedding is breaking your family up.
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6. Remember that it’s a happy occasion
Above all, remember that getting married is a happy occasion for everyone involved.
In the end, your wedding day is a day that will eventually come and go, but your family, your in-laws, and your new wife are the ones that are going to be there for you in the long run. Don’t get too caught up in the small details and sacrifice the larger picture.