Family wedding drama

So Your Friends and Family Have Opinions About Your Wedding…and They Don’t Match Yours

Maybe you’ve been dreaming about this day since you were five, squirreling away bridal magazines as a young girl. Maybe you just started thinking through the details during a post-engagement weekend binge on Pinterest. Regardless of how much time you’ve been planning, you now have some ideas. Cool ones.

Ideas that uniquely express who you are as a couple.

Ideas that haven’t been done or seen before in your circle of friends.

Ideas you’re sure will wow and delight your guests.

You’re excited to share them and before you can even fully EXPLAIN your idea to have barn wood table runners and menus embroidered on linen, some fool in the family poo-poos it. That’s not “wedding material,” they snipe,  or “That’s tacky,” or worse, “why would you want to do THAT!?”

You feel like punching someone in the face.

Didn’t they get the memo? This is YOUR wedding! Grr. Whoops! That’s not you. Now your reaction has filled you with self-loathing.  You’re no bridezilla. You’re just pissed because you have some good ideas and no one seems to want to hear them!

Still, you truly want everyone to be happy and have good time at your wedding. So you find yourself in a dilemma. Should you do what’s in your heart, or captitulate to the masses?

Both! Neither! Something in between. Here’s how to handle family wedding drama without taking the fast boat to Crazytown!


1. Take care of yourself.

Let’s face it. No one is at their best when they’re stressed out and overworked. As much as wedding planning can be a joyous preparation for a joyous day, no one will deny it can also be stressful. And, it bears repeating, no one is their best when they’re stressed.

So the first step in dealing family or friend drama is to take care of yourself. Schedule regular downtime. Eat well. Get enough fresh air and exercise, and go on wedding-planning-free dates with your Love.

2. Find People You Love and Trust to Run Interference.

There are some things that you, the bride, shouldn’t have to deal with. Uninvited opinions about your dream gown, whether your choice of offbeat ceremony music is tasteful or tacky, jealous bridesmaids, and family members who are angry with your guest list decisions can add undue stress to the wedding planning process.

The trick is to avoid negativity at all costs and cultivate love and support.

First figure out who your supporters are: your mom, your fiancee, your sister, or your maid of honor. (The makeup of this support group will be different for everyone. )

Then instruct your support team on what is essential for your to  about and what is not. Seriously, you have enough to worry about right now without pesky naysayers creeping into your life and mucking up your Chi. Have your team all diffuse non-essential issues before they get to you.

3. Be Prepared.

The best thing you can do when you start planning your wedding is understand this one simple fact: As soon as the wedding planning begins, the people you love sometimes forget to take their daily dose of Act-Right, and come to you with all manner of foolishness and childishness. Understanding that this is all but inevitable will go a long way in softening the emotional blow of uninvited PFO’s from your family. (Yeah, that stands for Personal Fucking Opinions).

Another step is to decide what your wedding goals and values are and be able to articulate them with compassion and firmness. Take the offender aside and politely but firmly tell them that the decisions your making for your wedding are yours and your fiances’. Period.

Sound too easy or too pie-in-the-sky? Then have a script ready with a few little white lies and deflecting statements:

  • “Oh we haven’t set our guest list yet.”
  • “Oh, the venue we chose only allows 75 people. It’s not me; it’s the fire marshall who sets the rules.”
  • “Oh, I hadn’t thought of  that; I’m not really making cake decisions yet, but I’ll keep your idea in mind when I do.”

And my personal favorite white lie:

  • Oh, we haven’t even started planning yet!”

4. Know Your Priorities and Delegate the Rest.

Oftentimes nosy and overbearing friends and family just want to help and be a part of your day. Knowing your top priorities and delegating the rest will go far in keeping nosy friends and family occupied and focused on productive endeavors.

Then, keep your mouth shut about the rest of your plans. Not everyone needs to weigh in on your dress choice, menu options, or decor. Save the details of your most important priorities for your nearest and dearest (see #2) and see be prepared and politely deflect or lie




5. Have an Honest Heart to Heart Chat.

It sounds simple. It also sounds scary– like really, really scary. But if you have fighting family members, jealous bridesmaids, or any other types of childish adults, take them aside and explain to them how important it is to you for everyone to get along and offer their support to you during this really intense period. If that doesn’t work, see tip #2 and find people you love and trust to run interference.