Your parents have raised you – whether it’s been your mother, father, step-parents, foster parents, grandparents or guardians. Either way, you are their little girl or boy getting married. They are proud of you and (most of them!) want to be involved.
If you are the only son/daughter, it will be tough. This is their one and only chance to be involved as mother or father of the groom/bride. If you are the first to be married, it will be tough. This is their first time, and they are novices. If you are the second, third, sixth, or last to wed, it will be tough. They now know how it works, and both suggestions and comparisons will flow thick and fast.
There is only one word to describe how you can handle your parents – gracefully.
Keep reminding yourself that they are just as excited, may be just as new at this, or at the very least just want to help you out. Generally speaking, they have the best intentions at heart, and don’t want to railroad your wedding (or if they do, then I suggest sitting down and having a deep and meaningful to work out your conflicts and come to some sort of agreement).
Have some grace, rather than a screaming match. Step into their shoes, rather than stating it’s all about you. Take a minute to look at the experience psychologically, how all parties are feeling, and make decisions from there. Weddings are contagious – the excitement and the plans – and your parents are just as likely to be consumed as you are.
The bottom line is they want to be appreciated and know that they still matter to you even though you are starting a life with another.
Let them know you understand this, and want them to be part of this special time too. Find an area of your wedding where you are happy for them to take control and make it their little project to work out. It could be anything from researching car companies, to putting together invites, to arranging your bridal shower. Give them boundaries if necessary and let them know how they can help within your plans.
If your parents are financially contributing in any way, then there is even more reason to be graceful and grateful. After all, you may not be able to have what you’re planning without their financial assistance. Again, it is a good idea to discuss boundaries in this situation. There needs to be a balance between the two extremes of you simply handing them the invoice or them making all the decisions without your input.
The key is to compromise on the aspects that aren’t as important to you, but stand your ground by explaining why you want a particular aspect of the wedding a certain way. Whilst they are paying and are entitled to have a say or an opinion, it shouldn’t be lorded over you, nor used as a bribe to get their way. Financial contribution should be given as a gift and not used as a measure of control.
Ultimately, healthy discussion, honesty, expression of gratitude, and gentle boundaries will go along way to making your relationships during this time a positive experience.
Images by Katie Takes a Picture