How to Prevent Family Tension at Your Wedding
Avoid conflicts by anticipating them in your wedding planning
By Kimberly Ripley
When families converge for a wedding, sometimes very pointed differences are brought to light. There are a lot of decisions to make and, in some cases, there is a lot of money at stake. With so much on the line, family members can sometimes grapple for control. Make the event as happy and stress-free as possible by using some tried-and-true tactics for preventing family tensions before they start.
- What You Need to Know
- Choose wedding party members that are reliable and even keel.
- Pick your battles. Try and accommodate the special requests of family.
- Devise a seating plan for both the ceremony and the reception that keeps your guests surrounded by people they like.
- Show appreciation for family members who are helping finance your wedding, but don't allow them to take over the planning process.
Don't allow your wedding to become a major life crisis. Learn simple steps to diffuse family issues as they arise, so they don't escalate and cause unnecessary tension. Wedding party members are chosen to "tend" to the bride and groom. Avoid selecting family members or even close friends who make mountains out of molehills. These tactics will only add stress to what is supposed to be a happy time. Instead choose people who will help the bride or groom without thinking the their role somehow places them in the limelight.
During the initial wedding stages, determine the number of guests that you would like to invite, as well as how many your budget will allow. Once you've settled on a reasonable range, breakdown how many invites each family will receive -- there should be one list for the bride's family, another for the groom's, and one for friends of the bride and groom. If, however, any of these parties requires more invitations than originally planned, all three parties must work together to find a compromise.
Give into trivial demands that family members deem important. If your mother has always imagined that she and Great-Aunt Margaret will be seated at the table to the left of the head table, simply go with it. After the festivities are underway, you won't care where Mom and Great-Aunt Margaret are seated, and no one else will either. The motto here is "pick and choose your battles wisely." You'll wind up much less stressed as a result.
Seat as far apart as possible those family members who don't have the good graces to even fake getting along. For example, you may be inviting two friends that were once together and have recently broken up or divorced. To guard against any potential misbehavior, seat each of them at opposite sides of the reception hall, and be sure they are both surrounded by people they enjoy who will rise to the occasion and keep them in line should they even hint at provoking their ex.
Talk openly and honestly to your parents well in advance of the wedding if they are divorced, remarried or dating so that everyone understands what is expected of them and what will not be tolerated. If the father of the bride has a new wife, but she won't give you the time of day, this will cause a problem. Explain to Dad in a straightforward way that he is welcome to bring the new Mrs. to the wedding but that he and your mom are the official wedding hosts. Although the new wife may join him at his table at the reception, Dad will be seated with Mom -- or just behind her -- during the wedding ceremony. The same goes if Mom is remarried and the stepdad isn't on great terms with the bride or groom.
Be respectful of family members who are helping with the wedding expenses. This does not mean, however, that they can have their say in the way things will take place before or during the wedding. Make it very clear up front that while you truly appreciate their generosity, it doesn't allot them a ticket to free reign over any of the wedding plans.
About the Author
Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and contributor to DexKnows.
Browse By Top DexKnows Cities
- St Paul
A wedding website is a useful tool for sharing information about your wedding day with guests, friends and family.... Read More
Have you always envisioned a sun-drenched day of lazing on the beach for your honeymoon? Or perhaps a cabin hidden in the woods is more your style? Sit down with your fiancÚ and figure out what type of honeymoon you'd like, then hop on the Internet and determine the details.
View your wedding checklist!
A venue staff member who serves as the contact person and coordinator for events, a role that is less extensive than a wedding planner.View the Full Weddings Glossary