Saturday, May 29, 2010

Talking With the Parents... The Good, the Bad, the Ugly...

Thankfully, we have not had to deal with much of the bad or the ugly situations that can sometimes occur when planning a wedding, but, we know that not every situation is as ideal as ours. (*wink*)

First off, Matt and I mapped out what we wanted our wedding to look like, before talking to parents. I think it helped for us to have an idea first, but, at the same time we didn't want to be unresponsive to feedback. Our parents' wisdom was very helpful as there were several things we didn't take into consideration. Since we had discussed what we definitely wanted, it was easier for us to filter through all the suggestions they were throwing at us.

Tip - utilize your parents! Most have been married before and know what it is all about!

We wanted to have a very big wedding and reception (we want all of you to enjoy the day with us!), but we could not afford it. We decided on having it be an open wedding with a closed reception, that way we could have all of our friends be with
us when we married but be able to truly put on the reception we wanted with a more exclusive group. Our parents helped us find a compromise so that the reception is not lost to the public! - a big wedding with a cake reception directly following and a light dinner later that evening (for close family and friends).

We are thankful that all five (5!) of our parents have been so willing to be flexible as our ideas are voiced. Whether it be being ok with not havin
g EVERYONE at the dinner or doing the research to understand

certain lingo that goes along with reception and rehearsal dinner venues. (What is a cash bar anyway?)

Each parent has been different in their contributions, from suggesting things for the most specific details or just offering a helping hand in the preparation (whether or not it will be needed!).

So, with that... here is what our research has shown us, and our suggestions as to deal with each situation:

The parents who want to control everything - from the colors to the attendants!
Find a wedding coordinator!
- This solution can be difficult to reach, but easy to initiate (it is called a phone book). Having a coordinator will give you that buffer zone that you want so that compromise is met. The issue here can usually come down to money, who is paying for what? Your parents may feel that since they are footing the bill they have more of a say, this is true to a point because your parents' friends and family may be aware of who's paying the bills and your parents want to put on a good face as well. In the end, though, it is still YOUR wedding, if there is something you are unhappy with and your parents are unwilling to budge, maybe it would be wiser to pay for the wedding yourself so it really is YOUR wedding. It should be something you are happy with, from the flowers to the photography to the people involved and the venues picked.

The parents who are divorced - how to play the odds.
Thankfully my (Matt's) divorced parents are very selfless in this matter, the stress that 'could have been' 'will not be' because they are leaning on God's wisdom and yielding to my desire to have all of my parents involved on the day I marry. (They have all been so supportive in my life!)

...but... the stories are out there...

We heard of a wedding once where the bride's mother was so offended when she found out that the brides father was coming that she refused to go and even missed out on much of the planning. Even though she did go in the end, the issues are still unresolved to this day. Ouch. What could one do?
- First off, realize that this is still your wedding. Yes, it can hurt to have a parent refuse to come for one reason or another, but in the end, the day is about you and the person you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with, not your parents. Lean on your soon to be spouse for support in this time.
- First and a half - Do not gossip about your parent! Choose a few select friends but spreading stories around will not do anything but hurt the situation if they eventually got back to your parent.
- Second, do NOT avoid the subject, but also do not push it or get aggravated when the upset parent starts to get emotional. Sit down one on one and talk it out, explain why you would like the other parent there (even if it may seem obvious to you, it may not to them!) and be patient, they could be dealing with a lot of past hurt that you are not even aware of. (remember, they are human too.)
- If the situation reaches the point of the parent threatening disinheritance or uninvolvement, do not push the point any further, they will have a hard time backing down and there is a lot of pride they will have to wade through before approaching you again in reconciliation. However, continue to ask them to be involved even if they reject and ignore every invitation, whether it be dress shopping or deciding on centerpieces etc. Once they see that you are not doing this to hurt them they will have a better time understanding your position. There is a difference between letting them get involved again and letting them take control, be wary of this. Added bonus: as they get the emails or phone calls to be involved there will be a tugging at their hearts, it will help them get over their own feelings as the desire to really be a part of your day grows.
- The LAST thing you want to do is nag. This will put a greater divide in between you instead of bridging the gap that already exists. Give them their space and let them bring up their issues as they are ready.

Will this work every time? Of course not, we are just suggesting things that we have seen work or have read about ourselves. They can make the trip easier, though, and hopefully bring them back into the process.

Thankfully we have not had to deal with this! Matt's parents are very cordial and it is clear that they are willing to participate in a day that will mean the world to him. (and hopefully them as well!)

PLEASE! comment or give suggestions! We know that you all have a world of experience that we do not and could probably give more advice to those out there who need it.

Thank you for reading on about a topic that is not as light-hearted or fluffy (or jovial, as Seth would say) as our usual entries, until next time!

Look forward to Wedding Faux Pas! What things your guests will LOATHE!

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