April is gone which means it’s time for May flowers and our May Wedding Planning Challenge! For those of you joining us for the first time, welcome! And for our followers, welcome back! Each month we challenge you to face your wedding planning struggles and take action using the MME Method to make your wedding planning journey more joyful. You can also take our past challenges on defeating overwhelm, staying organized, finding your colors, and making good decisions. They are all super helpful. This month we’re tackling a biggie, so let’s dive into our May Wedding Planning Challenge.
May Wedding Planning Challenge
Have you ever had someone come into your house and move something?
You don’t notice that the item is gone at first, but when you try to go looking for it, you can’t find it. You’re getting frustrated and confused and thinking, “I always put it here, where is it? Where could it have gone?”
After searching for a while and turning your house into a big ole mess, you end up not being able to find it. You give up because you have better things to do and then it pops up later in an area you would never have guessed.
Later you find out that your friend or mom moved it, not maliciously, but they just used it and placed it elsewhere.
Sound familiar? This has definitely happened to me and I’m sure it’s happened to you as well whether it was a friend or a mother, father, sister, brother, or significant other. Some people are neat freaks, others are totally messy and others somewhere in the middle, but no matter how organized you are, it’s still frustrating when someone else comes in and moves things without your knowledge.
One of the biggest (and most sensitive) wedding planning struggles couples face is dealing with their family and friends and their involvement in the planning of their wedding. On one end of the spectrum, there are couples whose family and friends can’t keep away and are completely overbearing with opinions and help. And on the other end, there are couples whose family and friends are totally hands off and they are left alone to plan their wedding and sometimes struggle with trying to get help.
Dealing with your loved ones can be tricky when it comes to your wedding because these are important personal relationships and you don’t want to fight, be demanding or make someone sad. At the same time, you want your wedding how you want your wedding and you don’t want someone coming in and moving stuff around. So, what do you do?
I know family and friends can be frustrating to matter where on the spectrum you lie. But first, remember that these people love you and they just want you to be happy. Like the moved item, they are not trying to be malicious, they may just not know how best to be of help to you. So, in our May wedding planning challenge, we’re going to share with you the MME Method to working with your family and friends so that you can have the happiest wedding planning journey and wedding day imaginable.
Step #1: Figure out what your situation is.
The first thing you need to do is to understand where on the spectrum you are. Do you have everyone coming at you with suggestions, opinions and plans? Or do you have no one? Is it just one person that is butting in all the time? Or 2 or 5? And who are these people?
Step #2: Figure out what you want.
You need to ask yourself, do you want help? Most people will say yes to this, but there will be some that say no. While no is totally an acceptable answer, you will want and need help at some point, so don’t completely shut down the idea.
The next question to ask is what kind of help do you want? Are you looking for opinions on things like your wedding attire and flowers? Or do you want someone to take on a job (or jobs) like finding you a vendor? You want to figure out what kind of help you desire so that you can be clear on what to ask for. By the way, if your answer is you want help with everything, I’d suggest hiring a wedding planner or signing up to be on the waitlist for our new wedding planning program.
Step #3: Evaluate the players.
Now it’s time to look at the people in your life from step 1. If you had one or a bunch of people who are overwhelming you, take a look at each of them and evaluate your relationship with them (i.e. your closeness), what they are good at and what kind of help you want from them. Get the free guide at the end of the post to help you with some ideas.
For example, say it’s your sister who is the one who is constantly emailing you about this or that and giving her opinion on every decision you make. First figure out your relationship, are you close and she’s just super excited? Or are you not that close and she’s just the forceful, overbearing type? Or something in-between? Then figure out what is she good at. What are her natural skills? Does she have a great design eye? Or is she really organized? Or is she good with people? Lastly, you want to figure out what you would ideally want her to help with. This could be nothing or maybe it’s help shopping for decor items or negotiating pricing.
If we’re talking about a parent, they are a bit more special so you’ll also want to think about what they care about. For example, if your mother is opinionated, but only really cares about what the flowers look like, that is the area you’ll want to involve her in. Or if your father doesn’t care about anything but the wine, then you’ll want to make sure he comes to the tasting.
As yourself these questions for each person that is trying to help you so that you know where everyone stands and what you want from them. Now, if you are on the opposite spectrum and no one is trying to help and you want help, do a similar exercise where you look at those you are close to and who you’d want help from. Then think about what they are good at and what kind of help you want from them. You can also do this exercise if you have one or two people who you’d like involved in the planning of your wedding, but who currently aren’t.
Step #4: Sitdown and have a chat.
This is when things can start to get a bit sensitive, but you can do this! And you can do it with grace, I promise. So, what you need to do now is have a chat with each of your loved ones that you either want to involve in the planning of your wedding or don’t want involved (but currently are). This doesn’t have to be a serious talk (unless your situation is out of control), but just a friendly chat so that everyone is on the same page.
There are a few different situations you may be in, so I’ve laid out some guidance for you for the most common ones.
If you want them involved, but they need to tone it down – For this person, thank them for their excitement and for being so willing to help. Then tell them there are things you want to handle, but there are some areas (or an area) what you need help with and you’d love it if they could help you in these areas. This shows your appreciation and then gives them a focus. Once they say, “yes of course”, then you’ll tell them what you’d like them to do. The more specific you can be, the better so that there isn’t any cause for confusion. For example, I’d love for you to come with me when I try on dresses next week. Or I’d love to get your thoughts on my wedding flowers once I’ve finalized them. Or since you’re the music guru and you know what kind of music we like, would you be able to help us find the right band?
If you’ve done your homework with the first 3 steps this should get them on board and excited to help you in the area you want help. If after the chat they keep coming to you about other items outside of what you talked about, just politely thank them and let them know this is an area you want to handle yourself.
If you want them involved, but they currently aren’t – For this person, tell them how important they are to you and how you can’t imagine your wedding without them. If they have been reluctant because they jealous or perhaps they just didn’t want to be that overzealous bridesmaid, this lets them know that you care and will soften them up. Then you can mention the thing you’re struggling with and ask if they’d be willing to help. Most people will say yes, but you’ll have to judge if they mean it or not. You really don’t want someone to do something they don’t want to do, so you can also tack on at the end that they don’t have to help if they don’t want to. Tell them that it’s really ok if they say no, but you’d appreciate it if they could help. If they are willing to help, then you just need to let them know exactly what you need help with. Start with something small or simple before you give them something larger to do.
If you don’t want them involved and they currently are – This one is the hardest. For this person, you’ll want to start by thanking them for their excitement and for being so willing to help. Then tell them honestly that while you appreciate that they want to help, you and your fiancé really want to plan your wedding on your own. It’s not that you don’t love them, but it’s just important to the two of you that you do this together. They should hopefully understand and back off. And if they don’t back off, at least they’ll know why you aren’t responding to all their emails with photos.
If they are your parents. Parents are extra tricky especially if they are helping to pay for the wedding, so with this one you need to be extra tactful. If you want to get them involved and they currently aren’t, the same guidelines apply as mentioned above. But, if they are involved and you either don’t want them to be or you want them to back off, here is the truth – you need to involve them somehow.
If they are bankrolling the wedding, they will most likely want some kind of say (or a larger say) in the wedding, so you’ll have to give them something. But, what they have a say in is what you can control. If you go back to step 3, you thought about what they are good at, what you’d like help with from them, and what they care about. Use those areas to help guide you with what you involve them with. You don’t have to let them make any final decisions (unless you want to), but you will want to let them have a role in the process so they are involved.
If they aren’t bankrolling the wedding, they have less of a say, but they are still your parents, so include them in the ways that make sense for you.
So, for your sitdown, you’ll want to start off by thanking them. Then let them know that it’s important to you and your fiancé that the wedding is your own. You want it to celebrate your love and so you’re looking to create your wedding the way you two want it and you hope they can respect that. How many areas and how much you involve them is up to you, but you’ll want to mention that you do value their opinion and then talk about what you want their help with.
Now, it’s your turn!
Don’t be frustrated or daunted! Take action and get your house back! Take our May wedding planning challenge to help you work happier and smarter with your family and friends. It will only help your relationships and make the wedding planning process easier for you. Don’t forget to get your free guide with 60 ways to include your family and friends in planning your wedding without going nuts. It will give you some great ideas and as an added bonus, you’ll get some help too!
And of course, we want to hear about your successes with the MME Method to working with your family and friends and how it brought more joy to your wedding planning. Share one example of how you figured out how to work with a family member or friend in a comment below or on social media with #weddingplanningchallenge. Happy Planning!