Parents and Weddings: What To Do If You Have Different Ideas

I was reading an article recently called, “Your Mom Is Destined to Annoy You”. The title was of course funny in and of itself, but the short article was also interesting.

It was about how when we’re with our mothers (or parents in general), we fall into these old roles.

And it doesn’t matter that you’re now an adult and no longer an angsty teen, it still feels the same.

There is a regression of sorts where you want to roll your eyes and retort in some snarky way.

And in particular, the mother daughter relationship is even more emotionally charged. Which is probably no surprise to anyone.

Mother of the bride helping the bride get ready on her wedding day by Destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events
(Photo credit: Andria Lo Weddings)

While the article was related to the holidays and going home for the holidays, it reminded me a lot of weddings.

Unless you’re in a situation where you no longer have your parents, parents and weddings go hand in hand. Parents play a big role in your wedding.

Whether or not they’re helping to pay for the wedding, whether or not they’re biological parents or parent-figures, they are ALWAYS a presence in a wedding.

And obviously not just the wedding itself, but the planning of it.

Because parents always have expectations. Expectations, notions and ideas of what they think a wedding should look, feel, sound, taste and be like.

They’re older and wiser and have attended (and maybe planned) many weddings. They have been around the block so to speak.

So, when your parents share their opinion and their wedding ideas, why wouldn’t you listen?

At least, that’s how they feel…

Of course on the receiving end of these expectations, which are sometimes suggestions, sometimes comments and sometimes demands, you don’t always agree.

In fact more often than not, you don’t agree.

And that’s when the regression occurs. It’s like you’re 17 all over again!

You’re annoyed, irritated and frustrated because they won’t listen or leave you alone. And they in turn don’t understand you and why you don’t want to do it their way.

Bride and parents getting ready for the bridal processional at a wedding ceremony in San Francisco by destination wedding planner, Mango Muse Events
(Photo credit: Jerry Yoon Photographers)

You might be nodding your head because this already sounds familiar. Or you can see this happening as you dive into planning. Or it’s already happened more than once and you’re not sure how to deal.

Don’t worry, it’s not just you.

It happens to everyone. My clients, myself, and yes, it will likely happen to you if it hasn’t already.

Now of course I’m not saying all relationships and all parents are like this. And not all parents will share their opinions and ideas about your wedding.

But most of the time there will be at least one (from one of your sides) who just can’t help themselves.

It’s just a thing.

So the question all of this leads up to is, how do you deal?

What do you do when you and your parents have different ideas of what your wedding should be like?

What do you do when you want to scream into a pillow? Or run into your room, slam the door and blast rock music?

4 Steps To Take When You and Your Parents Have Different Ideas For Your Wedding

#1 – Be Prepared

The first thing you need to do is be prepared for it to happen.

You know your parents. You know what kinds of things your parents care about.

So you can probably guess what kinds of things your parents are going to push on you.

Or have a comment about.

Or disagree with you about.

That could be religious, cultural, familial or generic wedding traditions. It could be whatever their version of elegant and formal is. It could be some underlying competition given other weddings they’ve been to.

If you think about it I’m sure you can come up with a few things your parents would press upon you.

So, think about it!

Because if you’re prepared for it, it won’t be a surprise and you’ll be better equipped to handle it when it comes up.

In other words, be a boyscout!

Groom's attire and accessories all set for getting ready on the wedding day in Hawaii by destination wedding planner, Mango Muse Events
(Photo credit: Christie Pham Photography)

#2 – Be Understanding

While I know we all have different levels of patience and understanding when it comes to our parents, you gotta start from a place of understanding.

Because only from looking at their point of view can you understand where they’re coming from.

Even if you don’t agree, you can understand them.

And understanding them makes it easier for you to respond.

Especially because in most cases what they’re suggesting or asking or saying usually comes from a place of love.

They want the best for you. And they want your loved ones (which are also their loved ones) to be happy.

And so whatever they’re suggesting is something they think is a good thing.

Now of course, you may not agree, but that’s not the point. The point is for you to understand where they’re coming from so you can respond with understanding and kindness, even if that response is no.

#3 – Have the Talk

Depending on your situation and how involved your parents will be in your wedding plans, having THE TALK is crucial.

This is not the sex talk, this is the wedding talk.

The wedding talk is when you sit down and have an honest discussion about the wedding.

This is so you can hear what they are expecting and what they care about. And in turn you can share what you want and what is important to you.

This is also when you’d discuss the budget if your parents are helping you out.

Before you ask… yes, this may be very uncomfortable. It might be weird. There might be odd silences. There might be a lot of polite smiles.

But it’s something you have to do in order to get everything out in the open.

And to be able to come to an agreement on how things will work. Not a formal agreement, but an understanding on both sides.

That agreement is really important because once you’re neck deep in wedding plans, neither of you should be surprised at what or where they want a say.

And simultaneously it’s also something you can refer back to if needed. A reminder of sorts, of what is important.

I usually suggest you have this talk before you dive into planning.

While you may want to push it out until you’re forced to have the conversation, it’s better to do it upfront. It will make the planning of your wedding and decision making a lot easier from the get go.

Bride and groom with parents at the head table of a wedding reception at the Marin Headlands Center for the Arts by destination wedding planner, Mango Muse Events
(Photo credit: Bowerbird Photography)

#4 – Fight if You Need To

The hope is that if you do #1-3, you won’t need #4. But if you do, fight if you need to!

Because no matter what, this is YOUR wedding.

If you feel strongly about something, fight for it.

If a decision will affect the vision and wedding you want to have, fight for it.

And if something is really important to you, fight for it.

Respectfully, but forcefully, shut your parents down and make the decision you want to make.

Because your wedding will only happen once (hopefully). You want it to be the experience you want.

Now what if your parent(s) want something you don’t care a whole lot about? It doesn’t hurt to give in.

As long as you’re ok with it, giving in will make them happy.

And then you can save the fight for the decisions that really matter.

Groom and groomsman taking a funny photo mock punching at a military wedding by destination wedding planner Mango Muse Events
(Photo credit: Anita Martin)

The parent-child relationship is a funny one. Especially once you’e both adults.

While it changes in some ways, in others it stays exactly the same.

And while no one irritates you more than your family, there’s also intense love too.

So as you plan your wedding, it’s important to remember this!

And to plan ahead for those moments when you and your parents have different ideas for your wedding. For when you and your parents disagree about your wedding.

Because it will happen.

But you can make it less painful if you follow these steps.

And of course we can help too! Part of what we do is guide you through conflicts like this. So contact us today and let us be your guide.

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