You’ve decided to get married. He popped the question and you’ve said ‘yes’. Congratulations! Your family and friends are overjoyed and as you begin your planning journey you realise that your family have their own ideas about how to organise your day, how to structure it, what activities to include, the theme, the favours, the food, the music, the guest list, the group shot list… You name it! It can quickly seem like it’s going to be less about what you want, and more about what they want. So how do you involve your family in your wedding planning, without losing the will to live while still making it your own?
5 ways to involve your family in your wedding planning
Obviously, they mean well, but sometimes their eagerness can be a little (or a lot) overbearing, and to make matters worse, their views can often clash with each other’s and/or yours.
They can grow increasingly worried and tense if they feel that they can’t partake in some way. Who knew, it could get so complicated?
So here are 5 ways to involve your family in your wedding planning, without letting them take over.
1. Let them help with the planning
What?! But that’s exactly what’s driving you crazy!
I know, but here’s how to elegantly manage this particular pickle.
Sign the mums up to Pinterest (if that’s what you like and they’re techie enough).
Create a couple of themed boards that you share between you. You can even make them secret, so only you and they can see them. Show them how to search and how to leave comments on your pinned images.
Bounce ideas off of them, but make it clear early on that this is just for gathering ideas and that the final choice is yours.
Another way to involve your family in your wedding planning, is to take them along to wedding shows. They can talk to your potential suppliers, then you can spend an hour over lunch, coffee, or champagne chatting through your favourites before making the final call with your hubby to be.
Mums often have a good nose for the suppliers you will click and work well with and notice things that you might have missed in the information overload, so why not tap into this eager fountain of knowledge?
2. Take them window shopping
This can be for any item on your list from the venue, the dress, to the shoes, the florist, a first round of cake tasting, to venue visits, to hair and make up trials, and wedding car suppliers, etc. What could be more fun?
Note that I didn’t mention meeting your wedding photographer. Photography is a very personal choice and wedding photography has moved on substantially from the time when our parents were married. My parents literally had 2 photos on their wedding day. It’s a wholly different ball game now.
By all means take them along to chat to photographers at wedding shows if that’s your bag, but if you’ve found your photographer some other way and you’re planning to meet them, show the mums their photographs for input, and then go meet the photographer just with your fiancé to make the final choice.
3. Let them tick items off your list
Literally. Give them tasks on your list that you don’t have time for or particularly care about but know they will handle well.
I have photographed couples that have grown their own herbs as table decorations and favours and have asked their parents to grow some or even all of them.
Others have asked their mums to sew meters and meters of vintage bunting.
A dad once carved the couple’s initials into massive knee height wooden letters, which were used as the ceremony centrepiece that led the guests into the ceremony venue.
I know couples, who have left the choice of canapés, some or all of the wedding breakfast menu, the choice of wine and bubbly, and/or the evening food up to their mums and dads.
Some mums have baked beautiful wedding cakes, created rustic seating plans, made home-made sea-shell candles, stuffed seating plan envelopes for over 100 guests, folded bespoke napkins, filled shot bottles with homemade liquor or olive oil, and helped paint hundreds of little favour wellies in the wedding theme colour.
Apart from saving huge amounts of time, their help can be absolutely priceless!
4. If they really want to, let them pay or help with the bill. Hell, why not?
Weddings are expensive, let’s not kid ourselves, so if you are fortunate enough and your parents offer to pay for some or all of your wedding suppliers (and they won’t hold it against you later), why not let them?
It’s a great way to involve your family in your wedding planning.
I’ve had parents pay for a bigger more intricate cake, a wedding videographer, a surprise horse drawn carriage, the upgrade to a wedding album, or pay for a second photographer, which can greatly improve your overall set.
I’ve had dads pay my booking fee, mums pay the balance, and in-laws pay for a bigger album with more pages and a nicer cover. And you never know, they might just order one for themselves too.
As long as you are the one making the choices and signing the contract, I’m sure most wedding suppliers would be happy to accept payment from your parents.
5. Don’t forget to have fun!
Families can sometimes be one of the trickier relationships to consider when you’re planning your wedding, but if you involve your family in your wedding planning and don’t let them take over, they will end up rocking out on the dance floor with your friends, relieved and exhilarated to have been such an integral part of your day.
You never know, you might actually enjoy ticking things off your list with them.
Before you know it, they will happily shed a tear when they see you in your dress for the first time and love every single minute of a day that they helped make perfect just for you.
And who doesn’t want a happy family on one of the most important, beautiful and emotionally charged days of your lives?