How to Keep Overbearing Parents at Bay When Planning Your Wedding

Planning a wedding can often feel like a four-way tug of war between the bride, groom, and both sets of in-laws. Even though the actual wedding only involves two people, it can seem like everyone in the world wants to throw in their two cents. Your parents may have an opinion about the location of the ceremony, and your in-laws may have a strong preference for the size of the reception. While a little input here and there can be helpful, too much involvement from parents becomes stressful and irritating. Here are some tips for keeping overbearing parents at bay when planning your wedding.


Establish yourself as a competent adult.

Parents are always going to maintain some of their parental instincts even when you’re older. Even though this is an expression of their love and “wanting what’s best for you”, it can feel debilitating and even condescending at times. When planning your wedding, it’s important to establish yourself as an independent and capable adult. If you’re parents want to step in at times when their help isn’t required, firmly but gently show them it’s all under control. They’ll probably get the hint and give you some breathing room. 


Talk about your expectations beforehand.

Planning a wedding is a tedious endeavor and having unsolicited input from parents and in-laws will only further complicate things. Instead of playing catch-up throughout the process, it’s better to lay everything out on the table beforehand. Sit down with your spouse, parents, and in-laws to talk about your expectations. Make sure you and your fiance are on the same page to present a united front. This is a constructive way for everyone to voice their opinions without resorting to backhanded comments or gossip. You’ll have the opportunity to address any problems and lay out your personal expectations for the next few months.


Have your spouse talk to his in-laws.

You’ve had decades of experience dealing with your parents. As a result, there are no reservations on honesty when discussing the wedding. You can comfortably voice your opinion without it creating a rift in the relationship and vice versa. Unfortunately, the same probably isn’t true with your in-laws. To keep from overstepping any boundaries, it’s a good idea to designate your spouse as in-law ambassador. This is a good strategy for bringing up sensitive topics like finances which could cause problems. You should also return the favor if your spouse has any strong desires as well.


Let your parents help with something specific.

What comes off as overbearing is usually just a desire to help. Parents want to feel needed when it comes to their son or daughter’s special day. Giving your parents a specific task is a great way to meet this need while keeping the input in other areas to a minimum. Find something they enjoy and which you don’t mind giving up some control over. Maybe your father-in-law is a music buff who can handle the DJ selection better than you. Or perhaps your mom has a knack for choosing color palettes and flower arrangements.


Pay for more of the wedding.

Your wedding is your special day. When push comes to shove, you and your spouse’s opinion should be the only ones that matter. Unfortunately, there’s one trump card which parents or in-laws can use to assert their preferences over yours: money. It’s an ugly truth, but the benefactors of the ceremony have a stronger voice and can renege on their promise at any point. Couples may have to consider paying for a larger portion of their wedding if there’s an irreconcilable difference of opinion with parents or in-laws. It’s a tough choice, but one that will give you the last say.


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