The five rules of drama-free wedding planning

Guest post by coffeycake90
The five rules of drama-free wedding planning
Photo by Wild About You Photography

I've noticed in planning my wedding that people are questioning my decisions a lot more than they usually do. People, especially families, don't tend to question other life decisions as much as they do weddings.

They're fine with telling brides and grooms that they need to serve the generic “chicken in beige sauce” as part of their reception dinner, but they won't see you out grocery shopping and say, “Oh, I think you should really buy eggplant this week. This just seems like an eggplant kind of week for you.” They're fine with saying that you need to have your bridal hairstyle be an updo (and done by a professional), but they would think that saying, “Sweetie, I love you, but I think you would look so much better if you dyed your hair a bold purple and added lime green highlights” is rude.

The majority of families don't even question your choice of partner as much as they question whether or not you're going to have matching napkins, chair covers, and tablecloths. They don't tell you what job you should be doing. They don't tell you how to decorate your apartment or house. For the most part, they see you as a competent adult. But when it comes to weddings, all brides and grooms are clearly seven-year-old children who can't possibly make decisions for themselves, and when they do something different, it can't be because of a meaningful choice they made — it's such a silly idea, and they'll regret not having a photographer/doing a bouquet toss/wearing white/having a formal meal, etc.

With that in mind, one of my bridesmaids (who was married last October) has given me five rules for wedding planning that are incredibly sensible. Here they are:

Rule #1:

Stop talking about your wedding.

Rule #2:

No. Seriously. Stop talking about your wedding.

Rule #3:

Shut the f*%k up about your wedding.

Rule #4:

Find your team of yes-men. These are the people to whom you can say, “I want to get married while skydiving and have a tea-and-cake reception inside an Easter Island head,” and they will reply, “That is SO you! I love it!” If they have a safety or budget-based concern, they will mention it, but otherwise, they just tell you how wonderful your ideas are. Your team of yes-men does not have to include your parents, and it does not have to include your bridesfolks.

Rule #5:

Make your yes-men sign confidentiality agreements. Or, barring that, make sure they don't regularly talk to the drama mamas in your family and circle of friends.

This has saved me from feeling like I have to justify anything to anybody. Having most people not know the details is taking a load of stress away from me. Unless they absolutely HAVE TO know, I have no problem not telling.

My bridesmaid says that the criticism does usually come from a place of love. People love you and want you to have a beautiful wedding day. The problem is that their idea of beautiful is absolutely nothing like your idea of beautiful, and they fail to recognize that. On occasion, it is jealousy or someone being malicious, but, on the whole, when Great Aunt Gertie gasps and gives you a three hour lecture on the virtues of matching napkins to your manicure, she just wants your wedding to be beautiful for you.

Are you doing anything special to quell family drama?

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Comments on The five rules of drama-free wedding planning

  1. I follow Rules #1, 2, and 3 like it’s my job. I absolutely don’t talk about wedding stuff unless someone asks me about it.

    • And even then, remember that it’s fine to be vague. “Oh, we’ve still got some decisions to make about that,” or “I think it’ll be a fun surprise for everyone!” Being coy is okay–the worst someone can do is pry a little further.

      • and then you can tell them to wait and see, the surprise will be WORTH it! Nothing worse than nosy naysayers :/

  2. Yes, but what about your mother? It’s basically impossible to leave her out of the planning, and if she is neither a yes-man nor good at confidentiality? You get drama. Unavoidable drama.

    • Not exactly, it is your coice to share because you must feel you are suppose to. Well just like the out of the box ideas that this whole Empire is based on, it is not required- you do not have to share with anyone, mother or not. πŸ˜‰

    • A gentle question:

      Why do you feel that it is impossible to leave your mother out of planning? Is it because she’s paying for the wedding?

      If so, that’s a valid concern.

      However, discretion can still apply, even to Moms Who Pay for Their Children’s Weddings.

      Just be tactful about the details that you tell her–does she really need to know that your caterer is making 12 dozen cupcakes that are vegan gluten-free and also decorated like zombies?


      She may need to know that catering is taken care of, but that’s it.

      This is also a *really* good reason to have a wedding coordinator–he or she can act as an intercessor. A good coordinator will take the heat off of you and onto themselves–reassuring as needed, and giving out information on a Need-to-Know basis, according to what *you* are comfortable with.

      Parents are hard, no question about it, but you still have the right to discretion. πŸ™‚

      • (Also? Being super SUPER organized helps alleviate concerns in a real big hurry. If you can tell your mom that, yes, I did already arrange for A), B), C), and D), chances are she’ll calm down a bit.)

        (And sometimes, Moms and older relatives need to have a job–give them something to be directly responsible for, that they can be proud of, like decorating a chuppa or arranging a gift table or whatever. People need to be needed, you know?)

      • I can see where she is coming from: if you have a close relationship with your mom (despite the fact that she might be a bit opinionated or difficult especially about your wedding) then it feels pointedly cruel to not tell her about your plans, at least it did to me – if she asks (if she doesn’t ask that’s different, no need to offer information that was not requested). With other guests the polite blow-off was fine but I couldn’t do that to my mother without feeling like I was erecting a barrier between us or destroying our closeness. Although there is a limit: “we’re having cupcakes” is something I’d feel uncomfortable NOT sharing if mom asked about cake, but “they’ll be vegan and gluten-free and decorated like zombies” doesn’t need to be said. You can say that the decorations will be a surprise and you never need to mention the ingredients: she probably won’t notice anyway if you get a good vegan/gluten-free cook to make them (although I will admit that I can always tell the difference, but I’m particularly weird that way. Same with artificial sweetener).

      • I like everyone’s ideas but what do you do when your parents are paying AND they already have ideas about what you should do with their money? So far this is not going well for me. We randomly find out that they have already decided how this and that should be and when they find out we have our own ideas DRAMA! Of course we are sticking with what we want to do but things are just getting more and more tense. We are not trying to be ungrateful but we would like to plan our wedding in a way that works for us. HELP!!!!

        • You will need to sit and think long and hard about how much you value the financial help, and how much you value your planning independence. If you would be happier without any input from your mom, then sit her down and tell her calmly that while you value her financial help, you hadn’t realized it was conditional when you accepted it and you no longer feel comfortable accepting her help. Be sure to thank her for offering to help. This is probably going to put a damper on your relationship for a while, but not as much as a knock down, drag out fight will, which is presumably the direction your planning was taking you in. It could be that having that conversation is enough to get your mother to realize how much she was taxing your relationship and she’ll back off — that’s what happened with my “no-man” MIL.
          If you decide that you value the money more than decision independence, then you can always try giving her small, discrete tasks where you don’t really care how it turns out, and give her a budget and tell her to go nuts. Centerpieces, place settings, floral decorations, outdoor or patio decorations, and a gift or dessert table are all good candidates for “helper” tasks. That way you can focus her energy on something productive, keeping her busy and feeling like she’s contributing

    • Hi Amasea! I’m the one who wrote this. I am TOTALLY leaving my mother out of the planning. We’re not doing any of the traditional mom-and-daughter stuff with my wedding because, frankly, I might just have a heart attack from the stress.
      The bridesmaid I mentioned who gave me these rules had a little bit of mama drama during her wedding, and that’s one of the things that prompted her to give these to me. Your mom doesn’t have to be a part of your planning at all, I promise.
      You could try to make your mom a yes-man, if you feel uncomfortable leaving her out. Tell her that it’s the single most important and helpful thing she could do, because you REALLY need some emotional support with this because OH MY GOD this is so stressful. We thought about doing that with my mother, and it has some potential to it.

      • as long as it doesn’t hurt your relationship with your mom or really hurt her feelings, I do agree with you. I didn’t have a mom to help me when I got married 26 years ago, I’m already bookmarking a million websites for my daughters “not quite set a date or really even engaged yet….but thinking 2 years from this weekend” future wedding! LOL, she can do whatever she wants ( within budget reasons lol ) and I want to help her in any way I can to enjoy that day, because mine was frankly not enjoyable, my ex ( made it 23 years at least lol ) mother-in-law WAS a drama mama too, so I want my girl to have a wonderful day all about them, not what everyone else wants. Enjoy your wedding and have a wonderful life together Amasea <3

      • But, how do you keep your mother out of it, if she is paying for it? I’m having mama drama problems, and much of it is from HER bringing up the subject on what I should be doing, rather than me talking about it. Then when I disagree with what she suggests ( politely) she just keeps going ( and sends me martha stewart weddings articles to prove her point :/ )

        Ironically my future MIL is my yes-man. She’s totally ok with pretty much everything we want.

        Otherwise I’ve been mostly following the rules of trying to avoid talking about wedding planning unless it is brought up. Mostly so that I have a life other than wedding planner for the next year.

        • 1) Figure out how to pay for it yourself, whether that means just the stuff she’s complaining about so that her money isn’t “wasted” or maybe the whole thing. (We’re paying for the whole thing because of MamaDrama. I didn’t even tell her we’ve been engaged for almost 2 years and probably never will. She thinks this is a quick decision based on life throwing things at us. If she had more than 4-5 mo. to think about it, she’d find a way to make it about her, just like a lot of other family events.)


          2) Sit her down and hash it out like grown ups, or at least as maturely as possible. Figuring out whether this will work or not is another thing the Tribe is great for. πŸ™‚

    • My mother is neither a yes-man nor good at confidentiality, so I get your pain. I’ve done some things that seem to be working: She asks if there is anything she can do, I say, “nope, you’ve been great, thank you so much for asking.” or “I really appreciate the offer, if something comes up, you’ll be the first to know!” or something like that. It’s a reassurance that you want their help without actually committing to anything. If you’ve already taken her in, told her a bunch of your dreams and she’s began a quiet battle to tell you you’re wrong (fyi, this is what precipitated me going a bit vague and dialing back the interactions), and this will sound tough, but I’d suggest a horrible fight. I did this with my mom (not on purpose, and not with an agenda, we were just NOT seeing eye to eye and I was relying on her as I’m having an overseas wedding), we’re over it now, but it’s actually given me an excellent reason not to speak to her much over the coming months. She’s been extremely supportive, I’ve let her know I’ve hired a day-of coordinator and that I’ve really appreciated her help, but I don’t want her to stress out too much (read: I don’t want to stress out about her vision for my wedding). It alleviates the pressure, lets her know you’re looking out for her, and squashes her ability to be involved. You don’t even need to actually hire someone, get a bridesmaid who hearts weddings to sub in as your “coordinator.” For me, avoidance is working well. Not for everyone, I know, but working well so far in my case – I come from a fairly high stress family where yelling and fighting is normal. Some people are SUPER anti-confrontational, so if you’re that, then the gentle avoidance campaign where you smother your mom with comments about how you want HER to have fun, not to worry and that you want her to look stress-free in pictures, is a great way to make her feel guilty for continuing to offer.

    • Whoa. Time to put your boots on and reclaim your day! Just as your groom-to-be wouldn’t want to be left out of the planning, you shouldn’t be either. Have you communicated how you feel- that you want to be included and that you wanted to use this day to hone your wedding planning skills?
      Are you being heard? If you’re being shunned in any of this process despite your concerted efforts to communicate, I’m sad to say that maybe this isn’t your dream man. Perhaps his true colors are shining and they’re quite muddled. Good luck to you! There should be zero regret walking into your wedding day, either in the man you’ve chosen, or in the level of your involvement. COMMUNICATION is what the world needs!

  3. I am pretty sure that the offbeat tribe, as a whole, have been my yes-men. πŸ™‚ They have really made me feel like, “Yes, I know what I am doing and YES it will be AWESOME!” πŸ™‚
    Rule #4 is my fave!

  4. Geez, I wish I read this article 30 minutes earlier. Just got off the phone with my drama mama and see keeps on bugging me about the wedding (1 month to go). I will try to stick to rule #1,2 &3 all at once from now on..

  5. Man, so true.

    Weirdly enough, this reminds me of doing graphic design. If you show people the work in progress, or ask for their input, MY GOD are they going to have opinions. And once they start having opinions, they’re never going to stop.

    Whereas, if you show someone the finished design and say, “Ta-Da!” the reaction, more often than not, tends to be simply, “Oooh nice!”

    For some reason, people are a lot more accepting of finished products than of works-in-progress. The solution? Build a force field of “We’re working on it” and only let in the people that you absolutely have to. Saves a lot of stress and hurt feelings on both sides.

  6. My rule is that “If you’re paying, you get to have an opinion.” If you’re not paying, your opinion doesn’t matter.

    For example, my dad really cares about the way the invitations look and the wording, so he’s buying them. My mom really cares about having a “serious” officiant, so she’s paying for that.

    Opinions = money, as far as I’m concerned.

    • It’s true!

      There just has to be a certain amount of respect for the cash flow–which is why, if you know you and your folks will be bashing heads on EVERYTHING, you may want to pay for everything on your own.

    • I disagree somewhat with this. My Mister and I are paying entirely for our own wedding. Money has been offered about things that my mother, for example, really cares about. However, I know her, and if I let her pay for ONE thing, she would think she gets an opinion about EVERYTHING, and veto power over everything she dislikes. Money entitles you to an opinion specifically about the thing you have paid for, and that is all. It does not entitle you to an opinion about anything else, nor does it give you decision-making power unless Mister and I really don’t care. If you care about the officiant and offer to pay for one, we do not have to use the person you recommend if we dislike them or if they refuse to make the changes we would need them to make (since we’re atheists and all).
      There does have to be a respect for cash flow, but I feel like money offered to you is a gift that should be freely given. No strings attached, even when it’s for a wedding. People don’t usually give you a present of money for your birthday, for example, and then tell you what to buy with it. It happens occasionally, but it isn’t the norm. I feel like we give away too much power with money in wedding planning, and then people aren’t allowed to have the weddings they actually want.

      • I just have to add that this is a bit different for those of us having non-American weddings. In Mexico most weddings are paid for primarily by the “padrinos” (roughly translated as godparents) who are asked to pick up the tab for specific things (mariachis, venue, table decor, cake, dress, etc.). Whatever they purchase, THEY purchase. Consider yourself fortunate if they ask for your opinion outside of basic color scheme. There are many advantages to this style of wedding planning… primarily in terms of costs and sometimes less stress, although it does make most weddings take on a familiar look. Because we wanted a meaningful/personalized wedding, we have had to wait 10 years after being married to have a wedding so that we can afford to pay for it ourselves.

        One more thought on this topic, I admit that I am one of those busybodies who LOVES to hear about other’s wedding plans and give ideas. Yes, I realize that it is a nasty habit (although once I got the opportunity to be a paid wedding planner because of my big mouth!), and I have worked hard to reign in my desire to share my unsolicited thoughts. In my case I do it because thinking and dreaming about weddings has been my schtick since I was 6 and it is simply fun for me, whether or not anyone actually takes me up on my ideas.

  7. Eh, if your whole family is comprised of yes-people, then talking is just fine. My mil (she of the purse-strings) has yet to question any decision we’ve made and she’s the one who really counts. My mom was a little disappointed (by which I mean she nearly gagged) when I told her I wanted a dress with sleeves, but other than that she’s been mostly lovely. Granted, it helps a lot that we have no major theme or oversize projects that anybody can freak over. They all know about the portal cake, the leis, the godless ceremony, and all these bits, but I’ve purposefully presented it in bits so as to not overwhelm.

  8. I completely agree with the ‘yes-men groupies’, but sometimes opinionated people are inherently involved.

    The “shock and awe and then scale back” strategy worked really well for us.

    For example, when we first told everyone we were going to hunt our own deer meat and then make guests grill it themselves, the heavy appetizers we ended up having didn’t seem that crazy.

    If we had started with the heavy appetizers idea, it would have been a big hullabaloo (“You HAVE to have chicken with a generic cream sauce, everyone will hate your wedding if you don’t”).

    • LOVE the shock & awe strategy. We are completely about misdirection, and having an April Fool’s day wedding (we didn’t choose it intentionally, it just ended up working out that way) is lending itself completely to that end! *Insert slightly maniacal, yet gleeful laugh here* (yes, I acknowledge that this tactic would not work for most brides. Just sharing my joy).
      So should anyone ask, we’ll toss out the most utterly ridiculous idea that pops into our head at the moment, and it is generally written off, or it’s…”Would they really? Well, it IS April Fool’s….”. I think at this point, we could just tell the truth & no one would believe it anyway! Except maybe the Flash Gordon bits….they’d probably believe that.

  9. Sounds excessive. I think there are two simple rules that should suffice.

    #1. Don’t listen to anyone else’s opinions unless you genuinely want input from them. If you have a clear vision of the wedding you want, no one else’s opinion matters.

    #2. politely tell busybodies that while you apprieciate their input you already know exactly what you want and that’s what you’re going to get.

  10. Oh my gosh! I’m not usually one to comment, but this spoke to me. Seriously, I’m printing it out to hang on the wall. A wall no one will see πŸ™‚ I’ve had issues and this is the solution!!! Genius! Genius! Genius!

  11. Lol my fiancee would REALLY love it if I followed the first three rules, I can’t stop talking about our wedding that’s happening next year. I dare say I’m quite obsessed about it πŸ™‚

    This is good advice overall. I’ve given my mom a specific job to do to help with the wedding and I think she is having fun with coming up with ideas. My sister made the mistake of not giving her anything to do and the two of them kept fighting about what my sister should have at her wedding. Giving my mom a specific job gives her something to do and distracts her while I buy shoes that I know she won’t like but I love!

  12. I would like to point out that while I’ve had my fair share of hurtful comments and opinions about my “offbeat wedding” I still continue to talk about my wedding because I am excited and I am not ashamed of the way I have planned it. I think that mostly people that give you advice on how things should be, usually its because they didn’t get the wedding they always dreamed of and don’t want you to regret things like they do. You just have to remind them that this is the wedding you have always dreamed of, even if It looks different to theirs.

  13. I love this! I have followed rules 1,2 & 3 religiously from day one, as I received some eye-rolling and prying questions from an already married friend of mine, who was determined to sway me into her opinion of what a wedding “should” be like. Once she noticed that her opinions had no weight whatsoever in my decision making and planning, she gave up, and actually hasn’t asked about any aspect of my wedding for the last 10 months! This article is gold! Thanks πŸ™‚

  14. This made me so glad that no one in my family or my fiancse’s family or even our friends have a blueprint of how a wedding should be. Everyone is just happy that we are happy, saying that though i am still quite carful not to tell everything. Love love love the rules #3 is awesome!

  15. We have kept everything a secret from everyone apart from parents and bridal party. It’s great because no-one will judge our decisions on the day (well to our faces) but also our guests are super excited because they’re not quite sure what we have planned, so they are going to be really surprised.

  16. Hmmm…maybe it is just me but my family is pretty up in my bee’s wax about non-wedding stuff. My grandfather might say something like, “You should have eggplant for dinner this week.” It is probably a cultural thing. But it is important to note that in a lot of cultures the busybodiness of families does not start or end with weddings.

  17. You know, I may feel *totally* differently in the final months of wedding planning, but for the past several months I’ve greatly enjoyed talking about wedding planning with my supportive crew! I know everyone is different, but they’ve accepted my blacksheep weirdo nature a long time ago, and have been nothing but supportive in our very unorthodox secular vintage jazzy fiesta unfolds. For me and my fiance, it’s not a process we particularly want to go through in complete isolation by leaving everyone out, and I suppose we have the rare fortune of having families who never muffle our ideas or impose their own. They’ve given some advice, and sometimes may think something we suggest isn’t necessarily realistic, and I will turn down some of their ideas now and then but I keep encouraging them to share, as to me that’s what I see friends and family there for in all matters of life! I know everyone operates differently and no doubt these rules are ringing true for many, but I dunno, I never operate in isolation and if I were to start now it just wouldn’t turn out very well!

  18. I am so blessed!!! I keep waiting for my family to try and give me “loving suggestions” but bless them…they’ve only been offering suggestions if I ask for them. I think after knowing me (and my rebellious for rebellion’s sake personality) since birth, they are aware that trying to nudge me in any one direction will inevitably FORCE me in the other!

  19. To squash anyone interfering with our plans we do have some yes-men in a group of friends helping us scheme and plot, but other than that no one know we are even getting married lol. People are coming to the park for our “engagement party” and when they get there they will be notified the wedding is about to start and take a seat haha. I actually got a videographer to capture the looks on their faces as they get there because I won’t get to see that part! Hopefully the drama at that moment will be at a minimum.

  20. I mastered the art of “mmmmm” or “oh well, the _________ is already done/ordered, so…” – even if it wasn’t.

    As in:

    “Your dress can’t be red! What does that say about you!?”
    “Really, it’s unseemly to wear red – you have to wear a color that is at least somewhat acceptable. If not white, then light blue or green.”
    “Well, the dress is already made, so…”

    (the dress wasn’t even close to made)

    Or “What do you mean red and purple tablecloths? That’ll look so tacky.”
    “Well, it’s all already ordered, so…”

  21. This is SUCH good advice, thank you! I’ve started doing this on my own to a certain extent, but it helps to hear that someone else is trying it. My parents are so bad about judgment and drama, I’ve stopped telling them “I’m thinking about doing X” and I’m just going to wait until the decision is made and then say “We ARE doing X.” As for the actual mom thing – I include her a lot more than my dad, and more than FMIL, but I still reserve a lot of ideas because she’s bad about using the word “tacky.”

    • My mom has been the same way!!! Can I ask, what specific projects have you involved her in? My mom’s taste is so different than mine, I honestly don’t know what to trust her with. Maybe the booze? LOLOLOLOLOLLLLLLLLL.

  22. I thought I was following 1-3, but apparently not as well as I should be! My mom turned my comment about our colors into an argument wherein she told me we’d be better off ‘just going to the courthouse and then having a nice reception’ because we don’t want ushers. Last I’d checked, I didn’t realize that would cause the world to end.

    This is me re-doubling my efforts.

  23. Our families are pretty cool with most of my decisions, and even his catholic parents are ok with our Luthern officient (I think MIL is secretly glad we didn’t go completely offbeat). I do agree somewhat with the opinion = money aspect. My mom suggested a venue, and I like it but it’s out of our budget, so she offered to pay. Done and done!

    To follow rules 1-3, I started a blog about the wedding planning. This serves to keep it out of normal conversation and off Facebook, but it lets the people helping me feel involved from across the country.

  24. And if you do have to tell? Be vague and somewhat factual and boring then change the subject.
    I like to derail with a story about how I found it, rather than what it is.

    Your dress? Its long with pretty beading at the top, and you had really found another one you liked but this one just knocked your socks off… No need to mention the color or choice of non-veil.
    Flowers? Just having the hardest time finding the right ribbons to use… And decorate with candles.

  25. everyone makes it sound so easy but to those of you who find it difficult to not give details to close loved ones, moms in particular, I HEAR YA! and you aren’t weak, you aren’t in the wrong, that’s just your situation. so just know that you are supported too!

  26. Well, I just learned my lesson. πŸ™‚ Posted a pic of my engagement ring on facebook and someone commented, “OMG thats soo gaudy LOL”. Mind you, my ring has a center diamond of 0.25 carats and small diamonds around the band that total 0.50 carats so the whole thing is only 0.75 carats of diamond but she thinks it’s gaudy. *sigh* Oh well, we all have different tastes. The world would be boring if we all liked the same thing.

    • awwww well i think it sounds lovely! i haven’t had anyone right out say they don’t like my ring but i’ve seen several faces kind of drop when they see that i don’t have a big rock. even my FMIL looked less than impressed when she saw a picture of it. but oh well! WE love it! it’s basically a band with a knot on top that looks like the infinity symbol (i love you infinity.. yeah) and most of the knot is covered in tiny stones. diamond? i dont know heh. i didnt care. i’ve learned to hold it up proudly and say “isn’t it totally me!?”

      oh and i see the price went up… even better. i scored!

    • I received similar comments about my engagement ring (I got a black diamond) and while some people have been weird or made faces, the people that know me best love it and know its totally me!! And most importantly, my fiancΓ© and myself both love it!!

    • I don’t have an engagement ring at all and don’t want one, as we didn’t have a traditional engagement. You can imagine people’s shocked responses (is it even “official”?? Lol). But the people who are close and really matter to me haven’t said a word and that’s what matters to me.

  27. I don’t really have a great relationship with my family and I’ve always been kind of the family bitch, so if the time comes when someone starts telling me that I should have matching this and that’s…they know I will tell them to stfu and I’ll do things my own way. They’ll expect nothing less of me. =)

  28. My fiance & I were naturally following this advice but found it caused more drama than it avoided with his super pushy mother. After two tearful tantrums in two weeks, where she accused us of being secretive and not wanting her to be included, we’ve discovered that regular tidbits of information seem to be helping keep further tantrums at bay.

  29. I have had the exact opposite problem. People will comment about something they think would be a good idea, I say “Oh! Yeah, that’s actually a good point. Maybe I should rethink it” and they interrupt me halfway through to say “It’s *your* wedding, you can’t listen to *anyone else*”
    Well, why can’t I? It’s my wedding.

  30. I want to thank you for this article. I’m having a really hard time with my mom and wedding planning. My groom is actually pretty involved with the process and has his own opinions for things and so he and I will discuss things that we want. When I tell my mom about what we’ve decided she has become incredibly defensive and downright mean because I didn’t include her in the discussion. I feel like I have included her by even telling her about it and asking for her opinion but she feels like I don’t actually want her opinion. There have been only two elements to the wedding that I flat out told her, I don’t care what you think this is what I want and that was the dress and the location.

    I guess I’m having a really hard time justifying my feelings. I kind of feel like this is my groom and I’s day and the family is just there to support our dream. On the other hand, my mom sees that she has many years in event planning and I’m not valuing it.

    I don’t want to cut her out of the planning but she’s become so territorial about the one part that she’s paying for (the caterer) that my even researching options caused a gianormous fight (again) between the two of us yesterday. She says mean things about my in-laws even though she’s never met them and says she loves my groom. I feel like this wedding is just putting more distance between us (we live 1200 mils away from each other) and bringing back a lot of pain from my relationship with her as a child.

    Sigh. I don’t know what to do.

  31. I’m almost done! So I have to say…. The comment eventually comes though. Was pretty tight lipped and in the last weeks as things have leaked and slipped I’m getting “are you sure about that”s precisely when I need them the least.

  32. I’m so glad I came across this article. My fiance and I are still in the day-dreaming and we have a gazillion ideas but nothing is quite concrete yet phase. I’m already having people tell me I absolutely have to have flowers, and my cake must be made with yellow cake and durian flavors. *shudders* My yes people are solid, but when people start criticizing or questioning me, I go to my default of, “Well, it’s not for a while, and we’re just enjoying being engaged.” Or “We’ve already started making/ordering x. Oh well…”

  33. I planned a lot of things before I got my parents involved. I set in stone what I was not willing to compromise on. But honestly, my mom is really, really, really good with event planning. As a couple, we have adopted a “Yes Mom” policy. That is, if one of our moms asks for something (such as a small list of friends we don’t know to be added to the wedding guest list or some little detail that they suggest) that isn’t that important to us, we just say yes. They haven’t asked for much, so we don’t give them a hard time and put up a fight. At first, my mother and I fought about a lot of things; however, I’ve grown from those first few months of wedding planning with my mom involved. She actually has really good ideas and it’s not worth the fight. A lot of those little details we would fight over are actually not that big of a deal. My mother and I have never been that close, so planning the wedding together has brought us closer. I wouldn’t leave her out of my planning, because planning stuff is literally what she lives for. And because we included my mom in the process, we got a lot of cool stuff we wouldn’t have gotten (like a custom handmade broom for our broom jumping, cool place card holders, and lots of extras). I hate gold, but if my mom prefers the gold color and wants to buy something–then gold it will be. It’s not all about me all the time. My mom and I have become an unstoppable team. We get shit done. My mom might be a tough cookie, but I know that what she has added to the wedding I could never do alone. She’s doing our floral design, paying for the flowers, and my parents helped put money down on our venue. I love my momma and we don’t always get along, but I feel that adding her to the planning process has gotten me more in the long run, including a better relationship with her…working creatively with my mom is something I haven’t done since I was a kid. I feel like a better person for it!

  34. everyone makes it sound so easy but to those of you who find it difficult to not give details to close loved ones, moms in particular, I HEAR YA! and you aren’t weak, you aren’t in the wrong, that’s just your situation. so just know that you are supported too!

  35. I love this. Everything about this. This is magnificent and wonderful and I’m going to bookmark this. Thank you, thank you.

  36. I love this. I just learned rules 1-3 on my own, the hard way. Its a disappointing realization to come to, I was so excited to share the process with my friends, but I love the part about “yes-men” and will be sticking to sharing the details with my yes-men, and only them.

  37. Yes, to all of this. Seriously. Our family drama over our wedding got so bad we implemented the “unless you absolutely have to know to make it work or are paying for it, you will have to wait and see” rule. Even my FMIL is barred from knowing most of what is going on. The whole being treated like seven year olds thing is completely true. Ugh. I only talk about our wedding now with two trusted friends, my mother, and obviously my fiance and I share everything. And aside from my FH, I only talk about the wedding when I absolutely want input or when I’m just so excited I feel like I’ll burst if I don’t tell someone. This advice is brilliant.

  38. I actually LOVE to make my mother cringe at the ideas I have. I get inspiration from the people who question my every idea! My mother is constantly asking me to throw something “cute” into my ceremony or reception. She seems to think a post apocalyptic Fallout 3/ Fallout New Vegas themed wedding isn’t cute! I tell her “This is my first and only wedding, let me make this memorable for us!” If you are brave enough to say NO to an opinion you don’t like or brush the comments off, talk about it all day! To everyone! πŸ˜›

  39. Other than with my partner n mum I am passionate about rules 1 to 3 not because of drama but because I feel awkward having the same conversations over and over being about me me me. If you ask you usually get a vague answer and a change of topic lol. On the other hand I kind of wish partner and I had been a little more of 1 to 3 with his mum. She is lovely and for the most part we get on really well. She has been fairly chilled about most of our decisions and really interested and inquisitive about our plans…….but apparently isn’t so good at keeping them to herself despite being asked to at the start which did lead to some people getting the wrong idea about things and created tension. This has been sorted and with 4 weeks to go isn’t really of great concern anymore. I would just advise anyone starting out that think a little before getting caught up in the excitement and telling people everything.

  40. I too wish I’d seen this right after our engagement. We announced that we’d gotten engaged and then somehow overnight it was as if a wedding had been planned. After a night of lost sleep we blew the whistle and retracted everything. We sent a little note family and a few friends who thought they should start buying plane tickets and said we were eloping. Everyone understood expect my mother who said she was coming either way. We’re paying for everything ourselves and even when she pushed me on the cost of my wedding gown I kept quiet. We’ve decided on a small ceremony of immediate family and close friends, under 20 people. After reading this article I won’t be saying another word to anyone. Send out the little invites and leave it be. The thought of sharing the day with a few people we love feels like the right thing, and having firm boundaries feels even better. At my age you’d think I’d have my mum all figured out, but she still manages to railroad things and twist my head. She reminds me of toddler crawling towards a fire and I’m the grown-up picking her up and turning around multiple times in a conversation. Over and over till its time to hang up. As I’m thinking of this I might book her and my stepfather a tennis match the day of the wedding so I can get ready in peace with sister and girlfriend..that way it won’t seem like she’s being left out. It will be a gift! Otherwise I’m sure to hear comments about my weight (too thin, looking manly and ‘stringy’ these days, how’s the anemia? are you still not smoking?) and comments about the dress (it’s not as soft as I was hoping, well that’s a different choice, I don’t think I like this one either (my second marriage) and then a few choice comparisons about my former life. She loves bringing up terrible mistakes you’ve made in the context of a ‘joke’…I will store up all my classiness in a big mason jar and drink it before she comes so that only elevated responses escape me the whole weekend. I just know I can I do it. cheers

  41. We haven’t had much family input/comments regarding our wedding but I am sure that it’s because:
    1. We are paying for it all ourselves;
    2. We are both in our mid-50s, on our second marriage each; and
    3. Honestly, we don’t care one bit what anyone else thinks or says because at our age we’ve moved beyond caring about that. It’s pretty freeing.
    That being said, we do have our “Yes” men/women and our detractors and these have been surprising. My grown daughter and my niece (Yes women-not surprising). My sister (detractor-not surprising) and my best friend (detractor-very surprising). Nine months of planning since we got engaged and started planning and neither my sister or best friend have asked one question about anything concerning our wedding. In fact, my sister refuses to even talk about it or acknowledge that it’s happening or even said one word about it (not even congratulations). Oh well.
    But there is my daughter and niece and his children and tons of family on both sides and other friends that are so excited for us and when it all boils down to it, we are happy and know that this is perfectly right and good and we are soulmates and can’t wait for our wedding next month. 30 days and counting down.

  42. My fun comes from my mom who’s incredibly insecure about not being able to pay for the wedding. She then calls me stressing about whether or not we can afford it, tells me I need to rethink where I’m getting married and how expensive everything’s going to be, talks to my future in-laws about what they can contribute (to which my future mother-in-law replies, “They’re old”), and then tells me to call my dad and grandparents for money. It’s bawl-worthy stress that I don’t need. This is happening now and our wedding isn’t until the end of September! Thoughts? I’m a wedding photographer, am super resourceful, and don’t even have all of the details yet. I just want to tell her in Pulp Fiction fashion, “Bitch be cool!”

  43. What if you’re the one that is being left out of the planning? My fiancΓ© has been talking to everyone and telling them things about the wedding that he doesn’t discuss with me. He picked MY outfit, picked where we’re getting married, and he won’t discuss with me the guest list. My dream is become a wedding planner, and I wanted to use this as something to add to my portfolio, but with not feeling like my say matters at all, I feel like people are pooping on my dreams again.

    • Are you communicating these feeings to your future husband? This is super serious! I know my husband sometimes felt left out and he would let me know and we’d talk it out. It shouldn’t be a big deal to disagree and work through to a compromise – that’s what a huge chunk of marriage is about!!! In a loving way, let your person know that you feel left out of some decisions, and are unhappy with the way things are looking.

      But i also have to say that if your fiance is an opinionated person who wants to weigh in on every aspect that you may have to adjust your expectations – what’s paramount is that this event you two are planning together is reflective of your relationship and not a portfolio, no? It’s not fair to ask a person like him to back out, but it is your right to ask him to back off and make room for you! Certainly there will be elements that reflect your work and ideas that will work for a portfolio, right? Let us know how it goes!

    • 100% dump him. Making plans for your wedding without including you is a very bad sign for your future life. Doing it knowing that wedding planning is your dream sounds like deliberate sabotage. He absolutely is pooping on you, and you should not stand for it.

  44. Let’s be honest, not talking about your wedding + asking for help isn’t going to get rid of all the wedding drama, but it’s certainly a great (and easy!) place to start. Wedding planning is a TON of work and (surprise, surprise) it’s super emotional, which adds up to crazy stress.

    In case you haven’t seen these “happiness hacks” before, here’s 3 great tips to prevent wedding planning from getting you down: I literally do #1 and #3 everyday, and I’m trying my best to make #2 a regular habit as well!

  45. My parents and family are putting a lot of pressure on my by constantly grilling me about the wedding.

    I don’t really know why, considering I work full time and study part time, (so I am able to organise stuff generally) but I think they’ve somehow developed the idea that I need them to keep pressure on me, so that my partner and I organise the wedding. We’ve still got 4 months to go which is plenty of time because we’re just having a casual wedding.

    The pressure is really starting to get to me, last time I met up with them, they were grilling me about the music, celebrant etc and why they haven’t been booked yet. Things that I have made decisions about they criticise. Then there’s the criticism of my appearance, my Mum, Dad and Grandma have directly told me that I need to lose weight before the wedding and this was not offered as a suggestion “You need to lose weight before the wedding, so you look nice”. Then they’re all saying “You’re growing your hair for the wedding aren’t you” and tell me I’m ridiculous when I say I’m not.

    I’ve tried to avoid talking about the topic but it doesn’t work, they just bring it up again and again. They then quiz me about what extent my parent’s family are involved in the wedding planning. My partner and I are doing the planning which is obviously making my family feel excluded but I’ve tried to include them by telling them about what we’re planning and that’s not working.

    I’ve tried to tell them that my partner and I have got the planning under control, but then my Dad got really upset with me and said that he won’t ask me anything more about the wedding.

    I’m gay and marrying my female partner which might be bringing up some issues for them, but I have been out for more than 10 years, so I feel like they should have adjusted by now.

    I’m not sure what to do because this is really starting to affect me. I feel like my family are trying to control all the aspects of the wedding and in the process being really mean. I don’t want to talk about the wedding anymore and its sucking the fun out of it for me.
    If anyone has any ideas or advice that would be amazing, I’m really at my wits end

  46. Also just an additional bit of info, we’re paying for the whole wedding ourselves. My parents have offered to contribute but we haven’t figured out what to yet. Probably something small

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