Getting engaged is such an exciting time, and planning your wedding is a fun process. It can be stressful, too, though—and not always because of the planning itself! The momentous occasion can bring out a lot of strong emotions for you, your future spouse, and even your family members as well.
Just in case you find yourself with some difficult in-laws while planning your big day, here are 5 tips to help you cope and deal with the stress.
Choose Your Battles
While planning a wedding, some stressful situations or difficult decisions may arise, and not everything will be worth your time and energy. Some things are important enough to hash out and discuss, while others will be best to let go. Choose your battles wisely and try not to sweat the small stuff so you can reserve your energy for planning your big day and taking care of your mental health.
Family coach Kristin of Kristin Coaching says, “Assess when it’s important to be able to actually speak up and say something versus things you can let go.” So allow yourself to enjoy the process of your planning your wedding, and try not to let a difficult in-law take away that joy from you!
Lean on Your Wedding Planner
If you have a seasoned wedding planner, there is no doubt they have stories about dealing with difficult family members or in-laws during the planning process. Because they likely have that experience, don’t be afraid to ask them for advice! Chances are they may have some wise words or similar past situations to help guide you through yours. Most wedding planners are thick-skinned, too, and sometimes they won't even mind taking the blame for certain wedding-related decisions to keep you out of the hot seat, such as helping with seating, who is included on an invitation, or anything else that might bring out some emotions from others.
Remind Your Parents They're Gaining Another Family Member
Some interesting emotions may arise between a parent or close family member about "losing" their son or daughter once they get married. It could lead to jealousy, which can be expressed in different ways. It's important to remind your parents and those of your partner that no one is being taken from anyone else; they're actually gaining another child or family member! When put into this perspective, it emphasizes that the family is growing and a future spouse is not a threat.
An article by Bridal Guide states this perfectly. They write, “When a couple gets married, family dynamics inevitably shift — this can be uncomfortable and sometimes even scary because of the perceived feeling of loss. Depending on the family’s roles, the perception of loss is just that: a perception.”
Have A Respectful Discussion and Set Boundaries
If a situation arises you decide is important enough to have a discussion about, it might be best talk to your spouse-to-be first and to come up with a plan together. Try to stay calm, cool, and collected to become a united front before setting some boundaries with that difficult family member or in-law. When you're ready to sit down and talk to them, be honest, open, and respectful of their feelings while talking through the issues at hand. It's important to listen and hear them out while also sharing your thoughts as clearly as you can.
Set appropriate boundaries based on the issues at hand, and let them know what you need so those boundaries are respected as you continue planning your wedding. After all, it is YOUR big day, and you may have a great discussion and resolve the problems! Many times the difficult family member may just want to be heard, and once they feel like that's happened, they will back off.
Remember What's Really Important
It's important to remember what your wedding and marriage are about: the two of you. You and your spouse-to-be are a team. At the end of the day, despite any stress or difficulties that may arise, it’s not about the flowers for your centerpiece or who sits where during the reception. What's important is that you and your best friend are promising to be there for each other for the rest of your lives, and that is more exciting than anything!