A spicy topic indeed!
Believe it or not, this is something that our team actually finds ourselves talking about more frequently than you might expect. Every Tuesday, we gather in the White Dahlia and Co. office to unpack our weddings from the previous weekend and to not only chat about what went well, but also areas of challenge and opportunities for growth. One thing that never fails to come up, is couple and parent/family dynamics. Oh yes! And more often than not, we find that there were unmet or never discussed desired boundaries and expectations from both sides on the wedding day.
Thus, our team put together a list of tips for setting some of those tricky boundaries/expectations with your family and friends for your big day. Aka all the things you never thought you needed, but that will make all the difference! And if you find yourself wanting even more, we are currently putting together the ultimate guide to navigating these convos!
01. Start the conversation:
Be willing to have an honest and genuine conversation with your parents and family that will be involved in your planing process to set your expectations for their participation (well before you even get to those moments)! The earlier the better…trust us.
We know that it feels like people should just know how to behave when it comes to the planning process or even how to navigate your actual wedding day, but often, your family and friends are looking for clear direction and communication from you. So interesting right! We recommend sitting down with whomever is going to be heavily involved in your wedding -- as soon as you begin thinking about it -- to chat about these expectations. If you can nail down your thoughts early-on, you will truly lay the groundwork for the next several months of working alongside these loved ones, as well as the ways you *cough, cough* might not want them involved as well.
02. Set the tone:
Although it might seem odd, we recommend telling those important people exactly how you want them to communicate with you during the planing process, up to the very day-of your wedding. For example:
“I want us to always remain optimistic in how we communicate the next few months [or this next weekend], even as we move through challenges.”
OR “It’s really important to us that you remain respectful of our choices for our day, even if they might seem different than ones you would make.”
OR “While this might be unexpected, we are choosing to navigate ________ in this way: __________ and want to make sure we are all on the same page."
03. Discuss requests:
Something always happens the week of any wedding, where your loved one or that caring Aunt Sally will have a random request or impromptu addition they want you to make. Make sure that a month or two out, you hammer out those last-minute requests OR make it known that you and your partner won’t be taking any family requests as you approach your day.
It can become extremely overwhelming when days before your wedding, you become bombarded with things that you simply don't have the time or energy to consider, and at the end of the day weren't priorities to you or your partner. Therefore, we recommend taking care of those convos before they become a stress. However, if you know that this is simply the personality of a parent or family member, let your venue or your planner know, and make sure to direct their questions away from you and your partner and towards the people you are paying to make your day happen smoothly.
04. Rely on your planner:
If you are hiring a planner or coordinator, let your family/parents know that 1) that you have a planner, and that 2) they should go to the planner with any questions or concerns on your wedding day. You’ve hired experts for a reason and one of those reasons is so you can enjoy your day as interruption-free as possible.
05. Make it tangible:
Our planner and rental expert Courtney always encourages her WD & CO. couples to type up a personal weekend timeline or itinerary to share with their wedding party and family that gives everyone an idea of what’s happening over the course of the weekend > different than a professional timeline! That way, you can lessen those frustrating and constant logistical questions.
06. Circle back:
Last but not least, return to these convos 2 weeks out from your wedding. THIS IS KEY! If you know that one of these areas might be a problem for a family member, have the conversation again. “Hi Mom and Dad, I know that we talked about this a while ago, but as we get closer to our day, we just wanted to reiterate how excited we are for you to be a part of this, but also how important it is that you know our expectations."
"It’s important that you relax on our day and rely on our planner to execute ______ and ______.” OR “It’s important that when it comes to moving through the day, we maintain a sense of joy that’s at the heart of our celebration.”
Want more tips, specific conversations to have, and key times we recommend you have them? We've sat down and put together a more extensive resource on boundaries and expectations to help you navigate these hard conversations. You can find it in a few weeks in our WD & Co. Shop!
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