How to Make Everyone Behave

Meddling moms, diva bridesmaids, outlaw in-laws: how to manage everyone without losing your cool.
By: 
Michele Bender

Wedding planning would be quite a handful even if you didn’t have to deal with friends and families. But it’s a time when everyone’s emotions can run high, explains Sheryl Paul, bridal counselor and author of The Conscious Bride. “Even though you’re the one getting married, it’s also a transition for them,” she says. Adds Jeri Kadison, a bridal coach and an expert in stress management, “Differences are a natural part of the wedding planning process, and weddings can be stressful. But if you start with good communication, listen to others and your messages come from a loving place, you can keep everyone on the happiness track.” Here, some helpful tips.

Meddling Moms

bride with mom
Photo Credit: Scott Hopkins Photography on Southern Weddings via Lover.ly

Mother-daughter relationships are complex enough. Add wedding planning to the mix and they get even more so. “A mother’s role in the wedding can touch on financial, emotional and cultural issues,” explains Bethann Schact, the bridal coach at One Precious Life Counseling and Coaching Services in Natick, MA.

Figure out the financials. If your parents are paying for the wedding, they may do so with strings attached. “My mother wasn’t sold on the wedding planner, so she fired her,” says Lily, 24. “It was frustrating, but she was paying so she had the final word.” You and your fiancé should figure out your budget early on and discuss with both sets of parents who will pay for what and how much (here's who traditionally pays for what). If Mom and Dad are kicking in a large amount, ask them how involved they expect to be. If you find out they want a high level of control, you may want to think twice about the arrangements. 

Pick your wedding planning battles. If you don’t care all that much about the flowers and tablecloths, give those jobs to your mom; if the dress and music are critical to you, take those tasks on as your own. When it comes to her desires versus yours, pick those that matter most to you and address them head on. Simply tell her, “I understand that you want me to wear your wedding dress, but finding my own is really important to me. However, I’d love to wear your earrings,” Kadison says. Read the top 7 wedding tasks for moms ►

Go below the surface. “When you’re able to recognize and address the issues underlying your mother’s behavior, the two of you can actually become closer through this process instead of more fractured and resentful,” says Paul. Think about what may be triggering your mother’s behavior; she may feel she’s losing her daughter, or she may be experiencing emotions that have to do with her own marriage. Perhaps she feels she has do your wedding planning because her mother planned hers. Have a heart-to-heart talk. Start by trying this: “Mom, I know this is a really emotional time for you, too. Can we talk about it?” Get more advice on handling your mom 

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