How to keep both sides of the family happy for your wedding

Let’s face it, in-laws can be pretty scary for everyone.  In an attempt to please all of them during the wedding planning process I have come up with a few ways that won’t kill you. Just remember this is ultimately your day, & as long as you make an effort to include all of the in-laws at some point, that is all you should feel obligated to do. Don’t be afraid to tell people when to back off!

Guest List. Be upfront about the guest list with your parents & your husband-to-be’s parents from the start.  Be equal about it. If you are allowing your parents to invite five of their friends to the wedding, let your future in-laws invite five of their friends to the wedding.  Stay strong regarding the guest list, or you will end up feeling like you lost control of your wedding in the end.  If you are planning a small wedding, make that very clear to everyone involved, and have your husband-to-be stand by you. Do not get bullied to invite more people than you want!

Wedding Dress Shopping.  Invite various women family members on both sides to come & make a day of it.  This is a nice gesture on your part, in no way does this mean that you need to base your decision on what dress to buy on them.  You have your taste, and most likely they have theirs.  This is more about bonding, and bringing both families together. Take a break from trying on dresses and shopping, and go out to eat. If it’s been a really long day, go out for drinks afterwards!

Bridesmaid. If your husband-to-be has one sister that you are relatively close with make her a bridesmaid.  This will make her happy, and this will make his mom happy.  If his mom is happy, chances are you won’t have to listen to any nagging.  Bonus for everyone! If you aren’t close with his sister, or he has five sisters, none of which you are close with, do not feel like you need your entire wedding party to be his sisters.  This is just not necessary.

Costs. Traditionally the groom’s family pays for and plans the rehearsal dinner, while the bride’s family pays for the wedding ceremony and reception.  This should make both families feel as though they are contributing and playing a part in the big day.  Let the groom’s family brainstorm with you about the rehearsal dinner, and let the bride’s family brainstorm with you about the actual wedding day.  If things just don’t seem to be working out, tell them that you will pay for it yourselves and their opinion is no longer needed.

The head table. Make a decision with your husband-to-be about who you are planning on including at the head table. This, just like the guest list, needs to be set in stone & laid out to everyone.  If you are planning on including parents at the head table then all parents need to be included. If you have stepparents, then you need to decide if they will be joining you or sitting at their own table.  Be firm, and remember that people’s feelings will most likely always be hurt. It’s not your fault, this is your day just be fair and upfront.  You can’t make everyone happy.

I graduated from Emerson College as a writing, literature, & publishing major. Currently a stay at home mom in Carbondale, Colorado trying to get back into the writing world. I enjoy traveling, photography, writing, good food & wine, & hanging out with friends & family. You can find more of what I write at: www.smalltownmom.net
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