HOW PLANNING YOUR WEDDING CAN STRENGTHEN FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS By Jen Cremerius
- A couple’s engagement is the beginning of an exciting and sometimes scary journey centred around a mutual desire to be with each other for the long haul. While the relationship between the two love birds is the core of an engagement and subsequent wedding planning, the announcement has a much further reach, involving families on both sides. How should family be told the news (if they didn’t know beforehand)? Have all the parents met already – if not, how should they meet? Who will be involved in the wedding planning? Who will pay? Which relatives will be invited? Which family traditions will be honored, and which do not fit with the couple’s wishes or lifestyle?
Planning a wedding can be a special way for the engaged couple to bond with each side of the family. It’s not always easy though – the more people involved, the more differing opinions and ideas. However, a major family fallout can be avoided. Each couple and each family is different, but here are some general ways to keep the peace and emerge a married woman who feels an even closer bond to her family:
- Stay calm. This is a broad one, and sometimes easier said than done. But keeping a level head is an excellent way to get through the arguments that will arise, problem-solve the unexpected crises, and pave the way for strengthened relationships. Think of the silly arguments that teenagers often have with their parents (perhaps you did back then, too). Whining and pouting and saying mean things you can’t take back doesn’t help anyone, and it doesn’t further your cause. Now is the time to really be an adult. Your parents and your future in-laws will notice your maturity.
- Ask, listen, and assert. Everyone has an opinion, and some parents and relatives will voice theirs loudly and clearly. Others will hesitate to speak up for fear of interfering with the couple’s own plans for their big day. In either case (and any in between), asking parents what they think of your wedding ideas opens an honest dialogue. Ask parents if there are any family traditions they would like to see incorporated in your wedding. Ask for suggestions, and run ideas by them. However, being firm about your own wishes and plans establishes a clear message that you are an adult.
- Give thanks. It is easy to get caught up in the commotion of planning and bogged down in the endless details. When family members lend a hand, remember to thank them for their help. And while your wedding may feel like the most important thing in the world to you at the time, remember that your parents and relatives have things going on in their lives, too. Take the time to spend non-wedding time with them. Enjoy each other’s company.
A wedding is about establishing a stronger bond with a spouse, but it also affects mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents, and everyone else close to you. Planning a wedding is a unique opportunity to strengthen those bonds and bring both sides of the family together, as one.