My dude and I dealt with a lot of pressure from family during our wedding planning process… but maybe not for the reasons you'd expect.
We're both the oldest grandchildren – on my side, everyone else who has gotten married has eloped or did a quickie “shotgun” wedding and for dude, he's the first to even bring a person home for the holidays.
It's not that we have pressure to stick to tradition or to be more offbeat (…yet), we just have so many people who are SO STOKED to FINALLY be able to do things that they've always wanted and expected to be able to do at a wedding! As wedding planning went on, juggling all of those dearly held expectations and figuring out how to handle pressure from family became more and more a part of our wedding planning process.
For example, my dad was hell-bent on walking me down the aisle. I wasn't feeling that too much.. until I remembered that it's a Jewish tradition for both parents to walk the bride down the aisle. This tradition sits better with me… with both parents there, there is no implication of me being “given away.”
But I've nixed the father/daughter dance, and my father was not happy with that. We danced, just not as an event.
And my grandmother would cry if she did not have a corsage – I was not planning on any corsages and but we had to have five of them or else Grandma will cry. How can I argue with that? So instead, I sighed and added more money to the feather lady's bill and it's done so I can do fun things like homework and house cleaning.
Truly, you have to pick your battles
Here's my specific advice:
- I tried to remember to pick my battles – I'm not going to fight over something just so I have control over it.
- I reserved my energy and verbal melee skills for the things that really matter
- I did my best to work for a solution that makes everyone happy.
- If I could afford to throw money at something to make it go away, I did. If I couldn't, I'd figure it out.
I see so many people picking one extreme like trying to make everyone happy, or the other extreme like refusing to budge one little bit, even over something small. I tried to avoid that because I've never seen an extreme behavior strategy work effectively. We tried to keep the things that we determined were important to us to the forefront, and let the little things that may or may not matter to us or others work themselves out.
It was hard but it's all about balance, and thinking about something before responding/emoting about it. No one's perfect. My dad and I totally fought like cats and dogs over the aisle nonsense but it ended up just fine. Truly.
What's your best advice for handling family pressure during wedding planning?