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staying true to your dream

Quotation Mark“But you have to invite Aunty Mary’s second cousin”
“You can’t have Sarah as the ‘best woman’!!”
“You know that you have to be ‘given away’”
“What do you mean you’re not having wedding rings! You have to!”

Many couples, once they have announced their marriage plans to family and friends, can be deluged with advice and ideas on what to do for the wedding.  Whilst much of this information and enthusiasm can be supportive and inspiring, sometimes other peoples’ ‘help’ and ‘assumptions’ can leave many a bride and groom surprised and bewildered.

If you haven’t experienced undue pressure or overbearing ‘support’ then you are very lucky and need read no further. If you have, or think that you might come across it as you plan and create your dream wedding, then the following tips can help you manage often well meaning family and friends.

It may be that your parents want a particular tradition to be upheld or they want to invite remote family friends that you have never even heard of. It might be friends saying you should have a particular style of wedding dress or theme party.

The variations on the demands are nothing short of amazing and sometimes distressing when you hear some of the stories.  Sisters who pout and throw tantrums because something is not quite the way they like it. Parents who insist on a family friend being the officiant even though the bride and groom don’t like that person. Friends who impose their idea of what you must have at a wedding or what getting married means.

Feelings of anger, frustration, shame and guilt can dampen your feelings of joy in what can otherwise be a wonderful journey of discovery and preparation for your wedding. However, these same feelings can also provide an opportunity for getting clear on your values, standing firm in your beliefs and developing communication skills that don’t break your relationship with family and friends.

The following are some tips from brides and grooms who have discovered ways to manage and quite often pre-empt some of the above scenarios:

  • Firstly, be clear on what you both want. The chapter ‘Creating the Vision’, in my book ‘Create Your Own Inspiring Wedding Ceremony’, helps to bring clarity to what you want, how you want it and who you want to share your special day with.
  • You may not know what colour napkins or reception music you want, but you will have gained the general essence and feel of the wedding you both want. This clarity will help you to know what advice and support will be helpful and what is not.
  • Keep a note book of ideas and suggestions. If you find it difficult to say no to people just add their suggestions to the list with no agreement or promise of follow up. Sometimes a simple ‘thank you’ and move onto a different topic will suffice
  • You may find that some things, whilst not what you ideally want, are easy to accommodate.  For example, A parent who is having difficulty embracing your ‘civil’ service because they wanted you to get married in a church, can be asked to read a prayer that you have chosen during the ceremony.
  • Difficulties like these are opportunities to develop your communication skills. Communicate honestly and clearly when someone is upsetting you or going over the top. Avoid being blunt and rude as this can offend and cause more trouble!  If you think the situation is going to be ongoing, handle things as they arise rather than ignore the problems and hope they go away.  Follow the rules of effective communication.
  • Find a friend, celebrant, or wedding co-ordinator who will support your dream and planning.  Find someone you can talk things over with as they arise. It may or may not be your partner.
  • Still way too difficult??… Some couples decide to slip quietly away and elope instead!!  Your wedding is not about giving yourself a hard time so if you see it heading in a direction you aren’t comfortable with, eloping is a great way of taking control. If you do choose this option, don’t spoil the occasion by worrying about what friends or family will think. You will face them soon enough but during the elopement, your time is for you and your partner – Enjoy it!
  • Remember this is your wedding day and you want to enjoy both the planning and the day itself!
Enjoy your celebration, laugh, smile and have fun!
Wendy Haynes

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what people say

Heidi, Cairns
Hi Wendy, I have been reading through your site and from feeling overwhelmed at the whole wedding planning now feel more relaxed!

Candy & Lincoln, Sydney, NSW
Your book gave us an insight as to what the important aspects of a perfect ceremony are. Had I not read your book I don’t know whether I would have put so much thought into the most memorable part of our wedding.
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