We hope you’re not scared of being grounded. Because the time you start to plan your wedding will be about the time that you’ll need to tell your parents that the choices you’ll make pertaining to your special day need to be that: yours. Not theirs.
So, wait…tell my parents to back off? Well, yes. But there are nicer, more tactful ways to say it that probably won’t result with your being grounded…or mom pulling out the dreaded middle name (unless it’s Danger-Zone which is too cool to not be used).
One way to sneakily limit or eliminate your parents urge to control your wedding is to control it for them. Have most of your major ideas already fleshed out and then invite them to be privy to your plans. By discussing what you both want with them, they’ll hopefully see that you’ve got it under control and you’re making decisions for your marital happiness. Plus, with your spouse as reinforcement, they may be less likely to push their own agenda.
If or when they interject with their own plans, reiterate that the decision was arrived at by both of you and that you’re very pleased with it. That may get them to back off…er, loosen the reins a bit.
Don’t treat your parents like toddlers but, in this instance, use the same logic. If you’re worried that they want to make all your decisions for you, give them a small portion of the wedding over which they’ll have control. Here’s the toddler logic part: give them choices as opposed to free reign.
For example: tell them you’d like their help with something that really isn’t a huge deal for you and your spouse…let’s say you’re not overly concerned with the songs at the beginning and end of your reception. Give them a few songs you had in mind for each and ask them for their help. If you just let them pick songs, you might end up with an Ozzy Osbourne intro and Jethro Tull send-off, if your parents are like mine. Let’s be honest, no one’s parents are like mine.
It’s a small thing but still makes them feel involved and gives them some semblance of control. And, quite honestly, the whole danged day revolves around you and your fiance – can’t you let your parents have something? They gave you life, man!
Sometimes parents get so wrapped up in their excitement for you, they forget their adult kids are fully fledged adults. Keep in mind their desire for control likely comes from genuine concern for your day and your happiness.
That being said, you should listen to your parents’ suggestions. Oftentimes we dismiss what may be wisdom for being overbearing. Gently let them know that you’ll take what they say into consideration along with some options you’ve already sought out and that you and your future spouse will decide what’s right for your marriage.
It may also bode well to remind them that they probably wouldn’t have wanted their own parents to control every moment of their wedding planning back when they were preparing, either. Help them understand that by planning your wedding with your future spouse, you’re practicing the team-building and decision-making skills required to make a marriage that’ll weather the years like their own marriage has (obviously if applicable).
Or, maybe suck up a little. Get in touch with their emotions to make them realize that you’ll always need them in your life but that you and your spouse-to-be are embarking on an incredible journey together.
Tell them that because their marriage is so strong and happy, they’ve inspired you to begin acting and thinking as a marital unit by co-planning every wedding detail.
Let them know that they’ve done a terrific job raising an independent and thoughtful adult who has found a future spouse who mirrors that and you’re excited for wedding planning to be your first major set of hurdles to conquer as a couple.
Hopefully these things are true and hopefully they can see that you don’t need their helicoptering to successfully plan your special day. Assure them that they’ll never be replaced and that you’ll always need them. Plus, bring up all the holidays, birthdays, sleepovers and post-soccer game snacks they had to plan and tell them it’s finally time for them to not have to concern themselves with planning and to just sit back and enjoy the event. Maybe bring them some ants on a log, too. You know, return the favors!
If all of this fails, you may have to just say, “Mom? Dad? It’s our wedding. We’re going to do things our way.” Just, you know, maybe take a few steps back before saying it. Or better yet, do it from within an armored car. Good luck!