Your wedding day is on the not-too-distant horizon. It’s time to get down to the joyful and challenging work of planning your wedding. Ideas are starting to take shape. You have the date, the dress, the venue, the officiant and the photographer.
Now what about those devils, little or large, who hide in the details?
Here are some strategies to help you navigate the minefields and defuse any potentially explosive situations so you can have the wedding you want without turning into Mr. & Mrs. Wedding-zilla on the way!
1. Challenge: Everyone you know wants a say in shaping your wedding
Solution: Be open to their ideas, while keeping firmly in mind what you want your wedding to be. Diplomacy and tact and gracious consideration of all suggestions are key.
2. Challenge: Family and friends want to participate and feelings are running high
Solution: Where possible, give them active roles – anything from being in the wedding party, being witnesses, seeing to the flowers, working out the seating plan, helping you groom the guest list, making wedding favours or being the problem-solving go-to person on the day.
3. Challenge: Your bridesmaids and/or groomsmen are getting on your and each others’ nerves
Solution: Do something totally fun together that is not about your wedding. It’s a team-building exercise that will pay off in good vibes up to and on your day.
4. Challenge: You have an actual falling-out with someone in your bridal party
Solution: Go to a favourite restaurant or coffee shop and talk things out. With good will and good listening skills, you can probably both be happy again about the wedding. If not, you may have to make the difficult decision to ask someone else to be in your bridal party. You do not want a reluctant or sulky bridesmaid or groomsman spoiling your day.
5. Challenge: Your parents want to call the shots because they are paying for the wedding
Solution: Show your appreciation for their generosity, but be clear that paying for the occasion does not mean telling you what kind of wedding to have. If things get really tricky, be prepared to pay for the wedding yourselves, even if that means scaling things down.
6. Challenge: Your guests want to bring their children. You want it to be an adults-only ceremony
Solution: Make it clear that this is not about whether you love or don’t love their children – of course you love them – it’s just that the way you envisage your wedding is without children. So you, and all parents of children can have some time to relax and enjoy a day and a night away from parenting. It’s very important to have one rule that fits all. The only exception is your own or any other children if they are in the wedding party as flowergirls or ring-bearers.
7. Challenge: The guest list has an overload of distant family and must-haves while the people who are important to you are getting short-changed
Solution: Who to leave out is almost as important as who to invite. Invite the people you want to invite; then see what space you have left in your budget and at the venue for other guests. By all means, let others make suggestions about who they would like to have on the guest list. But it’s your wedding. Invite the people who matter to you!
8. Challenge: Everyone seems to expect and presume it’s OK to bring a date with them
Solution: Only include plus ones if they have been going strong for a while and you know them. You can always use the excuse of budget and space restraints to say no.
9. Challenge: There’s a potential for clashes because you have different wedding traditions from your respective heritages and you want to respect them equally
Solution: Research and discuss your ideas with each other, and then, with your celebrant’s help, create a unique ceremony that includes the tradition that are meaningful to both of you. And have the officiant give a brief explanation of each ritual or tradition so everyone understands why they are in the ceremony.
10. Challenge: The most dangerous minefield is the stress there might be between the two of you as the planning and excitement escalate in the days leading up to the wedding
Solution: Go away somewhere for a few days if you possibly can, to chill out. Use the time to remind each other why you love each other so much and why you are getting married. Let the details take care of themselves for a couple of days. The world won’t come to an end if you give yourselves a breather.
So, take several deep breaths, keep your focus on what you really want, and say “I love you” as often as possible to each other. Use every bit of tact and diplomacy you have ever learned. Then you’ll be able to navigate the minefields, defuse any potentially explosive
situations and have the wedding of your dreams.
Catherine Kentridge, Celebrant
Catherine Kentridge, Licensed Wedding Officiant
Custom Wedding Ceremonies