Wedding planning can be a stressful time and it can lead to arguments with those closest to you — especially the groom! We asked relationship expert and bridal coach Michele Paradise for her indispensable advice on managing your relationships in the run up to your wedding.
Planning a wedding isn’t always easy and making sure your hopes and dreams for the big day come to fruition can be an all-consuming experience. It’s easy to let even the closest relationships slide when you can’t see past the dress or the cake — and arguments can easily happen if you expect too much from friends and family.
But there’s plenty you can do to keep your relationships on track. Step away from the guest and gift lists and take a little time to think about your nearest and dearest.
A Happy Groom
Keeping romance on the agenda and not letting the wedding completely take over is crucial. “Your fiancée is probably feeling stressed about planning the wedding so arrange one day a week that is wedding planning free,” says Michele Paradise. “Make a nice plan, like going to dinner, the cinema or a long walk at the seaside, then reconnect with each other like you did when you first met. The only rule you need to stick to is that you’re not allowed to talk about the wedding.”
Even if you have the pushiest of parents (and they’re paying for the wedding!) you need to manage their expectations and assert yourself. “Communication is key, but it is frequently forgotten when emotions kick in,” says Michele. “When you tell your parents that you’re engaged, take the opportunity to find out how they would like to be involved. If they want to contribute financially, thank them but find out if it’s a gift or if there are strings attached. It’s so much better to do this upfront instead of when a problem arises.”
In with the in-laws
If you struggle to get along with your future in-laws, the wedding planning could spark additional tensions. Michele advises brides to make sure that whenever they speak to his parents, the groom is with them: “This helps to smooth-out the situation and keep the peace. It creates a united front regarding the wedding. Otherwise, some in-laws may try to divide you and this could lead to you feeling personally attacked, which may not be their intention.”
“If your best friend is feeling left out and concerned that marriage is going to change you, include her in the wedding planning,” Michele suggests. “Give her a specific role and make it fun. Talk about the future with her and include her in the picture. You both know things will change to an extent, but reassure her that she will still have a very important place in your life and will not be left behind.”
When it comes to bridesmaids, Michele says you need to tell them exactly what you need and want. “They’re not mind readers!” she says. “Each of your bridesmaids has special skills, like being a great organiser, second-guessing your needs or simply making you smile. Play to their strengths and ask them to look after different aspects of the wedding to take the pressure off you. And it is almost impossible to get one style of dress to suit every shape, so while you should choose the colour, let them have some input on choosing the style. They will be much happier.”
If you want to assure your boss or colleagues that you’re not just thinking about the wedding, Michele urges you not to talk about it at work all the time: “Keep the wedding discussions to breaks and lunchtimes or your colleagues may begin to resent that you’re using business hours to plan a personal event. Most companies are very understanding about taking time off for a honeymoon, but letting them know as soon as possible when you’re getting married and when you want time off will give them plenty of time to find cover for your job. They will thank you for that.”
Simply the Best
“The best man is sometimes a law unto himself,” Michele admits. “If you allow him to see that he can wind you up, he may find that a challenge and do it even more, so accept that and let it go. If, unfortunately, he does say something in his speech that offends you, don’t respond, just smile. Everyone will be looking at you to see how you will respond, so surprise them and don’t. It will make the rest of the day so much more enjoyable and reduce any friction.”
Small People, Big Role
If you’re worried that the wedding will upset or worry your children, take time to talk to them about your plans and what life will be like for you as a family after the big day. “Like all the other important people in your life, include your children in your wedding planning,” says Michele. “Give them an important and specific role and support them to carry it out to the best of their ability. They will feel grown-up and respected, which will make everyone involved happier.”