Nothing makes me madder than when I talk to a client who is all upset because of things their friends, family, future in-laws, and wedding party are doing and saying to poop on their party while the couple is still planning it. I think it sucks that anybody wants to take away the brides’ and grooms’ fun while they’re making all the little choices that come together to create the most important day of their lives. If you’re gay and you’re getting married, let’s face it, there’s some stress associated with it, even if it’s just in the context of telling everyone in your personal and professional life about your decision. You certainly don’t need any additional bullshit that will take away from your happiness.
Mothers of brides and grooms who behave like they’re the bride are probably the worst offenders, and also the hardest people for couples to deal with in these matters. Let’s face it – she’s going to be your family for a long, long time so brides and grooms want to pick their battles very carefully. And if she’s supportive of your non-traditional union, you may have to suck up a little more than a straight couple would if she’s playing the bridge with other family members who aren’t as supportive. But here’s my best advice on dealing with that specific issue – If you’re dealing with family members who do not support your gay marriage, write them off as far as your wedding planning goes. Hopefully, someday they will see the light (or the rainbow haha) and you will have a relationship with them. And invite them if you WANT to or ignore them til they change their attitude. But that’s another blog…
When it’s the wedding party making life and planning difficult – and I’ve seen and heard about badly behaved bridesmaids and groomsmen of all flavors, so this isn’t limited to the divas or the gay men – it makes the wedding couple question whether they’ve made the right decision asking these people to be members of their wedding party in the first place. Sometimes the behavior or remarks are so egregious that those people have to be uninvited to participate. It definitely makes couples take a step back and think about what could happen after 10 Mojitos when the toasts get started.
Obnoxious wedding guests are the most annoying but also the least important issue to worry about. It’s usually not somebody who is close to either half of the couple – it’s the date or spouse of somebody that already has a reputation for being a pain in the ass with most of your friends. You know who they are when you put their name on your guest list, and that’s the first time you cringe. They’re the ones who are insisting on bringing their children to an “adults only” event or who have emailed your wedding planner 12 times about their specific dietary needs because really, that’s a normal thing to do, right?
I’ve developed five strategies my clients can use to keep their sanity and senses of humor when stops being fun:
1 – Pick your battles carefully because at the end of the day, you are going to win the war. You are getting married. That’s what this is all about. If you have to cave on inviting some people you’d rather not, just do it unless there’s a very real financial or moral reason not to. I wish I had caved on a few that I didn’t, but I can’t go back and undo that now. Remember at the end of the day, this is about people who WANT to be with you to celebrate your big day. But it is your big day and you will win the war at the end. You’re the ones who are getting married – they’re just your cheering section.
2 – Don’t give in on things that are really important to you. Whatever it may be. If you really want to do the wedding gown dash at Filene’s Basement and your mother objects, ignore her. If you and your fiancé have chosen a venue or a caterer you love and can afford, ignore negative input from others. If you have always wanted to have a specific kind of décor and bouquet, you should do what you want, regardless of the unsolicited opinions of others. If you want your parents to participate in a manner in your ceremony that any of them are uncomfortable with, but it’s really important to you, don’t give up on it. If your gut instinct is to run away and elope, call me.
3 – Make the most of your wedding events leading up to the big day. I’ve had some clients who were pressured to scale back on things because, in this economy, it can be difficult for friends and family to do all the traditional engagement parties, bridal showers, bachelorette/bachelor parties, etc. You don’t have to give up anything that you would traditionally have, but you may need to adjust your expectations. Bachelorette parties don’t need to be someplace far away if you’re traveling for your destination wedding a few weeks later anyway. And engagement parties and showers given in homes are far lovelier than anything you’d experience at the country club or a fancy hotel. So much more personalized and usually more fun and relaxed. Enjoy these events and thank your hosts for being so generous by keeping your guest lists small.
4 – Make a date night out of anything you aren’t looking forward to doing for your wedding. Whether it’s a family get together, dance lessons, making the DJ playlist (and do-not-play list) or crunching numbers, there’s a way to make it fun, special and exciting. That might involve a bottle of wine or surprising new undergarment (key word being “surprise”), but you can make something that you’re not looking forward to be something totally fun to do. Wedding planning is supposed to be fun — get a little silly and romantic.
5 – Remember that it’s really all about you and your fiancé at the end of the day. If somebody is acting like a jerk, or being a roadblock to your wedding plans, cut ‘em loose or go around them. You don’t have to listen to anybody’s opinion but your partner’s – unless you’re taking bank from your parental units, in which case you probably do have to at least hear them out. You should still do what you and your fiancé want in the end.
You are getting married. This is something you’ve dreamed about for a long time, and hopefully, you’re only going to do this once. It’s really important that you and your future spouse take everything into consideration based on your wants, needs, and opinions. Don’t let anybody tell you what you can and cannot have or what you must or must not do. Have fun with it. Have your wedding reflect your own taste and style. You’ll never regret it when you look back at your wedding pictures years down the road. And the planning should be one of the most fabulous memories!
Sandy Malone is the owner of Weddings in Vieques, a full-service destination wedding planning company based on Vieques Island, seven miles off the coast of Puerto Rico. She and her team (including her husband Bill, a retired SWAT team commander) have planned and executed almost 400 weddings in the Spanish Virgin Islands. Sandy is a veteran event planner from Washington, DC, with years of experience planning large and small weddings, press conference, and corporate and political events. She has planned countless events on Vieques Island, beginning with her own wedding back in 2004. Since that time, her professional staff has executed large and small weddings of all styles, including elopements, vow renewals and fabulously posh events at multi-million dollar waterfront villas. She has also planned family reunions, destination baby showers, corporate retreats and a variety of other events for clients from all over the United States and Canada. Sandy is also the owner of Weddings in Culebra (wedding planning on Vieques’ little sister island) and Flowers in Vieques (a full service floral and décor firm).