Families at War: How to Deal With Family Hostilities Before Your Wedding

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Weddings are happy times, but when you have family members at each other’s throats over wedding arrangements or over unresolved disputes it lends a real tension to proceedings as well.

You don’t want all that spilling over into your day and ruining the celebration, so here’s what you should do to stop unpleasant situations from arising the very day you want them to least:

Stay calm

When two families are still getting to know each other, it’s natural for them not to agree on all the issues immediately, so don’t get all het up about it. Give them time to adjust and, for the time being, consider your parents as the authority on your wedding. Things will work out in the end.

Stay united

You’re going to have to be the mediators in any disputes, unfortunately, so present a united front. If you both agree on the issues, you’ll make your input more effective. Discuss the issue with your partner, decide on a solution and then sit down with the rest of the family. Don’t propose anything you haven’t discussed or agreed upon to them.

Choose your battles

Sometimes for things to run smoothly, you’ll have to compromise, so think about your priorities. If a certain request isn’t worth the hassle of arguing, let them have it; however, if you let one person have their way, you might have to grant their ‘opponent’ a small request, too, to keep the peace, so think carefully about your battles.

Do away with the tradition

Do you have members on opposite vying for the same role. The answer is simple: take that tradition of the table. Alternatively, you can choose someone completely neutral, rather than offend either party by picking one person over the other.

Take control

Remember who’s wedding it is. If there’s trouble brewing, you don’t have to stand for it or do what everyone asks you to. Decide a course of action with your fiancé and let everyone know your plans. Despite the conflicts, everyone wants what’s best for you both, ultimately, and they’ll keep their behaviour in check on the day.

Step back

If there’s an ongoing dispute, don’t leap in with both feet the moment it all kicks off. Realise it won’t be productive and exit the discussion. This helps you to take some of the heat out of the situation, calm down and think about it all before returning with a suitable solution.

Talk about situations head on

Don’t let tensions fester. Instead of shying away from a nasty situation between family members, approach it head on and give each party the chance to talk and get whatever they need to off their chest in good time. They’ll feel less wound up about the situation (or the person) that is making them so angry by the time the wedding day arrives.

It’s your wedding day and nothing — and no one — should be allowed to spoil it. If tensions between family members on either side are gearing up to explode on the day, keep a cool head, discuss the situation with your partner and address it together with the opposing parties. Let nothing stand in the way of your perfect day.

By Peter Jenkins