Wedding Advice: Including the Extended Family

If you are planning your upcoming wedding, you have probably run into how best to include your extended family in your wedding planning. Because somehow, it seems as soon as you’re engaged, everyone has an opinion to share. Perhaps you’re trying to decide how best to include your step father without stepping on your father’s toes, or how to include Aunt Susan without stepping on cousin Carrie’s toes. Whoever it is, and whatever they might mean to you or your fiance, this is a delicate thing to try to figure out, but we promise, it is possible. Here are some pieces of advice we’d like to offer for traversing this tricky terrain.

The first thing to consider? Who is paying for the wedding? Whoever that might be… you and your partner, your parents, your honey’s parents, etc. Those who are paying for the wedding are the ones (outside of you and your soon-to-be) that should have the most influence/say in the wedding decisions. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s their opinion or the highway. It is still your day so you must make sure that you and your fiance are comfortable with all of the decisions being made.

Next thing to consider? Asking each person how involved they want to be. It never hurts to ask people where they stand, or what they expect. If your mother really cares about throwing the wedding shower and no one else seems to, then we know who will be throwing the shower!

If you would rather not have this conversation with multiple people, you and your fiance might consider sitting down and breaking things up between the two of you. This way, you can present the ideas to the family and not leave things up for discussion as much. Telling people what you would like for them to do, if they’re comfortable with doing so could cause a lot less heartache than if you allow them to pick and choose.

Now, if you’re afraid people’s feelings might STILL be hurt, a fun way to get everyone included who wants to be, might be to have a list of things with which you want help. Get everyone together and put people’s names on pieces of paper and draw for each thing. If people end up wanting to trade, let them, but this way you are not held responsible for anyone feeling slighted or like it wasn’t fair. (Plus we love any excuse to have a little party).

Not sure what all you might want help with throughout the wedding planning process? Trust us, there’s a lot to do, and plenty of things you could get your extended family in on. Just a few might be: wedding shower or bridal shower, engagement party, rehearsal dinner, room blocks, planning the seating chart (if applicable),  cake tastings, food tastings, signature drink tastings, picking people to give toasts, picking and hiring your vendors (food, transportation, hair and makeup, venue, rentals, etc.). The options (and to do list) are endless.

Aunt Susan can help pick out the bridesmaids bouquets, Grandma can host the engagement party, parents of the bride and groom can help pick the food vendor, etc., etc. There are ways to include people in the planning process that will make them feel like they are a part of your big day. Keep in mind also, simply asking someone’s opinion (whether it be on the venue, the centerpieces or the colors you choose) will make them feel like they have played a part in your wedding. This goes a long way.

Making these decisions before you really dive into the planning process, however, will help alleviate some of the stress along the way. You want to be sure to talk through your options/ideas/feelings with your partner and make sure the two of you are on the same page before bringing anyone else (or their opinion) into the picture. It is, after all, your day, and one the two of you will hold near and dear to your hearts for the rest of your lives. Make yourselves happy first, and everything else will fall into place.

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