Family, it is an important part of any marriage. A marriage is the beginning of a new family and household. Most couples are surrounded by their family on their wedding day and the days leading up to it. They are the ones helping with every detail and making sure you have all the small things dealt with. So why can family also turn out to be the hardest part of the wedding planning experience?

Weddings can be the cause for a lot of unwanted anxiety. With anxiety comes a list of problems which all end in the anxious individual retreating into solidarity to feel as though they can defend themselves better. Unfortunately when it comes to dealing with family mayhem, this is simply a tactic that can fan the flame instead of snuff it out. I am the anxious bride; I have suffered from severe anxiety since childhood. I deal with it well and to the untrained eye it is barely noticeable. The stress that circulates families during a wedding event can be ruthless and for an anxious individual it can become unbearable.

The major obstacle I have encountered is the inclusion of every family member. As a couple, we can only do our best to try and please our families while also trying to please ourselves. This is where it gets tricky. A wedding brings together two different families and joins them together. Once you start to plan you notice that each family may have various views or wants of how the wedding should pan out. When a family or family member is not recognized and given the pieces that they desire they can start to feel ignored and unimportant. Now we have feelings of frustration and anger, they can be towards the couple or perhaps to the opposite family. The antics that follow resemble a preschool children’s fight but with a dangerous amount of hostility and stress.

I could lie and tell you that I have successfully pleased both sides of my families but in fact I have not. Many wedded couples will tell you their horror stories of how family drama can escalade and I have heard many myself. A couple must realise going into their marriage that pleasing everyone cannot always be a possibility, it may never be. Learning to rely on each other, making sure that as a couple you are happy and taken care of before trying to fulfill other wishes or demands is key. This is not always easy, growing up in a household you feel obligated to side with when given a choice, not comprehending that you now have to re-focus your loyalties. I have seen and lived through such confusion and when family starts to get in the way of your happiness a choice has to be made.

Understand that it is the excitement and cultural traditions that can sometimes make a situation difficult. In my particular situation I have two very different family cultures that need to be combined. It has not been simple and in fact is still a work in progress. The strain this dynamic has put on us as a bride and groom, is enormous. I have feelings of responsibility to my own family while a need to fit in and please my spouse’s family. When they both have such different and strong opinions of how this special day should be, it has become grueling work for both my fiancé and I. There have been arguments between every member involved with the planning and it has raised the level of stress to an all-time high. You can tell a family or a particular member a thousand times to relax and just enjoy the day as it comes. Sometimes the reality is they will not always listen.

I have mentioned the hopes and dreams of every bride to be but your families also have their hopes and dreams for your big day. If I were to be honest and tell all families one thing it would be to ask them, don’t you want your son/daughter to be happy? Is that not what this is all about? Happiness and love, the commitment of a precious union, but where is the support? Families don’t let your wants and needs come before the bride and grooms. It is their big day, the day they celebrate their bond and declare their love for each other. When that day comes and you don’t have the flowers you wanted or the venue you preferred is it really going to matter? If your son or daughter are happy and in love then you should also feel the same. Parents support your son or daughter in their decisions, you may not agree or even like their choices, such as wedding colors or limited guest lists, but it is there decision. The constant pushing and bickering that is causing a stressful situation to occur for the bride and groom should be enough to make any family take a second to re think. Don’t be their sanities demise; don’t let stubbornness take away the excitement of planning such a marvelous occasion. Learn, love, and support because we have all been through it.


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