You have been busily planning your perfect wedding for what seems like centuries. It’s your big wedding day, to be shared with your loving husband-to-be, and you have every single detail planned out to a “T”. Suddenly, you realize there are external forces at work, called your “in laws”, that want their needs heard too. How will you find the balance between you and them?
While it will be your wedding and always will be, your perfect wedding day will most likely include others too. Your in-laws will become an integral part of your wedding since they are your groom’s parents. Learning how to successfully balance your wants with the wants of your in-laws now will greatly ease the creation of future headaches.
Your assumptions: Do not automatically assume that suggestions from others are intended to sabotage what you want. This includes suggestions and advice from your in-laws. Many people offer ideas in hopes of supporting you to have the best wedding day possible, no matter how far fetched the suggestion may seem. So check those assumptions at the door.
How you talk: Surprising enough, this is one of the key factors that will determine how well your balancing act will go. How you say a phrase will affect how people receive and perceive the information. Empathy and tact go a long way in diffusing any possible areas for disagreement between you and your in-laws. Consider your body language, your voice tone, and what your facial expressions are saying.
Validating without committing: Everyone wants to be validated. There are various ways to phrase what you say to validate the thoughts of others without committing yourself to those suggestions. Consider the following:
“What do you think about _____”,
“I’d love your thoughts on _________”,
“Thank you so much for sharing them with me”,
“I’m definitely going to consider your ideas”
“They all sound so great/helpful/useful, I’m going to seriously have to think this through”
“I think I’ll stick with the original idea to have an outdoor wedding, but you’re absolutely right about staying warm that day. I’ll definitely make sure to get a warm shawl for myself and all the girls.”
Accept when possible: Not all decisions have equal weight. Have a clear idea of what your priorities are for your wedding. Graciously accept offers for help and advice where appropriate. Your in-laws may be able to help you with the seating plan for the groom’s family, for instance.
Keep the doors of communication open: Keep your in-laws informed with updates on how the wedding planning process is progressing. After all, it is your wedding day and who wants to feel left out on such a special occasion?