My plans are made and she wants to help!

QuestionI’ve already planned out most of my wedding details but I’ve now found out that my mother-in-law wants to add her thoughts. How am I supposed to include her wishes without losing what I want and without having to start a family feud?

AnswerYou are absolutely right: this is your wedding and your wishes should be met. Yet, your wedding will not happen in a vacuum, void of others. Your in-laws will play an integral part on your wedding day (since they are your fianc?’s parents). It is very considerate and respectful of you to consider her thoughts in the planning process. Here are some thoughts to consider.

Empathy and tact can go a long way in diffusing any possible areas for disagreement between you and your in-laws. Warmly share your wedding plans with your mother-in-law. Let her know which details are a must for your wedding.

Ask for her suggestions in areas that are less of a priority for you (e.g. seating arrangement on the groom’s side of the family, the guest list for the groom’s side, her hairstyle for the wedding).

Depending on your relationship with your mother, you can also arrange for both ladies to do their wedding attire shopping together.

Use phrases to validate her ideas without making any commitments to them. Consider:

“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.”

As you chat with your mother-in-law, you will be able to gain a better sense of how much she is actually willing to help and contribute

to the wedding, in terms of physical help and in the expenses.

Keep her informed with updates on how the wedding planning process is progressing and accept her offers to help, where appropriate (e.g. to make wedding favours, perhaps, or to make snacks for the wedding party on the day of wedding to keep everyone energized and well fed?).