Updated: Nov 26, 2018
Recently a close friend of mine asked for my advise because she had gotten into an argument with her daughter. Her daughter had recently gotten engaged and they were starting the blissful journey of wedding planning. As their conversation began it was all laughs and giggles and dreams of a fairy-tale-come-true type of a wedding. As my friend described it, "it gave me all sorts of good feelings."
And then things turned. And they turned terribly wrong. As the conversation progressed, they started to agree and disagree on many topics.
Which turned into agreeing to disagree.
Which then became a much more heated debate of disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing! Why? They came to a fork in the road when it came to...
WHO SHOULD GET THEIR WAY WHEN IT COMES TO MAKING WEDDING DECISIONS.
THE PARENTS OR THE BRIDE/GROOM TO BE??
They were disagreeing over everything from where the wedding was going to be held to if they were going to give away favors. They argued over what types of food was going to be served to the color of the wedding cake. (The bride wanted a black cake and mama wasn't about to have that!) It really did get ugly from the sounds of it.
Now if you've ever been in this boat, or have experienced any version of it, then you feel the pain of this mother-daughter argument. If you have no idea what I'm talking about and your wedding planning has gone as smooth as butter, then this post isn't for you. This is for all those brides-to-be and their parents who have gone the rounds and don't quite know how to compromise.
And let me tell you, there's legitimate arguments that can be used to back up both the bride and groom and the parent's sides on this. The parents might be saying, "We are the one's who are paying. It's our money, therefore, we get to decide. Wedding's can be A LOT of mullah! How can it be fair to fork out all that cash and not get a say in what happens? Who, what, where, when?! Nope, not gonna happen! Besides, I gave you life! (that line always got thrown around in my household as a joke. haha!)"
While the bride and groom might be saying something along these lines, "You have already had your chance at a wedding, now you need to let me have my own. My wedding day is a once in a lifetime thing. My one chance to pick out my dream dress. My one chance to pick the venue that fits my personality just right. You've had your chance, this is mine!"
Both sides have a good case, right? Well, after a lot of thought and after hearing several sides of this argument, I've come to a professional opinion and know what my answer is without a doubt....
BOTH GET TO DECIDE
While that might seem like an answer that lives in the gray area, this most definitely is a black and white statement. Weddings are one of the biggest celebrations that life has to offer. And as with all big celebrations, it's a team effort and shouldn't be pulled off single-handedly. With that being said, how do you accomplish this task? Because let's face it, even though I claim that my statement is black and white, there are way too many decisions to be made to be able to achieve both parties getting their way. So I've come up with a few key points that can be of assistance when deciding who gets to have the final say.
#1 Budget/Spending Plan
For whoever is paying for the wedding, whether it be fully or partially, a spending plan needs to be made and well known. If the bride has been dreaming of a wedding on the beaches of Hawaii, but the budget only allows for a backyard ceremony, then that needs to be made known and made sure it's clear. If that's a deal breaker, then sorry my dear beautiful bride, you'll need to post-pone the wedding until you can save up for that dream wedding of yours. Nobody should ever be guilted into getting into financial situations that can become problematic. When a bride or groom's parents offer to pay for any part of the wedding, that should be seen as a gift, not an entitlement.
Both the parents and the bride should make a list of their priorities when it comes to the big day. Is the location #1 on the list? Is the menu the most important? Do you just need somewhere that can accommodate the 500 friends and family that are a must on your guest list? Or do you not care who, what, when, or where, you just care about having the time of your life?! Whatever is your priority, then put it on your list. After that list has been made, align your list with the other's. If you find that one thing is important to you and not as important to your parent's, then there's the magic spot that gives room for compromise and a little give and take can happen.
#3 Shop Around
At this point, the decision making should be whittled down a bit! But maybe you've still got some major decisions to make and you've got a lot of opinions from all different directions flying around. At this point, you need to start comparison shopping. This alone will guarantee a sure-fire way of either eliminating or making some concrete decisions on the planning process. Compare the top 3 caterers and do some tastings. Maybe the looks of that Pinterest worthy dessert bar from caterer #3 don't taste quite like they look. Check out the top 3 DJ's and see what they can add to your party. Maybe DJ #2 is all booked the night of your wedding. Compare the top 3 venues and what they have to offer. Maybe your #1 dream venue doesn't allow llamas at the ceremony, and you've always wanted a llama to escort you down the isle! (You might be laughing, but we totally had a request like this! And if you're wondering, Yes! Yes, we do allow your pet llama to walk you down the isle. We're cool like that). If that's the case, then dream venue #1 is out and dream venue #2 is in. You get the point right? Process of elimination.
#4 The Final Touches
There are things that I definitely think should be solely the decision of the bride and/or groom. This is after all their big day (sorry mom and dad, it's not yours. Although, you get the pleasure of basking in all the glory of the beautiful person you have raised and get to call your pride and joy!). Those things include anything to do with the personality of the wedding. As long as it fits into the spending plan that was already agreed upon, the following are a few things that fit into this category: the ceremony vows, reception colors, the bride's dress and other wedding attire, floral choices, design elements, and the cake (apologies to my dear friend... I'm taking the side of her daughter on this one. Let them eat black cake!). Ultimately, the wedding should be a reflection of who the bride and groom uniquely are.
These four tips aren't a one size fits all. And they won't work 100% of the time. There always has to be a little give and take no matter what the subject is. But hopefully it'll help douse the fire a bit when it comes to planning out your perfect wedding and put you in a positive direction.
And before you even say it, I know, I know. I didn't touch on the topic of who gets their way on the actual wedding day! That's a whole post for another day, but in a nutshell, it's all about the happy couple! My priorities start with the bride, then the groom, then the mother-of-the-bride and so on. I've hosted my fair share of weddings and believe me, I've been taking notes!! I have become well accustomed to who needs to call the shots and who needs the extra TLC on the wedding day. Sometimes I have to make adjustments to my totem pole of people (you're all in good hands having a wedding here at Oak Hills Reception and Event Center! Reading people is my specialty and I take pride in my ability to address concerns and needs with love and care), but for the most part, the bride and groom get their way on their wedding day.
Side Note: Please don't make me regret saying that out loud! No bridezillas better be coming to me on the day of her wedding quoting my own words back to me of how she gets her way, as she stomps her foot! :)
And I can't end this post without putting in a little plug for our awesome wedding venue here on the Wasatch Front in Layton, Utah! When you book with us, not only do you get recommendations for any and all of the decisions that need to be made, but you get my professional help in making those decisions! We have some amazing packages all which include wedding management by yours truly! So, if you have a problem, yo I'll solve it, check out the hook while my dj resolves, it. Word to your mother. (Now just imagine my arms folded as I lean back like a sweet hip hop dancer).