How to Honor Parents While Wedding Planning

How to Honor Relationships with Parents While Wedding Planning

What does it look like to honor your parents while wedding planning? Perhaps you just got engaged and cannot wait to begin the wedding planning journey, but you’re nervous about how this will affect your relationship with your mom who tends to overdo it. Or maybe you are in the midst of planning and feeling at your wits end with frustration about how your future in-laws want to invite 300 people that you and your partner have never even met.

The season of wedding planning and engagement is one of the most important milestones in life. And it also comes with so many emotions, good and bad. This day means so much to so many people in your life. Sometimes differing opinions can clash and turn what is supposed to be a joyful experience into the family stress and chaos before the wedding day.

I’m Lucy, a wedding photographer in Charlottesville VA, and today I’d love to share some tips that may bring a bit more peace and harmony into your relationships as you figure out how to involve your family in wedding planning.

1. Set Healthy Boundaries

The first and most important thing that will help you honor parents and protect your relationship with them while wedding planning is to learn to set healthy boundaries. 

I grew up in a culture that prized the idea of honoring mother and father. For many years, I thought this meant that you do what your parents want you to do and bend over backwards to accommodate them. I thought that I was being loving, but I eventually realized this was hurting the relationship because I started to feel very resentful. What I’ve learned is that boundaries are not against honoring your parents. They are actually a very important part of honoring and loving them well. 

Maybe you did not grow up in same culture, but are there ways that you feel the tug to please your parents? Or do you feel guilt tripped about a decision you’re trying to make for your wedding? Maybe Aunt Betty really wants to run the show but you already have a wedding planner that you trust way more to get the job done right. Maybe you’re hoping for a destination wedding but your parents insist that it should be in your hometown. Let me be the first to remind you that you can’t please everyone’s wishes on your wedding day. So don’t put this impossible expectation on yourself! 

However, this doesn’t mean you can’t set boundaries. When you choose to set healthy boundaries while wedding planning, you actually have the freedom to love your family more joyfully. That’s because you can CHOOSE to do something and not feel guilted or begrudging. 

Boundaries are a way to protect your relationships. And relationships are what matter most. I hope that your relationships with your parents can be stronger than ever on your wedding day as you work through disagreements and conflicts in an intentional way.

2. Communicate boundaries in a loving and respectful way

So now we’ve talked about why setting boundaries helps you honor your parents while wedding planning. But how do we do this well? This is super important. We need to set boundaries lovingly, respectfully, and thoughtfully. Here are some tips. 

When you talk about boundaries, be sure to find a time that you both are free of distraction and in a good mood. Maybe you can let the other person know in advance that you want to talk about something. A passive aggressive comment while you are already irritated is not a good way to set a boundary. 

Think about what you want to say and plan when to bring it up

“Hey Mom, there’s something I wanted to talk to you about with the guest list. Do you have time to chat this evening?”

Start with something positive that you are grateful for

“Thank you so much for looking at wedding photographers with me the other day. You found some amazing options and I had so much fun doing this together.”

Explain your positive intention for bringing this up

“Something has been bothering me. I want to talk to you about it because I love you and I want our relationship to be good in this whole process.”

Focus on how a specific action bothers you and assume good intent

“When you said/did this… it made me feel… I don’t think that was your intention. Can you help me understand what you were thinking?”

Help come up with a solution and/or set a boundary

“It would be really helpful if you could do this next time instead…”

“It would make us feel really loved if you could…”

“We need you to please let us make this decision ourselves, but we would love your help with…”

Thank them for being understanding and for their support in this journey

“Thank you so much for talking with me about this. I love you and am excited to experience all these wedding-related milestones with you!”

I recognize that not every conversation will go as smoothly as these examples. And there are a whole host of personalities that can complicate things. A little love and respect will go a long way to communicating your boundaries in a healthy way. You can’t control other people and their responses. But you will feel a lot better if you have peace that you did the right thing on your end. 

The goal here is to communicate boundaries in a way that protects your relationships.

3. See things from their perspective

When I was planning my own wedding 8 years ago, I was mostly focused on what I wanted for the day. When I became a parent, I learned so much about how my parents have seen me my whole life. 

Yes, it’s about your relationship and your commitment to each other to be united for life. But this day isn’t only about you and your partner. It is also about your parents and your families. It’s about those long nights your mom cradled you as an infant and the countless times your dad helped you up on your bike. It’s about how they taught you to drive a car and cheered you on at your swim meets. It’s about how proud they were when you graduated and got your first job.

This day means so much to your parents too. My kids are still little, but I can only imagine how sacred and meaningful it will feel one day to hand them off in marriage.

This day is about you, but it’s not ONLY about you. Honoring your parents while wedding planning feels easier when you can see things from their perspective. This might give you some empathy as to why they feel so strongly about certain things. This doesn’t mean we ignore boundaries. But it does help us to understand where they are coming from and helps us to approach conversations more lovingly and respectfully.

4. Talk about expectations before accepting money

Money is one of those topics people don’t like to talk much about. But it is very important to consider when we are talking about boundaries with parents while wedding planning. If your parents are offering to help pay for your wedding (or part of it), it will be very important to first consider whether this is a good idea for your relationship. 

Namely, you want to know whether this money comes with any strings attached and what expectations your parents may have for your wedding day. Weddings are expensive and it is so generous when parents offer to help. But if they are paying, it only makes sense that they would have some say in how the wedding day goes. So before you accept the money, talk about expectations to make sure that you are on the same page and okay with what they want. For example, if you really want to have an adults only wedding but your parents are expecting the grandkids to be there the whole time, you would want to know this ahead of time to prevent surprises or conflicts later.

Find vendors who care about your family relationships

As you are planning your wedding, it is also important to find vendors who care about your family relationships and will be sensitive to any needs and delicate relationships. Your wedding day is largely run by vendors, and who you choose can make a big difference for how you and your families experience the day. Your vendors can partner with you to show honor your families and loved ones. Wedding planners have a lot of experience helping couples navigate decisions. They can be a great resource to help you come up with ideas and solutions for decisions you are making with family members.

“One of the ways to ensure that your boundaries are honored and respected is to share them with your vendor team!  They are there to make sure that your wedding day is everything YOU want and that means being in tune with the boundaries and expectations that you’ve set for the day.” 

Shelby of Shelby Lynn Events

Closing Thoughts

Wedding planning can cause conflict and stress within families. But it is also an opportunity to work through conflicts and come out with even stronger relationships. When you get married, you are starting your own brand new family. There’s a whole process of adjusting to what that looks like with each of your families of origin. So for both your wedding day and your marriage beyond, it’s important to learn how to protect these relationships through healthy boundaries and respectful communication.

I’m Lucy Jalin, a wedding photographer passionate about helping couples have stronger marriages and families. If you are looking for a wedding photographer in Charlottesville VA and the words above resonated with you, I’d love to chat

This post is part of a series on Relationships and Well-being While Wedding Planning. If you are interested in more posts like this, you can find the full series below:

Relationships & Well-being, Tips For Couples


How to Honor Parents While Wedding Planning

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