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Engagement! Hooray! The time has come and you’ve been excited your whole life for this… You’re not the only one.  Your head is spinning with ideas and all of your dreams which are about to come true. The two of you receive “Congratulations” from everyone you know and then the questions begin. It sinks in that the planning must start… One of your first steps should be Family Talks. Your Family has been waiting for this for you too and there are just a few helpful Family Talks that can set you up for a successful and even sentimental planning experience. Families are a very important piece of your special day and Family Talks should begin with them right away after becoming engaged.

2 Family Talks to have about your Wedding once you're engaged. How to talk to Family about your Wedding

Family Talks are so important to have right away because {and I may lose you here} weddings are not actually “all about you” or “your” day. I know, I know, I’m probably the only Wedding Coordinator on the planet who will tell you that, but sometimes the truth is tough to hear. The truth is, your parents have been dreaming about this day longer than you have. Honestly, weddings are a union of families and a celebration of welcoming a new son or daughter into their family. Your wedding day is your gracious walk up the path to a new front door where you humbly knock and await acceptance by your new parents… whom you hope have open arms. Truthfully, your day could be a painfully, emotional day for your parents to “give you away” and it may ache their hearts, even though they are happy. The truth is, your wedding is a monumental day in the lives of many and brings endless joy to those involved… if you let it.

Your wedding day is your gracious walk up to a front door where you humbly knock and await acceptance by your new parents… whom you hope have open arms. Truthfully, your day could be a painfully, emotional day for your parents to “give you away.” It may ache their hearts, even though they are happy. The truth is, your wedding is a monumental day in the lives of many and brings endless joy to those involved… if you let it.

So here we go, let’s open the can of worms on Family Talks. There are only 2 Family Talks that I really encourage you to have. One is big, the other is small, but both are very important Really, these are actually strategies to set the pace for all future discussions leading up to the Big Day.

Family Inclusion

The first Family Talk you should begin is about how your Family can help you plan. I am sure, you have already sat down with mom and discussed your Pinterest Board, your dress or even where you hope to go for your Honeymoon. But now it’s time to sit back and ask her,

“What have you always envisioned for my Wedding Day?”

And here is the kicker… You need to listen. She has probably been dreaming of this day, welling tears in her eyes, since you were bundled in her arms at the hospital. And, there may be something very beautiful in those dreams of hers that you may have never thought of, or more importantly, didn’t know was so important to her.

How to handle this Family Talk

The point of this Family Talk is to open a dialogue on planning input and let her know she is included. That is really all moms want anyway. They want to feel included and not in the dark about the wedding. Some will want to jump in and be really hands on, others will just go with it and have that “whatever makes you happy” attitude. Try to avoid any words such as “rules”, “limitations”, “no way that’s happening” and other words that put up walls to block mom or other parents. Your wedding plans do not have to be defended {though our generation sure seems to think they do, I did when I got married} so just listen. And, let her know you’re listening. Handling it will depend entirely on how you handle receiving the information: Acceptance.

Opinions are different than Inclusion

Some moms may have a lot to add including which colors they think you should use and where you should have the wedding… Here is where it gets sticky and is completely contingent on your responses…This is where the dialogue really becomes important and may be the whole point of this Family Talk: Defining Input vs. Inclusion.

“I am happy to consider your input and I will include you in my decisions”

This is your go-to phrase {or any modification you choose}. It is crucial to deliver it with honesty, grace and tact. You really will include her in your decisions, so long as she knows she is not making them.  You have avoided an invitation for mom to plan your wedding but also opened a conversation where you listen to her dreams. You then converse back with, “I think we can work some of that in.” Or, “I had a different vision, but we can work together on it.” Critically evaluate whether you really do not like her ideas, or if you just don’t want her to have any. Just because you didn’t think of it, doesn’t mean it isn’t a valuable idea. #realtalk Critically evaluate if adding her idea, which is so small and important to her is really worth omitting for the lose of inclusion? Wouldn’t it be a better long-run relationship decision to give mom a little input if it really doesn’t change the big picture? #momwins can go a long way. Trust me.

The Results

Mom now feels included and her thoughts have been heard. You have set the game-play strategy for the whole engagement time. She now knows how to play within the rules of your expectations, All without you ever mentioning the word “rules” or tossing at her, “So this is how it’s going to be, and ps I need all your money to pay for it.” #tactless

You also have the opportunity with this conversation to discuss and establish any “idea boundaries” so that Mom knows the expectations from you throughout the planning. She knows you’ll take her thoughts into consideration and that you will try to include them. Moms have great ideas, they really do, and I know our generation struggles to take input. However, having this Family Talk will benefit you in the long run I promise.

Family Traditions

Perhaps with your whole Family present, inquire as to if there exists any long standing family traditions for weddings in your family history. Or, if there are any special pieces of your family heritage you should consider. This Family Talk is a fun one, but happens after the Inclusion one for a reason… I’m sure you can guess why… “You’ll consider it”…

After a long, fun conversation of family wedding history you might get a few great ideas. Some of my clients, after being advised to have these Talks came back to me with a few great discoveries:


One dad really wanted to wear his military uniform down the aisle- My bride would have never known the significance of that to him had she not had these Family Talks

One single-mom wanted to give her daughter away as opposed to the Bride walking by herself, which she just assumed she would because dad wasn’t in the picture. The Bride never even thought her mom would want to do that.

Two brothers wanted to help give their sister away because they had protected her for their whole lives.

Great Grandma’s blue garter had been worn by the last 5 generations and is sitting in a box waiting for you.

During the ceremony, the parents would like to form a prayer circle around their children.

The men in our family have always given their brides a strand of pearls on their wedding days.

And so many more…

You never know until you ask. Beautiful, and endearing traditions exist in your Family. Open the door. Let a little love into your planning and include everyone. You’ll be happy you did. You wedding day will feel like a victory for everyone involved, a group effort, a championship game of teamwork coming to close with a celebration. Happy tears all around because you chose to talk with your families, listen to their input and consider their opinions.

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