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The Biggest Wedding Gripes and How to Handle Them



Your wedding day should be one of the happiest days of your life, yet for so many couples, planning a wedding becomes a major source of stress as they juggle rude vendors, whiny bridesmaids and uncooperative family members. By tackling these gripes head-on, you can end the chaos and enjoy the planning stages of the wedding and of course, the day itself. Here’s how.


Sibling Rivalry


Sibling rivalry doesn’t disappear just because you’re happily planning a wedding; in fact, it’s usually just the opposite. Jealousy, meanness and indifference often wedge themselves between siblings during a time when they should be happy for one another.


When dealing with a sibling who craves attention, and loathes the attention you’re getting, it’s imperative that you acknowledge their contributions to your day. Make an effort to include them in your planning and indulge them a little. Giving in to demands is probably the last thing you want to do when planning your wedding, but fail to do so and you run the risk of your attention-starved sibling doing something very drastic to get attention!


If your sibling is acting withdrawn and indifferent, gently probe as to what’s wrong, carefully sharing your feelings rather than being accusatory. If your sibling is bossy and prone to take over, assign him an important task you can trust him with.


The Parents are Taking Over


Ah, parents. We love them, but they are notorious for getting carried away with their children’s wedding planning. They’ve been known to add people to the guest list without consulting the bride and groom, insist on using their friends as vendors, or offer advice (read: criticism) to the couple’s overall vision of the big day. To top it all off, they often use their financial contribution as weight in influencing decisions.


They may have the best intentions in mind, simply enthusiastic about the celebration, but their input can overwhelm the bride and do more harm than good. When dealing with parents and future in-laws who disagree on guest lists, budgets and style issues, it’s important that you and your fiancé present a united front. In getting married, you’re establishing yourselves as a family unit that should be stronger than the apron strings. If your parents are paying for the wedding, make sure the in-laws are aware of this budget. If they then want to increase the guest list beyond what’s budgeted, you can diplomatically request that they contribute the difference in cost.


Be honest with your family; it’s your day, not theirs. While compromise is often important, so is standing your ground on the issues that matter most to you. If your mother-in-law is offering unsolicited advice, enlist her to contribute in areas that are non-crucial to your vision. Let her know you appreciate her genuine interest in your day and find ways to include her. This is a great opportunity to build relationships with your fiancé’s family.


Unhappy or Unruly Bridesmaids


You’ve chosen your bridesmaids, excited to share your dream day with your closest girlfriends. As the wedding approaches however, you may become discouraged when members of your bridal party fail to carry their weight or fulfill their obligations. In this situation, communication is essential.


If you have a slacker bridesmaid, acknowledge the demands on her time and ask how you can help. Maybe she’s concerned about the mounting expenses and hasn’t been comfortable bringing it up. Maybe she’s swamped with other obligations and would benefit from someone else ordering her dress on her behalf. Or, maybe, she doesn’t know what she’s supposed to do. Don’t make assumptions about her lack of commitment. If your friendship takes a turn for the worse, immediately seek a face-to-face conversation. Be clear about your concerns and be willing to really listen to hers.


Your friendship should always be more important than the bridal-party role. If someone feels the need to withdraw from the wedding party, be gracious. And never write someone out of the party without taking to her, no matter how awkward the situation. Don’t be rash to fire a friend; commit to fighting for the friendship first. And if you encounter a jealous bridesmaid, don’t ignore her attitude.


Take the time to reassure her and invest in her. Remain humble and refuse to buy into the bridezilla culture. Share your concerns with your bridesmaids and be careful to not overwhelm them with wedding talk at every moment of the day.


Late or Missing RSVPs


You spend a lot of time and energy picking out your invitations, spend money on postage, and then some guests don’t bother to RSVP. Annoying, we know. 


If RSVPs don’t arrive, you have little option but to phone those who haven’t responded. Don’t make assumptions as to why you haven’t heard from them. Ask directly and matter-of-factly if they’ve received your invitation and if you should expect them. Set a positive tone for your nuptials, expecting that some have genuinely forgotten to respond or sent responses that got lost in the mail. If you can’t reach the invitees, assume that they are coming. It’s better to plan for a few extra seats than not have enough room come time for the sit-down dinner.


Vendors that Fail to Deliver


You’ve done interviews, looked at photos, sought recommendations and seemingly covered all the bases when selecting vendors. And while most professionals aim to provide exceptional service, perfection is not guaranteed. Mix-ups do happen, and vendors can confuse orders, fail to provide what was promised or neglect to show up altogether. If this happens, do not panic. You can be angry later. On your wedding day, focus on quick problem-solving instead. Assume a genuine mistake, as vendors want you to be happy. Nominate someone else to track down the vendor or missing order. Often, the professional is equipped to make a quick fix.


If you’re still not satisfied, discuss financial compensation or reimbursement after the wedding. Signed contracts from vendors that clearly outline your orders will help defend your case when sorting out the problem. If a DJ or photographer doesn’t show, have a talented guest fill in. While it’s not ideal, improvising is better than fuming over unmet expectations. Remain focused on your day and take necessary action later. And it seems hard to believe at the time, but you really will laugh about it later.


When caught up in the hype of wedding planning, try to remain aware of conflicts brewing around you. Remain a humble bride, willing to sit down and address the concerns of family and friends. If you’re clear, prepared, selective about picking your battles, and willing to compromise and improvise, even at the last minute, you’ll find that the common wedding gripes won’t wreak havoc on your day.


Last Updated: October 16, 2008 at 9:54 am
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