How to Stop Others from Taking Over Your Wedding Planning

Zola is here to help you navigate potential pre-wedding fights so that you can stop others from taking over your wedding planning.

By Shameika Rhymes

Stop Others from Taking Over Your Wedding Planning
Photo by Diva Plavalaguna

The First Look ✨

Wedding planning is stressful, and when you throw in opinions and takeovers from others, it can get downright out of control. It’s realistic to ask for some help with organizing your ceremony and/or reception, but at what point do you draw boundaries when mom or your best friend tries to take over the planning of your dream day? Wedding planning is no longer a one-person job, in fact most couples are sharing the planning responsibilities in some capacity.

In Zola’s First Look Report, we surveyed 3,309 engaged individuals to find out who they are, what their priorities are for their 2022 weddings, and what makes these weddings different than ever before. The majority of couples surveyed cited that they were doing most of the wedding planning and decision making by themselves, while some were either doing it together as a couple, or doing it all by themselves. Zola is here to help navigate potential pre-wedding fights so that you can stop others from taking over your wedding planning.

Everyone Keeps Playing Wedding Planner

It can be frustrating when friends and family are being super opinionated and trying to influence your wedding decisions. When this happens, take a breath, detach, and reflect on how to proceed by trying to figure out what’s causing their behavior. Is it jealousy? Wishing they had planned their own dream wedding? It’s possible they are overly excited and living out their wedding day dreams through you. It’s you and your partner’s day, so it’s important to let people feel included, but not control it. Be firm, but also let them know that you appreciate their ideas; however, make it clear that you really want to personalize your day with your partner in your own way.

Set Boundaries and Split the Planning

Your well-intentioned mom or mother-in-law may not realize that blowing your phone up with helpful ideas or questions about how she can help really isn’t that helpful. You don’t have to shut her down completely, but you do have to set boundaries early on. Make a list and figure out what roles you want the people in your life to play, and then split the wedding planning up. Try not to bruise her ego, but instead focus on the things that she can do to help make wedding planning an easy and enjoyable experience.

Budgeting Balancing

If a chunk of your budget is coming from your parents, then it’s inevitable that they will want to have a say in the planning of the wedding. Things can get super heated when you sit down to figure out who is paying for what and trying to stay under budget. It’s important to sit down with everyone involved to create a concrete budget and prioritize expenses. The more that you put on the table at first, the easier it will be to alleviate some of the drama later.

With your parents, it’s important to discuss how involved they will be with financial decisions on everything from backdrops, flowers, and even wedding attire. In fact, 70 percent of couples are spending more than they originally budgeted, while 33 percent of couples’ wedding budget changes occur as a direct result of someone else contributing to their wedding budget. Some of those changes include family putting pressure and opinions on how things should be, family wanting to add more people to the guest list, and others wanting their idea of a dream wedding. Draw boundaries early on when it comes to the budget.

Don’t Argue About Your Decisions

When it comes to your guest list, it’s you and your partner's list of the people that you want present to celebrate your wedding day. As mentioned, oftentimes families will want to add more people to the guest list, and parents will want to add some of their friends from near and far. Nearly 75 percent of couples surveyed felt pressured to invite certain guests. Sixty percent felt the heat from their parents and in-laws, 21 percent got it from their partner, 13 percent from relatives, and nine percent from co-workers. Here are some ways to handle the pressure to invite guests that you may not want in attendance.

  • Stick to Your Budget: Firmly let the pressure bearers know that the budget is tight and you cannot afford to add more people than allotted. Some family members and friends may not make the cut and, as a result, may get upset. In that case, if they start debating your decision, don’t argue about it. Instead, give them a warning that it’s something you don’t want to discuss. If they continue to ignore your request, politely end the conversation. It’s not worth getting into an argument that could get nasty.
  • Stream Virtually: If budgeting is causing the guest list to be smaller than originally planned, consider streaming the wedding and inviting family and friends to attend virtually so that they can still witness your nuptials.
  • Don’t Invite Anyone from Work: The easiest way to avoid any awkward situations and drama in the office is to not invite any of your (or your partner’s) co-workers to your wedding. If someone asks, you can tell them that no one is invited from work, which will give you an easy out.
  • Plan for Uninvited Guests: Twenty-three percent of couples still have uninvited guests show up to their wedding. Most often, the reasons are that their relationship has changed and they don’t want them in attendance, they had to downsize the guest list, or they found that their values just don’t align. More than likely, the uninvited guest is that plus one (or two) that your friends or family forgot to mention or simply didn’t ask if they could invite. If that happens, there’s no need to get upset and ruin your makeup. Rather, be a good host or hostess and ask your wedding planner, caterer, and venue coordinate to accommodate the extra guests, if possible.

Don’t Allow Yourself to Be Pressured

Before you fly off the handle and react to others taking over the wedding planning, sit down with your significant other and talk about how to handle the situation, so that you don’t allow yourself to be pressured. Whether it’s your family or your partner’s family trying to interfere, it may be helpful to approach them as a couple to talk about your concerns and to remind them that this is your wedding.

Have Fun Planning Your Wedding Day

Wedding planning is stressful as it is, and planning during a pandemic doesn’t make it any easier. But, couples are feeling more excited than ever.

  • Forty percent say that they are more excited and in love than ever.
  • Forty-two percent say that it’s more meaningful now to be able to celebrate with loved ones, and 28 percent are just ready to party.
  • A whopping 59 percent said they felt closer to their partner than ever before after planning the wedding together.

Don’t let the planning overwhelm you, instead just have fun organizing all of the components of your big day. Draw boundaries with others trying to influence your decisions, so that there’s not a takeover in the process. Let Zola help make your wedding planning process easy with everything—from checklists to registries—in one place, so that you don’t have to stress.

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