Family conflict during wedding planning. Dealing with difficult in-laws. Navigating family drama. When families clash. Keeping harmony amid chaos. How to keep the peace.
Wedding Planning Process:
- Understand your triggers
- Your non-negotiables
- Work with a professional
- Non-judgemental approach
- Partner Support
In this guide, we have worked with relationship counselors to provide you with tips when dealing with difficult in-laws and navigating family conflicts during wedding planning.
Marriage is not just between 2 people, but actually between 2 families. Every family dynamic is different, and navigating around it is very important to maintain healthy relationships. Every person involved will have to take part in maintaining harmony.
So when a merging of families happens, there might be some unavoidable challenges.
Whether it be your future mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, or of course grandparents-in-law, you will most likely find yourself in a place receiving advice or requests regarding your wedding.
There might be situations in which you will find yourself dealing with conflict with difficult in-laws and even other family members as you move forward with your wedding planning.
When you are in this situation, it takes more than just planning your wedding. But also understanding how to navigate the relationships that are being formed. As you know, once you officially get married, it is also official that they will be your family as well.
This is why we solicited advice from Relationship Experts at Skylark Counselling, headed by Danielle Holtier. They have a great team of counselors specializing in individual and relationship counseling, including burn-out, depression, anxiety, and trauma.
And yes, they offer online counseling, so you can reach out to them wherever you are. They can match you with the best counselor for your needs.
Here are the top tips from relationship experts at Skylark Counselling on how to deal with difficult in-laws and family conflicts during wedding planning:
Remember that you are a team; show a united front. This helps the relationship grow in the right direction: towards each other. Taking the time to completely understand the other person’s perspective without problem-solving is vital when navigating familial conflict.
Prioritize time to heal—schedule specific times when you cannot talk about wedding planning or family conflict. Giving space to these problems. Reconnecting with activities where you fell in love with your partner allows for a stronger relationship while navigating challenging times.
Avoid Triangulation (this is important when dealing with difficult in-laws and family conflicts during wedding planning)
If there is a problem between two people, then those two people should lead the conversation. Instead, side conversations often increase escalation, inflation of problems, and hurt feelings.
Focus on constant improvement: We all have things we can improve on, such as communication, mistakes we have made, and tasks we haven’t followed.
Voicing your errors, with no strings attached for the other partner can minimize your partner’s shame. Instead, help your partner feel heard and increase perceived accountability with issues.
-Tips from Skylark Counselling
In terms of the actual wedding planning process, here are some tips that can help you navigate family conflict during wedding planning:
Understand your triggers
There might be some parts of the wedding planning that is more sensitive to you than others. For example, you might have a wedding dress that you have dreamed of for a long time.
(this can even be about your wedding venue or other wedding vendors you are or have already chosen!)
However, your in-laws might have a different vision than you do. If this is extremely important to you, note that as one of your triggers.
Being aware of your triggers and noting them down will help you regulate and control your emotions. For example, awareness can help you bite your tongue and not “react” but “respond” lovingly.
Reactions usually do not consider the outcome. But responding, especially in a loving and understanding way, will help you consider the outcome (although you cannot still control it!)
If you choose to “respond,” you can ask yourself questions like, “Will my response promote a healthier conversation, or will my response just fuel the fire?”
You can also consider not responding right away and say, “That’s a great idea. I will look into how we can get that incorporated. I’d love to find ways for all our wishes for the wedding to get a chance to be realized.”
Understanding your triggers can help you manage your stress and conflict with more awareness.
You must have your non-negotiables so you won’t feel like you are always in a “conflict.”
Now, if your non-negotiables are challenged, especially during a conflict, you might react a little more on the defensive side instead of in a neutral way. Remember earlier we mentioned understanding your triggers and boundaries? This is when you want to consider bringing on a professional wedding planner.
Work with a professional
Professional and creative wedding planners can help you navigate conflict by developing creative solutions that will hopefully satisfy all the wishes on the table.
If you have difficulty resolving conflicts with your family members, consider enlisting the help of a mediator.
A neutral third party can help facilitate discussions and find solutions that work for everyone.
Of course, some will come at a cost. But peace and future relationships are important things and are worth the investment.
In addition, your wedding planner should be able to ensure your non-negotiables are met 100%. You will be able to help navigate and find a holistic approach to the existing conflict and challenges.
They can be your fairy godmother and come up with something that might not have been obvious from the beginning. Because of their experience and creativity, they could develop ideas specifically for your situation and circumstance.
Another important thing to recognize when dealing with difficult in-laws and family conflicts during wedding planning is to avoid being judgemental – even if you feel like you are being judged yourself.
Anytime you are going into a conversation, and the said “conflict” will most likely be brought up, ensure that you program your mind and tell yourself to go into a “NON-JUDGEMENTAL APPROACH.”
Take in the information as it is and just let it come to you- without letting the voice in your head talk and judge on it.
This is really to help you not get yourself in a bad mood or start looking “unhappy” and “annoyed,” especially when our mind is talking to us and firing lots of info about what we hear.
Go into the talk and set yourself up to be “non-judgemental” (even if you really want to judge and react!)
This approach also goes with you and the support team you have. You should not judge yourself as well. Your support team should also be there for you lovingly without judgment.
TIP: Practice your “response” when you hear trigger words or phrases. When you have “templated responses,” you can easily pull them and use them.
Similar to the example mentioned earlier, you can also say something like, “I can definitely have our wedding planner look into how they can get that worked into our current plan; if you can, email the details to me, and I will forward it off to her.”
WHY THIS TIP WORKS: You are “diffusing” the situation by addressing their request and involving a professional. This will also buy you time to “try” and check your options and come up with creative ideas (wedding planners are great at developing ideas!)
Think of this as going into an interview where you plan your answers to the “most” common questions already scripted or even memorized.
You can practice these answers before going to the interview, which might be a great approach to this situation.
This is essentially teamwork. You cannot just go on dealing with conflicts and challenges alone.
For the most part, even before being engaged, you and your partner probably already have an idea about the in-laws and family situations and most likely also know the “ones” that might bring the conflict or challenge.
Communicate and carve a plan on how to navigate times like this with your partner. After all, if you are dealing with your in-laws, your partner will probably have many more ideas than you expect.
You and your partner should have a safe space where you are both open to speaking your mind in a peaceful, calm, and loving way.
If the emotions are high or it seems hard to find common ground, especially considering wedding planning demands, bringing on relationship experts like counselors from Skylark Counselling can help you establish a good communication stream. As well as strategies to navigate conflicts/challenges.
You and your partner are getting married FIRST. Yes, the in-laws and the families come with it as well, but to handle the other “marriages (families),” the two of you should have a solid foundation to handle anything.
There you are! Our tips on dealing with difficult in-laws and family conflicts during wedding planning!
All insights and advice provided by the Peppermint & Co. Ltd. Team are generic and should only be used for informational purposes. Read the full disclaimer here.