Avoiding family issues and drama on your wedding day…
Weddings are a super emotional time for everyone – of course they are, you’re GETTING MARRIED! EEP – and this includes your family.
Family, however you define that word, carry with them a very specific set of emotions and behaviours as they’re a totally unique idea: as the saying goes, you can’t choose them, but you wouldn’t choose anyone else either. (Well, actually, you may have done, and that’s totally fine too – there is no judgement here.)
If you’re worried about managing family tensions in the run-up to your wedding and on the day itself, don’t panic! We’ve asked our crack squad of talented, experienced suppliers for their advice to minimise and eliminate any worries. Your main focus is your own happiness, and making sure the day is everything you wanted it to be!
Talk to your support team
The team at Upton Barn and the Walled Garden say the number one thing is to talk to your support team. “It’s corny but it’s true – a problem shared is a problem halved! Express your concerns with your trusted entourage. Task a bridesmaid or usher with keeping an eye on potential culprits.” This may seem like a heavy job to give them, but remember that this was actually the original point of having bridesmaids and ushers – to help you manage the day! Just warn them in advance, and make sure they know what you want them to do.
Talk to your suppliers
Their second piece of advice is to let your suppliers know in advance so that they can ensure the day goes without a hitch, which is a sentiment Amy from Hooes Yurts echoes. “As a supplier at a wedding it is part of your job to calm any tensions so that the build process is full of fun and smooth running. Especially as a tent supplier, to be pre-warned of a potentially stressed out property owner is always really useful – but we essentially assume this is the case and act accordingly! The head of our Hooes Yurts build team Max (my lovely husband) is the king of calm and will always communicate arrival times, come prepared for any access issues and on arrival find the property owner and discuss plans for the build.” This should be something all of your suppliers are doing.
Plan your photos accordingly
Marianne Chua also explains how important it is to let your photographer know this too. “Make sure you inform your photographer beforehand of any family politics before the wedding. We can then store this info in our notes to hand on the day. This is especially true if you’re a non-nuclear family come the group photos; a heads-up on what to call each member of the party, and which group to put them in, means we can gracefully avoid any offence or upset.”
Consider your seating plan
“Ultimately, the goal is for everyone – not least you! – to enjoy themselves.” Upton Barn say. “You can choose to mix things up a bit but it’s often a safer option of seating friends or people with shared interests together, so you know they’ll get along. Alternatively, consider shirking convention and opt for no seating plan, which will help people naturally gravitate towards sitting with their friends.” You also may want to have an alternative top table situation, where you could sit with your bridesmaids and ushers, or have one long trestle table to keep people far enough away from each other. You could even have a sweetheart table instead, with just the two of you on there.
Watch your guest list
Intimate weddings may naturally mean some of your more problematic guests aren’t there on the day. “If you are really concerned about tumultuous relationships spilling over and upsetting you on your day then don’t borrow trouble (as an Aussie once said!).” Upton Barn suggest. “Deciding on a more intimate wedding means you can reduce the guest list and gives you an excuse for not inviting all those tricky relatives.” You can always celebrate with a lower-stakes, lowkey party a couple of months afterwards, if you still want to involve them in some way.
Watch the alcohol situation
Well, actually, don’t watch the alcohol situation, as it’s your job on the day to be enjoying yourself and not worrying. However, asking someone else to keep their eye on someone who has a troubled relationship with alcohol is a really good idea. “The truth of if is that drinking doesn’t suit everyone!” Erica, Mr & Mrs Unique queen, says. “It can affect the way they communicate with people – some people get loud, some angry, others rude, some just fall asleep at the table and in one case I heard recently, the mother in law vomited down herself at the top table! If you have a family member you are worried about, the best thing to do is to tell your nearest and dearest your concerns and ask them to take responsibility for it on the day. The last thing you want to do it spend your day panicking about it and following them around drink watching! You may not be able to stop it, however someone can be responsible for making sure water is available, or if they see trouble brewing is to take them aside until things calm down.”
Upton Barn say it’s also a great idea to let the caterer and bar staff know; they’ll have experienced this many times before and will be adept at diluting (literally) the situation with total discretion.