Weddings can bring out a lot of emotions, and not just from the bride or groom. When two people say they’re going to spend the rest of their lives together, you can expect just about every response from those involved, whether it’s members of the wedding party of family members.
Though most of those responses to an upcoming wedding ceremony are generally happy and congratulatory, you’ll often see that weddings can unfortunately bring out the worst in some people, too—whether it’s the jealous friend who cannot believe she wasn’t asked to be a bridesmaid to the bitter uncle who wasn’t asked to do the catering to the exacerbated mother of the bride who cries at the drop of the hat when a wedding detail goes wrong.
If any close family or friends are starting to give you trouble during your planning or on your wedding day, here are a few tidbits of advice so that you can fix the issue, keep your cool, and focus on what’s really important: that you are making a lifetime commitment to someone.
First, Keep Calm
No matter what the conflict is, no matter how big or small, the most important thing to do is to try to keep calm. For example, if a bridesmaid is confronting you about how she doesn’t like her dress that you’ve picked out, or she’s fighting with another bridesmaid that she’s never gotten along with, don’t be afraid to step out of the room for a minute and take a breath. If the confrontation is happening through texts or in snide remarks through e-mails, close the computer or set down your phone. Try to first remove yourself from the situation so that you can get a minute to collect yourself. You’ll be surprised at how much this can provide clarity and reduce your level of anger.
Confront the Situation Boldly, but Be Kind
Your response to conflict surrounding your wedding plans will largely depend on how severe the conflict is and who is involved. For example, if you’re dealing with something small like a friend being upset that he wasn’t asked to be a groomsman, try to empathize. Understand that his feelings were hurt and that if he’s lashing out, he’s only doing so because he feels like he’s not a part of the group. Delicately tell him that you understand that he’s upset, but that his happiness during the event is crucial to your happiness. Let him know how much you and your future spouse care about him, and it’s likely that the anger will subside.
However, if the problem is something larger like a sister who is constantly cutting down your fiancé or being rude to your future in-laws, then that’s a situation where you need to be more direct. Firmly tell your sister that the rude behavior won’t be tolerated, and ask her (calmly) to explain why she has an issue with your soon-to-be family. Though your tendency might be to lash out, perhaps something happened between them that you weren’t aware of. Try to smooth things over as best you can if tensions are brewing. If you can’t fix it, just tell your sister to be courteous during the wedding.
The most important thing to remember is not to avoid conflict until it boils over into a full-blown scene in the middle of your reception. If you notice trouble brewing between members of your wedding party or your family, try to address it right away so that your day goes smoothly.
Understand that Not Everyone Is Going to Get Along
You can try to fix problems and stay calm, but the bottom line is that not everyone is going to get along. You are mixing families, and you are combining friends from different stages of your life to all participate in one event together. Unfortunately, this sometimes comes with conflict. Sometimes all you can do is just give them a short speech about being civil, and wash your hands of the situation. Focus on being happy about this big step in your life and not on what conflict is surrounding you.
Remove Someone if It’s Really Becoming Intolerable
Although most conflict can be solved by just gently talking it out, sometimes there are situations that warrant a full-on ban from your wedding. If someone is saying threatening things or is actively trying to sabotage your good time, then you might want to reconsider inviting them. However, do this as a complete last resort because such an action and sour your personal relationship with that person for years to come. Most problems can usually be solved, but sometimes it’s just better not to tempt fate. Remember that you deserve happiness on your day, and if that particular person would cause you anguish just being there—then maybe you should ask yourself why they were invited in the first place.