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Dealing with Family Dynamics: Your Guide to a Drama Free Wedding Ceremony

Published Thursday, Mar. 21st, 2019

Avoid wedding day disasters and family drama with these pro tips



Whether your family reminds you of the Gallaghers from the TV show Shameless, or they're a living breathing Hallmark Card, family dynamics -- even good ones -- can be a stressful part of wedding ceremony planning.


The good news is that there’s almost always a compromise that will leave the couple happy with their ceremony and keep the family involved!


Below, we offer up a few rules and tips to achieve this. Truthfully, though, when it comes to family dynamics, there isn’t always a 'right answer,' and sometimes, it’s just best to compromise.



To avoid family drama on the wedding day,

Consider these pointers...



1. This is the couple's special day.


Always remember: this is the couple’s special day, and their wedding ceremony is the Crown Jewel in their once-in-a-lifetime event. This message needs to  be impressed upon everyone as many times as possible. Whatever the family dynamics are that need to be dealt with, and whatever solutions are created, should make the couple genuinely happy (or at least satisfied).



2. Create solutions, not more problems.


This means that the parties involved need to sit down well before the wedding day and talk in a positive way about what they want, what is possible, and what would work (even if it is not ideal). And yes, this means compromise. 


One of our ministers recently performed a wedding ceremony in which the bride’s parents had a nasty divorce. Because the parents would not walk the bride down the aisle together, they came up with the following solution: the mother entered the room and began the processional with the bride, and handed her off to her father once they neared the end of the aisle, who then escorted the bride the rest of the way.


Now, that’s not an ideal outcome for either parent, but it's a solid compromise, and the bride was happy having both of her parents maintain important roles in her ceremony.


Related: Wedding Ceremony Disasters, and How to Avoid Them



A bride and groom lay down on the grass dressed in zombie themed wedding clothes. Aerial view.

Remember, it's always about what resonates with the couple...

See more photos from this one-of-a-kind zombie themed wedding. 




3. Ask for help.


If you're unsure how to solve an issue yourself, or you’re not making headway towards a compromise, seek assistance. This can be from a neutral family member who can mediate with all parties, a family friend who may be able to get everyone to talk rationally, or a wedding planner who's worked through these types of situations in the past. 


Regarding the role of the wedding planner, folks are often more comfortable deferring to a professional who has experienced many weddings. Take advantage of their authority by cluing them into the situation early in the game, and let them work out solutions in advance. 



4. Remember all eyes are on you...


If the parties involved need a little extra motivation to compromise, remind them that guests have long memories -- especially when it comes to drama.


While guests will certainly remember a beautiful ceremony, they're even more likely to remember -- and gossip about -- a ceremony disaster, such as the mother of the groom walking out right before the ceremony. (Yes, this actually happened to one of our ministers!)




A wedding photographer stands on a ledge to take a couple of two newlyweds outdoors.

Folks are going to remember this day, make sure to give them positive memories!



5. Respect the compromise.


Whatever the final agreement, everyone needs to remember and respect it at the rehearsal and wedding ceremony. Any drama or issues on the wedding day should not come from family - period.  Family should only be there to support the couple.


We can tell you from past experience that a negative experience early in the wedding day can really affect the outcome of the wedding, and it’s just not worth it.



6. This is the couple's special day.


We said it before, and we'll say it again! Continually remind yourself and everyone else: This is the couple’s special day. They will not get another chance to re-create this special, monumental event.


Any issues, whether petty or substantive, need to take a back seat to the joyful celebration that is taking place.  No couple deserves to have their wedding day tainted with bad attitudes and grudges. So, yes, refer back to rule number 1!





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Lewis King
Lewis King

Staff Writer

Lewis loves exploring the space between power, discourse, and material reality where institutions like marriage are defined. He also wears other hats at AMM, like taking out the recycling and restocking the sparkling water.

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