Parent Proofing your wedding

Parent Proofing your weddingWeddings are a family affair! Two families become one because of their children’s union. This is what makes marriage special.  Most parents look forward to seeing their children walk down the aisle. It fills your parents with pride to see their children tie the knot.

As a couple you will appreciate the support that your family gives you, especially in the wedding planning and coordination process. Your family will be there seeing you transition from daughter to wife, from son to husband. Therefore it is essential that you consider their role in your wedding planning and coordination and delegate accordingly.

But what happens when your parents dictate every little move you make and want you to implement every idea they have including having 1000 wedding guests? They keep reminding you that they went down the aisle before you hence the reason you should follow their instructions to the letter, never mind that they did it way before tiebacks, centerpieces and Kayamba Africa ever saw the light of the day.

How do you stop parents from hijacking your wedding in an amicable manner that will not destroy your future relationship with them? Well, don’t sweat it! From talking to couples who have been in a similar situation, we have compiled a few tricks that will be sure to charm the folks while ensuring that things go your way.

Trick Number One: There’s a new sheriff in town
In the eyes of your parents you will always be there baby boy/ baby girl, hence they are bound to throw the ” I am your mother/ father….I know better” card. It is only proper that after formally announcing your engagement to family and friends, that you host your parents either over dinner or lunch and inform them of the decisions regarding major wedding matters that you have made with your partner. These include your wedding budget, wedding guest count, wedding color theme, wedding service providers, religious tone that your wedding will take and other controversial wedding topics.

It is important that during this meeting that you lay down the law together as a couple.  Questions will be asked and eyebrows raised but you have to present a common front. In case your parents have different opinions, do not be quick to dismiss them, give the ideas a hearing and if you are willing to compromise or blend your ideas and theirs, then you are at liberty to do so, the only condition being that you stay true to your ultimate wedding vision.

Trick Number Two: Delegate. Delegate. Delegate.
It is advisable to have your parents to be part and parcel of your wedding planning. They actually have a right as your parents to enjoy this special time of your life. So you can delegate some light duties to them e.g. organizing for out of town wedding guests’ accommodation and transportation. Ensure that the duties you assign them will are pre-wedding day activities, so that they can be able to sit down, relax and enjoy your big day.

Trick Number Three: Keep them posted
Keep your parents regularly updated on your wedding planning process. You can do this either by sms, a phone call or drop them an email. During the engagement, parents and their children go through an emotional leave and cleave period; this is especially true especially if the child is a daughter. Keeping them updated reassures them that even after you get married your relationship with them will remain solid. Periodically bouncing off ideas on them affirms to them that you still care about their opinion.

Trick Number Four: Listen
It is good once in a while to stop and listen. Always listen to their opinions and consider them. That does not mean you have to do as they say especially if it goes contrary to your wedding expectations. Let them know that the final decision will always lie with you and your partner.

Trick Number Five: Stepping on toes
You can’t please the whole world. This also applies to your parents. Be emotionally prepared to disagree on some issues, but look on the bright side of things. All said and done, the thorny issues may be forgotten as soon as you walk down the aisle, so any temporary feuds are sure to die down with time.

Trick Number Six: Say thank you
Have a thank you tribute for your parents either during the ceremony or reception. You could have a session where you present special gifts to your parents, ensure you have them appear during the vote of thanks either by placing their names on the programs or requesting the emcee to acknowledge them. After the wedding, make periodic visits to check up on them; they will be even more delighted once the grandkids come along!

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Wanjiku Kariuki is a certified wedding planner and coordinator and is the lead consultant of, a Kenyan wedding website.