Posts in the 'family drama' Category

Real Bride Jess: The Invite Dilemma

Hi all!

First of all, let me apologize to my friend, Rachel. Rachel got married a few years ago and I was hurt that she didn’t invite me or any of her other friends from junior high through high school. Now, as a Broke-Ass Bride, I totally understand and apologize for being mad.

OK, let’s talk about one of the most difficult aspects of your wedding: the guests. Who do you invite? Who do you leave off? Do you listen to your parents?

Guest List.jpg

 

Made with PicMonkey

I think I mentioned before that I split our list and told Michael that his family was his responsibility (a decision that I still stand by). The difficulty of this is in people asking, “why didn’t cousin X get invited?” I dutifully respond, “Michael was in charge of his side of the family, take it up with him.” I love being able to this because I HATE confrontation and I like deferring the blame.

What I ended up doing, since I have a large family who live locally, is inviting my whole family and a few close friends. We each had 75 invites and 56 of those (on my side) are people I am directly related to.

What Michael did, since most of his relatives live in other states/countries, is invite his grandparents, aunts, and uncles, but no cousins. He said that most of his cousins he has never met or met once when he was little and he wanted to save his invites for the people closest to him. While I totally respect and understand this choice, it did rub some people the wrong way. Luckily while I tend to be more of a people pleaser and would have bent if people complained, Michael stood strong – which I really admire.

The other rough subject of invites is plus-ones. We have had a few people that were shocked that everyone did not get a plus one. Even if I could afford for everyone to bring a guest, I wouldn’t want them to! My wedding is about celebrating with the people I love –I don’t want random people there. I don’t want my sister to invite a guy she met that morning at Starbucks to the most important day of my life (this won’t happen because my sister is 13). The question then becomes: How do we keep  our guests from inviting unwelcome guests (and how do we categorize “unwelcome”)? What we decided was that we would allow people to invite their boyfriends/girlfriends as long as they had been dating for at least a year. To minimize our risk further we didn’t send our invites to “Johnny Smith + 1” but rather, “Johnny Smith and Andrea Biltmore.” Then, the thought is, even if Johnny and Andrea break up, he can’t bring a stranger.

How did you deal with the guest list? Did you get any major pushback?

Ask Heather: Seating Chart Drama and a 3-Hour Wedding

Seating chart

Jennifer Yin via Flickr Creative Commons

Dear Heather,

How do you handle a seating chart with multiple family situations and conflicts making it mind numbingly hard!?

Shelby

Dear Shelby,

You have two main strategies here: (1) Seat people wherever the hell you want and assume that they are grown-ups and can handle themselves for a single day; (2) Knock yourself out and do your absolute best to cope with various family drama. I will warn you right now: No matter which strategy you choose, you will piss someone off. The key: Don’t let this bother you. Weddings breed craziness. Don’t get sucked into it.

Since you’ve written to me, I’m assuming  you’ve decided to not go with Option 1. My suggestion: Post-It notes in many different colors. Use one color for the drama-free folks. Use different colors for each “warring faction.” Seat like with like and use the non-drama folks as buffers. Do a sweetheart table so you don’t have to deal with offending folks who aren’t seated at the head table. Put as many tables equidistant from the sweetheart table as possible, so you don’t have to deal with Uncle Jack complaining about how Aunt Jane was seated closer to you than he was. And use table names rather than numbers, so Phyllis can’t throw a fit that Margaret’s table number was lower, and therefore better, than hers.

Again, you’ll likely make someone angry. Know that you did the best you could and if they can’t put their differences aside for one meaningful day in your life, they can suck it. So neener.

Dear Heather,

My ceremony and reception are both at the same garden, and I only have three hours to do everything. We’re doing a buffet, and this amount of time doesn’t include set-up or clean-up. How do I fit it all into a few hours?

Tiffany

Dear Tiffany,

That’s a fairly tight amount of time, which will make sticking to a timeline absolutely critical. First off: Make sure you start your ceremony when you’re scheduled to start it. Brace yourself, though, as guests will inevitably be late. Unfortunately, those folks will just end up missing part of the ceremony. I’d also suggest doing a first look, so you can get most (if not all) of the posed pictures out of the way prior to everything starting. This will obviously need to be done offsite, but this isn’t the end of the world. You’ll get plenty of non-posed onsite shots during your shindig.

Twenty to 30 minutes is probably a fair amount of time for a garden ceremony, assuming you aren’t doing a bunch of readings or an elaborate unity ceremony. You’ll likely need to cut the cocktail hour down to a cocktail half-hour. This leaves you with about two hours to go. Appoint someone to emphatically shepherd guests from the cocktail area to the reception, and have your wedding party announced as soon as possible. Trust me: Once you start entering, people will get their butts into their seats. If you can skip toasts, that’s great. Otherwise, do them while folks are in line for the buffet. Ideally, guests would be seated for toasts. Realistically, you’re on a timeline here!

Obviously, you and your spouse should be first in line for the buffet, or someone should have already put your food-laden plates where you’ll be sitting. If you can, have multiple buffet stations, since this will cut down on waiting time for your guests. As soon as you and your spouse are done eating, segue into the cake cutting. Yes, some folks will still be eating while you’re cutting your cake. That’s okay. Right after cutting the cake, move into your first dance and parent dances. After a couple of songs where the dance floor is open, do your bouquet and garter tosses. This will hopefully leave about a half-hour of dancing after the official traditions are done.

I’d also suggest doing some sort of no-host party after the reception is over. My husband and I went to a local bar after our reception had ended, and there’s nothing quite like walking into a bar wearing a wedding dress. This also has the advantage of continuing the party without you having to pay for it. Our guests were thrilled to have somewhere “official” to go, and my husband and I were happy to have somewhere we could go, have one drink, then head back to our hotel and collapse.

How about you? Did you struggle with your seating chart? How did you eventually make it work? And what sort of timeline would you use if you only had your venue for three hours? Let us know in the comments below!

Real Bride Elizabeth: Family Matters

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 Sisters!

I am extremely close with my family. Of my three younger siblings, it’s difficult for me to think of three people I would rather hang out with. I was convinced that all the horror stories I heard from friends about family members going crazy during the wedding planning process would not happen to me — no way, no how. Then my younger sister, Tegan, got married. There wasn’t too much drama, but there was a tense moment the night before the wedding when Tegan told my cousin she would prefer she not wear a white, lace dress to the ceremony. No brainer, right? What followed on that wedding eve consisted of my aunt telling my sister she was a spoiled brat who had never been told no (if you know my parents, you would know this is laughable) and Tegan dissolving into tears.

Still, my naïveté persisted and lasted until my engagement bubble was rudely burst, all by family members. I am still four months out, so I am sure there will be more, but I’d like to present you with the top three most dramatic moments in my planning so far, ranging from “Excuuuuuuse me?” to “WTF?!?!?”

1. My mother (would the list be complete without a mother-of-the bride moment?)

My mom has made it clear from Day 1 that she is not happy with my choice to get married in North Carolina instead of my hometown in Wisconsin. My fiancee has a majority of his family and friends in North Carolina, and mine are scattered all over the US. Plus, I’ve always wanted a destination wedding but didn’t have the budget to pull off Mexico, so this was a happy medium. Every couple weeks I get a text or a call along the lines of, “Why are you getting married in North Carolina again???” She tries to pull everything from the tradition card (I’m not that traditional, so doesn’t bother me) to the fact that a lot of my extended family won’t be able to make the trip (that’s the point!) to try and get me to change my mind. Deposits have been made, appointments set, there’s so going back at this point.

2. My aunt

I heard through the family grapevine that one of my aunts had confided in many family members that she was on “Team Ex,” and was not pleased that I was marrying Bryce because she didn’t think he was “as fun” as my ex. Well, that’s pretty offensive to both me and my groom-to-be. Yes, my ex was a nice guy overall, but there were definitely reasons I called it off. And while he may have been more outgoing and extroverted around my family than Bryce is, I’m the one marrying him, so it really matters how we interact with each other, right? If you like my ex so much, why don’t you marry him?

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 At the end of the day, you don’t remember all the drama that happened before the wedding.

3. My other aunt (the same one that threw the white dress fit at my sisters wedding, shockingly)

This one definitely takes the cake. After we got back from North Carolina, we headed to Wisconsin to see my family there and celebrate the good news. My aunt and cousins were there as well, and everyone seemed really happy for us. However, I woke up the next morning to a text from my aunt asking if I was sure my fiance was straight. OK, I admit, I can somewhat understand this. Bryce loves Beyonce, shopping and watching “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” When I met him, the thought that he was gay did cross my mind. When we started dating, one of my friends was convinced I was his beard. At this point in our relationship, I’ve dotted my t’s and crossed my i’s.  I assured her I had the situation under control, but she continued to tell me that “many” of my family members have expressed the same concern. I think what bugged me more was the fact that all these family members were lip-flappin’ about my personal life!

Throughout all this drama, I have chosen to take the words of my homegirl RuPaul to heart: What other people think of you is none of your business. This has become my mantra throughout the wedding process, and will keep me going until I walk down the aisle. This is my wedding, and I’m doing it the way I want, with the person I want.

Real Bride Peach: Bridal Failure

This is my face.

No one tells you how shitty planning a wedding can make you feel sometimes. I was simply not prepared.

Before I expound, I have to make this humble request: If there is actually a 100% tested-and-approved rule book to follow for not pissing people off when planning a wedding, please order it for me on Amazon and send it my way. But as far as I know, there is no such thing in existence.

I wish there was, as it would appear the planning process is filled with potential traps and pitfalls around every corner. Just when you’re patting yourself on the back for checking a biggie off the to-do list, there is someone just waiting to pull you by your shirt sleeve off into a corner and whisper conspiratorially into your ear about how you should have done it.

The guest list, for instance. Trust me on this: Someone will be forgotten. And even if it was COMPLETELY on accident and you have not spoken with them in years, they will be deeply, gravely and irreparably hurt. Or conversely, you may invite someone controversial – someone you know will cause a ripple in the emotional pond, but social obligations win – and suddenly you’re being angrily chastised for your insensitivity. As it turns out, guest lists are a tricky, tricky bitch to tame and you can’t and won’t win, so the best you can do is just make your choices, put on the battle gear and prepare yourself for the reactions.

Speaking of, don’t even get me started on my Save the Dates. I second-guessed my use of the clear address labels. The fonts I picked. The magnet vs paper. The design. The colors. The stamps. When to send them. And what to include in the content of them. In the end, I loved what we sent. And you know what? Apparently I screwed up because I didn’t put the location of our wedding on it. Oh, and I didn’t create a website (or register yet!!) and include that on it too.  I’m a terrible bride-to-be. 

I thought I did so well…

Now prepare yourself, because I’m going to be straight-up, balls-out, honest with you for a minute. Between my bestie (also getting married) and I, we have personally been through the following because of our choices thus far:

  • de-friendings on Facebook
  • nasty phone calls/texts
  • silent treatments
  • family feuds of WWIII proportions
  • fist-fights between grown men
  • being made to feel inferior because of our wedding decisions
  • being told our choices are flat-out wrong
  • requests that decisions be cleared by family members before being finalized
  • emergency therapy sessions (for us)
  • emergency therapy sessions (for family members with us, because of the wedding)
  • Tears. Epic amounts of tears. Ours, especially.

I only wish I was kidding.

If you knew my bestie or me personally, you’d know that we are two of the most considerate and loyal people out there. We are doing everything to try to please everyone on both sides, not rock the boat and be/do all things wedding perfectly. But our very best attempts at playing nice in every single sandbox are being thwarted. Almost comically so.

We DO realize that it’s not just about us and that we have to take other people’s feelings into consideration. But please, somebody tell me what we are doing so terribly. Are we just doomed to offend someone, somehow, no matter what? And does this feeling of inadequacy and “NO, YOU’RE DOING IT ALL WRONG!” happen to all brides?

Because at a time when I’m supposed to be dreaming of my gorgeous dress and how romantic the ceremony will be, standing in front of the garden’s waterfall and professing my love to my person… I feel like crap. And I kinda want to bag the whole thing and go elope in Times Square.

Who’s with me out there? Happen to you, too? Tell my bestie and I that we’re not alone.

Till the next throat-punch,

Best Of Ask Liz: Divorced Parents & How To Swing Them

Editor’s Note: Liz is out of town this week, so today we’re re-posting an oldie-but-a-goodie. If you have a pressing question for Liz, just go to the Contact page and let us know what’s up!

You’ve been dreading it since you got the ring on your  finger – “Wow, it’s so pretty, I’m so happy, oh, man, what am I going to do about Mom and Dad?” There’s gonna be parental dissension on your side of the aisle. They haven’t talked in years, or maybe they finally started talking after a few years, but either way, your wedding is a whole new ballgame. Mom re-married and Dad’s still a little bitter, and needs reassurance that he’s the one walking you down the aisle. Or, Dad is going to help pay, but wedding costs can stun the most generous of fathers, and that’s triggering alimony PTSD for your mother. Whatever the day’s current conflict is, not only do you get to hear about it (all of it) but you have to mediate too. Because as usual, the only common denominator between them is YOU.

Yeah, I’ve seen this many, many times before, so the good news (such as it is), is that you are not alone. It is a truth universally acknowledged that weddings make families do the wacky. Relationship pressure becomes priority, since it’s the one day when it’s all going to play out in public. And, of course, each parent has a different idea of how it should go, usually with the other side backing off… as they should, darn it.

What a complete pain in the ass. What do you do?

Here comes the hard part: Treat everyone like the adults they are, whether they’re acting like it or not. This is how most of my couples have gotten through it. It also means that you have to be a mature adult, too. Don’t tell them that their fighting is ruining your wedding, because they both feel they’re being perfectly reasonable, not to mention completely right. No choosing sides, because that’s just going to bite you back in the butt. For one thing, 9 times out of 10, whatever they’re butting heads about is not about you. At all.

So, when Mom starts grumbling, again, about Dad bringing his 25 year-old girlfriend to the wedding, suggest that she take it up with him. Engage in the speculation and irrational mind twirling as little as possible, and change the subject often.

As I’ve said before, I… have parents. But at the end of the day, they love you, and they will both be there on your wedding day, and that’s all you want. I can just about promise that there won’t be a fist-fight, either. But, unfortunately, hoping they will chill in the meantime might be too much to ask for.

It’s not about you, It’s not about you, It’s not about you, I swear. Good luck and hang in there!

So, what’s the latest that your divorced parents are putting you through, and what are you doing to cope? Or vent and ask for help below, that’s what I’m here for. And if you want to find out more about me and my part of life in Wedding World, go to silvercharmevents.com

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz

Ask Liz: Wedding Pressure Present, Past, and Future

Got a question for Liz? Go to the Contact Page and let us know what’s up?

Dear Liz: 

I’ve never had to deal with family drama in the past. My fiancé’s family is full of family drama and I’m worried it might affect the wedding. I don’t want any feelings hurt, but am not sure what to do about it. What am I entitled/able to do in this situation? It’s been quite tricky.

Signed, 

Sucked from the Sidelines

Dear Sidelines,

Yeah, it’s fun, isn’t it? You can’t change them, they’ve been that way for decades. Stay out of the way, and out of the line of fire – smile, shrug, and position yourself slightly behind your fiancé as much as possible. Seriously, for the most part, let your fiancé deal with them, he knows how. Decades, remember. As far as it affecting your wedding, just be clear about you and your fiancés plans, ask him to be clear about your plans, and proceed as though those plans are going to take place. Smile shrug, get out of the way and do your thing. I know, easier said than done. Hang in there.

Dear Liz, 

I got married on September 21st this year and a week after my wedding I had a major foot operation and have been trying to recoup and recover from. My thing is, is that I haven’t gotten to send out thank you cards, yet. We’re not much for tradition, but I’d still like to send them out. Most everyone who attended our wedding knows about my operation, so do you think they will understand why it’s taking me so long to send out thank you cards?

Signed, 

Lost in Traction

Dear Traction,

“So long”? It’s been a month! Have you even seen any pictures from your photographer, yet? It’s great that you’re being so conscientious about this, but traditionally, you have a year to send them, and I’m sure you’ll get them out way before that. Until you can, go sit down/lie down,  rest your leg, and stop being so hard on yourself, okay?

Dear Liz, 

I’m not engaged yet, but I feel like when that time comes, I will be overwhelmed with the groom’s mom’s invitation list…excluding just the family. What should I do?

Signed, 

Ringed in Anticipation

Dear Anticipation,

Stop future-tripping. You’re about three steps ahead of yourself, and I’m worried that once you do get engaged, you won’t be able to enjoy it because you’re worried about what’s two steps after that.  Get engaged, blind people with the ring for a few minutes and then do what everyone else does, in this order: Decide on a budget and the number of guests you’re comfortable with, find a place to have it, and go from there. Don’t drown yourself in “buts” and “what Ifs.”

 

Are his family dynamics bugging you? And what are you future-tripping about right now? Let us know in the comments below? And, on Monday, November 4th, join me for  my tele-class on managing your bare, BYO wedding venue. When you have to bring in everything, what does “everything”mean? Join me and find out!

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz

{Ask Liz} How To Handle Wedding-Related Sibling Drama

Do you have a burning question for Liz? Go to the Contact page and let us know what’s up!

This kind of happiness is a choice your sister can make, too. (Photo by Style Art Life)

Dear Liz,

I’m experiencing a little bit of a rough spot. I’m the middle of three sisters. My younger sister and I are close while my older sister and I only talk when I make the effort to reach out, and even then it’s not reciprocated most of the time. I just found out that my mother asked my older sister and her five children to be part of the wedding. I didn’t want to have my older sister nor any children be part of the wedding. I’ve reached out to older sis only to be hung up on and then have her shut her phone off.

After leaving a message and not hearing back from her, I reached out via email,  which she read and ignored (I know she read it as my mom told younger sis that older sis had said I sent a nasty email).  Drama level is high and we are three months away from my wedding day. Older sister is now threatening not to attend the wedding as she and her kids are not going to be in it.  Mom is mad because this is “tearing the family apart, ” and she is putting pressure on me  to change things. Problem is, I don’t want to. HELP!

Signed,

Wedding Box Canyon-ed

Dear Box,

People, man, seriously. Okay, here is your last ditch effort, and then you need to wash your hands of it. Send an email to your older sister asking her for a time to talk on the phone, and cc: your Mom and little sis. Give her a very specific day and time and tell her if that won’t work, to let you know what day and time does. Make it clear that you want to talk to her about the wedding and about your relationship. Come up with a compromise (what ARE you okay with her or her family doing at the wedding?), or at the very least, emphasize that you want her to be there, because she’s your sister and you love her. Leading with the truth (no matter how annoying she is) is good.  If she doesn’t get back to you either directly or through your Mother or little sister, then you have literally done everything that you could with your younger sister and mother bearing witness. And, if your Mother says anything, the only thing you should do is confirm that you did everything you could, and it’s up to your sister now. Which, it is. Good luck.

It’s the old question: Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy? You’ve chosen “happy” in trying to amend things with your sister so everyone can be at your wedding together and this won’t be a pox on your family until the end of time. Your sister has chosen “right.” She wants to be right in being offended, and since she’s offended she’s right to not want to talk to you, to involve the rest of your family in this, even if it means, well, that there will be a pox on your family until the end of time. If she wanted to be happy, she would pick up the phone or try and resolve this with you. What she is doing is not about you, it’s about her. Remember that, if she still won’t talk with you about what’s going on.

Anyone else experiencing sibling drama and figured out another way to deal with it? Or do you need help with the one you’re going through? Let us know…in the comments below. And if you would like to find out more about me and my part of Wedding World, visit www.silvercharmevents.com.

See you at the end of the aisle,

 

Liz

{Real Bride: Carrie} The Family Drama Llama

Does anyone else ever wish their family could just shape up and be as happy as the Cleavers or other perfect sitcom families?  I know I do.

To be fair, I want to make it perfectly clear that Zach and I both love our entire families dearly and are so, overwhelmingly grateful for all the love we received growing up and the countless opportunities we were given thanks to our parents’ generosity.

I have to be honest, though.  Zach and I both struggle as the “black sheep” in our respective families.  The similarities in how we were raised and how we both rebelled against it are actually one huge commonality that brought us together.  See, we both grew up in very traditional, conservative (both our dads LOVE Rush Limbaugh), religious (Evangelical Christian, specifically) homes.  Zach was even home-schooled, and we both went to church every Sunday.  Along these same lines, once we each moved away for college, we both started developing our own views, questioning the ways we were raised, and engaging in some normal college student shenanigans.

Beer pong happens to the best of us.

Fast forward to today…while we try to maintain a good relationship, our parents have problems with many aspects of our lives.  The fact that we drink, the fact that we have been living together before marriage, and our nomadic lifestyle.  Not to mention our political and religious views, which now differ from theirs.  It’s not a matter of my parents not liking Zach or Zach’s parents not liking me.  None of them can deny how perfect we are for each other; it’s just that they don’t approve of the way we live.  As a person who grew up always trying to make my parents proud, it’s hard.  I’m proud of the life I’ve created for myself, but they never will be until I settle down, get a career, and go back to church.

As you can imagine, the overall tension that exists in our families also carries over to wedding planning.  It’s a big reason why we want to fund the wedding ourselves.  (That and the fact that my family has done enough for me already!)  As far as I can tell, the parents are happy for us, and are definitely relieved that we will finally be tying the knot after “living in sin” for so long.  But the guaranteed awkwardness of my conservative, tee-totaling family mixing with some of our rowdy, partying friends on our wedding day weighs heavily on my mind.

Sorry if this post has been too much venting on my part.  To any others in my situation: you’re not alone!  I know how hard it is to walk the tightrope of keeping the family happy without compromising yourself.

Is anyone else a “black sheep”?  How did you deal with clashes of beliefs while wedding planning?

Link Lust: Fashion Week, Florida Weddings, & All The Best In Weekly Wedding Blog Goodness

Congratulations. You’ve once again survived the M-F grind. Now please –  kick off those heels, grab a cocktail, and peruse this week’s edition of “Link Lust” – all the best in wedding blogs you might’ve missed while you were out makin’ that money – say, for example – this Fashion Week droolfest seen above.

Have you thought of going flowerless? Get some fab ideas from yours truly for creating simple, rustic centerpieces that will cost way less than professional floral arrangements.

J’adore this incredibly sweet, shabby chic, Key West weddingwith French traditions and a purple and green color scheme on Heart Love Weddings this week!

See how Zac Posen’s Spring 2012 runway show will affect bridal trends this season (hint, it involves mermaid style wedding dresses) on BRIDEfinds.

Wedding-related family meltdowns may feel inevitable, but they don’t have to ruin your big day. Jordan Reid of Ramshackle Glam tells you how to handle the drama with grace.

Enjoy A Lover.ly Afternoon with Elizabeth Messina on the Wedding Chicks!