Episode Show Notes

Dealing with Unwanted Wedding Planning Advice From In-laws to Strangers, and Everyone in Between

March 12, 2023

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We asked you all what you wanted to hear on the podcast and today’s topic came in a few times. How should we be dealing with unwanted opinions and advice from in-laws and everyone else? Hey, maybe even your own parents are the overbearing ones? In today’s episode, I’m going to share a few thoughts when it comes to dealing with unwanted opinions. If this is what you need right now – or even if you don’t need this YET – you don’t want to miss today’s episode.





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EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS: Dealing with Unwanted Wedding Planning Advice From In-laws to Strangers, and Everyone in Between

To fast-forward to a specific part of the podcast episode, check out the timestamps below:

  • Take a Step Back #1  [7:19]
  • Pick Your Battles #2 [8:27]
  • Try to Find Other Ways to Include Them#3 [10:16]
  • Keep a United Front with Your Partner #4 [11:23]
  • Dont Just Ignore the Problem #5 [12:23]
  • Remember this is Temporary  #6 [12:56]

Links Mentioned in the Episode

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And if you prefer to read, here's the summary of the podcast episode!

Okay, let's jump right into it because I have a lot to say. When you're wedding planning, people will come out of the woodwork to give you advice and tips,  on what they think you should do. It can be really overwhelming at best and frustrating at worst. Especially when people think that their opinions are the right ones or the only ones.

In today’s episode, I’m going to talk about your in-laws first, and even your own parents. Later on in the episode, I’m going to talk about how to deal with advice from everyone else.

If you’re new to the show, Welcome. I’m so glad to have you here for season 3 of the podcast. Are you newly engaged? Or are you a wedding vendor? I’d love to know! Leave me a message when you drop your review in Apple Podcasts. I check Apple Podcasts almost daily for any new reviews and am always so excited to hear your feedback. Leaving a review helps up-and-coming shows like ours get found by other people.  I want to be able to serve as many people as I can with all of our free help and content. So I hope today’s episode is helpful for you. 

First, let’s talk about the in-laws. When it comes to your in-laws, it might be helpful to have a conversation with them from the beginning – especially if they are helping pay for the wedding.

You can always count on me to be honest with you, even if you might not like it. So while this might be an unpopular opinion, and while it’s always nice when money comes with no strings attached, we actually don’t think it’s unreasonable for them to want a say in things if they’re paying for the wedding – despite what all the brides in Facebook groups say.

As wedding planners, we tend to stay out of Facebook groups because they can get so out of control with misinformation and noisy opinions. Maybe that’s exactly why you’ve chosen to tune in today. Here's something that we see a lot: A bride will ask a question with not as much context as someone would reasonably need to provide an opinion like “hey, my in-laws are trying to invite eight of our family friends but my venue is at capacity, am I being unreasonable?” 

And then there are instantly 84 comments telling them “it’s their day” and to “tell your in-laws no”. But they left out – their in-laws are actually paying for the whole thing. 

While no-strings-attached money is nice, in theory, it is not always realistic. Typically, if someone is making quite a substantial investment in the day, they do deserve to have some say. I'm talking about parents that are investing high five figures or six figures into the event. Not the dad who pays for the wedding dress or the in-laws who cover the rehearsal dinner or anything like that. I'm talking about larger investments. So just keep that in mind. It is a good idea to have a conversation before you accept ANY money .

Remember that this is a very, very special occasion for them too! It’s easy to just think they are being “controlling” but the truth is, they likely just want to celebrate you the way they know how!

This brings me to my next point… 

If they are not paying for it, and still want a say or are very opinionated, I still have 6 pieces of advice for you:

1. Take a step back and realize it is almost always coming from a place of love

I feel like sometimes in the wedding industry, it is so easy to villainize everyone and think everyone is just fighting over control and trying to live vicariously through you or that kind of thing. But ultimately, the people closest to you likely just want you to have the best wedding day ever, and that is where their sometimes unwanted opinions are coming from. When wedding planning is stressful and emotions are running high, try to avoid knee-jerk reactions. Remember, regardless of what you think of your in-laws, they ARE going to be in your life for a long time. You need to accept the way they show love won’t always be the same way as you do.

2. Pick your battles

When you're planning a wedding, it can often feel like every single decision is the biggest decision in the world. The reality is, that is usually not the case. So if they want to add a few extra guests and there's space in your venue, that might not be something to fight over. If they want a certain reception tradition or ceremony reading, that might be something you want to consider. Now on the other hand, if you've always dreamed of a wedding on the Finger lakes and they insist on a church wedding ceremony, that might be a battle worth fighting over. When you're setting your boundaries like I want to get married on the lake outdoors, you could add, but if there are certain traditions that you want to be included, we can consider those. Trust me, when you approach it this way, you're gonna get a lot further with controlling in-laws.

As a wedding planner, I like to think I am an expert mediator. So if you are feeling right now that your in-laws are crazy and there is no way they will be happy, just know that in my experience there is almost always a way for you to both get what you want. You are not only carrying your spouse but you’re marrying into the family too. Have firm boundaries but also try to give them the most generous interpretation of the situation. 

3. Try to find other ways to include them

While they may have strong opinions about some aspects of the wedding planning process, chances are they don't feel as passionate about everything on your wedding day. You making an effort to include them is a great way to encourage them to be a part of the wedding planning process. 

Oftentimes we see marketing in the wedding industry geared towards the wedding being truly JUST about the bride and groom. While that is kind of true, keep in mind a wedding is truly joining two families, and it can be a beautiful thing if they want to get involved. It doesn't need to be negative. Remember after the wedding, you’re definitely going to see them again. This might be an unpopular opinion but don’t let your vision of the “perfect wedding” destroy the relationships you will have for the rest of your life.

4. Keep a united front with your partner

This one probably goes without saying, but remember, your partner might not realize how important something is to you, and they might just follow their instincts to smooth things over. It's really important to be on the same page as your partner and listen to them too. If they feel like you should compromise or like they don't want their family involved, talk to them and work on something that you can both agree on. There is nothing worse when you're wedding planning than when you look like a bridezilla because your partner agrees with you behind closed doors but won’t stand up to their mom or dad. 

5. Don’t just ignore the problem

It's okay to set boundaries and tell them: I'm willing to compromise on this, but this is a non-negotiable for me. Just make sure that if you set a boundary, you do enforce it. I would also caution you against setting up too many boundaries where all of a sudden they feel like they're walking on eggshells around you. Maybe that is how you feel right now, that you would like them to reserve their opinions and keep them to themselves.

6. Last but not least, remember, this is temporary.

I find when dealing with overbearing in-laws, taking a step back to remember that this is truly all temporary. Regardless of if you get every single thing on your wishlist, which obviously I hope that you do, or you have to make little compromises for the sake of your future family, the wedding planning process can be enjoyable. Wedding planning can be stressful for sure, but it doesn't have to be constantly fighting and bickering like the internet might have you believe. Not everything needs to be so serious. 

Okay – that was a lot. Beyond just in-laws, let’s talk about how to deal with getting lots of advice from so many different people too!

From your friends to your wedding party – even to your wedding vendors – here is some advice for you.

My best advice is to keep the wedding planning talk to a minimum, and never feel like you need to commit to anything in a single conversation. Oftentimes, as millennials especially, we feel like we need to run every single decision by everyone. That will easily lead to frustration and overwhelm! 

Instead, work on creating clarity around your wedding day vision. That way, if somebody suggests a certain type of flower arrangement or a certain wedding reception tradition or truly anything of the sort, it's okay to simply say that won’t fit in with what you have planned or if you want even less conversation you can say, “I haven't decided yet” or “I’m still working on finalizing my plans for the reception”. You do not have to feel pressure to commit to every conversation. Sometimes they might have GOOD suggestions you WANT to consider – so avoiding feeling the pressure to say an automatic yes or no can be good for that too.

Are you a type A bride like us? Avoid getting overwhelmed by approaching everything from a place of data.

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Okay – that was a lot! That wraps up today’s episode on dealing with in-laws and other unsolicited opinions. The final thought I just want to leave you with is to remember to have fun and not take this so seriously. Also, lean on your wedding planner if you have one. They can be great for mediating discussions like this and they are also usually okay with taking the blame for something too. I’m always willing to tell someone's parents that their idea won’t match the vision.

I hope that this episode was helpful in navigating truly what is often one of the most stressful parts of wedding planning.

If you have follow-up questions or want me to talk more in-depth about something you heard today, join me Wednesday night for a quick IG live to talk about your questions from today or anything else. You can also leave an anonymous voicemail on our wedding planning hotline at (585) 210-3467. 

Can I just say, I can’t believe we’re 10 episodes away from our 100th episode! I feel like we need to do something really special for that. 

If you have a special request for a topic or guest for our 100th episode, leave us a 5-star review in Apple Podcasts with your ideas and suggestions and we’ll do our best to make it happen!