Relationships

How to (Politely) Tell Your Family You Don’t Want the Wedding They’ve Always Envisioned for You

March 3, 2016

Tips for navigating this tricky territory

Weddings are one of the most important and joyful times in a couple’s life. Unfortunately, they can also be a catalyst for tension between couples and their families. After all, both you and your loved ones likely have a vision of what your wedding will look like—and odds are, those visions aren’t perfectly aligned.

I should know; since launching the wedding site Loverly on Valentine’s Day 2012, thousands of brides have shared their stories with me. Here are the situations they say have been the trickiest to navigate—and how I recommend getting through them.

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IF: Your partner isn’t the person they were expecting you to marry
For whatever reason, your parents aren’t the biggest fan of your soon-to-be husband or wife. This is a tough one, but just remember to (calmly) explain why exactly you love your significant other. Talk up all of the qualities you admire in this special person, and go into detail about why you think you’re a good match. It can also help to create opportunities for your partner to spend some quality time with your family since this will give your parents a chance to understand your relationship. Once they see that you’ve approached your engagement in a levelheaded way and that your fiancé isn’t going anywhere, they should back off.

Take a look at some of the flashiest, most expensive and weirdest weddings out there:

IF: You don’t want to tie the knot in the venue they already have penciled in for you
It’s important to pick and choose your battles. If you’re really not all that passionate one way or the other about where you say “I do,” then go ahead and get married where your parents want and work on building those “perfectly you” details into the reception. Or explain that, while you may not be getting married in their place of worship, you’ll incorporate other elements that give a nod to their values throughout the day—like asking one of them to say a blessing before dinner, maybe.

Read more: What To Do If Your Partner Speaks a Different Love Language

IF: You have different ideas of wedding day attire
I read a recent interview that Martha Stewart gave, where she said that she hoped her granddaughter would have a traditional wedding and wear a beautiful gown because she wasn’t able to experience that with her daughter (who wore a gray flannel suit on her wedding day). This is something that many parents and grandparents can relate to: Having a picture-perfect image of the beautiful bride wearing a white dress on her special day. Of course, many women would prefer to wear something more modern.

Read more: This Is How Science Says You Can Have a Better Valentine’s Day

If you and your family aren’t seeing eye to eye on this, I recommend taking wedding pictures in a parent-friendly outfit and then changing. (Sometimes, parents just want to be able to show off wedding pictures of their children dressed in something they deem brag-worthy.) Or you can stroll down the aisle in a traditional wedding dress that they approve of and then change into the outfit of your dreams for the reception—or vice versa.

Kellee Khalil is the CEO and founder of Loverly.