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how to "uninvite" family and friends to the wedding

Recently I had a bride call me who was pretty upset because she and her fiance decided to have a small wedding but they could only invite 30 people each.  As she started making her list, she realized that she would have to "uninvite" people who assumed they would be at the wedding. She started getting calls from her friends asking for details about the wedding.  She freaked out. She considered booking a bigger venue to accomodate more people but after consulting with her fiance, they decided that they were going to keep their vision of an intimate wedding.  Believe it or not, this is a very common issue with couples when making their guest list.  Here are a few suggestions on how to handle this situation as it is very touchy.

First, make a list of the people who you can't live without having at your wedding.  Kind of think of it as a boat dinghy and the ship is sinking and you can ONLY save 30 people's lives...yes, it feels this deep.  Then make a list of everyone else who you would love to be there but know you can't invite.  Now, send all of those people an email or a card letting them know the situation but also expressing to them how much they mean to you two. 

The reason that you'll need to do this is that people want to know that they're special to you and that they are important in your life.  They'll understand and many hurt feelings will be avoided if you confront the situation before it becomes a problem.  There will still be hurt feelings but at least you will have done your part.

how to deal with a meddling future mother-in-law

Ok, you’ve found the man of your dreams.  You’ve got the ring.  What you didn’t realize is that along with that gorgeous man and ring comes his mother…your future mother-in-law.  Sounds cool, right? WRONG! Your future mother-in-law is not the one who keeps her distance and asks, “How high?” when you say, “Jump”. She’s the one that movies are made of.

We’ve all heard the horror stories.  The mother-in-law whose sole mission is to break her son and his fiancé up.  Aside from disagreeing with every decision the bride makes when it comes to the wedding, she’s constantly offering up unwanted advice from how to spend their money to the type of career the bride should have.  Putting the son in an awkward position, he’s going to defend his mother…she did give birth to him after all.  Don’t let his mother get in the middle of you and The One!  Here are some necessary steps to take when it comes to dealing with your future meddling mother-in-law and to ensure that you and your fiancé begin your lives happily:     

First thing’s first: Make sure that you and your fiancé are on the same page.  I promise, this whole process will be so much easier if you approach it as a team and not alone.  
Second on the list: Set your boundaries! Now that you and your fiancé are on the same page, you’ll need to consult about your desired boundaries and how to lay them down. Now is not the time to be petty.  You can’t really stop her from giving unwanted advice but you can ask her to call before she comes over. Also, make sure that your fiancé is the B.S. “Boundary Setter”.  She’ll be more receptive to change if it comes from her son and not you.  

The final step is: Acceptance.  Listen up honey, your mother-in-law isn’t going anywhere.  Waging war against her will only cause heartache for your husband-to-be which ultimately trickles down into your marriage. It is much more fun planning the next twenty-five wonderful years with your husband rather than doing twenty-five to life with your mother-in-law.

It’s about the journey, not the destination…make it a good one!

how to deal with a jealous sister

You know all of those movies where the bride and her sister are best friends and they do all the planning together and whenever the bride tries on her dress or veil, they cry? Ok, that’s not who we’re dealing with today…Let’s talk about the jealous sister...now, the jealous sister comes in all forms.  She’s the one who got married before you did, had kids before you did, bought a house before you did but somehow she’s jealous of your wedding, fiancé, dress…you name it!  She’s also the sister who isn’t married, has never had a boyfriend, or who recently went through a break up…Translation: she’s alone.  Dealing with sisters is super tricky.  Believe me, I have three.  Dealing with a sister during your wedding, and a jealous one?! Oh man!  
First, you need to be realistic about your relationship.  I get it. Now it’s your time. Your special day.  She should be there for you the way you were there for her, right?  Not if she’s the jealous sister.  I understand that it hurts and that you wish she would do things for you because she cares and blah blah blah.  By now, you know her.  Jealousy doesn’t normally just come overnight.  Take her how she is and don’t try to make your relationship something it isn’t because that will only add further injury and conflict.

Second, be compassionate.  If this is the sister who is alone, she may really be having a hard time seeing you happy while her heart is either broken or she’s longing for what you have. Jealousy is a very interesting emotion.  I once broke up with a boyfriend the day before I was hosting a good friend’s bridal shower.  I called one of the bridesmaids crying and saying I couldn’t throw the shower.  Girl, real life tears streaming down my face.  I should have won an Oscar for that. I pulled it together about an hour later and threw the shower with a smile on my face.  It was rough but I made sure to hide it. 

Next, make a decision.  How much do you want her around during the planning?  If you want her around a lot, be ready to deal with the jealousy which comes in all forms.  If you don’t want to deal with it, try not to talk about the wedding and all the details every time you see her.  I’m sure there are plenty of other people who would love to hear about the font on the invitation and how it matches the font on the program.  She’s just not one of them and that’s ok. 

Now, accept it!  It isn’t fun or “fair” but it is what it is.  Your sister may be jealous for numerous reasons.  Be happy that you are in a different place in your life and that you have the support of your fiancé.  Don’t let her ruin your day.

how to get your fiance more involved in the planning process

There is nothing more confusing to me than a groom who wants to be a part of every single step of the planning process.  I’ve been doing this for years and I’ve only seen it twice.  My first experience was with a couple who were professional cheerleaders.  They were so excited about getting married that not only did she enjoy the planning but he did too…all the way down to adding to the itinerary, that he put together, when I was going to eat lunch.  The second was a groom who wanted to be copied on every email between vendors, attended all décor meetings and all fittings…yes. All the fittings. Needless to say, that couple fought constantly and it made their planning process an absolute nightmare.

I get it, ladies.  You want to know that he cares and is just as excited about getting married as you are.  Picking out the flowers and napkins doesn’t really prove that he’s excited about the wedding or marrying you.  It just means that he’s doing it to make you happy or to avoid a fight.  Don’t get me wrong, he needs to be more involved than, “Tell me when and where and I’ll be there.”  I think the real question is: how involved should he really be?  How involved do you need him to be in order to make you feel that he cares about the wedding and/or marrying you?   
Alright, here we go…first, look at your “to-do” list.  I want you to add every single little thing that you can think of…transportation, cake tasting, finding a planner, getting your guest list together…everything.  Believe it or not, your list continues to grow throughout the planning process.   

After you’ve added everything that you can think of, pick out three items that you would like your fiancé to handle.  If you have a specific transportation company that you would like for him to check out, give him the information along with his list of three.  Also, he can’t count the cake tasting or the tasting with the caterer to his completed list…everyone wants to be involved with tasting delicious cake for a few hours.  Now, you have to be detached when you hand over these tasks to him.  What we’re trying to do is prevent silly fights that he may start because he hasn't finished his list.  
Now, you need to consult with each other about how important it is for him to complete these tasks and give him a deadline.  This is the point of getting him involved.  He’ll appreciate the fact that you only gave him a few tasks and trust that he can handle them without your micro-management.  You have your own list to think about.  Once he has completed his list, pick out three more tasks to add to his list.  Wait about a week before you present the next three tasks.  Remember, you can’t micro-manage him!

It isn’t odd that your fiancé isn’t dying to match the ivory in your dress exactly with the ivory on your invitations.  Most men aren’t into those things and it is ok but your fiancé will appreciate this structure and he’ll do it with a smile because ultimately, he wants to make you happy.