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  • Megan Papageorge

Parents Just Don't Understand

It's that time of year when everywhere you look it's all about family. Mini sessions with your favorite photographer while throwing leaves or casually giggling on a beach, hearty Thanksgiving Family dinners around large oak tables and picking names to reveal who you need to buy a Secret Santa gift for are just a few times we might run into the parentals. It can already be overwhelming to have such a heavy dose of your nearest and dearest around the holidays but adding wedding planning can really push you over the edge. In case you fear emotional highs or pushy advice, here are a few things you can do you prep your mindset before spending tons of time with your parents.

Before you get on that flight or take a Lyft over for family time, get on the same page with your fiance. The most important part of your wedding is that you are marrying the person you love. Set aside a device and screen free time to chat about your progress, plans, vision, guest list and any other pain points you think may arise. Remember that although there are standard things that are helpful to provide to guests and rules that ensure a smooth day for everyone, the ultimate decisions are up to you both.


They don't need to know every detail.

Inevitably before you even have your coat off and a glass of wine in hand you will begin to be interrogated about wedding planning questions. "How many people have RSVPed?" "Are you using real china?" "Do you need us to fly in early to help?" If you are in the mood to answer then of course take the time to bond over your celebration. The moment the chatting goes to grilling feel free to brush them off. There is no handbook saying exactly how a wedding should happen, although people have tried, and sometimes it's hard explaining why bamboo plates are acceptable and how your getting married by your college roomie instead of a priest.


Helpful Phrases : "We hired a Wedding Planner and she is Coordinating all those details." or "We are keeping some things a surprise so we don't give it all away."

No, we can't add on more guests.

I hear about this happening all the time. I have even heard of couples avoiding family gatherings so that their Mom doesn't ask to invite more church friends and Auntie doesn't insist the second cousins you haven't seen in five years just have to attend. It's easy to blame the venue size, the budget or many other factors but the truth is you don't have to explain your reason behind that you chose not to invite someone.


Helpful Phrase : "We thought really long and hard about who we want present and we are really happy with the guest list we put together."

You can involve your family in wedding day roles IF you want.

There are these unwritten rules and traditions such as your father walking you down the aisle or your mother being present to zip you up in your dress. This in my opinion is a rare moment where I'm disappointed in the wedding industry that we have created preconceived notions so those without parents or that are not close to their parents feel less than.


I'm here to remind you that you are perfect the way you are and the way your family is. If you choose not to have any member of your family or more members of your family that is absolutely wonderful. I'm a true believer that you CAN pick your family and if there is anyone you are related to that you don't want to be involved you CAN choose to exclude them.


I have only seen my father a few times in my life and he continues to be a wild card battling with sobriety and honesty. When I think of marrying Cody I don't imagine my father walking me down the aisle, I don't imagine him being there at all. That is totally ok and I want to make sure other brides can feel empowered to structure their family roles freely and uniquely.


Helpful Phrase : "We decided against traditional roles and will be mixing it up to fit our unique vision."

The big thing I have been working on is not taking others reactions or emotions as my job to fix or analyse. This is a lot easier said than done. When I know someone is upset about something that was out of my control it's hard not to cave and apologize or bend. Instead I've been releasing myself of this. If you're family doesn't like something about your wedding here are a few things to consider...


Is this what my partner and I want?

Have I weighed out all the options?

Will I look back on this in ten years and be happy I made this decision?


If the answer to these questions is yes then you are in the clear!

Remember that your parents are just two crazy kids that fell into love, or bed, together and now they have a lovely little girl or boy that is all grown up and making a life of their own. While you are evolving into your new role as a husband or wife they are inevitably creating a new narrative of you and it can be scary. A lot of parents did not get the extravagant wedding of their dreams and are living through the one you are having.


Whether your parents help you with every design decision, walk you down the aisle, dance with you, toast you, attend as guests or don't attend at all you have a choice to embrace that situation with love and kindness. Nobody said wedding planning would be easy, and for goodness sakes dealing with the lovely people that raised us can be challenging but I hope these little tips help along the way.


Happy Planning lovelies!

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Long Beach CA 90802

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