Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mi Familia...The Long and Short of Dealing with Family while Remaining Sane

You are engaged! You are thrilled, you have the perfect venue, a stunning dress, and you have the photographer. You also have a constantly intoxicated uncle who tends to have a penchant for wedding toasts. What do you do? Do you make sure he is kept busy during speech time (even if this means a stint in the broom closet)? Do you hire a guard simply to avoid your uncle commandeering the microphone or, do you just “forget” to mail an invitation all together knowing that family Christmases from here on out will be uncomfortable? Given the circumstances none of these options will leave you unscathed and could possibly leave you embarrassed, frantic and stressed on your big day. Dealing with family issues is an activity that most save for holidays and special occasions. However, the more prepared you are beforehand, the better chance you have of escaping that dreaded moment when the champagne kicks in your uncle suddenly remembers how much he loves you!

Enlisting a wedding coordinator to assist with family issues may seem far fetched, but you may be surprised at the tasks a professional is willing to take on in order to ensure your happiness. Discussing possible problems ahead of time with your coordinator is an excellent way to not only prepare for the possible disaster, but is also an important step in securing your own mental well-being. In my personal experience, reassuring the bride that I am aware of the situation and giving specific examples of what I can do to help, are the two best ways to guarantee less stress on everyone involved. While wedding coordinators are not bouncers, we are a lot that thrives on seamless transitions, color coordination and wedding guest harmony. Pretending that nothing bad could ever happen on your wedding day is a step towards disaster; however, handing the reigns to someone you trust can be the best thing you do for yourself.

Families are bound by emotions, whether pleasant or unpleasant, and involving yourself in the “fixing” of a problem could lead to a roller coaster ride that you do not have time for. Wedding coordinators and their staff are often masters of persuasion and with your best interest at heart can create an action plan designed specifically for your perceived issue. As careful and tactful as they may be, however, even professionals cannot always avoid the dreaded moment of impact that occurs when a family member realizes they are being ushered away from a destination. As a bride it can be difficult to understand that your day may turn out to be a sore subject for some, but the truth is that not all your guests will be pleased and unfortunately an incident could permanently alter your relationship with the people involved. Although this outcome is avoided at all costs, accepting the possibility is important in once again realizing that this day is not just another family gathering, but the day you are committing yourself to another. Family should be on board to give you a sound send-off, but remember that some are there for the open bar and have plans to partake until the night is over.

Also keep in mind that there is no bigger problem than the one you have dreamed up in your mind. Often times, the issues you may perceive as being possible on the big day are not nearly as potential as you may think. Possible or not, be sure to mention your concerns to your coordinator who should take them seriously no matter how outlandish they may seem. Creating an environment conducive to your happiness should be the first priority of a coordinator, even if it means personally serving apple juice to on particularly vocal uncle…

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