Planning a wedding will teach you many important lessons: how to put on a major event, who in your life who will help you out in a pinch or around the clock, and how much you despise outside opinions.
It will likely feel like the second news broke you were engaged, people came out of the woodwork to share their thoughts, feelings, and advice about wedding planning—most of it unwarranted.
But when it comes to the women in your life, like your mom or future mother-in-law, ignoring their opinions can make them feel offended, strain important and lifelong family relationships, or even cause them to give you even unsolicited advice.
Read on to find out the best ways to tell the moms in your life that you’ve had enough of their suggestions, without making them upset or causing too much drama.
1. Pick Your Battles
Even when your mother, or your future mother-in-law, is stressing you out to the max with their opinions, it’s important to take few steps back and determine when it's worthwhile to say something.
Jeannie Assimos, Chief of Advice at eharmony, tells BRIDES that it’s important to pick your battles.
Meet the Expert
Jeannie Assimos is the Chief of Advice at eharmony and advice columnist for a variety of publications.
Cheryl Seide is an etiquette advice columnist for RegistryFinder.
“Take a moment and figure out if your mother or MIL’s opinions are upsetting you because you are stressed or because they are truly limiting or hindering your big day,” says Assimos. “If it’s the latter, go ahead and talk to them openly about how you are feeling. If you are stressed because of other aspects of your wedding, take a step back and decide if talking to them will do anything more than hurt them.”
2. Communicate the Right Way
When you’re frustrated, it can be easy to forget it’s not always what you say, it’s how you say it.
Cheryl Seide, an etiquette advice columnist for AskCheryl on the RegistryFinder blog, says communication is key when it comes to getting on the same page as your mom or the mother of the groom. Seide suggests the script below:
“Mom, you seem so excited about the wedding, and that’s wonderful. Let’s plan a time to sit down and talk about what is important to both of us. I really want you to understand my vision and how (partner’s name) and I see our wedding playing out.”
After that, Seide suggests sitting down and talking about what is truly important to you and to her.
“You may find that they are totally different things. Understand the 'why' of her opinions,” says Seide. “Communicate your wedding day vision and which aspects are most critical to you and why. Then be willing to compromise on a few items that you can let go. When your mother understands your vision, it may make her less anxious that you aren’t “doing it right,” and she will feel more comfortable that you have the planning under control.”
3. Find Something You Do Want an Opinion On
Even though you feel like opinions are all people are giving you these days, to make the people you love feel appreciated, find small things you want their opinions on and ask for them.
Danielle Rothweiler, founder of Rothweiler Event Design, tells BRIDES that often, moms just want to be involved in some way.
“If you give her a real project to focus on, sometimes that will be enough to curb her opinions on everything else,” says Rothweiler. “Sometimes opinions are being given because you're asking for them. The minute a bride opens that door, moms will walk right through it. Be careful not to vent to a mom or ask for any advice, if you know it will spiral out of control. When she asks if you need help, treat her with kindness, and let her know you are so thankful to know that she is there should you need anything—and that you will let her know.”
Rothweiler recommends having an open conversation with a mom who is telling you what she thinks about every detail of your wedding.
“Use the mindset that she is coming from a good place, and that will allow you to have a calmer and better communication. If she is negative in her opinions, be honest with her how that makes you feel, but don't come from a place of anger. Flying off the handle and screaming how this is "your wedding" is not productive,” says Rothweiler.