Surviving Interfering Friends and Family

Let’s face it, some people can be incredibly annoying when it comes to your big day. It seems like the minute they know you are getting married it’s their life’s mission to make it very clear to you exactly what should happen at your wedding. Whether it’s your mother trying to recreate her perfect day, or your sister kicking off about your choice bridesmaids, it can be hard to nod and smile sweetly throughout this onslaught of meddling, and large scale fall-outs with friends and family are certainly not unheard of.

This situation is perfectly illustrated in the staggeringly good This is England ’90, where poor Lol and Woody are subjected to an excruciating barrage of interference from Woody’s family. If you haven’t seen it, then you absolutely must (we salute you, Shane Meadows!) and we can all learn from Lol’s masterful handling of the situation.

Steve Brody and Stacey Sampson/ This Is England 90. Photograph: Dean Rogers/Channel 4

Our Top Tips For Surviving Interfering Friends

Just nip it in the bud
Ok, this may be difficult to do but simply say something along the lines of: ‘It’s so great you’re so interested and want to be so involved, and are clearly as excited about my wedding as I am, but I have very particular taste, and very specific ideas about how I want my day to be. Unfortunately your ideas aren’t what I had been planning, but thank you anyway…’ And then swiftly leave the room. Don’t look back.

Actually listen – they may have good suggestions

Delegate unimportant tasks pronto
If someone seems to be absolutely dying to get involved and you haven’t got the heart to tell them to stuff it, then this is the best idea ever. Give them a task which is not really that important to you (such as organising activity packs for attending children, or arranging part of the hen do, or organising the group photos etc etc) and – now here’s the really clever bit – make out that this is one of the MOST important parts of your wedding, and they would be really helping you out by taking this massive burden off your shoulders. Make them feel super important and they will love the responsibility, no matter how mundane the job.

Meet them halfway
If you find yourself in the tricky situation where your parents are forking out for the wedding and they insist on that person who you can’t stand being a guest, you may have to meet them halfway. Compromise and suggest they come to the evening do rather than the ceremony itself. Swallow your pride, bite your tongue and put up with it.

Actually listen – they may have good suggestions
So you might feel that you know exactly what you want, but there is definitely no harm in actually listening to tips and advice from other people once in a while. Inspiration comes from everywhere, so suck it up. Moira, 37 had very firm views about exactly what she wanted from her wedding until a friend suggested something different: a blackboard, chalk and a polaroid camera. Guests write messages on the blackboard and create lasting photographic memories of them holding it. “I wasn’t really open to deviating from my set plan, but when my friend told me about the polaroid idea, I absolutely loved it. I would have never thought of it myself, and the album we made from the photos is one of the best memories of the day that we have.”

Try to stay calm and actually embrace the whole experience (even your future mother-in-law trying to convince you what flowers to have, or your dad insisting you invite that distant relative you can’t stand). This is, after all, part of the whole wedding experience and something you (hopefully) won’t have to endure again.

Naomi has been the Editor of The Select Bride since 2015. She was formerly the Content Editor of Wedding Photography Select for the previous 5 years. She lives in Brighton with her partner and four energetic children. Her interests include cooking, midcentury design, minimalism, reading and enjoying quality time with her family.

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