Beth asks: “My boyfriend and I just got engaged. We’ve decided to pay for the wedding ourselves. So that we don’t start making enemies, how much parental advice are we obligated to accept?”
Dear Beth: If you are picking up the entire tab for your wedding, then strictly speaking, you don’t have to accept any advice. Do I think that’s a good idea? Certainly not. Weddings are all about family and — although you have every right to do everything your way — you can easily make your parents happy by including them in the planning process and including their suggestions and/or wishes into making your choices.
The best way to do that is to sit down with your parents and discuss the ideas that you have. Then, give them an opportunity to express their vision for your wedding. That first meeting should end with your telling your folks that you’ll take everything they said under advisement and that you’ll get back to them soon.
Next, you and your fiancé should talk about ways in which you can bend a bit to incorporate some of your parents’ input. Once you have done that, arrange another meeting to tell them where you’re willing to compromise (without foregoing what you really want). For example, if your mother has always dreamed that you would wear her wedding gown — but you want to buy a new gown — take a part of the fabric from her dress and make the cover for the ring bearers pillow. You could, perhaps, take her veil and have a seamstress incorporate it into yours. If his parents want a formal sit-down reception and you prefer an informal one with no reserved tables, you could compromise by assigning a few tables for your patents older friends and relatives, while leaving the remaining seats unassigned.
When all is said and done, when you have compromised where you are comfortable doing so, the final decision is up to you!
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