Parents and wedding planning

By Ann Cronin 

 How involved should your parents be in planning your big day? What should you do if your parents are taking over your guest-list or your in-laws are being especially persistent with their suggestions? Here is some insight into parental planning and participation when it comes to organising your wedding day. 

Who’s footing the bill? 

If your parents and/or your in-laws are paying towards your big day, their involvement may be more significant. For example, if they’re covering part of the reception and meal, it’s only fair to allow them make recommendations regarding which relatives or family friends they would like to be invited. Ultimately, you and your partner should get final say over everything but it is worth considering your parents’ wishes if they are helping fund your big day. 


Couples often find that it’s the traditional wedding aspects which cause parents the most stress. Church ceremonies, following attire superstitions and traditions and maintaining a certain level of standard for guests and relatives are usually high in their priorities. The best way to prevent issues in this area is to be up-front with your wedding plans. If there’s absolutely no way you’ll be having a church ceremony, make that clear. Explain how you personally don’t think it’s entirely necessary that you wear a floor-length white gown. It will be easier for parents to adjust to these modern changes if given more time to process it.  

 Your big day 

Ultimately, this is you and your partner’s dream day and it should be a product of your vision, and not anyone else’s. Don’t sacrifice your own wants and needs to suit your parents desires. The day should be representative of you and your partner, and your parents should come to support your decisions as time goes on and they grow to understand it more. A lot of time, parents will be comparing your plans to those of their own wedding or others which they have attended, and it is simply a matter of helping them envisage your individual take on things instead.  

The little things 

One of the best ways of striking a good balance between parental involvement and maintaining your unique style is allowing them more agency in the minor details but looking after the more significant aspects yourself. Having parents bake or decorate the wedding cake, provide transport, create D.I.Y décor or even asking them to write up their own readings or speeches will allow them to feel involved and contribute to your day, but also means you retain control over your day.   

 Experience and expertise 

Don’t rule out your parents suggestions completely as they could have untapped expertise which may help you out. It’s important to remember that your parents have probably attended or been involved in many more weddings than you have, so don’t undermine their potential when it comes to creating a day to remember. If they have ideas or suggestions, hear them out, take them on board and draw inspiration from their advice.   

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