'This is your special day': 5 tips to get your way at your own wedding

Wedding season is around the corner on P.E.I., which means Island couples are finalizing the details for their big day — and, in some cases, negotiating with friends and family about what they want versus what others envision.

'Anything and everything that could occur during a wedding … can become a bone of contention'

A wedding is about the two people getting married, say those who work in the industry, but everyone else will have their opinions. (Nick Rudnicki)

Wedding season is around the corner on P.E.I., which means Island couples are finalizing the details for their big day — and, in some cases, negotiating with friends and family about what they want versus what others envision.

Marriage commissioner Diana Lariviere of Weddings PEI by Diana recently shared a story on her Facebook page about a couple she worked with who received pushback from guests for their decision to have an adults only wedding.

"My suggestion — always keep in mind that this is your wedding and every aspect of it should be what you both want … While guests might not agree with your decisions, this is your special day just as their special day was (or will be) what they want," she wrote.

While children are welcome at some weddings, it's up to the couple whether they will be included say Lariviere and Fisher. (Mykola Komarovskyy/Shutterstock)

Lariviere said whether or not to invite children is one of the most common issues she has seen come up in her seven years of being a marriage commissioner and 600 to 700 weddings — guessing that it comes up at around 20 per cent of weddings.

'It is a question of who decides'

"It is not a question of whether or not children should be present, it is a question of who decides they should be present," she said. "When it comes to the couple, it is up to them as to what should occur."

Wedding planner Kristina Fisher of KLF Weddings agreed kids can be a common issue — of the 23 weddings she planned last summer, she said only four or five had children in attendance.

Kristina Fisher (left) and Diana Lariviere (right) shared their advice to couples on dealing with strong opinions from friends and family. (Submitted by Kristina Fisher and Diana Lariviere)

"You will get some parents who are upset about it … but for the most part people actually appreciate it as long as you're going about it in the right way," she said.

She recommends using wording like "adult only ceremony and reception" rather than "no kids allowed" on the invitations to soften the message.

Anything 'can become a bone of contention'

And it's not just the issue of the age of guests, she said — soon-to-be-married couples can get pushback from family and friends on the size of the weddings, where they want to get married, or what type of clothes they should wear.

"Anything and everything that could occur during a wedding … can become a bone of contention," she said. "And it's terribly unfortunate, because it's supposed to be such a special and happy day for the couple."

When planning a wedding, friends and family may offer opinions on where you should get married, the size of the wedding and even what the couple or wedding party should wear. (Shutterstock / IVASHstudio)

"Everyone's going to have an opinion," added Fisher. "Most people have never planned a wedding before, so when someone is giving you advice, you'll feel really pressured to take that advice and it can be really overwhelming … really, in the end you need to do what's best for you."

Lariviere and Fisher both shared their advice for couples on how to ensure their wedding is what they want.

1. Say thank you, and move on

Lariviere suggested telling anyone who offers their opinion, "Thank you so much, I'll take that under advisement," and then to do what you want to do.

Fisher agreed this is a good tactic.

Say thank you when someone offers advice, and then move on, say both Lariviere and Fisher. (Ysbrand Cosijn/Shutterstock)

"They may not even remember that they've made that suggestion, they may just be trying to make conversation," she said.

2. You might have to give in a little

When it comes to strong opinions from close friends and family, sometimes a couple will have to give in on some things.

"Sometimes it's worth giving in on the little things, just so you can have your way on the big things," said Lariviere.

There is often a compromise that can be reached, said Fisher. (Getty Images)

"In most situations there is a compromise," added Fisher.

She gave the example of a couple who didn't want the groom to walk his mother down the aisle. The mother took issue with this, and Fisher suggested having another family member walk the mother down the aisle.

3. Ask why it's so important

Fisher said many of the couples she works with want to go a less traditional route, while their parents may find some of the more traditional aspects of weddings important.

Kristina Fisher says while many couples she works with want a less traditional wedding, their parents sometimes feel the traditions are important. (SunKids/Shutterstock )

"If there's someone who's really adamant that you have to do what they want you to do, then ask them why and figure out what the root of that is and figure out what that compromise could be," she suggested.

4. Consider who is footing the bill

If a parent or other family member is contributing financially, that may complicate things a bit.

Lariviere recommends that the person who is closer to the person paying should take them aside and let them know what the couple wants, and what is important to them.

If someone else is paying for something, Lariviere recommends that the person in the couple who is closer to them have a private conversation about what is important to the couple. (Shutterstock)

"That's a trickier one for sure," said Fisher. "If the parents are offering to pay for it, then they should care about the bride and groom's choices as well."

She said if a compromise can't be reached, the couple may have to consider paying themselves to ensure they get the wedding they want.

5. Eloping isn't always the answer

Fisher said the idea of eloping comes up a lot when planning weddings.

"Even planning my own wedding, that absolutely came into my head," she said.

It can be a great option for some people — especially if they don't like crowds, and feel they would prefer a much smaller affair.

"If a tiny little elopement is what feels right for you, then absolutely go for it," she said.

A big wedding isn't for everyone, but Lariviere encourages couples to think about whether it's important to them before cancelling everything and eloping. (Diana Lariviere)

Lariviere said she has worked with couples who have planned a big wedding but found that whole process so stressful that they have cancelled everything and eloped instead.

She cautioned that while it's a personal choice, eloping isn't necessarily the best solution.

"It takes away from the specialty of the day, the memories of the day, the photographs, the sharing," she said. "In my view, it's always best to try to resolve the issue and still make sure that you get the wedding that you want."

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