Wednesday, January 03, 2007

THE PARENTALS (AND OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS): HOW TO DEAL (PART I)


I love this picture. Why? It brings me back to when I was a little girl, playing with my father, not knowing the words "deadline" and client"--and only worrying about my Barbies and Cabbage Patch Kids.

This image is a sharp contrast to what life is like now -- I absolutely adore living in Manhattan and hanging out with TallGuy and my friends, but I could certainly do without the stress of work and having to pay an endless pile of bills.

I haven't had to deal with planning a wedding yet, so that's not an additional stress on my plate, so to speak. However, I have seen many of my engaged friends struggle with a type of aggravation/pressure that, at least to me, seems rather counterintuitive about the planning process. Especially for people close with their family (mother or father, sister or brother, aunt or uncle), it's hard to imagine that FAMILY can become the source of so much stress with respect to wedding issues. Aggravation from your wedding planner? The florist? Sure. That makes sense. But from your sister (i.e., your closest friend)? That's not as obvious. Friends of mine who have planned their wedding have told me that this was the most surprising aspect of their experience (i.e., fighting more with their relatives than the people actually involved in making the wedding happen).

My next series is devoted to the concept of FAMILY--and how the family affects the planning process (and the tension that may result). The obvious starting point would be your parents and future in-laws. I'll certainly cover these concepts. But issues and conflict can arise anywhere in the family tree--no matter how close you are to your relatives.

I'm not a psychologist. So why, then, am I talking about familial relationships with respect to the planning process? Not to delve into a bride's psyche--but to pinpoint and target problem areas--which will hopefully help people figure out how to most tactfully deal with their family (without tearing their hair out).

While dealing with your family during planning may not render images like the one above, the process should be harmonious for all involved.

The point of all of this? Your family members (who may or may not be involved with helping you plan) are also going to be guests at your wedding. You should remember to treat them well, as you would anyone else in attendance.

Stay tuned!

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