Getting Married: Balancing Family Traditions with Your Perfect Wedding Design
SBLI of Massachusetts
April 04, 2011
Your wedding is supposed to be a joyous occasion. It represents the joining of two hearts and lives into a unified existence based on love. Unfortunately, many of the family traditions and expectations imposed by outside family members can turn your wedding into a symbol of the age old struggle between older generations and newer generations, and can open up old and difficult wounds. When you carefully balance what you want for your wedding with what your family and future in-laws want, you can create a unique day filled with happy relatives and merged traditions.
One of the most minefield-like topics for all brides and grooms is the discussion of what family traditions to include in the ceremony. From jumping the broom to unity candles, breaking the glass to throwing rice, every family has unique religious and symbolic traditions that have been a part of every marriage ceremony for the past hundred years.
Many new brides and grooms don’t want the old traditions dictating how their ceremony is conducted. Instead, they want to establish new traditions, like releasing balloons, having a dog act as ring bearer, or eating cupcakes instead of cake.
Ultimately, it is your wedding, so you have the final say over what traditions are included in your ceremony. Of course, in order to ensure marital bliss, keeping both sides of the family happy is a smart step. By compromising with both your family and your fiancé’s family, you can create a wedding that is true to the day you wish to create and respectful of family traditions.
Making it Work
The first priority in this compromise is to write down those wedding elements that you will not be happy without. These are your “non-negotiables” and will definitely be a part of the wedding. Next, consider those elements suggested by your family and your fiancé’s. Those elements that are already a part of your “non-negotiables” are included in the wedding and are not a concern.
Of those family-proposed elements that you hadn’t considered including, can you find some you could easily include in your wedding? If so, you can cross those off the list and include them. Anything left is more than likely something that you don’t want to include in your wedding. If you can’t consider a compromise, it is time to explain to the family members.
Talking to the Family
When you explain your decisions to your family and your fiancé’s, make sure you begin by discussing those traditions you have decided to include. Start out on a happy note to help soften the blow of what comes next—those traditions you do not wish to include. When discussing these, start by explaining that you appreciate the input and have considered how the inclusion of these elements would work within the desired scope of your wedding. Explain that they don’t fit your vision. Be nice and respectful, but don’t be afraid to put your foot down.