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It’s the day you’ve always dreamed of. You are dolled up in a white wedding gown, and your partner is there, dapper as can be. It’s a picture-perfect event that you knew would be amazing. Nothing could go wrong...
Then, you notice the death glare his ex (who later married his cousin) is giving you. During the reception, his mother is making sure everyone knows you don’t match up to her standards. Then, your Uncle Larry has decided to hit the open bar one too many times and knocks out Aunt Mim.
Let’s just be real. We’ve all heard about family drama overtaking weddings and throwing the spotlight away from the happy couple. It’s actually sadly common, but that doesn’t mean it has to happen to you. Here’s how to avoid family drama on your big day.
Strongly consider keeping your wedding small.
The easiest way to avoid family drama is to keep the wedding guest list small. Less guests means less drama. If you have a really small wedding list, you can simply say that you’re looking to have a smaller wedding or that the budget doesn’t allow anyone outside of immediate family members to attend.
That wedding planning life will get so much easier when you only have 10 to 15 guests.
Keep your wedding preparations simple and easy to work with.
Drama takes all forms at a wedding, which is why it’s often best to avoid overly complicated seating arrangements, wedding photo opportunities, and extreme amenities. The more complex things are, the more likely it is that things can and will go wrong.
When things go wrong, it’s way more likely that blowups will occur. Stop trying to make things perfect. It's already perfect because it's you and your spouse!
There are so many wedding planning ideas that can turn into disasters. By keeping things simple and setting low expectations for how things will go about, it’s safe to say that your expectations will be more likely to be met.
Make sure that you and your fiancé are united on all fronts.
There’s a good reason why they say that planning a wedding is the ultimate relationship test. Everyone is pulling at you on all sides, and to a point, it feels like your wedding might not even be yours by the time that you actually walk down the aisle.
That’s why it’s so important to be united with your fiancé when it comes to matters involving planning and handling guests. If you are already having massive blowout fights with your partner, then you probably won’t be able to avoid wedding drama as well as you wish you did.
Don’t invite people who you know will cause problems.
If you are paying for your own wedding, then you have a really easy way to avoid family drama available to you. Simply put, you can save money and tears by refusing to invite people who will cause drama at your wedding.
Of course, to do this, both you and your fiancé will have to sit down and agree to this. People can and will be pissed that they aren’t invited—and this could cause drama later on. However, if they are noticeably going to be problematic, it’s really necessary.
If the relative in question is someone close to your fiancé, you need to sit your partner down and have a frank discussion about the person’s behavior.
If they have already started arguments with you, have been verbally abusive to you, or have otherwise made life hard, it may be time to put your foot down. You shouldn't feel forced to invite them to your wedding.
If you have a childfree wedding, make a point of hiring a baby bouncer.
Having a childfree wedding is a great choice to make, especially if you yourself are childfree and don’t want to hear crying kids in the middle of a wedding. Unfortunately, a lot of people see weddings as family gatherings and refuse to listen to the couple’s request of keeping kids at home.
They may ask you to make an exception. They may guilt-trip you. Or, they might show up regardless. This is why you have to make sure to enforce boundaries by choosing to hire a baby bouncer.
A baby bouncer is a professional security person whose job it is to turn away unwanted guests. More specifically, they are people who turn away guests with kids at the door. This way, guests get the hint—and if they refused to listen, have to learn to deal with it.
Have friends keep an eye out for troublesome family members.
Many people have a family member who can be delightful in the right circumstances, but given alcohol or another family member’s presence, can turn into a cantankerous jerk. If you have a feeling that someone will make a scene, warn your wedding party members and ask them to carefully maneuver them outside until they cool down.
A good rule of thumb is to give at least three people a heads up about problem partygoers. This gives them a job to do while you greet everyone.
Ask your more difficult guests to put family conflict aside for the day.
If you have wedding guests that you want to bring in, but don’t want to have friends “on guard” for their actions all night long, you might want to try to talk with them. Many friends and family will be happy to grant a request for civility or sobriety if you ask them nicely.
In many cases, the most important way to avoid family drama with parties that hate each other is to remind them that it’s not about hating the other party. Today is your special day and everyone is here to celebrate your happiness. If they can’t do that without causing problems, they are more than welcome to refuse attendance.
If the drama involves a relative who hates you, call your partner for help.
A lot of arguments and squabbles happen because a certain in-law doesn’t approve of the bride or the groom. It is not your job to try to ameliorate things if this is the case. It’s actually your partner’s responsibility, and that means it’s their time to step up and get your partner to have your back.
This also may be a time to re-evaluate your relationship, particularly if your future spouse won’t stand up for you when relatives degrade you. Do you really want to marry into a family that hates you? Do you want to constantly be burdened with the task of being the one to avoid family drama?
Ask yourself if you really want to be with a person who doesn’t want to stand up for you—and act accordingly.
Prepare a separate room for decompressing.
Believe it or not, you probably won’t feel your best during your wedding. You may get exhausted talking to everyone, and chances are high that you will have little things go wrong that wreck your wedding photos or catering. It’s okay, it happens.
You need to keep your stress levels down, too. A good way to do this is to practice stress reduction techniques like taking deep breaths, and prepare a room where you can just mellow out for a bit. It’s surprising how well this can work.
At the end of the day, just trying to laugh it off can do wonders.
A lot of crazy crap happens at weddings, and as much as you may try to avoid family drama, sometimes it follows you. If you still end up having drama at your wedding, call it a day. Laugh it off, and remember that it could end up being a hilarious story later on.