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Wedding conflicts

A MUST read for anyone contemplating a Second Wedding

You’ve read the horror stories about what can go wrong at weddings. Everyone has a wedding from hell story, you know the ones where wedding conflicts spill over. What about the videos on YouTube? Do you shrug them off, as ‘it will never happen to us’? Unfortunately many of the couples featured probably also thought that.

So why do wedding conflicts arise before, during or after weddings? Believe it or not, it mostly isn’t personal; it is the opportunity you are creating.

Wedding conflicts

How to avoid wedding conflicts on your special day

Most wedding conflicts arise due to something about your wedding that someone close to you cannot handle for themselves. Whether it is your ex being jealous or angry that you have found a new life without them, or a parent who is unhappy with their own situation.

It could be one of your children is uncertain what the future holds for them, so lashes out at the person entering their life who has caused the disruption. Or, it could be that someone hates not being the centre of attention, and negative attention is better than no attention at all!

Now think about your own situation, what is the potential for something to go wrong? The key is to recognise where the wedding conflict risks are so you can actively avoid or mitigate them.

I can speak from personal experience here. The night before our wedding we had an explosive situation happen that we should have anticipated. But, like most ‘in love’ couples we hoped that everyone would be happy for us and any harboured resentment would put aside just for the day.

How wrong we were, one of our children launched at his Dad and all the hurt and pent up feeling came tumbling out in a very unpleasant way. It was that bad that he was a hair’s breath away from being put on public transport back home and excluded from being part of the celebrations the following day.

In our case we were lucky that the ugly scene happened the night before, and measures taken so that our actual day, although tainted, wasn’t ruined.

Avoiding Conflicts blog insert

Information guide download

Others haven’t been so lucky. There are many stories I have heard regarding parents, siblings, ex-partners and others close to the couple creating scenes during the wedding ceremony or the reception that could have been avoided. If they are left unchecked, and then fuelled by alcohol, then watch out for very public displays of trouble.

And its not all about bad behaviour, one of the favourite opportunities for disruption to occur is during speeches. Its like suddenly its open season to attack the couple, whether its about their personalities, their pasts, perceived deficiencies, family history and traits, or just plain bigotry or racism.

It may not be so overtly antagonistic, but watch out where there are conflicting values, where there are no rights and wrongs just ways of seeing the world differently. Feelings can be hurt if things don’t match up to perceived expectations or beliefs are not supported. This is an area where relationships with parents are particularly vulnerable.

Especially if they are used to having a central role in your life and they have not been heavily involved in the wedding organization (which is typical for second weddings).

The wider family is one of the seven heartbreakers of second marriages, so you need to set the expectations even before the big day, otherwise you might find the wedding conflicts continue into your married life.

As a real example, here is an extract of a forum post I found that demonstrates how wedding conflicts can occur (source unknown):

“My mom ruined my wedding (she ruined my brother’s wedding, too, but that’s another story). She loved my fiancé until we got engaged, and then suddenly he wasn’t ‘successful’ enough. I wanted to get married at the yacht club because an uncle on my dad’s side could offer a huge discount. She shot that idea down because she didn’t want it to look like my dad’s side paid for it (they’re divorced). She tried to book the wedding at the same country club where her brother’s recently failed marriage took place. She shot down every single one of my choices from dress, to food, to colors and flowers. It got to the point where I hated thinking about my own wedding, and my husband finally suggested we just elope. So we booked a date with a judge, got married in secret, and asked our families to meet us for dinner, where we told everyone what we’d just done. My mom couldn’t be angry about it in front of everyone without looking like a nutcase. 12 years later, no regrets. It’s not about the wedding; it’s about the marriage.”

We have put together a guide for you that highlights areas of potential conflict. It is FREE to download and is well worth looking over to see what stands out for you; something might hit a nerve and give you some ideas where you might need to give some focus.

As a starter, here are some areas where wedding conflict typically arise:

  • Partner has not met the family yet and there is not a natural bonding or they do not live up to ‘expectations’.
  • Families have not met yet, are very different and take opposite views (great example of this is in the movie – My Big Fat Greek Wedding).
  • Family member (often Mothers) are going to be ‘difficult’ no matter how much you try to please (so do what fit best with you, it will all be wrong anyway).
  • If you are a mature couple objections can come from adult children who are (at best) worried about you; or (at worst) worried about how it is going to impact them. Finances and inheritance issues are particular hotspots for discontent.
  • Known disruptive family members or friends, particularly those with mental illness or substance abuse (including alcohol) problems.
  • Siblings, children, friends or anyone you can think of who likes to be the centre of attention and will do anything to upstage the happy couple, especially the bride.
  • Young children who don’t really understand what is going on and could potentially have a meltdown at in opportune times e.g. in the middle of the ceremony.
  • Financial contribution offering from parents with ’strings’ attached ·
  • Needing to cull the guest list ·causing discontent from attending guests e.g. cousins not invited.
  • Ex-partner and/or their relatives who have not yet let go of the past, or (in the case of the relatives) still believe they are entitled to a place at your wedding, especially if their grandchildren are part of the wedding party.
Wedding conflicts

Information Guide Download

So what can you do about it? Well firstly forewarned is forearmed! Go through your guest list, and those you specifically haven’t invited and list any issues they may have. Rank them on a) likelihood and b) consequence. Use the chart below.

riskseveritymatrix

Any that ends up with a red ranking need special attention. Whether it is:

  1. Whoever is closest to them (Bride or Groom) have a talk to them well ahead of the wedding day about your concerns and attempt to resolve or address the issues they may have.
  2. Arrange for someone to particularly look out for them and deal with the issue swiftly should something arise.
  3. Recognise them in some way during the wedding to acknowledge their presence or contribution. This is a particularly good tactic for people with low self-esteem or large egos.
  4. Get them involved in someway. You’ve heard the saying I’m sure, make your biggest critic your raving fan.
  5. If nothing else will work, consider excluding them from your wedding day (as sensitively as you can).
  6. If all else fails, elope or have a destination wedding where your disruptive members cannot attend!!!!!

In our signature product – Second Wedding Mastery we include conflict and being sensitive to those closest to you in many of the 20 topics we cover.

Second Wedding Mastery

Author and experienced coach, Gillian Andale is the owner of Love2Last Weddings which is dedicated to assist second time (encore) grooms and brides as they prepare for a truly memorable binding of hearts and families. She is also the force behind Love2Last, the global coaching and resource centre for couples who have found love again, want a new beginning and aim to strengthen and grow their relationship as well as their blended families. Visit www.love2last.co to browse and see the wealth of information available.

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