Congratulations! You’re engaged, you fixed a wedding date, got around with confirming your venue as well as a vendor or two. You are seemingly on track to tick all the boxes on your planning checklist and then you find yourself stuck.
This is often because you have missed out one very major task that is almost always not found in any planning checklist – talking to the folks.
Having proper conversations about important topics with both your parents at the start of the planning will help manage one another’s expectations and prevent miscommunication throughout the planning. Who makes what decision will become clear and you won’t find yourself constantly having to stop and resolve differences.
Host a nice lunch and discuss these with your folks. Trust us when we say it will be easier to plan when you know what your parents want, and they too know what you want. Here are 6 topics to touch on!
Traditions. It is something that binds us all together yet can also set us apart. We may come from the same cultural or religious backgrounds, yet what we practice in our individual family can be vastly different from our partner’s; not to mention that sometimes the way our family wants the tradition to be incorporated in the wedding differs greatly from the way we want to wed.
Do not avoid these topics! Sit down and discuss what are the specific traditions your family wishes to include in the wedding. Set out the must haves, and if there is anything you don’t wish to carry out, be specific about it and if possible, explain your rationale. For example, it could be due to cost-savings or it could be due to practicality. Try to reach a common ground. (You will be surprised to know that parents are now increasingly more receptive towards things being done in a much simpler manner.)
Areas revolving traditions will be things like betrothal gifts, rituals and customaries done for the wedding.
Having a good idea of how your guestlist is like from the start will make venue sourcing and budgeting much easier. Have a conversation not only with your partner but also your family to understand who they might want to invite to the wedding.
You do not want the scenario where the venue is unable to accommodate every single guest and you have to uninvite some of them. Likewise, you also do not want an under-utilised venue space. Give each other a guideline on how many pax he/she can invite. This can also minimise the addition of guests at the very last minute which will only add on to your stress level.
Budget and Finance
Will you be financing your wedding expenses? Or will your family be contributing a part of it?
If you have a budget set aside for the wedding, let it be known to them that it is at your own expense. In situations like this, you will most likely be given free reign as to how you want the funds to be allocated. If there is anything your parents would like to add to the wedding and is not within your budget, then they know they may have to contribute that portion of it themselves.
On the contrary, if you’re letting them fund the wedding for the most part, then it might be reasonable for you to sound them out on big-ticket items that you’re getting or even to let them have their way with certain things. After all, they are the one footing the bill.
Therefore, to reduce the chances of any misalignment, be sure to discuss the numbers and expectations early on.
Day’s Flow and Manpower
Parents may have a certain idea of how the wedding day’s flow should go. They may also hear neighbours or great grandaunts saying things need to be done a certain way. As for you, you might be clueless, or you want things to flow in a fuss-free manner.
Reconcile these differences by addressing key events that must take place, where they have to take place and how. For example, is the gatecrash a must-have, is it a must for the groom’s Tea Ceremony to take place before the bride’s, and must it be conducted at home?
Go through the day’s itinerary and discuss with the folks on any preferences they might have.
Also touch on the manpower aspects for the day so that your relatives, cousins, nephews, or nieces are informed early. Some key roles you may need them to fill are for example as the “mei po” for Guo Da Li day, the facilitator for your Tea Ceremony, the Page Boys and Flower Girls or even the Door Boy on the wedding day.
There are some parents who like to be involved in your wedding plans, while some prefer for the younger generation to take the reins. Check in with your parents on how involved they would like to be. After all, it is an auspicious and happy occasion for everyone!
Your parents may have a certain expectation of the wedding especially if they are also hosting their colleagues, family business partners and friends. In these instances, ask them if they have any requests (for example a certain type of alcohol for their group of guests). Set these expectations right from the start so that when you reach this aspect of the wedding planning, you know you need to make decisions together with them.
So with these 6 topics, we hope it helps you and your parents establish a common ground from which a solid wedding plan can be built. It will hopefully guide you towards a smoother planning process!
Feature image – Photo courtesy of Canva Pro