How Has Your Family Surprised You During Wedding Planning?

The good, the bad, and the ugly

Two hands fist bumping in a field, wearing bracelets

Atiger doesn’t change its stripes. Though sometimes its stripes become a little more intense during wedding planning. Do I have that metaphor right?

But if the tiger in question is your family, and you’re planning a wedding right now, you know exactly what I mean. Your family? Your friends? They don’t stop being themselves just because you’ve got a big, important event looming on the horizon. In fact, it often means their truest selves come through (for better or worse).

But here’s the other thing. Weddings can give you rose-colored glasses. (It’s not your fault. I blame romantic comedies.) It’s really easy to believe that maybe, just maybe, this time things will be different, especially when said family member is telling you things will be different this time. You’re planning a wedding to the love of your life, after all! This is a big, huge, enormously important day in your life. So this time your somewhat emotionally absent mother will really be there for you, because she knows it’s important. This time your slightly too controlling sister will back off. This time your partner’s family will finally really listen to you. Or whatever your story is.

The long and the short of it is that even if you’ve lived with your family your whole life, that doesn’t mean they can’t still surprise you during wedding planning.

I’m having a banner year of bridesmaiding, which means that I’ve gotten to see a lot of family drama up close, except this time it’s not mine. (Thank goodness for small blessings?) And here are just a few examples from weddings I’m participating in this year. (Don’t worry, identifying details have been changed just enough to protect the not-so-innocent.)

  • The friend’s dad, who offered to pay for half of the wedding, then misremembered how much they agreed to (by roughly $5,000).
  • The other friend’s mom, who also agreed to foot part of the bill for the wedding, then when planning starting getting real decided she no longer “believed in weddings.” (Are you sensing a theme here?)
  • The friend whose sister lost her shit over the venue choice for, shall we say… tenuously logical… personal drama reasons.

But then there is that amazingly magical thing where weddings really do bring out the best in people, and I’ve seen that happen this year, too.

  • There was the friend whose mom stepped in and bought her wedding dress when she couldn’t afford the one she wanted.
  • And then there was the friend whose brother showed up to the wedding, put his game face on, and even had a good time despite the fact that he kinda sorta didn’t want to be there at all (it’s a long painful story).

As for me, my wedding taught me that my family is going to be exactly who they are, all the time. That means I could trust the ones I could always trust, and I needed a backup plan (and sometimes a giant box of tissues and someone to bitch to) for the ones that I can’t. (Especially if there’s money involved, y’all.) And always keep a glass of emergency champagne close by, just in case.

BUT Really this is about you. APW is nothing if not the place you can get out your tissues, let it all out, and have someone pass you a glass of virtual bubbly. HOW HAS YOUR FAMILY SURPRISED YOU DURING WEDDING PLANNING? GIVE Us THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY.

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