Dear Parents of Groom and Bride
Guess what your kids are getting hitched! That is such a blessing, adding a son or daughter to your family, so amazing. Now there will be times of disagreement but here are some tips to help you not only with the wedding planning process but the blending of family traditions.
Wedding planning: The biggest tip I have it to be respectful. If the bride or grooms asks for help, guide them. If they ask for something not to be done, do not go against their wishes and do it anyway even if you think it will help them in the long run. They have to learn someday from the mistakes they make. And if all else fails try and talk it out with them, do try and remember it is just one day and a marriage is supposed to last for life. Be respectful of the other family too, blending a family is hard work.
When blending family traditions it will be hard, harder if one or both sets of parents have remarried. Time has to be divided to make everyone feel loved. This is tricky. I feel like I am an expert on this subject due to my parents are both remarried and it has been this way my whole life. The way we do holidays is a little odd but it works, it may not work in every family but remember change is not always a bad thing.
Time: remember that you are a blended family now, the new couple cannot always spend the whole day with you like they did before. So cherish the time you have with them, do not grumble when they have to leave to go to the next spot. Try not to convince them that the other side does not need as much time, or to push back the time they have to leave. It makes them feel guilty about leaving and could cause a fight later. Be flexible as well in start times of dinner, if you normally eat family dinners at 5 but they need to leave at 6, having an earlier start time will allow you to spend more time with the couple. Also if they have another meal that day with the other side, be flexible and understand they may be late or only can stay for dessert and miss the meal. It is okay, as long as they are putting in the effort to come visit it is a win! Communication with all parties is a big key here, lack of this equals disaster.
Conversations: talk to the couple, do not bombard with questions like; kids, honeymoon, fights, "how’s married life", they don't care and really that is none of your business. Ask about work, their travel plans, the new gadgets they got for gifts, if they need help with anything. Try and set up that relationship where if they do have questions on marriage they can turn to you for guidance and trust.
Traditions: They just got hitched and maybe starting their own family soon, so the traditions that you had when they were kids may not fit today. It is okay, it just means your family is growing. "because we have always done it that way" may not be a good answer to why you do things in the family, explain the importance behind the tradition. For example; In my family we have the same meal for Christmas Eve, the menu never changes and you never get that entire meal the rest of the year. The anticipation for it starts and you crave the meal soon as the leaves change. This tradition started with my grandparents and back in the day it was an delicacy to have this meal, today not so much but it is so good! We laugh, tell old stories, sing, dance all while preparing the meal together. Everyone plays their part in fixing in it, which makes this tradition that we look forward too.