It's coming: the day you've been waiting for, looking forward to, possibly planning for and dreaming about for most of your life. You've thought about the dress, the music and the look in his eyes as you walk down the aisle...

But what do you do when it's not all up to you?

A friend of mine is getting married. She's been engaged for about six months and still has almost a year to go, making for a long planning process with plenty of time to figure things out. But there's one thing going (to some degree) wrong: Her parents want to make all the decisions for her.

Now, planning a wedding can be a complicated process and these days, the funds for your perfect day could be coming from a lot of different places. You and your fiancé could be footing the bill, or maybe it's your parents or maybe it's his parents or maybe it's someone else entirely. But one thing to keep in mind is that financial assistance tends to involve emotional commitment, and this usually means that whoever is making the budget will want to have some input into how it gets spent.

This isn't always bad. My friend is mellow. Unbelievably mellow. And really, when it comes down to it, she knows the wedding is going to be beautiful and at the end of the day, she's going to be married to the person she loves most.

But if you're not ready to give up on the open bar, or the horse-drawn carriage, or the sparklers (I mean, who knows where the lines will be drawn!) here are a few things I learned when I...and, to some degree, my own parents...planned my wedding.

  1. Pick your battles. This is important. This is so very important. If you're finding yourself in conflict with your mom, dad, fiancé, whomever about wedding details you're going to need to figure out which things really matter. Because I'll bet that if you start to think about things, you'll realize that you really care more about what the flower arrangements look like and that you don't mind as much if your mom feels that she must set the seating chart.
  1. Know what you want. If you're wishy-washy about the details when you show up to a conversation, it's much more likely that you'll end up following someone else's lead. Do your research, look around, get inspired, and know what you want to see around you when you're all dressed in white.
  1. Take a page out of my friend's book. When it all starts to look like just too much, and you think that maybe you'd rather elope after all and send your benefactors a postcard after it's all said and done...take a deep breath and remind yourself that it's still your day, and that getting to be man and wife is better than having a live band. Or than not having a live band. Either one.


Photo Credit: We Heart Photography