The groom’s aunt Anna arrived four hours early to the hotel. Wandering around, she bumped into, Doris, the event planner, who was stressing out because an afternoon wedding was in full swing in the ballroom where Matt and Kathy’s wedding ceremony was going to take place. Doris would have just one hour for the turn-around!
Doris suggested that Matt’s aunt enjoy a lite lunch in the café––no, she didn’t want to spoil her appetite. Perhaps tea in the lounge? No, too noisy. Visit with Matt and Kathy’s mothers who were having their make-up done? No, didn’t want to intrude. A nice walk around the beach neighborhood? Bad hip. Doris was losing patience with each increasingly annoyed rejection. Lucky for Doris, poor Matt and a couple of groomsmen walked by and she handed aunt-pain-in-the-butt off to them!
Doris was attentive and respectful to this woman. She acted like a pro. But Aunt Anna was also a pro. Turns out, she’d had a long history of being demanding at family functions and so, no one was surprised that she was making a fuss with Doris. “Oh, that’s just how Anna is!”
Here’s the thing, if you have an Anna (or two) in your family, don’t expect them to change just because you’re getting married! People are consistent. Family rituals and dynamics hold strong.
So what can you do? Here are. . .
5 tips for dealing with annoying relatives––before they get to your wedding!
#1. Knowing what you know about your own “Aunt Anna,” do you want that person(s) at your wedding? If you don’t, then why are you inviting them? Family politics? Fair enough. Because your mother or father insists that they come? Fine. Just make sure you get them to agree to take care of this demanding relative.
#2. If political fallout will be minimal and/or containable, then consider not inviting the person(s). You simply explain that you’re keeping the wedding small.
#3. How is the person annoying? If they are not “dangerous,” in that they don’t pose a threat to the overall well-being of the day, then perhaps there’s a way you can show them a little of the attention they crave. More times than not, a difficult person is simply seeking attention. You could give them a task, i.e. oversee the guest book; ask them to do something, i.e. a reading.
#4. If they are “dangerous,” in that their behavior is unpredictable, which is often the case with someone who is not in addiction recovery or is not on a medication for a personality disorder, then the week before your wedding, you need to have a talk and let them know what you need from them, i.e. a promised agreement that they will be on “best behavior.” Ask someone to keep an eye on the person the day of the wedding. If you have an event planner or on-site coordinator, let them be aware of the situation.
#5. If you’ve decided to invite the person(s) then––don’t complain about them! You knew what you were getting when you invited them. AND, don’t worry about them––you’ve arranged for them to be taken care of. You’ve handled it and now others will handle “it’ for you, if need be.
It is your day and if people can’t share your joy then that’s their problem. . .but tell me again––why did you invite them?!