Welcome to the third episode of our series on the Un-Wedding Podcast, The Drama Dynasty – A group of personas and stereotypes that you may need to navigate in today’s wedding world.
In this episode, we introduce the Insidious In-Laws, also known as the meddling mother-in-law, the unsupportive family or the possessive father. We are going to dig deep into why and how family drama happens and provide you with sound strategies you and your partner can use to help navigate planning your wedding while intentionally including your family (if you want to that is!) in planning and on the big day, so you can come out on the other side of wedding planning with your dignity, personality and relationships intact.
Learn more about us and our movement: https://unweddingmovement.com
Sydney Spidell 0:11
Welcome to the Un-Wedding Podcast. I'm Sydney and I'm Corina. We're two neurodiverse wedding planners who are committed to empowering nearlyweds to throw out the wedding rulebook, shrink their guest lists and create a meaningful, purposeful wedding experience. We're taking the wedding industry by storm and disrupting the status quo, we're the Un-Wedding Planners and we invite you to join our movement.
Corina Waldie 0:33
We record our podcast from Treaty Six Territory, a traditional gathering place for diverse Indigenous peoples including the Cree, Blackfoot, Metis, Nakota Sioux, Iroquois, Dene, Ojibwe, Saulteaux, Anishinaabe, Inuit, and many others, whose histories, languages and cultures continue to influence our vibrant community. Welcome to the third episode in our ongoing series here on The Un-Wedding Podcast, The Drama Dynasty. A group of personas and stereotypes that you may need to navigate in today's wedding world. Today, let us introduce you to the Insidious In-Laws.
Sydney Spidell 1:11
You may have heard of these people described as the meddling mother-in-law, the unsupportive family, or the possessive father. It's safe to say that weddings and family drama go together like peanut butter and jelly. Today, we are going to dig deep into why and how family drama happens and strategies you can use for both you and your partner to manage your insidious in-laws, and ultimately get the wedding you are both looking for so you can come out on the other side of wedding planning with your partner, friends, and family relationships intact.
Corina Waldie 1:47
So what would you describe as family?
Sydney Spidell 1:51
Yeah, because family, especially in the history of weddings, kind of represented, I mean not even kind of, it was about the trading of property. It was about forming alliances between different land owners. So family and weddings, are kind of a weird, little merging. Meddling, that's what I was trying to say for some reason there. And that doesn't necessarily align with what we consider family to be especially these days.
Corina Waldie 2:25
Yeah, family. And I know the definition of family has drastically evolved in the last 20 years. Because I'm old enough to remember that the stereotype was man, woman, two and a half kids, dog, house - that was your family.
Sydney Spidell 2:42
But the half kid was always my favorite.
Corina Waldie 2:44
Yeah, you know, the half kid. And the thing is, as divorce is a reality for many different families nowadays, and then people go on to remarry, bringing in step parents and stepchildren potentially, so you get blended families, the idea of family has drastically evolved. Plus with the LGBTQ+ community, we've also evolved and had legal definitions redrawn about what constitutes a family and should those of the LGBTQ community be able to procreate and have children, which I firmly, of course, believe that they should have that right. But that has also further evolved that definition and so I think now today, your family is whoever you think your family is - your chosen family, not necessarily blood (family).
Sydney Spidell 3:32
And you're talking about blended families, but there's also the whole adoption process as well with people who may be, especially with the dawning of these DNA tests and genetic registries and finding additional members of that genetic family, is finding ways to incorporate them in. And I know, for people with that sort of a blended family, there can often be a lot of tension between this idea of “Oh, you're bringing your birth family into this so that means you're rejecting us, your family from your childhood.” I don't know, I feel like the whole concept of family, especially when it comes to weddings, becomes almost more like a gang war. It's very territorial.
Corina Waldie 4:20
It is and then you throw in like phrases like blood is thicker than water, which is a very horrifically misquoted quote. Because it's actually…
Sydney Spidell 4:32
No, it's a good quote, I don't remember it though and I'm hoping you have it.
Corina Waldie 4:37
But it’s “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.” And it's this idea that covenant being whoever is in your life, who you consider family. Be that friends, be that family, whether they blood or not, be it adopted - whatever that looks like for you. It's the people that you are in covenant with, who you've promised in some ways, your lives to each other or to be as part of each other's lives, whether through spoken or unspoken commitment.
Sydney Spidell 5:04
Yeah, and honestly, I love that concept and bringing that whole idea of maybe we need to now reappropriate whole blood is thicker than water, using that whole concept of it and saying, “The blood of the covenant - you are making a covenant by having a wedding, that is what this is about, right?” Those vows, we talked about that. And respecting that covenant itself, but also this phrase is respecting those, choices you make with people in your lives, of who you bring in there. And that can be, like we've talked about before, having oaths of sobriety with a friend, which is a kind of commitment that is massive and transformative. And I'm sure there are a lot of people who feel like their AA families are their families, too, right? So, yeah, really stepping away from that whole property-driven, and inheritance-minded and keep your bloodlines clean concept of family. You're somebody who has looked deeply into what family means to you and created a chosen family, too.
Corina Waldie 6:20
Yes, 100%. So for me, I have been estranged from most of my family for the last six years now. And that decision was very much brought upon by a lot of drama, a lot of abuse, a lot of toxic cycles - that I just decided that for the sake of myself and my mental health, that I didn't want to engage in that anymore. And that was really what led me to choose to start choosing and building a chosen family. For me, I have my brother, who is still I'm still in contact with and he lives here in Edmonton, but for the most part, except for a couple of cousins, and two of my mother's siblings, I don't have contact with anybody, because there's been a lot of painful history there,
Sydney Spidell 7:17
Including right from your wedding.
Corina Waldie 7:20
Yeah, we've talked a little bit about that already so far. And I'm sure we'll talk a little bit more today on some of the other specific scenarios that I dealt with throughout planning my wedding. But you know, that just for me has meant that the people in my life now, my relationships with them, are amazing. We have mutual understanding, we have boundaries. It's just so night and day from the way that I was raised. And I think for a lot of people, especially those people who have been rejected by their families, maybe due to their gender identity, or their sexual orientation and have had to move on and build their life again, for themselves. Let's give validity to the fact that chosen family matters and that biology is actually pretty meaningless at the end of the day.
Sydney Spidell 8:12
I think too, a lot of the stuff that tends to get enforced by family members, like these insidious in-laws we're going to be talking about, comes from a place of insecurity and sort of wanting to have a concept of what family is, and it is a lot more about those sort of intangibles than it is about the tangibles of genetics, right. And yet, there's indignation, when those aspects of family aren't reflected to people who aren't necessarily working at developing a family relationship, either. So thinking of what family is, or should be in the concept of weddings, in my mind, it is the people that are closest to you. The people upon whom you would call on in the middle of the night when you need help, the people who drop everything to be by your side, the people who enable your strength and your independence, and the people who will support you, even when you make bad decisions, right? And that is for a lot of people, not mom and dad.
Corina Waldie 9:30
No, no, it's not. I think, as our society has evolved, and we've started to understand mental health and the placement of generational trauma, and things that repeat themselves over and over and over again, we're seeing more than ever in our current generation, people that are my age and younger or even older people - just saying enough. I'm choosing to change. I'm choosing to create a better future for my children and my family. And I think that's something that is super, super powerful - Just making that decision to say, "You know what? I'm valued and my family doesn't get to tell me how I should act or get to judge me" or putting that wall up and just saying, "You know what, fuck this. I'm done."Sydney Spidell:
Yeah. And you know, I have a very different upbringing than you did in terms of relationships with parents in that. Like, I grew up in church, and I grew up with moral guidelines and everything. But I also had a very open-minded and accepting family. I think if you're a theatre family, there aren't a whole lot of choices, you're going to be a little bit moreCorina Waldie:
…liberated than some. But my dear sweet father, who only a few years ago, I convinced him that he actually was a feminist and needed to start using that word. And he's like, I'm a humanist. And I'm like, let's explain why that's problematic. He has been a warrior for women's rights for as long as I have known him and making space for women in the world. And I remember one of these things… So we're the Un-Wedding Planners and out of the two of us, I am unwed…all of my conversations around this are hypothetical. But I still remember him talking about veils.Sydney Spidell:
I learned a lot about the concepts behind wedding traditions, from my father who just wanted to rant and ramble about them. Veils are something that he feels so strongly about, and he told me outright, it's probably just him hyperbolizing, saying, “you are not wearing a veil at your wedding, because they symbolize this” and he didn't want to be associated with the concept of possessing his daughter. And I'm like, "Yeah, but Daddy, like, what if I want a veil?" Right? So it's this opposite thing, where he's just so scared of me leaning into traditions without critical thinking, but is then worried about any sort of thing that I do accept, what that might mean. And we're sort of again, being like that can be a little bit meddling then, if that's my choice. If I'm aware, if I am feeling empowered, and if I'm coming from a place of awareness, then my choices are my choices.Corina Waldie:
Well, and you know, you're absolutely right. Because the idea of veils when we look at the history of veils, it was this idea of a woman covering her face. And sometimes, especially, you know, in previous generations, the groom did not know who he was marrying, because the veil was so thick that the woman's face was obstructed. You know, I was also raised in the church and what comes to mind is the story of Jacob, with Leah and Rachel, and he wanted to marry Rachel but the older sister wasn't wed yet, and so the father subbed in Leah and had her wear a thick veil.Sydney Spidell:
That's a really excellent Bible story of men possessing women and chucking them around as though they're little toys. Yeah.Corina Waldie:
And I think whether we want to believe it or not, many of our traditions around, especially the father and the daughter, like the father-daughter dance, like the father giving his daughter away, these all stem from these traditions, from 1000s of years ago, that we still follow to this day.Sydney Spidell:
I had the opportunity to watch a Sikh wedding live-streamed a few weeks ago, which was a very unique opportunity for me, just because I hadn't attended one or seen one before. And my friends were explaining to me the different parts of the wedding. And, of course, within the Sikh tradition, there is a whole lot of importance put on those traditions, especially around weddings. And rather than the father giving the bride away, its brothers or cousins, as the case may be because your extended family is still, it's all very generationally based. They're all your relation. So cousins are cousin brothers and whatnot. Right? Villages, which I frankly, adore the concept of villages and communities. And so it was it's during walks, that the brothers will take the arm of the bride and sort of present her in that way. And it's different than how Western cultures do it. But again, there's still this concept of, to be a woman, making a decision on who you spend the rest of your life with, there is still some aspect of male permission involved.Corina Waldie:
Yeah, as I said, obviously, if tradition is important to you, I think it was like your dad with the veil - the idea of the veils - just recognizing that as you’re going through this process that you're doing it for, in this case, for tradition, or your purpose is to follow tradition. We've talked a lot about purpose. And if that's something that is really important to you, power freakin to you, right?Sydney Spidell:
There are a lot of traditions that I adore, just because they're gorgeous. And you just kind of have to have a little bit of cognitive dissonance between the meaning behind them and the thing itself. And as long as you address it.Corina Waldie:
Yes. And I can also tell you - I did my father-daughter dance, I had my dad walk down the aisle and give me away, and we did the traditional thing, I wore a veil down the aisle, and he pushed it back before I walked up to meet Jon. But now when I look at those photos, and those memories, for me, it was something (meaningful). I was always really, really close to my dad - he was the one person in my life who I could always go to. So that was actually for me very symbolic of that relationship and the transition that I was going through of going from his daughter to being a wife. And now those photos and those memories mean everything to me, because a couple of years later, he unexpectedly passed away, and having those memories and those moments are very important to me. But that doesn't mean that it's appropriate for you, or appropriate for somebody else. Especially in the cases of blended families when we're talking about multiple sets of parents, especially in the case of like, you know, like let's say, a step-parent has been the most significant person to you. But then do you leave out your biological parent?Sydney Spidell:
Viral moment, this was going around years ago, I'm sure you've seen the video. There was a bride whose father started walking her down the aisle. And at one point, he stopped. And he turns to her stepfather who has been in her life forever. And he beckons him over and didn't tell his daughter, I don't know if he was thinking about it before and didn't tell anyone that this was his plan but asks the stepfather to join him in walking his daughter down the aisle. So regardless of what that whole presenting of the bride meant to her in the scope of the wedding, I don't know and I'm not going to find out at this moment, there was still that taking a tradition, and seeing an opportunity to change it in a way that made sense. And you could tell from the reaction of the stepfather who was immediately overcome with emotion, ditto the bride, probably ditto the mother. Right? Like, you watch that, and you just know that was totally in line with their wedding purpose, whether they had done an exercise to figure that out or not. That decision that the father made, was totally aligned with that wedding purpose, because of the joy that you saw immediately after.Corina Waldie:
I think I've seen a version of that. But yeah, this idea of like, you know, potentially having multiple parents, but we've also seen the push now for both parents to walk each member of the family down the aisle because the mother has a pretty significant role too, in the raising and bearing of this child.Sydney Spidell:
Yeah. And we're talking about too, this one very, very specific aspect of it, other than the fact that it's just where we've stemmed from it. But I talked about a couple of episodes ago my friend's wedding that I was in last year. That they did that whole entering into the ceremony space completely differently, right? The four parents were gathered in the clearing in the woods, and the bride and groom together, walked all the rest of us into that space, they led us in there. So their parents still were respected and stood out. And were considered an important part of this, and symbolically maybe that represented them, like welcoming us into this space of transformation, from being all these young people to sort of coming up into this world that the parents have been in for a long time. You know, could have been that it doesn't really matter. The point was they were special. But they were also completely - they were doing something completely different than the expected and it made so much sense for them.Corina Waldie:
And I think that's kind of the point, though, right? It's a take it or leave it. Does the tradition make sense for you and your personal situation? If it doesn't, that's okay. Don't feel guilty because you don't want to do something, or you don't want to participate in something, right?Sydney Spidell:
The difficulty there comes then when you do decide that, to take it or leave it, and you piss off a parent.Corina Waldie:
Exactly. And that is it's those sorts of things that typically cause this idea of the insidious in-laws where they start to meddle or they start to overstep themselves, or step into the planning of the wedding, or cause frustrations or cause harm, real harm, to your relationship over the long term. And vice versa, too, because I think sometimes it's tempting to just say, “Oh, well, you know, this is what I want, I don't care about your feelings.” There is a very, very fine line there that has to be walked.Sydney Spidell:
Yeah. And I think just like with all of these tropes that we're talking about, the behaviours exhibited. And in these examples that we're talking about, for some of them, we’re going right to the extreme to demonstrate that here. But our point behind this is 90% of the time that people exhibit these behaviours, it's not malicious. It's not done from a point of “I'm here to attack you.” Usually, it's selfish. And that's not a bad thing, per se, there are absolutely moments when we need to be selfish. Frankly, we're talking about that here. For the couple who's planning, this event, there are moments where you're going to have to be selfish. But I think navigating these things and understanding where these things come from, it's really important to recognize that those selfish movements, we're not saying like you're villainizing your parents right here. No, it's just important to understand that if they're selfish reasons, okay, let's break down why they might be doing these things for themselves. Let's try and understand where they're coming from. And try and find ways to communicate with them to be like, “You are seeing this in a very, very different way than I am seeing this and we need to find a way to hear each other's visions, understand where they differ, and decide how we're going to move forward.” And the places where those things stem from that selfish aspect of things is usually possessiveness, which having worked in child care for a really long time, I know is a massive, massive, massive issue with how parents interact with their children when they are children. I'm also big on anti-adultism like children deserve full respect, they deserve autonomy. And you're going to build healthier relationships that can grow into adult relationships if you do respect them as full beings, and not try and treat them as what you think an adult should be treated as. But that respect for your child and not being possessive of them, not seeing them as something that you have the right to order around and tell what to do and shape and form into your own little dolly that extends way into adulthood, when we have the fathers that will threaten men, especially over physical interaction with their daughters, even making jokes about purity before the wedding night, and all of that stuff. It's so damn harmful. And like if you're uncomfortable, and if you feel like you need to make these jokes about your daughter and her wedding, you need to really examine why you think that her sexuality is something that you own and have any say over. And then on the other side of it, we often see it sort of go reverse with gender roles still intact, you're operating on the binary. And unfortunately, just because that's sort of how these tropes have developed over time. The mother, being very possessive of a son and feels threatened by a new woman entering his life. And it's a little bit different than the father-daughter direction. Because it's rather than someone invading your place, it's considering what might happen to your daughter when she's no longer your property. And from the Mother-Son aspect, it's being like, “Oh, now there's someone new to take care of him. And I'm not going to be needed any longer.” Also super freaking harmful, your adult children shouldn't need you. To some of the degrees that you think they maybe should or else they don't have autonomy.Corina Waldie:
Well, and I think in terms of that Mother-Son complex, I think that new person, whether the son's been with his new partner for two months or 20 years, there's something about marriage because it's what really forms the family from a legal aspect. I think that it's very, very challenging for moms of sons because, as you say, first off, they don't necessarily need the care, but there is absolute jealousy there. Like, you know, even in literature, like the Oedipus Rex complex and how that is - I think very much a part of it is this idea of jealousy.Sydney Spidell:
I mean the father-daughter one is very Oedipal too right.Corina Waldie:
Oh very much.Sydney Spidell:
Like, it's across the board, it's been around a time.Corina Waldie:
It's this idea of this partner coming in, and replacing the parent. And that idea, in many ways has almost children as like property or something, like the parents somehow own them. But they don't, they're grown, adults.Sydney Spidell:
There's a whole lot of weird sexuality mixed up in these aspects of possessiveness too, which needs to be questioned. It's important to recognize if you are the mother of a son, and he is getting married, the person he is getting married to, does not fulfill and should not fulfill the same roles that you did for your child. I've been having this conversation with a lot of people about the difference between having conversations between partners and in friendships as well, just any sort of relationship where you're discussing feelings, where you're discussing strategies to navigate life, the kinds of conversations that you might have with a therapist as well, being different from the kinds of conversations that you should be having with a partner. And the difference is that the learning, the problem solving, the whatever you're doing with your partner is for the purpose of getting to know them, getting to understand them, and making sure you can love them in the best way that you can. Whereas the purpose of sharing those things with a therapist is to develop solutions, find tactics and strategies and allow them to help you navigate life in a healthy way. Those are different. And the mother, the parent, the father, whatever that parent version aspect is, is a lot more similar to the therapist relationship, in terms of developing strategies in terms of providing a safe and non-judgmental place for error. That is a lot more similar to that therapist relationship than it is to a partnered relationship. And there will be overlapping ground because literally, all relationships will have similaritiesCorina Waldie:
Yeah, nothing is black and white.Sydney Spidell:
But there is nothing, nothing about healthy relationships that suggests that as soon as you partner with someone, you lose the care and support and whatever other needs that you have in a relationship with your parents. Nothing.Corina Waldie:
Yeah. And I think it's just your relationship is evolving. Same as how as a parent, from the time your child's an infant, to even school age to teenage years to go into college, university, and then moving out becoming adults, your relationship with your child should evolve. If it is not evolving, there is a very real problem, if youSydney Spidell:
are still treating your 15-year-olds like they’re a five-month-old.Corina Waldie:
Exactly. The needs shift, as your child gains independence and learns more for themselves and becomes an adult human, your relationship should be evolving.Sydney Spidell:
And if it's not, you get tied into those things. And any change in their life is going to affect you personally, which it shouldn't. Their marriage should not throw you into an emotional crisis. If it is, you have major attachment issues, and you need aid.Corina Waldie:
And marriage, when your child chooses a partner and gets married, we're literally just starting the cycle over again of they get married and then potentially procreate and have children, and then the cycle starts again and recognizing that then at that point, your relationship again shifts, as they're now parents and you become grandparents. So by getting ourselves so caught up in this one thing, all you're doing is causing harm for yourself and for your relationship with your child over the long term.Sydney Spidell:
And that changing a system of how - these families will continue to change and evolve. You know, we also have to recognize that traditions, life, change, and evolve. Generational trauma, as we know, can be passed on so very easily, through tiny, tiny little microaggressions that end up shaping somebody entirely for the rest of their life. So, as the marrying couple, it's your responsibility to be able to not take on the traumas that your parents went through in their process of doing this and find ways to keep yourself safe. But as a parent, it's your responsibility to acknowledge that times have changed, things are done differently. Your child is not you and they have a right to do things the way they feel is right for them. So passing on those, I think we get a lot of projection - if I didn't have that experience, if my father was very controlling on me during my wedding, and they paid for everything, so it was important to just sort of deal with it. And it was about this big family gathering in our small town in northern Manitoba, and the whole town came and whatever. That does not mean that then (because) I was unhappy with it, and it made me struggle, that does not mean that then I have to try and force my child into the same situations - because if I struggled, then that's just what a wedding is and they should struggle too. Break the generational cycles.Corina Waldie:
And that's something that brings also up an important point. Because especially with parents, because of the cost of weddings, many couples still go to their parents looking for some kind of financial contribution. Now, of course, not all couples seek this for whatever reason, maybe they have the resources to be able to plan completely on their own. But whatever. As in all things, money and weddings go together.Sydney Spidell:
Wow, another podcast episode, where we're talking about finances as being a main contributor to drama, wow, weird,Corina Waldie:
Really? But in the case of the parents, if you are doing this, if you need to do this to have the wedding that you're looking to have, is getting super clear and super intentional with your parents to see if there are any conditions attached to that financial contribution. If your parents are giving you a set amount of money, and saying okay, or saying I will pay for one of the vendors, like, the photographer, saying “great, thank you, we really appreciate that.” But then checking and making sure is it a specific photographer? Or do I have a choice of who I get to hire? Are there any limitations on that?b And if they're unreasonable, or if they do not line up with your purpose, or what it is you're looking for, you should be prepared to walk away from that money.Sydney Spidell:
And having that conversation right at the start too. Even if it's not any specific conditions that they put on the photographer as an example, right then, will give you something to go back to when it's something completely different, completely separated, a whole other topic entirely. And out of the blue, the person says, “Yeah, well, I paid for your photography,” It's like, “Yeah, but we discussed what that included and what that didn't include, in your mind.” We talked about where these things were, you also discuss what the purpose of this wedding is. So again, it just gives you more legs to stand on. Right?Corina Waldie:
The idea of weddings in the roles of the parents has massively evolved in the last, you know, couple of decades. And I think that's where this disconnect happens is, like you were saying, parents who, especially the bride's parents, typically, in the heteronormative world, paid for everything. And now that has changed. Now, it's primarily couples, or sometimes it's all kinds of different arrangements that people are coming to. But it's, at the end of the day, just making sure that those expectations are so clearly defined. And like I said, if that money is coming with strings attached that are in defiance of your purpose, then potentially being prepared to walk away from that.Sydney Spidell:
And this communication process is going to take on completely different intensities, depending on the relationships that you have with your family, the kinds of struggles and challenges you've navigated before, because if there is something that has been a problem, historically, you can bet your bottom dollar that come wedding planning time, it will come up. It will come up again, it will come up louder.Corina Waldie:
Bottom line, any kind of like existing drama, history, whatever challenge, tension you have, is going to be simply amplified by your wedding. Like any sort of it. I've talked before about how my mother started calling me Bridezilla and started trying to control things and was really difficult to deal with. Well her and I, as you can probably guess, considering we're estranged, have never had a solid relationship. And when it came time to plan my wedding, that just got blown way out of the water.Sydney Spidell:
It gets you to a point of no return in many ways, right? And like is that something that you're willing to risk with your family, whatever definition that falls under, over the process of this? And if it's not then, solution, purpose, like number one. We always come back to that, the fix is always going to be understanding what the reason is behind taking this next step together and holding this event. Once you know that it's your guide, and you get to come up with all these other decisions and it is going to keep you safe from those moments when your perceived loyalties and where your blood ties are called into question. It's just going to protect you and you deserve protection.Corina Waldie:
But to sort of, you know, flip this on its head just a little bit to look from the other side from the parents’ side. You know, so you're great. Your child has found somebody that they're in love with, and they want to get married. And, you know, I think sometimes, as a couple, you have to walk this line of are you being too demanding? Or if your child's coming to you and saying, Well, I demand XYZ? How do you as a parent, respond to that? Right? And saying, what's reasonable or not reasonable? Like I said, yes, the drama amplifies. And if that’s the thing, then in your relationship, and of course, that's going to be brought up again, in the wedding planning process. And I think one of the things that we're seeing that's super, super popular in the wedding industry right now is like, the expectations around destination weddings. And what that means for your parents, if you as a couple decide to get married somewhere else that's not local. And then they have to take on the added expense of not only potentially contributing financially to your wedding, but their travel, and potentially travel for other members of their family. So I think it's just having, you know, it's also recognizing that yeah, if you're a parent and your child comes to you, yes, it's their wedding. But now there needs to be a little bit of give and take.Sydney Spidell:
I mean, yeah, it comes back down to respect, right, having respect for the human beings that you call important in your life, having respect for the people that you say you love. And that means being able to see them as whole people with human problems. And that's another thing - now leading myself into a tangent. Your parents are people, your parents have flaws and struggles and issues. If you are a parent, you are human. Please don't try and hide your flaws and struggles from your children. Because then you just create this perfection-like sheen that neither of you is willing to break, which is going to cause so many opportunities to just tentatively step around the feelings of someone rather than actually being able to communicate authentically and wholly with those people in your life.Corina Waldie:
Yeah, definitely. And, you know, one of the things that I have talked about in other content I've created over the years, about, you know, these early stages of planning your wedding, is, of course, remembering to get on the same page with your partner, figuring out your purpose, but then also going to your family. And even if they've chosen not to financially contribute, for whatever reason, is also remembering that it's a kind gesture to say, “you know what Mom, I get that we're paying for the wedding ourselves, but is there anything that is super important that you would like to see in our wedding?” And if it fits into your purpose, if it's something you can make happen, there's something to be said about trying to make that one expectation. Now, I'm not talking about saying, if your parent has come to you and says, “Well, I want these 100 people invited and I want, XYZ,” I'm not saying that. I'm saying it still has to at least somewhat line up with your purpose. And there are still obviously, of course, reasonable and unreasonable expectations. But if you can do one thing, or put a boundary on it and say, “Okay, well, great, I get that you want to invite these 50 people but how about if we cut it to your top 20?” And coming up with some kind of solution and working with that parent, it then means that they're not going to go into your wedding, resenting you for steamrolling them into that they get absolutely nothing. It's acknowledging that yeah, whatever drama, whatever crap you have been through in your relationship, you know, still on your wedding day, there is a certain amount of importance for the parents that day, in giving them something.Sydney Spidell:
I mean, they were not trading women as property anymore. It's not for the, you know, keeping land within a family anymore, but it is still joining of two families or two lives. And I think, I mean, we even talked about this with dating, you know, they meet somebody new and they forget all about their friends and stuff. You know, when you are joining your life with someone else, is you're saying there are aspects of my life that you are going to have to incorporate into yours and vice versa. If your blood family is part of that, then your blood family is part of that. Then you do need to acknowledge that there are family traditions and understandings and history on both sides, and they might be completely different. And they might, you know, contradict each other at times. But having an understanding of that history, having an understanding of the experiences people went through, ask your parents about their wedding experiences. Just get them to tell you the story and put them in the shoes of being stressed out again, you know, try and, and make them relate to you a little bit more and come at it from a place of equality and understand their experiences before you start getting pissed at them. Having feelings and thoughts and opinions and whatever, there's probably good reasons behind it.Corina Waldie:
It comes back to all things: empathy, kindness, respect, taking that time to really get to the why, because when you understand the why, that is the powerful trigger to being able to unravel it and you know, not allow the emotions to rule. Because, you know, I like we see so many stories, especially with this idea of a parent being overbearing and demanding things or, the mother in law showing up in a white dress. But in those circumstances, yes, of course, there are always entitled people but I'm not talking about those.Sydney Spidell:
Jane Fonda, Monster-In-Law, also a JLo movie...Corina Waldie:
But it's getting to understand the why and then you can address it, and you can come to a solution that makes sense.Sydney Spidell:
Yeah. And that whole, like, you know, figuring out the important parts to them and seeing how you can incorporate that in - it's just like the conversation that we had with Peyton and, Charlie, how do you work together? And it is, again, identifying, I care about this, you care about it way more, or I don't care about this, and you care about it. And so if I'm not attached to this thing, then it makes more sense for me to maybe concede some of my ground and collaborate on the things that matter to me within the thing that matters to you. It's that same sort of intentional inclusion, be thoughtful about the areas where you're bringing people in and be intentional about the responsibilities that you're giving them. And I'm not saying like giving them in a negative way, I'm saying, in a positive way. Like the people that we're discussing here are people that are trying to take on more, right? So giving them responsibility is intentionally and also making sure they know why you're giving them that aspect too of things. Be like, "Listen, I really have always admired your this and that. And for this reason, I would like to give this project to you, because I know that you'll use those skills to help me purpose, get to my purpose of our wedding. And having those conversations, you're gonna avoid so many issues, when you're telling somebody why you believe in them for something, versus just being like, "Fine, you can have this." This is special. Make people feel special.Corina Waldie:
100%. And it's also including them intentionally, but also not being afraid to set a boundary. Those boundaries are on the other side of it. And I come at this from a very personal view is that idea. I spent a lot of time in my wedding where I gave into my mom rather than putting up the fight. So it's saying, is standing up for yourself and not being afraid to stand up for yourself and your wedding purpose. But put those boundaries down in a respectful way, and include them in an intentional way instead. It's a redirect.Sydney Spidell:
And if you don't know what your boundaries are, you're not necessarily going to notice when they're being crossed, not right away. You're going to notice them the more and more uncomfortable you feel with something and then it's going to be too late. Don't decide what your boundaries are after they've been crossed. Take an intentional look at the things that you are comfortable with. Let your imagination run a little bit wild. And figure out those things that you need. The things that help you retain your sense of self and autonomy, the things that make you feel strong, the things that make you feel connected with your partner. All of those things are areas where you can establish boundaries, healthy boundaries.Corina Waldie:
100%. All right. Well, that was the Insidious In-Laws, the third member of the Drama Dynasty. Next time, we're going to meet Party Pirates. So we will be discussing as you may guess, wedding parties and how to manage all the multiple personalities and many different expectations that go into being part of somebody's wedding party, so that you can hopefully avoid drama, and avoid ruining your friendships.Sydney Spidell:
Those are important right?Corina Waldie:
Very much.Sydney Spidell:
So you guys can join the conversation on our Instagram and our TikTok and share with us your stories of any insidious in-laws that you may have experienced and any tips that you might have for managing and respecting and processing with them. But we'd love to connect with you. So we'll talk next time. Cheers!Corina Waldie:
You can find us on the internet at unweddingmovement.com or on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and Pinterest @unweddingmovement. Our podcast episodes are released weekly and available wherever you like to stream.