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Four ways to involve the family in the wedding planning process…

The reason I’m writing this blog today is to help you involve your parents with the wedding plans. It’s hard when you live in abroad and you’re planning a wedding without the help or support from family members back home. I know that especially for ‘mum’s’ your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life. I remember planning my wedding and often feeling a little guilty that I was so far away and making all the decisions on my own (with the help from Nathan of course). I wanted my family to feel part of the process and the only way I could do that was by email or phone calls. So from my experience here are four ways to involve your family in the wedding planning process.
1. Pinterest. Set your family up with a PInterest account and invite them to use a secret board. This makes it possible to share ideas and be creative together. Once everyone has a rough idea of the theme of the wedding, and/or the wedding colours you like it will be easy for them to add their ideas in a creative, yet subtle way.
Pinterest
2. Ask questions.  It doesn’t hurt to email your family and ask for advise or ideas. Before making any huge commitments email the mothers (in my case; my mother, step mother (my father’s wife: my parents are divorced) and my mother in law) for their opinions. Having a group email will be easier to receive feedback and communicate with everyone.
3. Delegate jobs. I left my bridal shower to my step mum as she comes from an events background so it was really fun for her. I didn’t want a hen party, and the bought of dressing up and going around Dubai in a limo freaks me out. It’s just not my thing. So instead we had a bridal afternoon tea at The Ritz with all the ladies who flew in for the wedding. It was amazing and one of my favourite bits about the whole wedding week.
4. Use technology to your advantage. Add them on whats app. I recently added my father in law to whats app, it’s so much easier than email. A few pictures here and there will brighten up his day and it keeps us in touch more frequently. Just like the joint email, you could start a ‘wedding’ whats app group. You could also include your bridesmaids too.
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As Joelle’s mother, she has asked me to add some tips as to how to feel part of planning your daughter’s wedding. Here goes!
To be honest, being so far away (I live in the UK) the most important, and probably most obvious, tip is to keep communicating with each other. This may sound easy but most of us lead busy lives and finding time to communicate and really “pay attention” can sometimes be challenging.  If you don’t regularly communicate with your daughter (or son as it may be) you run the risk of feeling left behind! We have phones, skype and emails now, so there is plenty of scope!
I am grateful that whilst planning her wedding Joelle frequently told me what she was in the process of doing, occasionally asking for my advice, but mainly just to ‘run something past me.”  I deliberately tried not to be pushy or bossy, but just simply be there when she needed me. I made suggestions only when of if they felt appropriate. However wonderful, organising a wedding, as I’m sure many of us already know, can be stressful. Being thoughtful, patient and kind with each other goes a long way.
Joelle & Nathan Dubai wedding - Simon Charlton
I guess I’m lucky because Joelle is just so good at organising weddings, and with her artistic and creative skills I knew she would create a fabulous wedding for her and Nathan, and she did!  On the other hand, it could have been that another mother might have felt superfluous and left out with such a talented daughter taking the lead; I didn’t, I was in constant awe at her great ideas!
The only thing I wish I had had the chance to do differently is that I would have her with me when I chose my “mother of the bride” outfit. I was with her when she found her beautiful vintage wedding dress (in London); it was such a memorable moment.  However, my own mother was with me when I found my outfit, and it was lovely having her there. She was very surprised at how much I was prepared to pay for it, but I wanted to look the best I possibly could, and I feel that I did.
So, to re-cap the tips: communicate with each other clearly and often, listen to each other and be kind and patient in your interactions.  Good luck!
*Photography by Simon Charlton from my own wedding. My Mum is wearing the amazing hat and the purple lace dress 🙂

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