Dear Cat. My step-sister has just got engaged and has booked her wedding 4 weeks before mine!
I have fallen out with my family over this and am so upset, angry, and embarrassed. My wedding has been planned for over a year and it feels like its been ruined by her ‘jumping in’ and having hers just before mine! What do I do?
I feel for you. Something very similar to this happened to a client of mine.
My advice is to do nothing at the moment, other than make sure you have the time of your life at your wedding.
We cannot know why your step-sister has chosen to book her wedding 4 weeks before yours. My guess is that she is fully aware it will upset you, which tells me that she has low self-esteem in her relationship with you i.e. she is jealous of you or feels inferior to you in some way. This is the most likely reason why she would ‘jump in’ and try to ‘steal your thunder’.
The best thing you can do is to try not to show you are affected by her decision. Be happy for her, enjoy her wedding, feel ‘sorry’ for her that she needed to behave this way in order to grab the attention! (Or maybe a last minute cancellation came up and she really thought you wouldn’t mind? Is that possible?!).
Stay focused on your own wedding, don’t let her, or anyone or anything else distract you from planning and enjoying your special day. (If you feel you need to address the issue with her, or other family members at a later date then let me know and we can talk about how best to broach the subject!)
A few months ago I wrote a piece entitled “How to stay calm and content on your wedding day” for confetti.co.uk , I will paste an edited version below and hope that it is helpful.
Top tips for a calm and content wedding day, so that you can have the time of your life!
1. Be as prepared as possible to avoid ’emergencies’. Do all guests and ‘service companies’ have directions to the church and/or venue and a number to call (not yours!) if they get lost? Does everyone involved in the ceremony or reception know their role, where they have to be, and when? Have you allowed plenty of time to have your hair done, get ready, and take photographs or drink champagne?
Have you tried on everything in advance? Does someone have the rings, and important documents required, and the money or cheque to pay the band/DJ etc?
2. Put together a kit of emergency items in case something goes wrong e.g. make-up, safety pins, hair pins, hairspray, clear nail polish for runs in tights etc, and a change of shoes so that you can dance in them later on when your new wedding shoes are killing you!
3. Entrust a friend or family member with being the ‘point of contact’ for the photographer, florist, catering staff, band, DJ etc, otherwise you will be answering questions all day.
4. Get as much sleep as possible the night before; everyone is more emotional when they are tired, you don’t want to feel stressed and too emotional on the day (only in a good way!). Don’t forget to eat on the day. Have good breakfast and ask someone to carry some water and snacks for you, you are likely to need them.
5. Be aware that friends or relatives who don’t normally spend much time together might be more stressed than usual. However, it is your big day, you are not responsible for ‘making them happy’, if conflicts do happen don’t get involved, spend time with guests who are enjoying themselves and especially spend some of the time with your new husband! This is your special day so stay focused on each other and not just everyone else.
6. I have heard of occasions when some guests do not keep ‘grumblings’ to themselves. They make it known that they don’t like where they are sitting at the reception, or complain that they are not in enough photos, or don’t like the food or drink. Ignore them, they are being rude, it is impossible to meet everyone’s expectations, you have thought carefully about what feels right for your wedding day, and that is all that matters.
7. If something small goes wrong (which will happen at most weddings) with the flowers, the dress, your hair, the rings, the venue, the meal, the speeches, the band, the disco, or anything else, keep it in perspective, it is not the most important part of the day. We all care about our appearance and about ‘getting things right’ especially in front of our friends and family, be we cannot control everything, things will sometimes go wrong, its ok.
8. Talk to a trusted friend before the day and ask her to be a ‘shoulder to cry on’ if you feel emotional or overwhelmed. If someone upsets you (such as your step-sister) then find a quiet place (e.g. the loo!) for a few minutes. Calm yourself by taking slow deep breaths. Say to yourself, “I am okay, this day is about feeling loved and happy, I can ignore anything which distracts me from feeling that way”. Whatever another person has thoughtlessly said or done will be about their ‘self-esteem’ i.e. how they feel about themselves at that time, they will be trying to feel important or ‘better’ about themselves in someway. It is very unlikely that they would want to hurt or upset you, unless they are jealous of you, which is their problem, not yours.
9. I know of some brides who write a note to their fiancé, and other people who are important to them, for those people to open on the morning of your wedding day. They express what the day means to them and let them know how much they love and appreciate the person they are writing to. Brides often become ‘swept up’ in the day and are not able to spend as much time as they might want to with those they are closest to so it might help to let these people know what they mean to you in advance.
10. Above all, remember your wedding day is about marrying the person you love. Try to find a few moments in the day to share just with each other. The most exhilarating and private moment is often when you are in your wedding car driving away from the ceremony. Hold each others hands, look into each others eyes, and remember that moment for the rest of your life….
Good luck Mandy. I hope this has helped a bit? I believe you will have a wonderful wedding day, and life together.
Best wishes, Cat x
If you have any further thoughts for Mandy do leave them below! Thanks x
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