We all know how time consuming wedding planning can be. That’s why there are wedding planners who do it as a full-time job. But on top of the high expectations set by Pinterest, you also need to know how to manage all the input coming from different sources — namely our friends, family and experts.


So here are 3 guiding wedding planning principles and how to apply them. You can handle those tricky conversations and awkward moments with as much grace as Kate Middleton walking down the aisle.


1. Think long term

Remember that your relatives will remain a part of your life long after the wedding. Taking an interest in your wedding planning is their way of saying that they care about you. But their vision is going to be different than yours when you haven’t shared anything.


Put it in action: Somebody (*cough* mothers *cough*) starts to get too territorial. Remember, you don’t have to do anything but listen. Tell her that you love knowing she is so supportive and feel comfortable coming to her if you need input. Then follow up by saying that you and (future spouse’s name here) are really enjoying making these decision together as a couple.


Put it in action: Grandma can’t understand why you are asking friends to stand by your side instead of your cousin (…even though you haven’t really bonded since you were 10 years old). Instead of arguing, ask her about her own wedding and what advice she has on marriage. She’ll be happy to reminisce, and it will likely become clear that weddings are a lot different now. Hopefully she’ll leave you feeling even more excited about the wonders of marriage instead of frustrated over her unwelcomed comments.


2. Money does not equal power

Just because someone is helping pay for the wedding does not mean they get to make any final decision (besides how much they are contributing). Keep them involved by sending some of the options you’re thinking about, and they will be happy to know you don’t just think of them as a wallet.


Put it in action:  If you know they will want to make the decisions because of their financial contributions, you can direct their payment toward a specific area that you don’t care about as much. If they are getting picky about flowers and you don’t want their opinions, politely change the subject. Let them know that you were hoping they could help you determine what types of wine should be served and how many bottles to estimate needing at the wedding reception.


3. Change is a challenge

Change isn’t comfortable to most people—they are probably more nervous than you. It can be a challenge to get everyone on board, whether it’s future in-laws who still view it as losing one child instead of gaining another or your long-term friends who want to still see you as single. Take a breath and set aside the bride-to-be role for the moment.


Put it in action:  Spending time with your fiance’s relatives? Tell everyone that you’re more interested in getting to know them better instead of planning the wedding since family lasts longer than the wedding day. How could they not welcome you in?


Put it in action: Invite the girls out for a night and be up front that you aren’t there to get their input on colors and flowers but just want to bring up inside jokes and create some new memories. They will be much more supportive when you make sure to focus some attention on them too.


So go win their hearts and keep your wedding planning stress levels down because they’re just trying to enjoy this time too.