Lesson #3 to Parents of Brides and Grooms: Leave family baggage at home.

Here is one thing that is sure to pour cold water on the excitement and joy of your child’s wedding day – trying to resolve unsettled family issues. Every family probably has unresolved matters that could tend to show up on the wedding day. A bitter relative, an ongoing rivalry between a real parent and a step-parent, a prodigal sibling who is coming home for the wedding, or a host of other issues that can create a perfect storm when everyone shows up in the same room. It’s amazing how many parents try to confront or resolve complicated issues on or around the wedding day.

Most of these conflicts took years to develop, and yet we think somehow the magic of a wedding can be a great opportunity to fix the dysfunction in our relationships. Please don’t saddle your child’s wedding with that kind of burden. Since these problems didn’t develop over a 24-hour period, just decide they are not going to be fixed in a day, especially a wedding day.

This is a powerful moment in time. It is already charged with incredible emotion. So it is normal to be on edge, and sensitive emotionally. Don’t compound the problem by adding something else to the agenda that there is not enough emotional margin to resolve. Remember this is meant to be a celebration, which is primarily characterized by “joy.”

As a parent you should do whatever you can to guard the mood of the ceremony. The only thing you need to resolve is that whatever has not been resolved up until now in your family is not going to be resolved during the wedding. Whatever this issue is, pack it up and leave it at home. Lead everyone to take a vacation from their personal conflicts with each other, so your child can actually enjoy their wedding day, and their honeymoon.