There's a right and a wrong way to do this.

By Sara Dickinson
September 12, 2019
wedding reception napkin folds napkin rolled on top of plate displaying menu

There are a ton of details to keep track of on the actual wedding day, and you don't want to be so stressed out that you forget to enjoy this incredibly special occasion. If you can't swing a day-of wedding coordinator to make sure transportation arrives for the wedding party or vendors get their tips, here's how to tactfully ask relatives for help on the wedding day.

Alicia Fritz, founder of A Day in May Events, suggests making a list of the tasks you need help with and how much time will be needed for each one before asking your siblings, parents, and other family members to pitch in. "If you need someone to help you set up your wedding ceremony but they have the furthest to travel and would not have time to go home and change after all the manual labor perhaps consider someone who is closer by and can more easily get to and from you in less time," Fritz suggests. Be sure you clearly communicate your expectations when you task relatives with important items so that you don't find yourself fielding their questions while you're trying to get ready.

When it comes to asking for financial assistance, Anne Chertoff from Beaumont Etiquette recommends having the conversation in person whenever possible, with video chat and phone calls as backup options. Before your conversation, be prepared to ask them for a specific contribution. Rather than vaguely request help with some of the pre-planning details, spell it out for them, saying something like, "We really need help putting out the escort cards. Could you come an hour before the ceremony and lay them out in alphabetical order for us?" They key is to ask. You should never assume someone will be able to help on the big day without speaking with them first.

If a relative is unable or unwilling to help, Chertoff reminds us that it's important for couple's to avoid getting angry. Instead, move on. Making demands of your relatives will cause tension and drama leading up to the big day, which is the last thing you need. If they do offer to help, however, be sure you'll be open to their opinions throughout the planning process. "A couple should find out early on how the relatives want to be involved," Chertoff says. As a final thank you, consider sending a gift and/or handwritten thank-you letter closer to the wedding day or shortly after to show how much you appreciated their assistance.


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