Wedding Wednesday: The Holidays

So this week we're taking a little break from the usual to talk about something else that comes with being engaged and newly married: family.

I've worked with so many brides and talked with so many friends who didn't realize that along with picking a venue and a dress, one of the big stresses of taking the plunge into married life* is the inevitable change that takes place as you start a new life together and families and traditions have to be blended. Most people feel that things are going great, until the holidays come around.

I went to my good friend Brittany Blancarte, a marriage and family counselor, who also has the personal experience of being married almost seven years, to see what advice she'd offer to couples new to navigating the holidays. Here's what Brittany had for us:

The important thing for newlyweds to remember is that they are a new family unit. Although the families you come from are very important, your first priority ought to be to each other.  Issues often arise from a husband or wife aiming to appease their parents or siblings at the expense of their spouse's desires.  What can also happen is that a newlywed might put everyone's wishes before their own for the sake of peace, and in so doing, find themselves racing around to two or three or more family gatherings in one day and wind up completely stressed as they try to make everyone else happy.  

Seek to honor everyone (including yourself!) by taking the time to check in with loved ones to see what is most important to them and then prioritizing what can work best for you, your spouse and your families.  Maybe after talking with your mom, you realize that she could give or take Christmas morning, but the tradition of baking together the week before is one of her favorite parts of the holidays.  This can also be the time where you start new traditions.  After I got married and started dividing up the holidays with my family and my husband's family, I missed the time I used to be able to spend with just my sister.  A few years ago, we decided on a whim to go see a movie, just the two of us, on Christmas night.  We've since tried to continue this tradition and have gotten to the point where we start planning as early as Thanksgiving which new movie we'll reserve for that night.  

To be fair, there will likely be some hurt feelings at first, I've had many a conversation with family members of someone recently married who are mourning the loss of past traditions, but over time, families can develop a new normal.  At the end of the day, your family and your spouse will still love you (why else would they all be trying to secure your presence for the holidays?).

Thanks so much to Brittany for sharing her wisdom! 

I have to throw in that I'm so thankful to my family and Jason's that they've all been so considerate and we've been able to blend our family traditions and often spend holidays all together! 

I'd love to hear what you're thoughts are on the subject. How have things gone for you and your families?

*Yes, I used the phrase "taking the plunge" up top just so I could justify using these photos which I love from Jenna & David's engagement shoot by JKoe Photography. How awesome are they for jumping in Lake Washington on a freezing day!


  1. This is a really tough subject...My husband and I have gone to 3 different homes on every holiday for the past eight years, and it's absolutely exhausting. It's really hard to negotiate, but we are starting our own traditions, in a way. We spend Christmas Eve together, and don't drive down to see our families on Christmas morning. I guess we're used to it by now, but it will be nice when we have kids and everyone gets to come to us :)

    This is a great post my dear, and definitely something that all newlyweds need to figure out for themselves! Thanks for posting, and for linking up this week!


    1. Yikes! That sounds like a lot! I feel like everyone I know who's in the same boat as us, married w/o kids, is hoping once they have kids everyone will come to them!