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What Should You Do If Your Parents Don't Approve of Your Engagement?

It's a painful situation during what should be a celebratory time.

Getting engaged is supposed to be one of the happiest moments of your life, but if one or both of your families don’t approve, it can put a damper on the celebration.

Relationship Advice
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Photo: Nancy Cohn Photography

Getting engaged is supposed to be one of the happiest moments of your life, but if one or both of your families don’t approve, it can put a damper on the celebration. Not only is it a real mood killer if your parents are disappointed about your big news, but it can also affect wedding planning and even the rest of your lives. It’s a tough situation for everyone involved. Everyone’s family dynamics are different, but if you’re facing these issues (or are close to a proposal and know this might come up), we have some general tips to help you handle it. 

what to do if your parents don't approve of your engagement
Photo courtesy of Mallory Dawn Photography; Planning & Design by Mindy Weiss Party Consultants; Venue: Vibiana

- Talk through the issues. If your family’s problem is due to your sweetheart’s gender, race, religion, or class status, you’ll need to stand your ground and hope you can get them to give up their prejudices for your sake. Should their qualms be about one or both of your ages or your partner’s behavior, it might be helpful to hear them out. Perhaps there are some red flags you missed, and if not, you can reassure them that you’ve thought it through. In either situation, family counseling can be helpful. 

- Consider a longer engagement. Giving your parents some time to get used to the idea might help things along, especially if that period is used to show why you want to get married. If it still doesn’t work, at least you’ll know you tried.

- Focus on your found family. Unfortunately, not every family is able to come together for these special occasions. If your relatives still refuse to show up for your big day, be sure to lean on your friends for support, as well as future in-laws.

- Elope! If trying to get your family to come around is too stressful and painful, it may be healthiest to embrace your love and get married with just the two of you. It can also be a smart move financially, considering many couples count on help from their parents to pay for the wedding. Just be prepared that taking this step could lead to long-term estrangement if you're not careful.

For more advice, learn what conversations you should have with your parents after you get engaged and find out how to handle a bridesmaid dropping out of your wedding