a colourful family at a black tie event

Some families are…for lack of a better word, colourful. These families include characters that are so eccentric they could be out of movies. There may be a mum who is a free spirited energy healer, a dad who likes to pretend he’s Mr. Bean, a sister who is constantly going on talking diets at spiritual retreats in India, or a brother who stays in his room all day and invents contraptions. Don’t even get us started on extended family. There may be that one uncle that rocks up to every event with a polka dotted bow tie and his mustache ends twisted as if he’s in a circus. There may be the one aunt that looks and acts like Dame Edna Everage, purple hair and all, and the third cousin once removed that insists on hugging and kissing everyone she meets, even though no one else is sure how she’s related. There isn’t a lack of personality in these people, but if we are related to people with similar eccentricities, how do we invite them to our wedding and…survive?

It’s important to remember that normal is relative. To some families normal may mean sit down dinners and quiet evenings, but to other families, large rowdy gatherings where everyone talks over each other is the norm. Normal is what we’re used to. Normal is familiarity. And sometimes, if you’re lucky enough to belong to a colourful family, normal is complete and utter craziness. Sound scary? It is, and it isn’t. It is scary if you’re getting married and consider yourself to be of the ‘normal’ breed, but have a family you consider anything but, but it isn’t if you simply couldn’t care less. But if it is your wedding day and you do care, read on.

One of the great things about weddings is that they bring people together. The bride and the groom become the centre circle with circles of people they both know surrounding them like an orbit. It is one of the only occasions where you will be surrounded by so many people you care about at one time. Chances are, a good portion of the people at your wedding will be your relatives. Realize that essentially they are there for you, and, whether you care about them or not, your wedding is bringing them together.

So back to your colourful family. The first thing that you’ve got to do is accept them for you they are. They are not about to change and neither are you, so accepting them as family and realizing that without them you would be like an island away from land, is the first step. Families are anchors. They remind you of where you place yourself in the world and remind you that, if needed, you could call upon them. Once you’ve accepted that’s how they are, try to lighten up and see the funny side. The great thing about eccentric family members is that they provide free entertainment. Recognize the absurdities and roll with it. It’s hilarious, after all.

If your wedding day arrives and you’ve reached a stage where you’re not nervous about your family embarrassing you, use the situation to your benefit. Order a top hat for that uncle who twirls the ends of his mustache. Let that aunt of yours steal the show dressed as Dame Edna Everage. And when you catch a glimpse of cousin Tommy drinking from the chocolate fountain, nudge your new husband and share a giggle. Life has a way of changing, but family will always be family. For better or for worse.



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