What is it about getting engaged that seems to give the busybodies in your life an unlimited license to say whatever flies off the tips of their tongues? If you’re reaching the end of your patience, take a deep breath and step back before you lash out. Every bride and groom has to endure this trial to some extent, so you might as well get your best responses ready.
“Your Wedding Isn’t That Important.”
Beware of asking too much of overwhelmed friends. If you need your best friend’s advice on linen colors just when she’s about to drive a sick child to the doctor, you may end up getting snapped at in the heat of the moment. You’ll also encounter versions of “your wedding isn’t that important” from friends and family members who didn’t have large weddings themselves, or from parents who worry they’ll get stuck footing the bill.
The best way to respond to this type of hurtful comment is to examine the reason it was said. If the speaker has a history of being a supportive friend to you, but is juggling other important life events currently, it’s best to let the rude comment slide and just leave that particular person out of your wedding planning discussions from that point forward. If the speaker has a history of being self-absorbed, however, it’s time to re-evaluate just how important you find the friendship itself.
“You’re Wearing That?”
Fashions come and go, but the one thing you can count on is that someone, somewhere, will always disapprove of something. One downside to being thrust into the wedding limelight is that every detail of your outfit comes into intense scrutiny from friends, relatives, and even religious leaders. And yes, you can be certain that someone will find something to complain about.
Remember, your wedding is your big day. It should be a celebration of you and your sweetheart and all that makes you unique–including your fashion choices. If your mother thinks your heels are too high, while your maid of honor thinks they’re too short, gently remind them both that you’re the one getting married. Whether stick-in-the-muds disapprove of your neon pink wedding colors, your reworked vintage wedding gown, or your peacock feather fascinator, it’s what you feel like when you wear them that counts.
The one exception to this is fashion disapproval for religious reasons. Many churches and other houses of worship have strict dress codes for modesty reasons. Wearing strapless dresses, short dresses, and other flamboyant fashions to a wedding in these religious venues can be highly offensive. If your sense of style clashes with your religious ceremony, you’ll need to save your chosen outfit for the after party–or plan a different type of wedding.
“No Kids Doesn’t Apply to My Kids, Right?”
A funny thing happens when you become a parent. You fall so deeply and protectively in love with your child that, through your eyes, he becomes the most precious thing in the world. And that’s exactly as it should be–it has saved many a bratty kid from being chucked out on the street, after all. But when you’re trying to invite parents to a no-kids wedding, you may find yourself speaking in frustrating circles. Expect to hear, “Sure, it’s adults only. But Billy is so mature for a five-year-old!”
Since you and your spouse-to-be are the ones planning the wedding, you’re the ones who get to make the decision about whether you’re hosting a kid-friendly event. To make your rules clearer to a doting parent, explain, “It’s not Billy we’re worried about. But if he’s the exception to the rule, the other parents would feel absolutely terrible.” Or blame it on logistics: “Unfortunately, our venue has a strict age limit.” Ultimately, however, each parent has to decide whether to attend. Just say, “We understand if you can’t join us for this adults-only event. We’ll miss you, and we’d love to catch up another time.”
“I Don’t Approve.”
One of the very worst things you can hear when announcing your engagement are three words: “I don’t approve.” Often uttered just before your parents vow to disinherit you (or at the very least, to not attend your nuptials), coming up against a wall of disapproval is a fast way to turn your giddy engagement excitement into despair.
The only thing you can do when relatives don’t approve of your wedding is examine the reasons behind their feelings and try to convince them otherwise. Remember, deep-seated objections are often rooted in emotions rather than logic, and you may be left with only one path: not inviting the disapprovers to the wedding.
Stay Firm and Polite
Even when the comments are flying at you from every side, it’s important to stay graceful under fire. Snapping at the well-meaning (in their own heads, at least) folks around you will only label you a bridezilla or groomzilla, which doesn’t help your case. In fact, responding to rude comments in kind can create schisms in your family and social circle that ruin your big day. So when you start getting irritated, take a deep breath (and maybe a few days’ break) before responding firmly and politely: “Thank you for your input, but please remember that this is my wedding.”
Lisa is a special needs teacher and a hugger. She always makes time for everyone and lightens up everybody’s lives with her presence. When she is not chasing her students around the yard, she finds time to write about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.