Here's something besides congratulations and questions about when the wedding is going to be, that you will be guaranteed to receive when you get engaged- opinions.
As the very wise saying goes...
Everyone has something to say and no matter how much 'well meaning', or how helpful they think they are being, it can be damn frustrating, especially when you add family relationships and money into the mix.
The opinion givers believe that by telling you just how much their idea is worth considering, even when you are confident with your choices, that you will suddenly change your plans or realise what a genius they. When their opinion is also attached to money (e.g, they are what I like to call wedding donors) it can make it pretty hard to ignore, or deflect at best.
Bridechilla Jess: OMG my mom wants flowers at every turn! I'm like if you want to spend $800 on flowers have at it. I'll carry them but know I think this is ridiculous. Then we are planning my bridal shower, and she now wants to have little flowers there as centrepieces. I'm like, why do we need centrepieces?
Sometimes these opinions are offered because they truly believe they know better than you, other times, it can come back to fear of not understanding new traditions (or ditching old ones). If you are going off the book with your plans and they're worried about how it will affect them.
Bridechilla Georgia: FMIL was trying to show me cake designs and make me choose flavours two weeks after the engagement. We had nine months to go at that point, and had only just picked the venue!
Things to remember about Parents -even if your parents are 'cool'
- In the 'olden days', the 70s and 80s it was still pretty common for parents to be hands-on with their kid's wedding and fund it.
- Their parents, your grandparents probably paid for their wedding and 'managed a lot of details' including inviting a bunch of their friends because that was the done thing.
- Ditching some of the formality, Pinterest, doughnut walls and dudes as bridesmaids are probably new concepts to them and challenge the way that they see weddings as a whole.
Bridechilla Tamara: My future Mother-in-law (whom I normally adore) just last week had a panic attack about the hotel block. It was the first family freaking us out issue we've had so far.
I showed her a review site for the hotel we had decided on. She called me an hour later because out of 600+ reviews and a 4.8 star rating, one review from 4 years ago said they saw a cockroach. She read every single review! Said that "absolutely no one in her family would even consider it". Since her family are the ones coming from up north, I got kind of worried about it. My Fiancé sent his aunts and uncles the same link and every single one thought it was "perfect". So, crisis averted? His mom is still worried.
Bridechilla Jessica :
-It's apparently rude to have my bridesmaids pick their own dresses even though I gave them a color and length and a website?
-I should have thought about a major music festival coming to town before I scheduled my wedding because now all the "nice" hotels are booked. (Aka the ones downtown, the ones close to my venue aren't booked, but those aren't "nice" enough.)
-People aren't going to know the order of the day without programs! (Ceremony, cocktail hour, party. Very simple.)
-My MIL is afraid people will judge me because I'm not having real flowers.That's just so far. Lol
So how do you deal with these unwanted opinions or nosey-ness without being a jerk?
One of my favorite unnecessary/unwanted opinion slaying sayings comes from Oprah, OF COURSE!
I love it because it yet again reminded me how relatable and bloody great that lady is and also the simplicity and power of the phrase that has a tinge of finality about it and also isn't rude.
'That's not going to work for me.'
What I love about this saying is that is direct but polite. The opinion giver doesn't have a lot of recourse to come back from it.If you want to soften the blow, you can add a 'thanks so much for thinking of me/us. That's a good idea, but it's not going to work for us...'. That way their opinion has been heard, but they aren't under the impression that you are going to change your plans or follow their course of action.
As a wedding photographer, here are some of the meltdowns I've seen:
-The state of the grooms/men's pocket square.-The cadence/even spacing of steps down the aisle, to match the music.
-There's no playground for the kids to play on.-The venue parking lot is a dirt lot. This will get everyone dirty. No one will come.
-If they see each other before the wedding, the couple won't have anything to be excited about during the wedding.
-The mother in law is suddenly aware she gained some weight. This is the ruin of the entire wedding.
I find it interesting that the running theme in a lot of these comments is that parents and in-laws are worried that they will be 'judged' for your decisions, probably more so than the decision themselves.
It's a very generational move and thought process.
In short, they're just going to have to get over it. This is your day/weekend/month.
It can be hard finding a way to tell those around you that your decisions are final, that you know best and that their opinion is important to you but is not the driving force of all of your wedding decisions.