I’ve never done very well when it comes to answering the same question over and over again. Case in point: When I was 5, I fell off the rings at the playground and got two black eyes. When I next went with my mother to the grocery store, about 16 old ladies in a row asked me what happened. Apparently, I got sick of saying I fell off the rings, and finally proclaimed, “My Mom beat me up, OK?!” She later told me that was the closest she ever came to actually wanting to beat me up.
I’m sort of getting to that point when it comes to the nonstop question, “How’s the wedding planning coming along?” I know I shouldn’t be aggravated. It’s a beautiful event. People just want fun stories about cupcakes and bunting. They want to live vicariously, or they’re just being polite. But when all my free time is spent crafting and reading wedding blogs (plus maybe a little of my work time, just a tiny bit), and all my social time with my closest friends is spent talking about their role in the wedding as bridesmaids, and all my time, period, is spent thinking WEDDINGWEDDINGWEDDINGOMGWEDDDDINNNNGGG, then talking about it with people who have no role in the wedding whatsoever – well, it just seems superfluous.
And I feel especially awkward when people who aren’t being invited to the wedding, but think they are, ask me those questions. I feel like I shouldn’t divulge too much info so they’re not as disappointed when they find out they’re missing out on all this awesomeness. Because yes, our wedding is *that* important to people.
So why am I ranting about this now? Because last night, an acquaintance who’s getting married next October, started peppering me with questions about wedding planning. At first I thought, she’s just a fellow bride to be who needs some guidance. She’d ask me how much things cost for the vendors we chose, and I really don’t mind talking about that, especially with others in my shoes. A girl needs to know a ballpark floral figure, ya’ll. There’s no shame.
But then it became clear there was something else going on below the surface. Every time I’d tell her how much we paid for something, she’d counter that she had found somebody cheaper, and with more included. She asked if we were doing an open bar or a cash bar, and when I said open, she said, “Oh, we’re doing a cash bar.” She asked if we were doing sit-down service or a buffet, and when I said buffet, she said, “Oh, we’re doing sit-down.” It went on and and on like that for at least 15 minutes.
I’m not going so far as to claim she set out that day to undermine every wedding decision we’d made, but it set me on edge – maybe because I was starving and tired and had a headache, or maybe just because it was just irksome. And it got me thinking about some guidelines I’ve set for myself along the way.
- Own your decisions. You and your partner chose everything for a reason – the caterer, the music, the officiant, the venue, the theme, the colors, the bridal party, the little quirks and traditions, and even the things you won’t do. Last thing you want is for every single person’s opinion to make you think, “My God, should we have booked a band instead of a DJ” four months after you put a deposit down for a DJ. What’s done is done, and you’ll love it, because you loved it five minutes before somebody questioned your choice.
- Don’t divulge anything you’re not comfortable divulging. I personally don’t mind talking numbers with people. Some do, and if you’re one of them, don’t feel bad saying, “I’d rather not discuss that.” Alternatively, you can give “ranges” of the vendors you looked at – if you’re paying $1,600 for flowers but got quotes ranging from $2,500 to $1,000, give that range. It’s just as helpful.
- Don’t give detail upon excited detail to people you have no intention of inviting. This is another personal choice, but I’d stay away from this one. It sets expectations and makes people think perhaps they’ll get to nosh on that tasty red velvet cake you’ve gushed about for weeks. I do break this rule when it’s somebody who totally knows they won’t be invited – the girl I met a month ago who just finds weddings really exciting and wants to know everything, a high school friend who lives in Finland, the checkout lady at the craft store, etc.
- Don’t let people you’re not inviting help you with wedding tasks. This is an extension of the previous point, and one I actually enforce for all not invited — even the ones who understand they won’t be. It gets too sticky, and makes me feel guilty. If I’m putting somebody to work, it’s because they’re in the bridal party, closely related to me or Mr. Ladyfingers, or some other kind of VIP — in other words, 100% invited.
I don’t know if this is Emily Post-style etiquette, but it’s worked for us and kept lots of weird situations at bay. Boundaries are very important when it comes to the super-emotional wedding planning process, so find yours and stick to ‘em!
Did you have any weird run-ins with others, either brides to be or not, during your planning process? Did you have to lay down some unspoken ground rules? What were they?