Planning, dreaming, and preparing for your wedding day is a special time; there’s excitement, enthusiasm, and lots of advice. Sometimes it seems that everyone, from your parents to aunts and uncles to friends or even people you meet in line at the grocery store, has ideas about what you should do at your wedding or how they can help. While all of their ideas and offers of assistance can be helpful at times, they can also be overwhelming. Here are some tips on how to say no without offending your loved ones.
Set the Tone As ideas, advice, and offers come pouring in, set the tone from the beginning. Compliment ideas and thank people for their kind offers, but let them know that you want to make decisions with your fiancé. Evaluate Requests You’re likely to receive all kinds of requests during wedding planning. This includes requests both big and small, such as your grandmother wanting to make your wedding cake or a friend asking you to hide something in your bouquet. Consider the request and whether or not it works with your personalities and the vision you have for the wedding day. If so, you may want to include it in the festivities. If not, see if there’s a way to incorporate the request in a way that does fit or consider saying no. Avoid Offering Information You know the type: the friend or relative who has advice about and wants to get involved with everything. If you have someone you know wants to get involved even though you’d rather they didn’t, avoid giving them details about wedding planning. This gives them fewer opportunities to offer advice or assistance. Practice Compromising Compromise is an important part of a marriage, so make the most of wedding planning as a time to practice this skill. Don’t give in to every request or idea, but take time to step back and evaluate what’s actually important to you. Will these things matter six months after the wedding? Be willing to be flexible about things that don’t matter as much to you or your partner. Explain Your Position Sometimes you’ll need to say no. For example, your parents want you to get married at a church but neither of you is religious. However, for bigger issues like this, you may want to avoid a straightforward no because it can sound harsh. Instead, take time to sit down with your parents and explain to them how you feel and why this is important to you. They may not agree, but at least they’ll have a better idea where you’re coming from. Tweak the Idea You don’t always have to agree to the idea, request, or offer in the way it was originally presented. Tweaking the idea can help the person feel included while staying true to your preferences as the bride and groom. For example, the piece of jewelry that every bride in your family wears may not match your wedding dress, but perhaps you wrap it around your bouquet or pin it inside your gown. Repurpose the Offer If someone offers to help but you don’t feel comfortable trusting them with the responsibility, try to find a way to include them that makes both of you happy. For example, if grandma wants to bake the wedding cake, but hasn’t ever done that before, it might not be a great idea. Consider asking her to bake cupcakes for the rehearsal dinner instead. Try a Less Important Day Your wedding day only happens once, so it’s reasonable to hesitate about accepting offers from friends and family. Many of them are excited though and want to share this time with you, so see if you can get them involved on a day other than the wedding. If a friend offers to shoot your wedding photos but you want a professional photographer for the big day, ask the friend to shoot engagement photos instead. This lets them get involved without as much pressure. Create a Buffer Don’t feel like you have to be the one saying no all the time; get help with this task. Ask your fiancé to handle some of the requests from his family and let your wedding planner deal with the last minute requests. If relatives or friends at the reception have a big surprise for the couple, the wedding planner can run it by you before politely saying no. Appreciate the Thought Although you might feel frustrated by the loads of advice and offers, try to appreciate the thought behind them. Your friends and family want to share in your excitement, and they usually mean well. Appreciating that can help you be a little more tolerant. Wedding planning is an exciting time, but it can get overwhelming. Use these tips for saying no to help you manage the flood of requests, ideas, and offers from enthusiastic family and friends.