Alternatives to “No”

There’s something in the human soul that seems to say, “I’ve been invited to a wedding, so I get to make all of the bride’s decisions for her.” Once you’ve sent out your engagement announcements, everyone offers you advice on even the most miniscule details of your wedding. You’re going to reject most of that advice, but you have to do it tactfully to avoid hurting everyone’s feelings. Here are some helpful relationship-saving tips.   

  • Take time to decide what you want. It’s your wedding, and you have a right to set your preferences for fashion, florals, décor, venue, entertainment and so forth. Some of your preferences will be cast in stone, impervious to anyone else’s input. But most of the particulars of your wedding will be works in progress. That’s where you’ll appreciate suggestions, and find ways to accommodate many of them.
  • Be firm. Whether you have your heart set on a certain gown, ring, photographer or whatever, and someone tries to talk you into something different, simply tell them, “Thank you, but we already have that handled.”
  • Reframe the offer. For example, if an amateur DJ friend offers to do your wedding for free, and you’d prefer a professional, you could ask your friend to create a one-hour recording of your cocktail music or dinner music, and leave the master-of-ceremonies work and dance music to the professional. That way, your friend gets to be involved, and feels appreciated, without giving him the power to wreck your wedding.  Another example: an amateur photographer can be assigned to shoot some engagement photos or rehearsal photos, while the professional does the heavy lifting on your wedding day. Or an artsy-craftsy friend can create some special wedding favors for all of your guests. The idea is to let well-meaning friends feel important and appreciated, while maintaining control of the most critical parts of your wedding planning.  
  • Compromise. Your great grandmother’s frilly turn-of-the-century gown may have great meaning to your mother or grandmother; but you wouldn’t be caught dead in it. What do you do? Offer to wear her veil instead. If you want to buy the wedding ring of your choice instead of being pressured to wear a family heirloom, offer instead to have your photographer take a creative photo of your ring, your mom’s ring and the heirloom ring. 
  • Let a planner be your “lioness at the gate.” Once you’ve spelled out your wishes to your planner, and told her where there’s room for creative input from others, all you have to do its refer all requests to your planner and let her tell your guests that a decision has already been made. A great planner really earns her money by diplomatically deflecting bad suggestions.

The important thing to remember is that people are offering their suggestions in good faith, and you want to make them feel appreciated and special, even if you have you have to say “no” sometimes.

© Fourth Estate Audio, 2016 – Jay Congdon is president of Fourth Estate Audio, a professional Chicago DJ and Chicago Wedding DJ company.   

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