Dear Friendly Advice-giver…


The letter you really want to send.

Dear Friendly Advice giver... | A Practical Wedding

I wrote this letter out of frustration, two weeks before my wedding, as the “helpful comments” and “hilarious sarcastic jokes” about my wedding choices were flying fast and furious. Examples of this kind of charming commentary included: “I think you shouldn’t get married until you are at least thirty” (he says to the twenty-seven-year-old bride); “Next time you should plan your wedding in Hawaii, because [small Canadian town] in March is hardly a worthwhile destination”; and, the best, “Don’t get married. Just get a dog instead.” Delightful!

Dear [Complainer],

Thank you for your input. Unfortunately, since it is the day/week before/of the wedding, I am unable to change the thing that is causing you some amount of discomfort/inconvenience. Before you move forward with further commentary about how you would have planned things differently for our wedding, I would like to ask you a favour. As my loved one, your words are very meaningful to me. So I’d like to ask you to take a moment and think about how you would like to be remembered on my wedding day. You see, this wedding day is a big deal for me. And, as someone who loves me, I hope that it would be important to you as well, though naturally not as much as it is to me. Because my wedding day is important to me, and you are important to me, I will likely hold the words you say to me about and on this wedding day very close to my heart. This day will be very emotional for me, and I will therefore be hypersensitive to negative comments, perceiving them to be criticism of myself and my choices. You might have been thinking that you could be more free to share your opinions since we are family/friends—while this might normally be true, I am a people pleaser trying to plan a fun set of events for 115 people, who are the people that my partner and I love best in the world. I do not take well to unhelpful negative opinions (even “jokes”) about things that I cannot change (such as the location, time of year, guest list, decoration choices, food choices). So I’m asking you to take some time to think about what sorts of things you want me to remember about you, about how you acted and what you said to me and those that I love. If you don’t really care—or don’t mind if what I remember is that you spent your time sharing opinions which I found to be hurtful, with lack of thought for my feelings—then keep on keeping on. If you were hoping to be remembered as being a supportive, loving person who rose above the inconvenience of travel and circumstance to celebrate with me, you might want to reconsider your current conversational style and get a tighter filter on the running commentary.

Whatever way you act, I will still love you. There will be future life events at which we can make different, better memories, even if things go sour today. But I am getting married just once. You have this amazing, unique opportunity to be a part of a significant set of memories in my life. So I hope you are able to enjoy the weekend with us. I hope you are able to see past the things that aren’t to your taste and expectations, and instead open your heart to meeting new wonderful people and reconnecting with those you already know and love. I hope you can focus on the fact that my partner and I love each other, are committing to each other, and are asking you to celebrate with us, even if you don’t think we have a shot in hell of happiness because of your own views on marriage. I hope you are able to be present at our wedding, and express your love and support to us. That is what I hope to remember about you.

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  • Moe

    T-minus 32 days here.

    Thank you for sharing this you’re really nice. Because the bridezilla in me just wants to punch everyone in the face right now.

    So to all of you brides who are like me in the homestretch of planning trying to replace centerpeices with more affordable options at the last minute and sleepless at night because you can’t find The Perfect Song for your first dance, I salute you and would like to pour you a shot of tequila in solidarity.

    *fistbump*

    • meg

      You guys, the word Bridezilla is so awful and anti-feminist even when we use it on ourselves. It’s SUPER OK to be annoyed and angry when people are being awful/ unhelpful/ rude/ insensitive about an important moment in our lives (that was a lot of damn work to plan), even when the world tells us we’re being silly/ crazy/ hormonal/ whatever bullshit. VALIDATION.

      It’s just not ok to punch them in the face. Which sometimes seems like a damn shame, but there we are.

      • http://www.foreveryoungadult.com Erin

        Is it okay to grab a pillow, name it that person’s name, and then punch the pillow? In the privacy of your own closet? Because I may have done that. Once.

        • http://www.thedaviesdealings.blogspot.com Kara

          Very much ok, Erin. Very much!

          (Also very therapeutic is to buy a couple cheap plates from a thrift shop and smash them to smithereens! I recommend a brick wall for ultimate angst release.) ;)

          • Anna

            There is actually a German wedding tradition called “Polterabend” that revolves around breaking plates and other porcelain on the evening before the wedding. I highly recommend it! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polterabend

        • Heather

          Ladies are allowed to express anger. It would behoove us to remember this.

  • Juanita

    Wow, so this is my first time commenting, (I love this site by the way), anyway it struck me because one of my dear friends who just got engaged in December has already been hearing advice like this. Largely because she is still in college and only 23 years old. People say she’s too young, she’s getting married too soon (their nuptials will be in August), they think it’s weird she’s getting married at a camp and on and on and on. This was so spot on, for anyone making big decisions and having to deal with everyone’s advice on the matter.

    • One More Sara

      I dreamt for a while about having a camp wedding (specifically the camp where my honey and I met). When reality started playing out and it was glaringly obvious that this dream wedding wasn’t happening, I had to mourn it for a while. Tell your friend that a stranger on the internet thinks her camp wedding is going to be AWESOME!!!!!!!!!

    • Lauren

      I just heard about a camp wedding! What a crazy cool idea. Add me to the chorus of well-wishers.

  • LILY

    This is so good. So, so good. Especially since I can literally hear the “Just get a dog instead” comment in my head, in my mother’s voice…

  • californienne

    Seriously needed this right now. Being a “people-pleaser” makes wedding planning so difficult. But, people-pleaser or not, no one needs friends or family suggesting “better” honeymoon destinations, criticizing your budget catering choice, or, worst of all, telling you you’re trying to please too many people right after giving you unsolicited advice!

    I need a wedding-planning support group!

  • Annie

    Love this. Hit the nail squarely on the head. Wish I could rewind to my time of being engaged (I’m a graduate now) and print out copies of this to hand to everyone with all their opinions/advice back then.

  • Elaine

    “‘I think you shouldn’t get married until you are at least thirty’ (he says to the twenty-seven-year-old bride).”

    Yes! I was the same age when I got married, and people said this to me “jokingly” MULTIPLE times. Since when is twenty-seven a child bride? Yeesh!

  • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

    Hear, hear!!

    What is it with people making their idiotic “clever” jokes? Do they not realize how stupid they are?

  • Lauren

    I have actually gotten very few bits of “friendly” advice; most has actually been quite supportive. And, in a way, I’m shocked, because we’re (comparatively) so young (22).

    The one thing I’ve gotten even minor pushback about is that I am a relatively religious person (Christian) and he is a stone-cold atheist and has been since he was a child. It really has very little impact on our relationship, and yet people can’t seem to understand.

    I was thinking about writing a post on that topic – would anybody read it? There’s a lot on this site and the Internet as a whole about interfaith weddings, but very, very little about inter-faith-and-no-faith weddings. Thoughts?

    • Copper

      I would definitely want to read it! As an atheist (agnostic on my most generous days), the ceremony wouldn’t mean anything to me if I was promising things to god. I know religious people who wouldn’t feel like it meant anything without god being a part of it. How do you bridge that gap?

    • ElisabethJoanne

      For better or worse, I find that the amount of advice received and given relates directly to how female-dominated the person’s life is. Working in a male-dominated profession, I got no advice from co-workers until the week of the wedding. I got tons of advice through the mothers, both of which work in healthcare. Same with male and female friends. We didn’t get much advice from friends, and most of our friends are men.

      • Mellie

        Not to be all “ACTUALLY” at you, but I work in a male dominated department and the person with the most volume of annoying stuff is a 48 year old dude. “Aren’t weddings such a racket? Why does everything have to be all perfect and high maintenance? Mine only cost x in 1984. Why do you even need vases? You can use jars. I’m so excited for your wedding because you are so down to earth, but everyone else’s wedding sucks and I will subtly judge you if you do anything that displays a hint of “trying” or “caring”.” OK, that is an overblown caricature of all the worse things he said condensed into one rant, mostly he is great, but I have been having a way harder time with people who take me as pretty down to earth (I would say I am) and think it will be a bonding experience to trash the wedding industry, when in truth it makes me feel crappy that even my low-key wedding is costing a bazillion dollars and so much work and I feel like they are minimizing that. The other worst person is the other dude I work with who doesn’t like weddings because he thinks it is just one person (I’m assuming the lady) making the other person (dude) do all this frivolous stuff, which is not my experience at all.

        On to the ladies there are a few at my work talking about how horrible it is to be a bridesmaid and how brides are the worst, and one of my friends wanted to assure me she TOTALLY wasn’t jealous or anything (um, what? I get where that is coming from but it is so inappropriate), but otherwise the ladies in my life are mostly like “I’m here for anything, whatever YOU want.”

        Anyway, just another perspective on the gender stuff.

        • http://www.thehousealwayswinsblog.com Rachel Wilkerson

          So funny, I work with all men (literally) and the most advice I got (which was really sweet/helpful and not at all pushy) was from a guy who just helped his daughter plan her wedding. He sent me all his Excel docs and was super chatty about the details and budgeting and such. My younger male coworkers are happy to chat with me about the details from time to time too…mostly on my terms and not at all pushy, but just very friendly and offering advice when appropriate. I’ve often wondered how it would be different if I were in a female-dominated office, but Eric gets lots of input from his male coworkers too, so I definitely agree that men have strong opinions on this stuff and aren’t afraid to share it! Especially men who are married or have attended a lot of weddings.

    • http://snippetsof.blogspot.com SarahE

      Yes, please write a post. It’s something I think about a LOT. I come from a strong faith background (12 years of Catholic school), but stopped practicing my faith in college and have since completely stopped identifying myself as anything but a “cultural Catholic.” I still have a strong sense of spirituality though, and do believe in God. My partner’s extended family is deeply religious, but his parents are lapsed protestants, and he himself is an atheist.

      I often look for more clarification for him of what he believes in (simple answer: equality) non-religiously, and when we were first looking at to marry or not to marry, it took me a while to understand what a wedding ceremony might mean without the faith component. (Thanks, APW!) He maintains that if I want a religious ceremony, that’s fine with him, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable “swearing to God” we’d love each other if he doesn’t believe in God.

      So please, write it.

    • meg

      Please write it! I know it’s a huge issue for tons of people.

      • http://www.devabydefinition.com deva

        We are in the same boat, except i was raised Jewish, so we’re incorporating a lot into our ceremony from Judaism, with only one mention of God at the very end of the ceremony. It is turning out to be interesting, and I used the APW open comment thread for ceremonies/vows to piece our ceremony together.

    • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

      Yes! I am in the same boat, as far as trying to figure out a way to honor and respect my religious beliefs *and* his atheism in the ceremony. We are still over a year out, but it is on my mind.

      Edit: Also, I have been reading this blog since it was first mentioned on Mighty Girl Back in September of 2010. I decided to start at the very beginning and read it all straight through. Well, it took a while. (And was very fun.) I got engaged myself over Election Day weekend this past November, and at that point I really picked up the pace.

      So I am really excited to read a post on the same day it was posted *and* to leave a comment that wasn’t a (slightly creepy) two-years-after-the-original-post kind of thing. Yay! I’m looking forward to reading and commenting with y’all in real time. (Finally.)

    • AJ

      I would read it! My Mr. is an atheist, and until he told me that (after I’d fallen head over heels in love), I thought I could NEVER be with someone who didn’t even believe that God exists, let alone have any relationship with him. Since then, I’ve really examined my own religious upbringing and come to realize that I don’t have the kind of faith that I thought I did. I call myself an agnostic now, but, in reality, I’m an “apathetic” because I simply can’t bring myself to care about faith at all.

    • http://www.ruthvincent.com Ruth

      Please write about this! My fiancée and I are in the same situation

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

      My husband and I are in the same situation, and I would have really appreciated reading a post on that back when we were deciding to get married…

    • Lauren

      I’ll get crackin’ then. It makes me feel so much better that (I already know that) I am not alone.

    • Lynn

      So looking forward to a post about this! My fiance and I are in the same boat…I’m a Christian and he is agnostic. I share the same situation as commenter AJ where I never thought I could fall for someone who wasn’t super religious too and yet falling for someone who is so wonderful and yet not religious has completely shifted my faith (in a good way, I believe!) and made me reevaluate how I was judging others and what I truly believed for myself versus being told to believe by my denomination. On the negative side, I basically lost all of my friends because they were my lifelong church friends who told me I wasn’t “allowed” to marry this man who makes me happier than anything in the world because he doesn’t claim to love Jesus like I do. The close mutual friend who is actually the one that introduced us (and happens to be a pastor) refused to marry us because of our situation. It’s been the only dark cloud in our wedding planning but in a way it’s made us stronger as a couple because we’ve become even more of a unified team committed to celebrating our differences that complement each other instead of allowing them to tear us apart. I’ve thought about writing a post too and wondered if I’m alone (I’ve loved all the interfaith posts but recognized that the faith/no-faith situation is a whole different set of issues). It’s hard to imagine what I’d even write when I feel like I’m still in the middle of comprehending everything that’s happened while dealing with the fallout from my friends and being left without an officiant for our wedding who actually knows us personally. I look forward to seeing what you write and opening that discussion–I know we are not alone!

      • http://snippetsof.blogspot.com SarahE

        Internet hugs for your friend situation! I can’t imagine that God would ever be unhappy about two people in love.

        In the fall, I heard a lecture from Robert Putnam, author of American Grace. He spoke about the increasing polarity in religion and politics and how they’ve influenced each other. The reason I mention it is because he found that most individuals are actually more tolerant than their professed denomination because of the “Aunt Sally” factor- almost everyone knows or loves someone in whatever that “other” category is, and she’s pretty okay, so they can’t all be bad.

      • AJ

        Hugs to you! I’ve been lucky not to lose many friends over the issue, but there were definitely some hurtful comments thrown around. My mom even said, “I wish I could be completely happy for you” which I think was spoken more out of her own sadness that I’d gone down a path that she didn’t agree with than any intention to hurt me. After a year of marriage, though, she just LOVES my Mr. She still wishes we were both people of faith, but I’m SO thankful that it hasn’t damaged my relationship with her like I thought it might.

  • Copper

    I’m 7 months out, and already occasionally want to punch people. Oh, you really think I should just go to a “normal” bridal shop instead of letting my incredibly talented and enthusiastic mother make my dress, because you happened to find something (for your size 4 body) on a great sale at one 30 years ago? That’s so nice for you, and so unhelpful for me.

  • http://www.foreveryoungadult.com Erin

    I’m getting this tattooed on my forehead!

    I’m also thinking of drafting a similar-ish letter to my partner and my mother, both of whom are wonderful, but are definitely letting me take the charge with research/figuring things out/coming up with ideas (which is fine, because I’m the kind of person who enjoys that). Honest to God, every conversation lately re: wedding stuff goes like this:

    Me: “I was thinking about what we could do for ____. And I was wondering, what do you think about this option? It has ____, ____, and ______ (insert features they’ve said they wanted).”

    Them: “It doesn’t have ______.” Or “It’s okay, but I wish it had _________.” (insert some feature or observation that they’ve NEVER MENTIONED BEFORE.)

    And it’s like . . . it’s not that their opinion bothers me. But before we’ve even had this simple convo, I’ve probably put in SEVERAL HOURS of work researching and rejecting and internally compromising on whatever it is, just to find something that I think they MIGHT like. I mean, it usually goes like this, in my head. “Hmm, what to do about ____? Man, I would really like it if we could ________, but there’s no way that Pete/Mom is going to go for that. He/She won’t like it because of ____ or _____. What about this option? No, it’s out because of ______. Well, how about this? I don’t love it, but it’s not bad and it meets all of Pete’s/my mom’s requirements for ______ and ______. This could work! Let me ask!”

    And then . . . immediate rejection. And back to the drawing board.

    (ugh, sorry, I had to get that off my chest, I guess.)

    • KB

      YES!!! Or the absolute worst is that people are super opinionated about EVERYTHING weddings (as in, other people’s weddings) but when you ASK them for their opinion on something related to your wedding, they say, “Oh. That’s nice. (silence).” And you know – JUST KNOW – that they are either silently judging you OR they’re going to turn around and complain about it to someone else in the wedding party/on the guest list/in the family and it will get back to you. Seriously, I’d almost RATHER have someone torpedo my idea than have to decipher their two-word opinion about it like a Ouija board.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Or they don’t like your suggestion, but have no alternatives to suggest.

      Or they suggest you must have a big-ticket item, like a videographer, way after the budget is set and major expenses committed to.

      Or they say they want something that will take a lot of work well after the plan should have been made.

      The last was the worst for me – people who just didn’t understand that we were following the “typical” 12-month planning calendar, and did not want to procrastinate. Wedding planning was only truly stressful for us in the first few weeks, when we were learning to make the decisions together and communicate about them, and the last 4 weeks, when RSVPs were in and suddenly the parents and the priests had a bunch of “new ideas.” For us, it was long after the “idea” stage. I think I’m still disappointed that the supposed “grown-ups” in the process couldn’t respect our plans for a minimal-stress lead-up to the wedding.

      • http://theatreprojects.blogspot.com Jessamarie

        My solution to the last minute suggestions was a version of…
        “Wow that is an amazing idea, we’ll definitely have to do that next time.” (wink, smile, change subject)
        or if it actually would be a decent idea if I had time,
        “Thanks so much, but unfortunately I am totally booked finishing so many things on my list this week, can you be in charge of that?” (which usually resulted in X thing not happening anyway, but the few things that happened were great additions to the day and not my problem.

    • http://www.chanouxstories.com Laura

      Yes. So much yes. My fiance and I couldn’t get started on wedding planning for the first several months, so I pretty much spent that time researching venues online. When we visited a few places and didn’t find one we both loved right away, he suggested we just keep looking. I had to take a few deep breaths, because my first thought was, “But… but I already looked! I narrowed it down! I can’t just find some new place out of the blue!”

      • Emily

        I’m just now trying to “find some new place out of the blue,” since yesterday I found out that our ceremony location is no longer usable, due to something out of the control of us or the vendor. Luckily we have a few months, and I’m telling myself that we’ll end up with a more creative solution in the end…

        Besides having to start from scratch, though, I also have to decide by next week or so about what to put on the invitations. Thoughts about whether I should keep the location copy the same (which would be great so I wouldn’t have to order another letterpress plate)? I might not have time to wait until we decide on an alternative, since my DIY invite process is complex.

    • Kat

      YES! Thank you for living this with me. We are in the early stages of planning, and after hours and hours of searching through the whole garbage trough of the internet for a venue that works with our location, size, budget, traveling relatives, etc., to hear “it’s ok… but….not perfect” for everything IMMEDIATELY makes my entire brain explode into STAB STAB STAB mode.

      Not to spread my brain explosion all over this wonderful site, but sometimes an ‘exactly’ isn’t quite enough.

      • http://www.foreveryoungadult.com erin

        Ha! Yes! And man, I try to not let it get to me, but it kind of feels like spending hours on a research paper, turning it in, and the teacher giving you a big fat F without even reading it.

  • Diane

    My favorite is people who give directly contradictory advice or comments like “wow you guys are blowing a lot of cash on this, wouldn’t it be better to use that to…?” and then two minutes later telling me how we should have a videographer and wedding themed stamps and bridal portraits.

    • http://www.devabydefinition.com deva

      My brain hurts from the contradictory advice sometimes. i do a lot of smiling and nodding and saying it’s somethign to talk to my fiance about more than anything.

      We managed to get wedding-themed stamps by chance: our invitations necessitated 66-cent stamps. The postman at our post office actuall dug around in his Great Big Drawer of Stamps and pulled out… 66-cent stamps with wedding cakes on them.

  • http://snippetsof.blogspot.com SarahE

    Putting this in for a friend who’s in the early stages of planning: this letter could be twice as aggressive for those who imply that due to some choice you made, your wedding isn’t “real.”

    My friend was told by a married mutual friend that she shouldn’t spend $XXX on a wedding dress because she plans to have a very small and simple ceremony, not a REAL wedding. Mutual friend paid $XXXX on her dress however, because she DID have a “real” wedding, whatever that means. I was outraged in solidarity: Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot you two were just going to be pretending the whole time.

    If you end up MARRIED, it is REAL.

    • KB

      Oooh, I have to say as a karmic apology to the universe that I once told a friend that it’s ok that she hated her job in the service industry because at least it wasn’t her “real” job, aka, the job that she had gone to school for, dropped a $%&*ton of money for a degree in, and had obtained said degree…and then I realized what I said, turned BRIGHT RED, and apologized profusely. I still want to crawl into a hole when I remember that one.

      • http://snippetsof.blogspot.com SarahE

        I’m guilty of that sin, too- usually self-directed though. As in, not having a “real job” for a while right after graduation. It’s mostly a vocab issue, and reminding myself to sub in “career” or “career-track position.” In an attempt to be cute and fun and flippant, I’ve sacrificed actual word-creating brain cells.

        So don’t beat yourself up over it :-)

  • http://abasketcase.blogspot.com Basketcase

    Man, I had someone like this after the wedding.
    My BIL and his wife decided to complain about the fact they had to come to our city for the wedding. And then laughed at us when we were upset by their comments.
    So yeah – headsup, it doesn’t always stop once the wedding is over.

    • http://theaftercath.blogspot.com Cathi

      Ugh, yes. The post-wedding offhand musings are awful.

      “It’s too bad you didn’t have a receiving line, it would have been nice if you spent more time thanking people.”

      “I was bummed you didn’t do a grand exit, those are so fun!”

      “I can’t believe no one took video of your ceremony! It was so great, aren’t you sad you don’t have it to look back on?”

      “The Best Man looks sweaty in a lot of the pictures, maybe tuxes in August weren’t the best idea.”

      And so on. So many imagined stabbings.

      • http://www.thedaviesdealings.blogspot.com Kara

        Ugh, “receiving lines”. Wedding guests, just find the bride and groom during the reception and have a quick chat. Not all of us like the “kiss hug cry lines”! :p We didn’t have one for our wedding and I was totally fine with it. ;)

  • http://www.koruwedding.blogspot.com Koru Kate ⎨Koru Wedding⎬

    How I wish- really, really wish, I had this letter when I got married!

  • http://www.herinspiration.com Sara

    Oh I needed this. I was just a victim of a passive aggressive FB post by one of my bridesmaids “I am sooo over weddings, ugh” Oh but it wasn’t directed towards me because “she isss going to 4 other weddings this year”.

    • Copper

      wow, maybe you should relieve her of the burden of going to yours and reduce her stress by 20%?

  • Been there but almost doing that

    I really appreciated the person who wrote “On a Sunday?!” in our guest book so I can forever cherish his resentment over missing a few football games.

    On the flip side, this post is timely because I spent most of last night having an anxiety attack over trying to find a babysitter on the opposite coast so I can attend my friend’s no-kids wedding there. But after a while I remembered from APW that “a wedding is not an imposition”, so either I choose to go and make the necessary arrangements unresentfully, or I stay home and send a gift and love. This post reinforced for me why I should do that.

    • http://snippetsof.blogspot.com SarahE

      omg, in your guest book?! Good Grief.

      • Miss S

        I have another terrible guestbook thing:

        My brother and SIL had a framed picture with a really thick mat for people to write nice things at their wedding. Her (horrid) stepfather wrote right in the middle in large letters, “I’m happy to gain a son, and happy to lose a daughter.” So of course they can’t hang it up anywhere because his dickish comment marred the whole thing.

        In his defence, he is a drunk asshole.

  • Dana

    THIS. SO MUCH THIS. From the bottom of my heart that is about to explode with equal parts love and hatred, I salute you. Am I allowed to share this with those close to me or is that pushing it??

    • Itsy Bitsy

      Hah! I’m actually thinking about posting it on Facebook “for my engaged friends…” AKA for my loved ones to read as a precautionary measure.

    • Mackenzie

      Hello, original poster here! I actually did send a individualized and heavily edited version of this letter to one guest who had already made several “hilarious” comments in person, and then pushed me over the edge by emailing me another funny “joke” about the inconvenience of one aspect of my wedding. I basically kept in the parts about me being a stressed-out oversensitive people pleaser, and that I hoped to remember the guest as open, loving and supportive (as I know they had the capacity to be). She apparently cried at work after reading it because the truth is – she had no idea that her comments were hurtful. I found over the course of wedding planning that the vast, vast majority of offensive comments were made by people clueless to their impact. So I felt a little bad at making her cry (though….her comments had made me cry, rage, and write a letter to APW so…), but in the end she had a better understanding of my emotional state and was wonderful for the rest of the time leading up to and including the wedding.

      Good luck with your own planning – I definitely identify with hearts full of love and hatred, and from my own experience can say that the love does take over in the end, promise:)

      • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

        Here’s hoping that her understanding carries forward to the next wedding she attends. You may have saved another bride some frustration and mental anguish.

  • http://www.kimfisherdesigns@gmail.com kim

    I love this – mainly because it illustrates the mind numbing sensitivity that is part of planning a wedding. Someone older once said to me “In my day we had parties, now everyone has weddings” . It’s about balance and remembering what the day is all about – the two of you .

    • ElisabethJoanne

      We actually saw the decline in regular party-throwing a lot as we were planning our wedding. While, yes, the wedding will likely be the biggest and most expensive private party we ever throw, it was only bigger and more expensive than other parties I’ve thrown. It’s still the same basic set-up: guest list, date, invitations, venue, food. Since I invite people over for lunch after church Sundays, even scheduling around the religious ceremony wasn’t new.

      Had the wedding been the first and only party I’d thrown, it would have been much more stressful.

  • http://www.jamie-fischer.com Jamie Fischer

    This is absolutely brilliant. Thanks for sharing it, Mackenzie.

  • anonforthis

    Such a great letter!

    My favorite piece of “advice” was alllll the people who said variations of “I would never waste $500/$2000/$20,000 on just one day – I would travel/buy a house instead!” These were always people who had not, in fact, chosen to forgo a wedding in order to travel or buy a house. I can completely understand why someone would want to do that, and if someone told me about eloping so they could afford to travel, I would be totally into hearing their story & feel happy for them. All the people who said this to me were either already married and had had a wedding, or weren’t getting married any time soon and weren’t actually faced with the financial decisions that come with a wedding.

    I hated this “advice” because it always implied that whatever my budget was it was money “wasted” – and it also implied that I had complete control over the matter, complete choice about how the “wedding money” could be spent. I didn’t really have a choice. It’s not like my family said “Here’s $x, do whatever you want with it!” My family wanted a wedding – they NEEDED a wedding – and many, many people pitched in financially and otherwise to make that happen. It’s not like there was this one lump sum I could have used for something else – money came from many different places, and everyone wasn’t offering to pitch in and buy us a house.

    We contributed a lot of money to our wedding too, and yes, it would be fun to have that money to travel, etc. But again, it wasn’t entirely about us – it was about our families and friends, too. It frustrated me that the “advice givers” didn’t seem to understand that choices about money and weddings are not always choices the bride makes exclusively – nor should they be.

  • Lynn

    I guess it’s not really advice but the unsolicited and frustrating comment I’ve gotten the most has been from all the older women I work with and their constant comments about their “scumbag ex-husbands” and other disparaging remarks about men and marriage, implying that my marriage is doomed to fail because theirs did. And then they’ll ask me if I’ve found a dress or picked flowers yet and I just want to scream “what do you care? you think it’s all a huge mistake anyways!” I just try to smile politely and not let them project their bitterness onto my happiness.

    My fiance gets a lot of comments from other men who think they are being funny with the stereotypical “old ball and chain” or “only a few months left of freedom!” stuff. This “commitment comedy” doesn’t really strike either of us as funny but all we’ve been able to do to rebuke it so far is say “actually, I’m really excited to get married.”

    • Elemjay

      I find that a lot of the mean comments during the planning phase come from coworkers. They know the bride-to-be, by necessity spend time together, but may not actually know/ like/ love each other so (a) have more opportunities to say dumb things and (b) don’t know the individual that well or care so much about hurting them.

      Maybe this means “don’t talk about weddings at work” but that’s probably a bit dramatic too….

    • Samantha

      Ick! We’ve luckily not experience too much of this but I absolutely detest when people make snide comments about “husbands” and “wives.” I.e.: Some of my fiances coworkers have told him not to get married, he is crazy to want to get married. Or when men say – oh you’ll quickly learn “yes dear.” Or when women suggest that my fiance is good for nothing and has no interest in the wedding or doesn’t help around the house. Ya know the stereotypes! Well sorry, but no, that is not how our relationship works. Actually I’m really lucky because my fiance makes dinner 90% of the time. Oh and he does care about helping plan this wedding. And we are EXCITED to be MARRIED! Seriously – sorry your relationship is so depressing but not everyone’s is that way. It’s like they are trying to initiate you into some depressing club. . .

      • Rosie

        I completely felt like some people were trying to ‘initiate you into some depressing club’. I mostly just tried to laugh, but I wanted to say ‘really? You think I’m getting married so that I can cook/clean/look after a man who acts like a child/destroy my love life? Why do you think I would do that?’

  • Joanna

    I wish you had written this in time for my own wedding! The only difference was that most of the hurtful comments directed at me came from people who weren’t invited – maybe you can write a letter to them next!

  • Sabee

    I’m single and not even anywhere near planning a wedding, but…
    I was engaged what feels like another life time ago and did plan a wedding (that never happened). And it was this sort of stuff that convinced me I would rather elope if I ever do get married.
    Sometimes, wedding planning can bring out THE WORST in people. They take it as an opportunity to pile all their fears and regrets and contrary opinions on the couple.
    I envy those of you with supportive families.

  • http://www.thehousealwayswinsblog.com Rachel Wilkerson

    PREACH.

  • Mallory

    This. So much this.

    I had my dental hygenist give me a look of abject horror the other day when I told her my age (23) and an exclamation of “BUT…BUT…you’re so YOUNGGGG!” I’ve also had well-meaning friends talk about how amazing it was to have a fancy groom’s cake (I don’t want to spend $$$ for an icky fondant cake, thankyouverymuch), why having the rehearsal 2 days before the wedding is bad, why a Sunday wedding on a holiday weekend is inconvenient for them, why our wedding location is inconvenient, etc.

    We’re 9 weeks out – it’s not changing, people!

  • kaybee

    Can I anonymously send this to my mother before my wedding this June? I’ve already had the “let’s all try to be positive that weekend!” talk with her but it didn’t go as well as I had hoped. Her response was that I shouldn’t expect the wedding to be perfect and just deal with it. Oh well. It will still be perfect to me! :-)

  • Rachel

    This is so timely. I am getting married in October and just yesterday I was thinking about how frustrating it is when people ask about various wedding planning things (have you decided on the flowers, do you have a dress, are you hiring a dj or a band) and then respond to my answers with either criticism or suggestions. If I am asking for an opinion on kale bouquets, please, tell me what you think. If I say that we have decided not to hire a photographer and are going the iTunes playlist route for music, I do not want to hear why these are terrible ideas that we will surely regret. The decision has been made, photographers and djs are not in our budget.

    Basically, if you want to hear about my wedding planning, ask away. If you want to tell me how to plan my wedding, please go away. And it’s not because I don’t value others’ opinions. It’s because I am already worried enough, it is not helpful to have every decision I have made questioned and nitpicked over.

  • Justme

    Great note, I’m 6 weeks out from our wedding and am sick of the input about our choices… Our pre-emotive strike was to book everything before telling people we’d set a date, generally, ‘oh, we’ve already booked x’. Stops the conversation.

    I’ve decided to cut out many traditions stemming from arranged marriages… Mum, however, has fond memories of what was expected of her and has started second guessing me now that we are getting close… I’ve been a little forthright in two recent conversations…

    mum: ‘You won’t look like a bride if you don’t wear a veil!’

    Me: ‘What? The wedding invitation, big white dress, walking down the aisle and celebrant calling me the bride won’t clue people in?’

    Mum: ‘It’s bad luck to do the photos before the wedding – the groom will see you… ‘

    Me: ‘Since he has seen me hungover and vomiting, sick in bed with the flu, and hours after an operation, somehow I don’t think seeing me dolled up for our wedding is going to make him run, but lets run some quick stats: did you see dad before your wedding’

    Mum: ‘no’

    me: ‘what about your second wedding, did you see the groom then’

    mum: ‘no’…

    Me: ‘ok, wedding three?’

    Mum: ‘It was a backyard wedding, of course I did.’

    Me: ‘so of 3 weddings, the only one that worked was when you DID see him… How is that bad luck?’

  • AM

    I wish I had known about this website before my wedding. Then I owuld have had to decide carefully whether to give her a letter like this or whether to just uninvite her and tell her to go jump in the lake.

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