Those People vs. Me

I think weddings are amazing. They are a public recognition of one’s love for another and the community that surrounds them. They are a gathering of people, places, and things that mean something to two people. They are an amazing excuse to gather all your family, friends, and loved ones in one spot, even if just for one night. That opportunity will only arise a few times in your lifetime. They are also a great excuse to get dressed up, to celebrate, and, well, to dance your butt off with your great aunt you haven’t seen in six years.

You know what else weddings are? Weddings are an overwhelming conglomerate of decisions. Decisions about the overall feel of your wedding, the theme, the colors, location, food, alcohol, timing, music, who to invite, and probably everyone’s favorite decision: how to afford it all. These are decisions that require you taking your partner’s opinion and your family’s opinions into consideration…or not. Some of these decisions are big—like your budget, whether to incorporate religion, or where you draw the line on who is “close enough” of a friend to invite and who doesn’t make the cut. There are also decisions that are small, like table numbers or napkins, things that you might never have thought about before but now you have to make a choice. I barely know what I want for lunch today, and you want me to make seating arrangements for 150 people?!

With decisions come many different types of decision-makers. There are people that go with their gut feelings. There are people that mull over every option for extended periods of time. There are people that request many different people’s opinions, outsourcing the decision making. There are people that simply believe they cannot make a decision. Personally, I am a quick decision maker. This can sometimes be perceived as me being spontaneous or uneducated, but, trust me, this by no means indicates I have not thought things through or not weighed my options. I do my research, I compare and I compare again, but then I make a decision, usually quickly. I do not like to have unmade decisions hanging out there in my mind. I like to resolve things. Ultimately, there really isn’t a “wrong” way to decide. We are all different. My problem though, is how to deal with “decided.”

I believe there are two ways to do this. One way is to second-guess yourself.  It was in Meg’s book that I first read Voltaire’s, “The best is the enemy of good.” Did you get the best deal? Could you have done something better? Will everyone like it? What if there is something better out there than what you decided on? The second way is to embrace your decision, trust yourself, and move on. I without a doubt believe the latter is the way to go, but ohhhh man, is that easier said than done, especially with all those people.

Yes, those people. You know the ones, the ones that seem excited for me, ask me a question about our wedding then respond weirdly. We’ve spent hours (sometimes days and weeks) making these decisions, and I thought relief would come once it was decided. Oh no. “What colors are you going with?” asks a colleague at work. I respond, “Gray and yellow,” only to receive a confused look and an, “Oh, that is… interesting…” Quickly, the colors I was so confident about from day one seem not as romantic or fun as I thought they would be.

I excitedly told a friend how I had spent hours cutting and gluing Save the Dates with my bridesmaids, only to be asked “Wait, is there a magnet on it? There has to be a magnet on it. That is the only way I will remember to Save Your Date, if it’s on my fridge. That is what everyone does.” Crap, since there is no magnet, will my Save The Date that we spent hours on accidentally end up lost or in the trash?

When telling people that we are getting married at what I believe to be a gorgeous barn surrounded by lush trees about three hours northwest of where we live, I have been asked repeatedly, “Why there?” Do we have family that live there? Is my fiancé originally from there? Is this a destination wedding if it is three hours away? People are confused as to why we picked a location that we simply thought was beautiful for our wedding day. So you know, those people.

Sure, most of them are innocent, asking questions, wanting to know more, but it is those people that make it so darn hard to be confident. Their words and reactions may not seem like a big deal to them, but sometimes it is the straw that breaks this bride-to-be’s back. Trust me, I have thought all of this through and even if I haven’t, what’s it to you? In a sea of already-made decisions, it is too easy to let those people take away from the excitement. As is with the rest of life, it is so hard to forget the negative opinions or put-downs, so easy to forget the compliments. But I cannot expect people to act differently because it is a wedding, I can only change how I react. From here on out, I am going to try my best to embrace our decisions, trust myself and move on. I hope you have the courage to do the same.

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  • Ugh, people. She can’t just use a different magnet to hold your save the date on the fridge? It has to have one built-in?!! (Also, gray and yellow sounds lovely)

    • Jashshea

      Right? And everyone’s dream stainless steel refridge isn’t even magnetized for sobbing out loud.

      • Anon, as seems the trend

        I truthfully had never known or considered that a fridge might not be magnetized. I thought that was just something all fridges were.

        Though my first thought was “Does she not realize she can use any magnet to stick it up?”

        • Katelyn

          Ours at our new rental is not magnetized. I’m very sad about it, and also did not expect a fridge that didn’t take magnets. Blasphemous.

          • Ari

            Sometimes the non-magnetic ones have magnetic sides. If yours isn’t flush with cabinetry and a side is exposed, you might try that!

      • Laura

        So true. And even if you had put magnets on the save the dates, another lovely person would b*tch about how they hate “crap” on their fridge. I may be speaking from experience here…

        FWIW, usually the sides of stainless refrigerators are still magnetized. If you have a side showing…

    • One More Sara

      I got a STD with a magnet from the States (where I no longer live), and spent a good 30 minutes sticking it to everything in the apartment trying to find something, ANYTHING magnetic. I found one place. The metal backsplash behind our stove. I didn’t want it catching on fire or getting covered with grease, so I gave up and just taped it to our mirror in the hall. Magnet wasted.

    • We did our Save the Dates via email and got so, so much grief like this, that went along the lines of, “but I can’t possibly be expected to remember this without receiving some kind of paper/magnet/gift?”

      I don’t know, maybe you’ll remember because you have a genuine like/love of the person getting married and you’ll make sure to mark your calendar, or write it on your mirror, or whatever you use to remember things, like any proper person planning to attend an event. Seriously.

      • efletch

        Or they could you know print you email save the date and adhere it to their fridge. It’s funny but it’s also sad that people react this way. Sometimes I think weddings make people loose all common sense. I’m not doing STDs which apparently is also blasphemous!

  • Great post! I think planning a wedding has taught me to be super enthusiastic about any other people’s wedding plans that I hear, just to make up for “those people.”

  • LIZ (SINCE 1982)

    Exactly this entire post! Owning our decisions is one of the biggest hurdles I’ve faced during the planning process (my gent is much more secure and, I suspect, has fewer well-meaning questioners to deal with in the first place). What’s made it easier for me is opting out of anything we genuinely don’t care about: colors, flowers, seating arrangements … anything that we couldn’t muster up a fairly quick opinion on, we took that as a sign that it didn’t need to be part of the wedding. Obviously, deciding not to include a given thing is still a decision and still gets questioned by the well-meaning, but for me it’s been so much easier to rest in that decision than it would have been to try to have an opinion on any of the elements we’ve excluded.

    I love this line: “Trust me, I have thought all of this through and even if I haven’t, what’s it to you?” It often seems like every aspect of a wedding, no matter how tiny or insignificant (compared to the fact that people are PLEDGING THEIR UNDYING DEVOTION and all), is supposed to be a huge deal arrived at through careful contemplation and the final result must be somehow emblematic of the couple and their lives. But “because it’s beautiful” or “because we liked it” are perfectly valid reasons from where I’m sitting to choose something for your wedding – likewise “because it was easiest,” “because my intended had a strong opinion and I didn’t much care,” or whatever your thought process might have been.

  • Grace

    Those People… oy. Grey and yellow sound like excellent colors, don’t let Them keep you down! ;)

    I’m getting married in the Egyptian gallery of an anthropology museum, and our colors are emerald green and chocolate brown. (For autumn!) I get a mixed reaction to this. Some people say, “That sounds AWESOME.” A lot of people stare blankly at me and say, “Oh, I see.” Some people ask if we’re going to dress like Ancient Egyptians or mummies. (Hint: I’m wearing a full length white wedding gown.) Or they ask if the invitations are going to be in hieroglyphs. (Hint: the invitations are going to be in English.) And some other bizarre questions that make it sound like the asker is envisioning a Halloween party. Hint: No. (Though it is two days after Halloween… I probably should have considered that.)

    It’s usually when I tell people that Wolfgang Puck is the museum’s caterer that suddenly they’re interested again. I guess because Wolfgang Puck is something they recognize? Something that seems like it might fit with the WIC? I don’t know. It’s so weird. I’ve just gotten to the point where, if they’re not invited, I just shrug and say, “We like it,” and change the subject. And if they are invited, I show them pictures of what the museum’s past weddings have looked like. And the dress I have in my mind when I say I want emerald green bridesmaid dresses. (It’s the dress from “Atonement” with Keira Knightley.) Then they get excited with me, and think that maybe I know what I’m doing when I make these decisions.

    In any case, I’ve decided to let it go. Because it’s going to be an awesome day and I don’t want to ruin that by stressing about what people will think. I’m stressing about plenty enough already. :)

    • kate

      this sounds awesome.

    • That sounds really awesome. Surrounded by Egyptian artifacts- Love it!

      • Dude! That sounds awesome! We had our wedding on Halloween, so we had to explain over and over that it was just a date, and the only “theme” for our wedding was marriage. But so many people assumed we were having it in costume, in a haunted house, with foods shaped like bats and pumpkins, covered in fake spiderwebs and were disappointed by our “boring” ideas.

    • JESS

      I totally know exactly which emerald dress you’re talking about!

      • Grace

        No one ever seems to! Which surprises me. I mean, it was an Oscar nominated movie… but whatever. ;)

        Obviously it’s not exactly the most practical dress, so I’m aiming more for “inspiration” than “knockoff.” Most of my bridesmaids actually have to wear bras, hahaha.

        • Brenda

          Seriously? That dress was the best part of Atonement.

    • May I please be a bridesmaid? I have been dying for the dress from Atonement since I saw the movie. I am very good at tying ribbons and not being a pain.

      • Grace

        !!! If I only had space in the lineup! ;) I already have two more bridesmaids than my fiance has groomsmen. (Speaking of “Those People.” This seems to be one of the more confounding decisions I’ve made…)

        • Rebecca

          I am right there with you. I have three bridesmaids and he just has his best man. Anyone who really knows us would get this as I have always been more social, made more friends, etc. “Those people” just can’t seem to get over it. Also, like you, my date is close to Halloween (10/26). Yes, I love pumpkins and will be using them liberally in my decor (and possibly food- pumpkin cheesecake anyone?), but pumpkins+weekend before Halloween+orange does not mean that it is “themed” and one should wear a costume.

    • Laura

      !!! Our top choice venue (that I’m visiting next week) is a museum catered by Wolfgang Puck! And, other than the fact that it’s important that we serve super delicious food, let me tell you that WP with his outrageous bar prices (but reasonable-ish food prices) was not really the selling point. As for the museum? And the colors? And everyfreakingthing else?? “WE JUST LIKE IT” indeed.

  • Moe

    I truly want to say “f**k Those People” but I can’t, because not is abride expected to make every decision according to expectations, she is also expected to be the epitome of grace and diplomacy in all situations. My wedding is about 40 days away and I think I reached my limit on explaining my decisions about….24 hours ago.

    News of our wedding shower hit the Facebook family grapevine and our parents (not us!) received phone calls wanting to know why they were not invited.

    My coworker was puzzled that no one will walk me down the aisle. No one can fill my fathers place was not enough of an explanation.

    Blush pink, apparently not a very flattering color. Who knew?

    My sister couldn’t get it into her head that I simply did not have enough space or money to invite our 30 extended cousins (add their spouses too).

    Sorry, now I’m just mad all over again. “F**k Those People” and I say that in the most gracious lady-like bridal princess-like way. *curtsy*

    • Stay strong, Moe. From what I’ve heard about your wedding, it’s going to be amazing! It’s a 1960′s-industrial-desert-distressed-Mexican wedding, how could it not be? And blush pink is actually pretty flattering on a lot of skin types (It’s pretty and refined without being too frou frou!) And I think it’s wonderful that you’re remembering your dad instead of trying to replace him to fulfill tradition. I’m sending great thoughts your way!

      And always remember, you’re getting MARRIED in 40 days!

      • Moe

        You remember me?? I’m blushing! (A lovely flattering shade of blush pink)

        I came home from my wedding shower feeling like a prom queen. We were so blessed, not just with gifts but by the kind words and efforts of everyone involved in the planning.

        If the wedding is half the fun the shower was I’m gonna be ok.

        I’ve found a lot of peace, confidence, reassurance, and good advice from the APW community and I cannot imagine going through this process without it!

        • Of course I remember you, Moe. You were the first person to reply to one of my comments at APW, (goodness, do I seem creepy now? Sorry! I’m not creepy, I swear!) Also, I’m still in love with the theme of your wedding.

          I think that’s what I’m hoping for most throughout the wedding planning process. (We’re proposing to each other later this month!!!)- the love and support of our relationship from our community (both in person and online). If our community wasn’t around/going to care, we wouldn’t do a wedding at all.

      • Samantha

        I can’t comment on your next comment below. You are proposing to each other? That sounds like such a mature, equal partnership solution that you came to with much forethought. I would love to hear a post by you on you and your partner’s journey to and through that decision. – ha. good for decision’s month! (sorry for the worst pun ever). :)

        • It looks good in that sentence. Unfortunately the road to get there looked a little less mature. There was a lot of serious discussion, more than a few tears, and perhaps a few fights. But we’ve found something that works now, and we’re stronger for our journey. At the same time, I’m not sure I’d want to go into details online, especially not so soon after all the discussion, tears and fights- it still feels a little raw sometimes. Maybe I’ll consider writing it out after cooling off, after all, it’s important to have the “not rom com” stories to balance out Hollywood’s influence.

    • NTB

      Your wedding sounds amazing. I caved under pressure to have the kind of wedding my parents wanted me to have. Kudos to you for standing up for what you want.

      • Moe

        If it keeps the peace, don’t worry about it. Stand your ground when/if you have babies though. ;)

    • Class of 1980


      Ask you sister if she can pay for the 30 extended cousins and their spouses. I bet she gets it then. ;)

      • Moe

        LOL! This conversation was via text message. I asked her to mail me a check for $1,000 to cover the additional costs.

        She didn’t respond.

        • Sonia

          I told my mother the same thing…give me a check for 5-10k to invite a ton of family members. She said she didn’t have the money and that was the end of it! Kudos to you!

  • Jashshea

    You, Milady, are me. Except that I really let everyones’ questions bring me way way down during the whole planning process. Your location sounds lovely, your colors are lovely, and your wedding will be a blast for you and your guests. Maybe absentminded magnet lady won’t be able to make it.

  • Emmy

    Thank you for this. I’m so effing tired of explaining our decisions to people. I’m trying to get to the point where I just smile and don’t explain, but I’m not there yet. Thank god for my wonderful fiancé, who lets me rant about everyone’s dumb comments and then reminds me that our wedding is almost exactly what we want, and it will be beautiful.

    I can’t wait till the day after my wedding, when it’s all done. Of course, then we’re going to start trying for a baby, and lord knows people will have comments about that! Learning to tune them out and do your own thang is such a valuable lesson.

    • One More Sara

      I think learning how to ignore unsolicited opinions/advice I received as a parent has totally helped me ignore the unsolicited opinions/advice I’m now receiving as a bride-to-be. So I think that all the stuff that Those People say about your wedding will also help when Those People start on you about parenting (in that you will already not give a f*ck)

      • As someone who struggled a lot with Those People during my wedding, I’m trying to convince my husband that we should move somewhere far away for the first few years of our children’s lives, so that we don’t have to deal with Those People so much. We’re still weighing the pros and cons of that. Maybe I’ll be better at dealing by then.

        • One More Sara

          As annoying as those people might be with wedding stuff (and subsequently with parenting/babies/everything else), I’ve found that more often than not they are helpful to have around. BUT your family might be different, and if they cause a lot of drama/stress on you, then by all means, move. It doesn’t have to be across the country, but by moving an hour away you can save yourself surprise visits (PLEASE DONT YELL HELLO WHEN YOU WALK IN MOM! THE BABY IS SLEEPING!!!). If setting those boundaries is hard for you, or if your family just will NOT listen, physical boundaries can accomplish the same thing with less confrontation. I guess I just want to say don’t discount the helpfulness of people even if they are at times annoying.

  • I too am a quick decision maker (though I also feel I put lot of time and thought and research into said decisions) and find that people who draw out decision making just can’t seem to accept this. Unfortunately my husband (and his entire family) are the types to sit and discuss things forever giving each other lots of unwanted advice and opinions. Which made for a LOT of conflict during wedding planning with everyone, including the groom. Then I had to defend why I didn’t want opinions and advice. As though its everyone else’s right to tell me what they think, instead of my right to choose or not choose to listen. *sigh*

    Yeah, just writing about this stuff does get the blood pressure back up. Ugh. Good luck lady. I’m sure you’re going to be ok. You could try and do what I did, allow your annoyance or anger at these nay sayers to fuel a stubborn grip on your original choice. Also being really condescending helped too when responding to my mil’s non-stop opinions and demands to have control. Nothing like exerting a little friendly aggression to put one back in the right frame of mind. :)

  • Peabody_bites

    Wedding colour fistbump! We had yellow and grey as our colours – I called it topaz and grey, my mother called it silver and gold (which made me grind my teeth a little!) and either way it looked wonderful.

    The best is the enemy of the good is pretty much my favourite quote, and the only way I ever complete a piece of work, take up a hobby, get out for a run, anything….

    • Karen

      That quote is an excellent mantra. At my office our mantra is “It could have sucked worse” and “no one died.” I know, I know, pretty low standards but it keeps us from freaking out when one little thing didn’t go right. Life happens. We make the best decisions we know now and keep moving forward.

      Peabody, I like how you say you apply the quote in other areas of your life. When I first got into knitting I read and read on various patterns and techniques and felt overwhelmed at all the possibilities out there. Then I just gave myself permission to do small, easy, doable projects. Like you, I also apply it to exercise. I do what I can do and keep moving forward. No need to compare ourselves to others. However we get up and move every day is just fine.

      • Granola

        I use “nobody died” as my criteria for a real vs. fake emergency all of the time. A useful corollary: Is anyone bleeding? No? Then ok, this can obviously be handled.

      • Ashley

        When I worked in the restaurant industry and things used to often reach epic proportions of stress and craziness, I had a co-worker who used to remind us that we weren’t saving lives. It was a great way to put things into perspective. I continue to remind myself this often when anything gets overly stressful, is anyone going to die over this? If not, then lets just calm down for a minute.

  • Gray and yellow are gorgeous! In fact, my soon-to-be mother-in-law attended a wedding in that palette and has been raving about it ever since. We’re rocking gray, too — but with red. The gray/red motif has elicited some blank stares from acquaintances, but I’m fine with that.

    While I am also a quick and resolute decision-maker not prone to second-guessing myself, planning a wedding has definitely challenged me to stick to my guns. I’ve been so concerned with making sure the extended family, friends, etc., are happy that I often . . . forget to make sure that we are happy? I’m getting better about it, swear. And this post reminds me to just ignore Those People and plan our awesome day our way.

    • Lauren

      I went to a grey/maroon wedding and it was absolutely stunning. Rock on!

  • Aly

    For the record…grey and yellow sounds awesome! I’m sad I didn’t think of that! (We’re doing navy + yellow.) Best of luck and don’t let the nay-sayers get you down. If they don’t like what you’re doing, tell them they can do it their way when they get married.

  • Rosie

    My trick when I was planning was to tell someone about our wedding in a way that fitted their expectations. To people I knew well, I would tell it like it is: I went with my friends to find their dresses and just said ‘get whatever you like that’s some kind of blue’ so they could find something they liked. If people asked who felt that I should be putting more effort in, I’d say ‘We’ve decided to have different shades of blue, we really like that look’. If people asked who felt I should put less effort in, I’d say ‘We let the bridesmaides choose.’ It sort of worked!

    • That sounds sneaky. I think I’ll end up doing this, and feel like James Bond the entire time. Which might be awesome, or very tiring. How have you felt about it over all?

      • Rosie

        For most people who asked me questions I knew what they were expecting, which helped: it felt easier for me to try and phrase what we were doing to make it fit people’s expectations than to always be 100% straight with them. I have a lot of respect for people who are! I had an almost rehearsed speach on some things by the end: most people weren’t happy with ‘I bought my dress because I like wearing it and it was cheap’ so I had a whole ‘Yeah it’s a lovely grecian style dress with delicate embroidery, just a little bit of a train’ etc. etc. to give to most people when they asked!

        • MT

          This made me think of that Emily Dickinson poem:

          Tell all the truth but tell it slant,
          Success in circuit lies….


  • NTB

    “Because any time you make a decision, be it about weddings, children, jobs, or life in general, there will inevitably be someone there, ready to question your choice.”

    This resonates strongly with me this morning. APW has really been hitting the nail on the head for me lately! Thanks, guys.

    For me, the wedding was only the beginning. Making decisions about napkins and party favors seemed so important at the time (and, in some ways—don’t get me wrong, it kind of was–being that weddings are a reflection of two people and their love for each other). But now, in the face of in-law issues *the fun never stops y’all* making decisions about my wedding, as hard and tedious as some of them were, sounds like actual fun compared to what I am faced with in my life now, after having been married for a little under one year.

    The biggest decision made in the last 6 months has been to delay having children for an extended period of time. I am in a job that I happen to love (finally, at long last). Realistically, I will be the primary caregiver for our children in the future, and I am not yet ready to make more changes in my life now that I have found a great career path. THIS IS VERY DISAPPOINTING to my husband’s family, who expected us to start popping out pups 10 minutes after our wedding. Cousins are having children; their birth announcements come in predictable waves in the mail, but MY TRUTH is that I am not ready.

    In therapy, above all else, I have learned to find my own truth. I am still working on it, but with your wedding and in your life…hold on to your own truth and stand up for it. Sure, it’s great to get married and be part of a committed partnership, and you should honor that, too. But the thing that I am learning is that I am still an individual; I am still a person with my own dreams and my own aspirations outside of my marriage. If I don’t own my decisions and I default to what others want for me, then I feel like I am living my life for someone else.

    • SusieQ

      Solidarity fist bump to you, NTB. Me too, to all of it.

  • Samantha

    It’s also good when you are asked, “What are your colors?” and I say, “We don’t have colors, the wedding party is wearing gray if that’s what you mean.” haha.

    Also my fiance and I are walking each other up the aisle during a traditional Catholic Mass. It has zero to do with not getting along with my Dad who I’m close with but everything to do with us! It’s a representation of us marrying each other, coming as equal partners giving ourselves to each other — which is the preferred message of the Catholic church. So say yes to doing what is best for you! (Although it would totally bum me out if people thought I was dissing my Dad since I don’t think anyone would understand our choice. Maybe I’ll have to ask our priest to say something like “Just as they walked together towards their unity, they come as equal partners . . .” I don’t know. Suggestions?

    • Granola

      I think any confusion here might come from an ignorance of Catholic tradition. Plus many Catholic weddings still have the father walk the bride down the aisle (that’s what we chose to do). But if someone brings is up out of curiosity, perhaps you could say something along the lines of “One option in a Catholic Mass wedding is to have the couple walk down together as co-officiants of the sacrament of marriage, and we liked the symbolism of it.” If that feels true for you, of course.

      And if they ask about your dad, maybe they’re just thinking about their own father, who might feel more strongly about it (my dad really wanted to do it). So you could always say that he was a bit disappointed at first but he just wanted you guys to be happy and didn’t really mind. Or, if you prefer, say nothing at all, as you don’t owe anyone an explanation. But I always appreciate learning more about new traditions.

    • Claire

      I love that suggestion to have the priest mention something about it. Not only does it clarify that it’s nothing against your dad, but it emphasizes the equality of your decision to commit your lives to each other.

    • Love the idea of having the priest say something. Or (if you are making/having programs) you can include a note about the motivation behind your choices there. Just a sentence in the ceremony program.
      “Entrance of Bride and Groom: The couple chose to walk each other down the aisle as a representation of their equal partnership and unified devotion to the sacrament of marriage” Actually, that could be a cool idea for any other details you want to highlight as well. (certain music, decorations, actions and what they mean to you).

      • Samantha

        That is a brilliant sentence. I may just have to steal it and make the note on the programs now!

    • Copper

      Oh honey. I started getting the comments about my dad walking me down the aisle the moment I told my family that I was engaged. Seriously. It was the one thing I’ve known for a long time about how my wedding will be–that I will not be handed from father to husband like a piece of chattel. Disclaimer: I know that’s not how many of you felt about that, and that’s great for you, but that’s what it feels like to me and that’s not how I want to feel on my wedding day. And the one detail I’d made a decision about started getting pushback the moment I announced my engagement. People rallying for me to “let dad have his moment.” And really? my dad is going to understand better than anybody. Because who the heck do you think raised me to have such strong opinions on things? That guy. That guy who says I’m a stronger person than he is for not freaking out and eloping and telling everyone later, like he did.

      • Good job sticking to your guns! I completely understand the whole “giving away” conflict- I am not being given away. I’ve made a decision to spend the rest of my life with someone, and my parents (no, not just my father) have given their blessing!

      • Samantha

        “Because who the heck do you think raised me to have such strong opinions on things? That guy.” – Love it!

        And what about the father/daughter dance. A moment shall be had then (if you/we want).

  • Sometimes I think Jessa on Girls had it right–SURPRISE wedding all the way, that way no one has any time to respond to your decisions (caveat: because they are too busy thinking that you are CRAZY for marrying Thomas John but whatever, way to take the conversation away from whether or not your wedding colors work).

    • Class of 1980

      Ha ha. Good one.

  • Granola

    Looking back on it from the other side of the aisle, one of the things that I think planning a wedding taught me (or at least started me down the road to learning) was how to make a decision and then be ok with it. I really like to be reassured that I’m “making the right decision,” so I get lots of feedback in the hope that it’ll help. But it doesn’t help, it just makes me want to please other people more. So now when I feel the urge to call a friend or family member I first think “Will this person’s opinion help me or do I just want validation for my decision because I’m scared to own it?” If it’s the latter, I put on my big-girl pants and just do it.

    Ideally, someone wouldn’t ask a polite question and then be rude when the didn’t like the answer. While in my head I’d really like to be acerbic, it’s just not worth my energy. As others have pointed out, there will be so many more decision in life that other people will take issue with. Learning how to let that roll off is a really important skill.

    • Meghan

      @Granola – what excellent advice! We’re seven months away from the big day, so we’re smack in the middle of the planning. I’m the same kind of bride as you, I think – I want lots of feedback and support for the decisions I make, which isn’t always helpful. I’m going to remember your method from now on – “Do I need this opinion, or do I need validation?”. Thank you for sharing!

      • Granola

        You’re welcome! I hope it helps! Best of luck with your wedding. I’m sure it’ll turn out wonderfully!

  • Class of 1980

    Making decisions for a wedding is somewhat like making decisions in decorating.

    I know a brother and sister who are the perfect illustration of how this works. The brother can look at objects or furniture and tell you why he likes them, but he can’t put them together. His sister is an interior designer.

    Real Conversation:

    Sister: “I’m going to paint this wall blood red.”
    Brother: “Are you kidding?”
    Sister: “No.”
    Brother: “It’s gonna look horrible.”

    Brother comes back after the room is finished and thinks it looks wonderful. Says “I never could have envisioned this.”

    Sister: “I’m going to decorate this room in green and purple.”
    Brother: “Are you kidding?”
    Sister: “No.”
    Brother: “It’s gonna look weird.”

    Brother comes back after the room is finished and can’t believe how great it looks. Says “I would never have put those colors together, but it looks incredible.”

    MORAL: Realize no one can see the whole vision inside your head, so their opinions are really based in ignorance.

  • Christy

    I think sometimes the questions are invitations to talk more, especially “why there?” or “why that?” questions. Instead of intending to convey a sense of disapproval, the asker is trying to convey a sense of interest. They are inviting you to tell more about your life, your future spouses’ life, etc. At least that’s why I ask those sorts of questions. One of my colleagues decided to get married on NYE. “Why that night?” led to a story about a tradition on her fiancee’s side of the family. When I told people I was getting married at one of the service academies (which if you knew me would seem extremely incongruous) was often asked and led to the disclosure that my husband was an alumnus (which seems only slightly less incongruous and always interests people). “Why a jazz band,” led to a less interesting answer, but people I think hoping that they’d learn I was a closet saxaphonist, when the truth was much less interesting (that we felt it fit with the location and the vibe we wanted).

    • Copper

      This! I have on friend who questions every single decision I’ve ever made, even decisions that were already executed so wtf was the good of offering alternatives anyway. We lived together for a time, and it drove me batshit crazy. I felt like nothing was good enough, like she was picking on me, like she’d elected herself the arbiter of good taste for the world. And sometimes I still feel that way, because that’s pretty effing presumptuous. But I have come to see that she doesn’t think about it that way. That’s her way of conveying interest, as you said. And when I try to be polite and not bug her about something, she perceives that as being uninterested in her life. To some people, nit-picking is the only way they know of to show they care.

      • Rebekah

        My mom is like this. She is much more of a detail person than a big-picture person, and for her, knowing the how and why of the details helps her get a grasp on a situation. She’ll ask about things that I don’t think matter, but they really do make a difference to her and she doesn’t see it as nit-picking or annoying (which I may be guilty of feeling).

    • SJ

      I ask a TON of questions but I think the preface to the question is important. Something like “I think that sounds like an AMAZING location! What made you choose it?”

  • Oh, wow. As a married person, this really hits the nail on the head for me. My husband has an enormous family of strong-minded people, and every decision (as small as what kind of curtains to get, or as large as where we want to live for the next few years) is questioned, discussed, and debated. I kind of want to start wearing a shirt that says “I’m an adult and I’ve made up my mind, so keep your pie-hole shut.” That might make family gatherings a little awkward, though, so I’ll be reading through the comments later today to see what advice APWers have for people in this situation.

  • Oh the comments. They don’t stop, they really don’t. The biggest question I get asked is why I’m not getting married where I currently live (Cincinnati), versus where my fiance grew up (SE Ohio). I prefer our venue in SE Ohio. It’s where we BOTH grew up. It’s not by an airport, no, because it’s appalachia and Delta has no airstrips in Appalachian Southeastern Ohio. But it’s GORGEOUS.

    and it’s my choice. OUR choice, really. WE decided TOGETHER we wanted our wedding at that location. ANd we love it.

    • As someone with five years of fond memories in Athens, Ohio, I can whole heartedly agree. SE Ohio IS gorgeous!

      • Emily

        agreed! (Says the Kenyon grad!)

      • wow! I grew up in Athens and went to school there :-) Small world :-)

      • Granola

        I almost got married at Galbreath Chapel. I still have dreams of that wedding followed by a reception at Jackie O’s.

        • So Galbreath is closed for renovations and has been for over a year. I cried when I heard because I so wanted my wedding in the chapel. It all worked out in the end, though the wedding is still a couple months out!

  • Sarah


    This has been my experience with so many of our decisions because we are having an unorthodox wedding on so many levels – on the surface it seems like every other wedding but the details are all us. We just love our decisions and know that we will love them on the day of and when people see our confidence in our choices and how happy they make us – they will like them too. Or they just want cookie-cutter weddings.

    I love your colors and non-magnet STD and all of your other decisions because they are YOU!

  • “This can sometimes be perceived as me being spontaneous or uneducated, but, trust me, this by no means indicates I have not thought things through or not weighed my options. I do my research, I compare and I compare again, but then I make a decision, usually quickly.”

    Gah, I identify with this SO much. And I hate when people ask, “Have you thought about…?” YES, I did, and I moved on. GO AWAY. I know some people are well-meaning, but so often that question comes from a place of disapproval/judgment and is super condescending.

    Thus far, I’ve been trying to make it clear when I’m TELLING someone what we’re doing and when I’m ASKING for advice/opinions. And, frankly, I’m usually doing the former unless I’m with close friends/family. But I’ve noticed that if you aren’t explicit about this distinction, people just assume you’re asking for feedback and they sure are happy to give it. Uggggh. Great post. This topic makes me ragey.

    • I just exactly’d this so hard my finger broke.

    • One More Sara

      “Have you thought about…?” YES, I did, and I moved on. GO AWAY.””

      PREACH!!! I have a friend that always tries to fix things or help me find a “better” solution. Like our decision not to register. She suggested Amazon, or setting up a honeymoon registry/PayPal account for monetary gifts, or looking for a store where I live that does registries. I had already considered these options and already decided they wouldn’t work for us for various reasons (int’l shipping and surcharges being the biggest reasons).

      I guess I don’t really have a point, but wanted to give you a fist bump for this comment.

  • Part of our big decision making process now is also deciding what the “party line” will be when people ask us about our decisions or plans. We make the big decisions and then we decide just how much we’re going to tell people. It’s a weird way to make decisions, but it’s worked so far.

    • Granola

      Personally, I find this to be genius, not weird. It presents a united front that everyone is comfortable with and no one gets thrown under the bus. I always feel better when my husband and I do this, especially as he tends to feel less need for justification than I do.

  • “Personally, I am a quick decision maker. This can sometimes be perceived as me being spontaneous or uneducated, but, trust me, this by no means indicates I have not thought things through or not weighed my options. I do my research, I compare and I compare again, but then I make a decision, usually quickly. I do not like to have unmade decisions hanging out there in my mind. I like to resolve things. Ultimately, there really isn’t a “wrong” way to decide. We are all different.” Oh YES! So true! Unmade decisions are the worst! Glad to hear someone with the same perspective! Great post! Sometimes I still mulled over why such and such questioned my decisions two years ago! This post gives me another enlightenment and enough already, I need to let go!

  • JESS

    If you are one of those people who does tend to second-guess their decisions after they’ve been made, I highly recommend a book called The Paradox of Choice: Why Less is More, by Barry Schwartz. He talks about how, as a society, we now have so many choices and decisions to make every day that we often feel paralyzed by them. Even something as simple as choosing crackers is hard nowadays. Do you want low sodium? Flavored? Fat free? Whole wheat? Round? Square? The options are endless. Translate that kind of stress onto much bigger decisions, like wedding planning, and it’s no wonder it’s so hard to make a decision and stick with it.

    If any of you are having trouble deciding, or maintaining your stance once Those People start in, I highly recommend reading this book. It’s not a self-help or solution-oriented book so much as it simply makes you aware of why you probably feel debilitating indecision over whether you want white or eggshell colored napkins, and it might be helpful.

    • Class of 1980

      My complicated electric tea kettle died after only a year. Now I want a regular stove-top tea kettle to avoid all the fancy electronics.

      I CAN’T DECIDE which one, so now I’m boiling tea in a sauce pan. ;)

      • Granola

        Which is also OK! Maybe your tea kettle options are crappy and you live in a small apartment and don’t want to bring in unnecessary stuff… in which case pans on stoves heat water just fine.

        (Not that you can’t also have a tea kettle….eventually!)

        • Class of 1980

          It’s none of the above. I’m just overwhelmed with indecision.

          The variety out there now is amazing. Do I want a color? What color? Do I want stainless? Do I want something sleek? Do I want something quirky? (probably) Do I want one that whistles? Do I want one with a cap over the spout? Etc …

          • Rebekah

            Maybe ask for one as a gift? Then the decision is not on you anymore AND you have a fond memory connected to the kettle.

          • JESS

            Yes, but the worst is if you finally choose that kettle, and then someone comes over to tell you you got the WRONG one and judge you for your obviously glaring lack of kettle knowledge. No wonder we get depressed even after we’ve decided. That book talks about this too, not only not being able to make decisions but the constant rethinking once you have – was it the right kettle? What if I could have gotten it cheaper? What if people won’t love me with this kettle? Exhausting. I say go with pan on stove! (or, alternatively, buy ALL the kettles!)

          • Class of 1980

            I’m laughing.

    • Decision fatigue! There comes a point where you don’t *want* to know all the options because after awhile it’s just paralyzing. Knowing the basics and making an informed decision from there is enough.

  • mari

    Oh yes. We are currently navigating Decided-ness when Those People are his parents and they really don’t want the wedding to be in December but I/We do. There are going to be a lot of decisions that don’t matter much, but the timing seems like something that we get to decide, especially after they already weighed in so heavily on our engagement.

    Gah, this makes me ragey. A surprise wedding a la Jessa from Girls sounds better and better everyday.

  • I had very little issue with “those people” during our wedding planning process. I simply brushed off any criticism that seemed unwarranted or not useful (re: colors, dresses, etc). However, now that the wedding is over, I keep re-thinking EVERY DETAIL and obsessing over the things I would have done differently. “I should have gotten a dress with straps” or “Why’d we have the reception outside under a tent, I should have known rain was a strong possibility” or “I should have had photos taken at the church before leaving it for the reception” or “Why the hell did I have the spoiled 2 year old twins in the wedding, I should have predicted one of them would throw a tantrum as I entered the church”.

    I think it stems from my WIC desire to have that PERFECT day – not perfect for everyone, but perfect for us. It wasn’t perfect, but gosh it was fun. And the ceremony, which was the most important for us, was so meaningful and touching and amazing and bonding for us… why can’t I just focus on that? Perhaps I need to more consciously change my inner dialogue, because nothing that happened was even remotely awful – even the swollen bee-stung foot that necessitated several medical consultations from guests and a few prescriptions – wasn’t that bad at all. I need to stop trying to further improve something that A. was wonderful, and B. can’t be changed now anyway!

    • Rosie

      I just submitted a post about this: I worried about certain things after our wedding because I felt like that was my only chance to do those things. I now realise that we have loads of time to do all the things that I felt like I ought to do on our wedding day!

      • True – my biggest ‘sadness’ (which I put in quotes only because really, it’s not all that sad) was not getting more photos of my husband and I and our family in our resplendent wedding finery because our only options were: Under the crowded tent, inside a less than picturesque gun club, or under picnic awnings. We have plenty of beautiful documentation from the day regardless. I consoled myself with a “we can have a photo shoot on our anniversary”. But really, I want to be ok with what we did get – which were very few posed shots, but lots of love and warmth.

  • Laura

    Rarrr, I love my mom and am glad to be working on the wedding with her, but gahhhhh I am already *so over* explaining and justifying my/our decisions to her. Blarrrghhhhhh.

  • Joanna

    “Trust me, I have thought all of this through and even if I haven’t, what’s it to you?”


  • Laurie Salinger

    Just remember in the many years following your dream wedding – bite your tongue & don’t be one of THOSE people. ;-)

  • Hannah

    THIS! So much this.

    My family was just in town this past weekend. It was the first time I had seen them since our engagement. There was a lot of “oh…..really…?” I had spent a lot of time looking for affordable dresses because it’s just not the most important thing to me, but when I told my mom and sister they both had the reaction of “you only get married once! Don’t you want something less simple??” Then this morning I found myself shopping online for $7000 wedding dresses. Ugghhhh.

    The thing that helped me was talking with my fiance. He is so good at calming me down and reminding me that no matter what we do it will be lovely, we will have fun, and most importantly, we will get married.

  • Mira

    I have had a lot of perplexed looks when I tell people about our wedding plans, but they’re usually followed by something like “Oh, actually, that sounds quite nice.” I think it just takes some people time to process the idea of Something a Little Different. What I keep saying to myself is: “If they don’t like it, they don’t have to come.” Our day. Not theirs. F-off in the nicest possible way.

  • Rachael

    We are three months out from our casual, non-traditional wedding and I am glad I found this blog to keep me sane during those anxiety-ridden moments. While my close friends are very keen on our wedding plans, family members, future mother-in-law, and acquaintances have replied with varying degrees of, “Oh… that’s weird…” or have flat out told me I should be doing it a different way. I try to politely remind them that I had wanted to elope as a way of saying, particularly to family members, “Would you like to be a part of this or not?” I was so overwhelmed by all of the negativity and pressure that we very seriously considered scrapping the whole thing and eloping just a couple of months ago.

    If I could start over I would have told everyone we were having a party and have had the quick ceremony we’re planning be a surprise. You start using the word “wedding” and everyone has very set expectations that they can’t wait to impose on you.