I Don’t Care If You Like My Wedding

When wedding planning feels like one long quest for approval


Eric and I recently listened to the audiobook of Tina Fey’s Bossypants, and one of my favorite parts is when Fey describes the following scene:

Amy Poehler was new to SNL and we were all crowded into the seventeenth-floor writers’ room, waiting for the Wednesday read-through to start. There were always a lot of noisy “comedy bits” going on in that room. Amy was in the middle of some such nonsense with Seth Meyers across the table, and she did something vulgar as a joke. I can’t remember what it was exactly, except it was dirty and loud and “unladylike.”

Jimmy Fallon, who was arguably the star of the show at the time, turned to her and in a faux-squeamish voice said: “Stop that! It’s not cute! I don’t like it.”

Amy dropped what she was doing, went black in the eyes for a second, and wheeled around on him. “I don’t fucking care if you like it.” Jimmy was visibly startled. Amy went right back to enjoying her ridiculous bit…

With that exchange, a cosmic shift took place. Amy made it clear that she wasn’t there to be cute. She wasn’t there to play wives and girlfriends in the boys’ scenes. She was there to do what she wanted to do and she did not fucking care if you like it…

Maybe it’s because I was not a big fan of Jimmy Fallon on SNL, but I really appreciated the image of Amy Poehler putting him in his place. And over the coming weeks, that line stayed with me. I don’t fucking care if you like it.

While I do my best to not care what other people think, of course I want people to like me. The people who say you shouldn’t listen to others’ opinions are the same people who are quick to criticize the tone-deaf assholes who don’t care about others’ opinions, feelings, or feedback. I don’t want to be that tone-deaf asshole. And so yes, I care about what other people think of me. I don’t expect everyone to like me, but in this day and age, “Likes” are currency, and it would be foolish of me to disregard that. I think I can handle being unliked pretty well (blogging for eight years will have that effect on a girl), but I admit I take a lot of criticism to heart, mostly in instances when I don’t have a ton of experience or am not very confident. Because really, what do I know about it? If I’m unsure of my choice and someone comes along who feels strongly that what I am doing is wrong, I tend to believe them.

When you want to be liked, wedding planning can feel like one long quest for approval. A wedding is an event that is this weird mix of public and private (it’s for your community, but you need an invite to attend, and it’s typically held in a private space). Still, it’s public enough that people feel comfortable criticizing it openly. Even if you do your best to keep it off the internet, it will find its way online. The pictures and moments will sit there, on Facebook and Pinterest and Instagram, seemingly asking for the approval of friends and strangers. To not get that approval can feel like a huge rejection, and so we instinctively plan our weddings to be likable.

But recently, I was thinking about some wedding detail—my veil, I think—and I found myself channeling Amy Poehler and snarling at some imaginary naysayer in my head, “I don’t fucking care if you like it.” Then I went back to playing with my veil.

This strong and dismissive reaction sort of shocked me. Did I really not care if people liked my wedding? As someone who cares what other people think, that seemed pretty outrageous.

I thought about it some more and realized that yes, of course, there are plenty of things about our wedding I want people to like. I want them to be comfortable. I want them to like the food because I don’t want them to be hungry. I want them to have fun. I want things to be convenient and easy for them. And I would never want to hear a bride or groom say, “I don’t care if you like it,” in regards to, say, a friend’s protest about, say, buying a very expensive bridesmaid dress. But I also realized that once you’ve established a basic level of courtesy and decency, everything else is just… personal taste. The flowers you think are pretty. The colors you think look nice together. The stationery you picked out, mainly for its looks. It’s all completely subjective. And once you accept that, it’s not a very far leap to the idea that the only thing you need to consider when making a purely aesthetic decision is to ask yourself, “Does this make me feel all warm inside when I look at it?” Choosing things based on what you think others will like is hard; simply liking (or disliking) things is actually quite easy.

My dress? I know what I feel my best wearing, so I’m going to wear that. My hair? I know what I consider a good hair day for myself, so I’m really not interested in outside opinions. My engagement ring? You’re free to think it’s tacky, cheap, too big, or too small. I don’t fucking care if you like it because I fucking love it.

There’s no shortage of wedding snark in the world today, and it tends to get under my skin. But when people snark on the things I love, the things I’m doing for my wedding, it just rolls off my back. Because I don’t fucking care if they like it.

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    *schedules trip to bookstore to buy Bossypants*

    Amazing. LOVED this post!

    • LikelyLaura

      I’d highly recommend the audiobook over the regular book. After hearing Tina Fey tell that passage and then reading it above, I can promise you the audiobook makes it even better.

      • Meaghan W

        YES use your free audible credit. SO much better in audiobook form.

      • AK

        After listening to Bossypants on audiobook, I certainly heard Tina Fey’s voice throughout this post! Another vote for the audiobook!

      • Jennie

        Put myself on the wait-list at the library for the audiobook!

  • ART

    *cries* damn it APW – always coming along with the things we need to hear. also, amy poehler is a badass.

  • Anonymouslee

    this this this this this YES. THANK YOU!

  • moe

    “When you want to be liked, wedding planning can feel like one long quest for approval.”

    *sigh* This.

    During planning I had this nagging voice in the back of my head. It was a meek, slightly whiny soft-spoken voice that was trying to defend my wedding-choices to the bigger, meaner, critical, cruel voice that sounded an awful lot like my older sister (but that’s another story).

    Then somewhere in the process I came to the conclusion that things would not turn out perfect, and that it was ok. Not every detail would be ‘blog-worthy’ and that was ok too. But when I got some unexpected criticism over my choice of bridesmaid dress I kind of had my “F*ck you” moment that caused me to wake up and pull up my big girl pants.

    Just like life you ultimately have to make your own choices and own them.

    • ART

      I’m having that moment with MY dress. ugh. yes, time to pull up my big girl pants and just do – hell, at least try to do – what I want.

  • Jessica B

    That is my absolute favorite part of that book, and possibly one of the best pieces of truth in any memoir I’ve ever read. Fey and Pohler continue to be my heroes because of stuff like that, and the mother’s prayer Fey wrote up in that book. That book also made me feel great because there were times that Fey just fucked up so bad in both personal and career life and she recovered but learned from it. 20 somethings should read this book.

  • Meaghan W

    I REALLY needed this blog entry today. Loved bossy pants, love amy poehler…this is just so perfect.

  • ella

    I also needed to hear this today, as I had my first wedding planning-related argument yesterday with my mother. Somewhat naively, I assumed we’d be immune! I had told her about a vendor I am booking, and she looked at his website and said flat-out “I don’t like a single thing about this.”

    I was totally stung and surprised, and snapped “Well it’s done, so either get on board or keep your mouth shut,” which of course did not go over well. In the future, I’ll have to remember this article and think “I don’t care if you like it, because I do,” and then speak calmly to my mother.

    • moe

      One of the smartest things we did during planning was not talk about it with other people. For sure I didn’t post about it on FB. When asked about planning our stock answer was “everything is great!”. It’s hard for people to criticize when there’s no conversation had in the first place.

      • Rachel

        Same here! I only shared things when I specifically wanted input. Though at this point, I think I may be more comfortable sharing the details, now that I’m confident that others’ opinions won’t affect me.

      • Becca

        This has been my MO. As a naturally passive type who has issues with acceptance, it’s been a life saver.

      • ART

        I really need to do this, but it’s hard to remember, especially with my mom. After yesterday and the onslaught of “youneedtogotoabridalsalonandtryonallthedresseseventhoughyoudon’twantoneofthosebecausethat’sjustwhatyoudo” from every person I talked to, I just need to shut my damn mouth and tell everyone it’s handled and they’ll see it when I put it on that day! I need some kind of mental post-it to remember this.

  • Rachel

    Loved this post. Thanks so much Rachel. Although I am not wedding planning, I can definitely think of plenty of situations where I really don’t care if people like it.
    I read Bossypants awhile ago, but because of this I’m definitely going to order audiobook.
    Thanks again!

  • Ruth

    Wow – I wish I’d had this post back when I was wedding planning – though it’s still totally applicable to my life now. We made a lot of compromises in our wedding to my parents’ and inlaws’ wishes, because we did want them to have input, since it was an important right of passage for them too – and there were some wedding decisions that I genuinely didn’t care about so I had no problem farming them out to the family member that did. However, the smartest wedding choice I made was zeroing in on those key aspects of the wedding that really DID matter to me, and defending them bravely against all naysayers.
    My husband and I created our own interfaith wedding ceremony to represent the eclectic, spiritual melting pot that is our relationship – we had a priest a rabbi and a Tibetan Budhist co-officiating together. My mother in law was NOT pleased with this idea initially – and not for religious reasons either, more like ‘who does things like that?!’ and ‘why don’t you just get married by a justice of the peace then?!’ I politely and respectfully told her, “I love you – but it’s what we want for our wedding – and I don’t fucking care whether or not you approve.”
    I was so glad I stood up for myself, because we got to have a ceremony that was truly authentic and meaningful (even my mother in law admitted afterwards feeling deeply moved by it.) Speaking up for yourself is a muscle, and the more you use it, the stronger it gets. I know we’re going to get lots more unwanted feedback from people, particularly family, when we have kids – so I’m glad the wedding gave me some practice in saying (at least to myself) “I don’t fucking care if you like it” :)

    • Sierra

      “Speaking up for yourself is a muscle, and the more you use it, the stronger it gets.” LOVE that.

  • Kat R

    That was my favorite part of Bossypants! It’s become a mantra for me a lot of areas in my life.

  • Katherine Harrison

    Perfect. Fucking. Timing. Strapless dress? I don’t fucking care if you like it!

  • Like I needed more reasons to adore Amy Poehler, or Rachel for that matter. Great piece, lady! For me, it’s been a long decade of arriving but it feels damn good to be in a place of giving no fucks. Not in a combative way, just in a genuine confidence and not needing so much approval about everydamnthing. And it’s definitely gonna making planning wedding #2 a lot easier :)

  • Gina

    I definitely needed this. Thank you!

  • God, yes, this.

  • Peekayla

    So appropriate! I had a very similar conversation with my MOH today after I had a horrible argument with my mom last night about interviewing photographers. I have a problem with craving her and my dad’s approval and I need to suck it up, stop sharing so many details, so they have less to criticize and we have less to argue about. Then, I can share things when I am really truly undecided, really don’t care, or are 100% firm and happy with my choice, no matter what they say =)

    • Anonforthis

      Lady I hear you, I am a hopeless case around my parents. I have had a frankly miserable engagement because never once did they have anything nice to say, and I practically lived on their approval growing up. I wanted to have an intimate ceremony sometime this winter followed by an open house with gluwein and spice cake. What I ended up with was a plan for a massive summer wedding I hated, two years after I wanted to hold it. Basically it’s everyone else’s wedding now. So we’re totally changing gears and going with our original plan. It was a huge mental struggle for me because they were pretty tough on me growing up and that tendency to just nod my head in agreement to make it all better is still with me to some degree. I don’t even know if they’ll come now! But like you said, the ONLY armor against this sort of hurt is to be 100% firm and happy with whatever it is you’re deciding on.

      • Peekayla

        Our conversation ended with my Mom suggested that if I didn’t want her opinion, to not mention details to her (that was a nice summary of what actually was said).

        And then I read this article and I realized that it was something I should’ve been doing all along. Until I am decided on a choice I’m incredibly easy to influence and wiffle-waffle terribly. If someone I care about and respect is negative about a choice I’m leaning towards then I begin the cycle of self-doubt. This happens often with my parents and my need for their approval only makes the waffling worse.

        Anonforthis: I’m glad you’re back to planning the wedding you want and are attempting to stick to your guns. It’s really not as easy as everyone makes it out to be. Last night my Mom emailed me asking how the meeting I had with a roofer went. As I was replying I caught myself giving details she really didn’t need (aka. how much he thought it’d cost). I reworded it to say how his verbal estimate was what I was expecting rather than putting in the exact # and handed the ipad with the message in it to my honey and asked him if he thought this was a better way to word it and if he thought I was on the right path to establishing healthier boundaries.

  • Caroline

    I love this! One of the best things I’ve EVER read is Jessica Valenti’s piece at the nation on being “liked”. It changed my life. It’s a very similar message, although I think Amy Pohler’s line may now be my way to express it to myself. She talks about how women are socialized to want to be liked, but that striving to be broadly liked often stands in the way of women’s success. My take away was that instead of striving to be liked by everyone, you can be more successful caring about being loved by a few, and fuck the rest of them. If they don’t “like” me speaking up/becoming powerful and successful, if someone calls me a bitch for being a powerful woman, I don’t fucking care. (Note, that might be more the aspiration than the reality, because I think if someone called me a bitch, I’d go to peices, but my goal is to not care). That’s not to say that I’m endorsing being a jerk, but that oftentimes just being a successful woman makes people dislike women/attracts trolls, and if you live your life afraid the trolls won’t like you, you will be forced to remain silent and hidden.
    I highly recommend it: http://www.thenation.com/blog/171520/she-who-dies-most-likes-wins

    Also, I need to go get the Bossypants audiobook.

    • Rachel

      Yes! That piece is fantastic, actually linked to it in my post!

      • Caroline

        Oops, I missed that. Sorry.

  • Rebekah

    Rachel, all your posts make me feel like you’re high fiving me.

    Between this and the “People need options” post (oh, and all the rest), I just love hearing your voice say what I’m sure mine will when I get to these points in planning. You manage to be strong and true to yourself (and Eric) while taking people’s feelings, opinions, and other relevant information into consideration in your choices.

    Thank you.

  • Blizalef

    Yes! To everything about this, yes! I love this post because the flavor of it is exactly where I am at, emotionally, at this stage in my wedding planning.

  • I’m a wedding photographer and also planning my OWN wedding…. I LOVED THIS POST!!!

  • KC

    I think the key here is: does their liking it truly matter in any way? A bridesmaid dress that will blow their budget – that affects them. Food that they’re allergic to – that affects them. The carpet being something they consider an ugly color? One would hope that they would not be deeply psychologically damaged by that.

    Ditto for all other details – unless it’s impinging on their comfort in some substantial way (and is something they didn’t know about in advance; if someone’s allergic to dogs and you’re holding your wedding in a dog training center or something like that, then they can choose to not attend or to take allergy medications if possible, etc.), then not-liking-orange or thinking-the-appetizers-should-have-included-stuffed-mushrooms… well, people are welcome to have opinions, and it’s fun when the peripheral opinions agree with the central opinions (when your parents agree with what you love, or your cousins agree with what you and your parents love), but… yeah. Neither likely in all cases nor necessary.

    • meg


      Not being able to afford to buy a bridesmaid dress, that’s not a liking issue. The fact that you don’t like the cakes color? OH WELL.

    • Ali

      I really want someone to have a dog-themed wedding now.

  • grace b

    “My dress? I know what I feel my best wearing, so I’m going to wear that. My hair? I know what I consider a good hair day for myself, so I’m really not interested in outside opinions. My engagement ring? You’re free to think it’s tacky, cheap, too big, or too small. I don’t fucking care if you like it because I fucking love it.”


  • Sierra

    I basically agree with everything in the post, except I don’t know what you meant by this: “A wedding is an event that is this weird mix of public and private (it’s for your community, but you need an invite to attend, and it’s typically held in a private space).”
    What do you mean the wedding is for “your community”? Do you mean your as in the two people getting married? Or as in their community”? Isn’t the wedding for the two people getting married?

    • del678

      It means different things to different people. For many, but of course not all, community is an innate part of a wedding and/or marriage and/or family.

      “Marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family. ”
      – that court ruling that been quoted here a million times :)

      “By stepping into the charged space on the altar, the bride and groom join in a dance that goes all the way back to the beginning of memory. Every wedding enacts a personal connection to the universal story of our common humanity.”
      -some other awesome thing that was on here once…

      “imagine the very first marriage, a girl and boy trembling with some inchoate need for ceremony, a desire for witness”

    • Daisy6564

      Your comment highlights my main obstacle to fighting my insane need to be liked and actually saying “I don’t care if you like it!”

      To me a wedding is a community event. My man is shy as hell. If we did a wedding just for us we would go to our church on a Saturday afternoon alone, get married, and then go out to a fancy dinner. But the thing is, we have a hell of a lot of people who love us and have supported us. Between us we have 3 living grandmothers. I’m not about to be like, “Sorry, Grandma, you aren’t invited.”

      Which leaves us planning a wedding. Which my parents are paying for, so guess who gets final say on every thing? So even though we are vegans, there will be red meat served at our wedding. We will be getting married in my parents’ church in the city where R and I grew up, rather than the city we call home now. Even though I don’t look good in white and never wear it, I will be wearing a white to adhere to my guests’ expectations.

      My wedding is to celebrate and thank my parents and grandparents, to validate that they raised me well. It is also a chance to see my friends who live all over the country and I only see at weddings now. So I made sure the reception was located close to the airport and near transportation options, rather than out in the woods where we camp every year and got engaged. I don’t intend to sound like a martyr, but I do view my wedding as not really about me.

      That said, I truly don’t give a damn if people don’t like my center pieces. I don’t actually give a damn about centerpieces either.

      • del678

        Totally agree.
        When community and family are important to you, the reality is it’s a lot easier to say to WIC/randoms at work “I don’t care what you think about my wedding”, but a lot harder to your parents who love you and whom you love. Especially if they are assisting financially or with their skills, time etc.
        I don’t know Amy but do wonder if she would find it as easy to tell her grandma she doesn’t care what she thinks, as it was to tell Jimmy.

  • I proclaimed my elopement as Sara’s ‘Fuck It’ Wedding. So far no one has died from me having a wedding dress from the Goodwill. If someone doesn’t like it they can eat a bag of ______ _____.

  • itsy bitsy

    “If I’m unsure of my choice and someone comes along who feels strongly that what I am doing is wrong, I tend to believe them.”

    ME TOO.

    This whole post (and that Bossypants moment- I almost forgot about that!) is amazing. Rock on.

  • Kelsey

    I loved your point about criticism. Total lightbulb moment- more likely to take criticism to heart when I’m not feeling confident about my skill in an area already. Maybe not earth shattering for others, but you brought me some lovely perspective.

  • We all want our wedding to be perfect. We want our friends to have a great time and to always remember that special day in our lives but the most important thing is what our thoughts and wants for our wedding. Besides it is our wedding, we should be the one who is the happiest on that special day. No matter what happens, people love weddings and people will always appreciate how we look and what we have prepared for them.

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  • Clara

    This was great. Wish I had read it before the painful fiasco that was my wedding or was supposed to me my wedding anyway. Eventually it became the in-laws reunion and I was heart broken and resentful. Still am.

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