Everyone has an opinion about everything and so do you. These voices are often in conflict, especially when it is about something as important (and frankly expensive) as a wedding.
As we are planning a wedding, we hear imagined voices and actual voices offering unsolicited advice. (Your best friend wants you to hire her mother to do your flowers, your own mother used to always tell you to (fill in the blank), you watch too much Lifetime television and hear the lonely characters complaining about how they ruined their wedding, the wedding dress salesperson doesn’t think you should get married on the beach, etc.)
You do not need to reenact what every friend, cousin, sister, etc. did before you. You certainly shouldn’t use your wedding day as a day to compete with those earlier or even future weddings. If you wish to borrow ideas from other weddings, you are free to do so, but it isn’t required. You make your own choices along with your beloved.
We have deemed ourselves a sort of “unbride,” but that doesn’t mean that you have to do everything in a completely unconventional way. You can follow all the traditions that mean something to you and break the ones that seem less important.
The holidays are quickly approaching and there will be extra opportunities for shared opinions that might simply stress you out. Try to turn this around and make it something positive. Why not use this as an opportunity to ask your loved ones what choices they made when planning their own weddings? You may discover traditions that you didn’t know about (from your own family or even other cultures) that you may want to integrate into your own wedding.
You may decide to make this more formal by doing a Storycorps interview. Storycorps is an amazing nonprofit whose mission is “is to honor and celebrate one another’s lives through listening.” You might have heard some of their recordings on your local NPR station. You can reserve an interview time at one of their booths across the country, rent their equipment or use their suggestions to do your own, private interviews.
I’ve done this twice now: once my fiancé interviewed me and once I interviewed my mother. It was a lot of fun to work on the questions and then sit and discuss a topic. In the interview with my mother, I discovered details that we had never been discussed before, probably because I never asked the right questions, and we had a lovely afternoon together.
Perhaps over the next year of planning we’ll do another interview, this time about weddings.
For your own well-being and relationships, choose to listen and ask questions instead of immediately rejecting everyone’s opinions and giving yourself a headache.
Mimicry is a form of flattery. Many former-brides wish for you to flatter them by copying them. As the Italians would say, “it isn’t obligatory.” You should be tender and kind by verbally flattering them on aspects of their weddings that you loved, but then, do what you and your beloved desire to do. That doesn’t mean that you can’t listen to them.
(Please remember this when you are married and someone told you just got engaged.)
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