Why does everyone think they know better than me?
Planning your wedding is meant to be fun.
However, for some it can be really worrisome, especially if people seem to be interfering in your plans or have expectations you feel you either can’t, or don’t wish to, fulfil.
Even for the most harmonious of families and friendship groups, others’ ideas, expectations and objections can crop up along the way.
At this particularly difficult time, whilst the world is dealing with COVID-19, emotions can run even higher than usual.
It can, for example, be more difficult to explain a point if you’re not able to be physically together to gauge the person’s true meaning.
People are also grasping for things to work on or plan which they can actually control, at a time when so little is in our control.
In my experience, if friends and family are questioning your decisions, it almost always stems from fear of some sort and can best be addressed via clear, honest communication.
It’s also really important to let people know if they’re upsetting or stressing you as they are very likely simply trying to help and don’t realise the impact they’re having.
Since launching as a wedding planner in 2002 I have been a party to countless couples having to deal with issues raised, and unsolicited suggestions made, by family and friends, many of which they never saw coming, because these are exactly the people they hold most dear.
Frequently Arising Expectations & Objections
- Who’s involved in your wedding planning?
- Ceremony type
- Overall style
- Using particular suppliers
- Guest List
- Involvement on the wedding day
Have any of these come up for you?
Are people questioning, or dismissing, your choices?
Keep your Big Vision in mind
Whether or not you have a vision board, Pinterest boards, scribbled notes or a picture in your head, you will know what your vision for your big day is.
It might be an intimate affair in a local restaurant with limited speeches and wonderful food.
Perhaps you’re picturing a laid back festival style day with food stations and hay bale seats.
Whatever it is for you, let it act as a constant reminder not only of what you decided, but most importantly why.
Your ‘why’ is what will help you explain to others. For example, ‘I know my sister had 200 people in a marquee with an all night band, but I am quieter and want a smaller, simpler wedding because that’s my style’.
Strategies for Managing Expectations & Handling Objections
To me pretty much everything comes down to Communication: how we do it, when we do it, with whom we do it and what we aim to achieve by it.
Let’s take a look at that along with some examples.
Stop talking about it
This world of communication overload is far from specific to wedding planning, but pretty widespread here.
Whether you ‘re sharing your plans via social media, or simply over the weekend with friends, if people are opposing your decisions, suppliers or colour scheme, don’t share them.
Set boundaries and make your position clear
If you’ve decided on no children at your wedding and a good friend with a 5 year old keeps on at you about the decision, let her say her piece, then, gently (ie nobody’s children are invited, not just hers) reassert that the decision is made and you don’t wish to discuss it any more.
Ask kindly why people have certain expectations
Rather than argue about someone’s expectations, face them.
Ask kindly and honestly why they have this particular expectation when you have always explained that x, y or z is your plan.
Write it down
Writing down our thoughts, worries and feelings about the subject someone’s questioning us allows us to do it:
- slowly, in our own time, returning to it, or sleeping on it, if necessary;
- fully, ensuring we get down all the points we want to make, in the order we choose;
- without shouting or bursting into tears.
This can be particularly effective if the person is unused to us being so contained, organised and thoughtful.
Receiving a well constructed, logical email, text or even letter gives them a full explanation and might make them realise their unsolicited advice is in fact upsetting you.
After a while you can have a conversation with them and hopefully move forward constructively.
Sometimes when people are telling us things which are contrary to what we want, or what we want to feel, it can become overwhelming.
One simple way of not dismissing their opinion, but giving it less weight in your mind, is to fade it out.
Imagine them saying whatever it is that’s annoying or upsetting you, then slowly in your mind make the image black & white instead of colour. Take care and remember this is only an image: you are not making the person less so by fading them to black & white, rather lessening the effect that these particular words are having on you.
Work at being on the same page as one another
Make sure the two of you are on the same page and backing each other up.
Once you have agreed your Big Vision at the outset, this will help you support one another in terms of others’ interference and expectation management.
Those nearest to us can find the shift in their perceived importance hard to accept.
Sticking together from the outset and working kindly and objectively to overcome the disapproval or disagreement of those who, up to now, have been our ‘go to’ person or people is a great way to start a marriage.
Happy planning everyone and stay safe at this difficult time.
Image Credits in order:
Retha Ferguson from Pexels
Cottonbro from Pexels