Alright, so you just got engaged...
And you’re already exhausted by a deluge of questions. Why does it seem like every person on the planet needs to know RIGHT NOW what kind of flowers you’ll have, and the flavor of the cake, and which song will be playing at exactly 2:30 on the day of (which you have chosen already right?!?)
If just reading that paragraph made your heart rate double, you’re in a safe place, I understand you. The feelz bro.
The good news is, there are no rules.
Let me say that again so it sinks in: There Are No Rules.
That’s my life motto, but also the truth. Society, friends, and family all have ideas about what a wedding “should” be or is “supposed” to include. But that’s a load of horse pucky (as my grandma would say). The only things a wedding “has to have” is two people in love and ready to be together forever.
Do you have that? Then everything else is icing on the (figurative, or literal) cake. Don’t have that? Then all the Kardashian flower walls and billion dollar backdrops in the world won’t make you happy.
So, you’re at a family gathering, holiday, after work happy hour, or another wedding, and the inevitable questions of your own situation arise. Here’s a few suggestions on how to (politely) tell people to mind their own d**n business.
- Have a prepared line: especially if you talk with your betrothed before hand, you can present a united front. Plan a phrase or two that can answer just about any question. Things such as: “we’re taking things slow”, “We are just enjoying being engaged right now”, “we’re considering all our options before making any decisions”, or “we will let people know once we decide on anything” all work well.
- Answer the questions with a question: when Aunt Rose says “So have you picked a date yet?” you respond with “no, but do you have any suggestions for the best season for a wedding?” or “No, when was yours?” This redirects the spotlight to the question asker and may make them realize their inquiries aren’t welcome. But be cautious, as some people will take this as an opening to blab on forever about their own weddings, so use with caution.
- Laugh it off: depending on the audience, you can make whatever the question into a joke. When a coworker asks when the date is, you could try something like “Hopefully before I start showing!” or “as soon as we win the lottery”. Delivered in the right tone and with a smile, this lets them know that you aren’t ready to discuss details and to calm it down without being openly rude.
- Change the subject: You can either come prepared with a few topics to discuss, or go off-the-cuff as the situation arises. Most people love talking about themselves, so if they ask you something you don’t want to answer you can always redirect back to them. “Gee Tom, I hadn’t thought about what to do for the bachelor party yet, what did you do for yours?” or “I know you want grand-kids mom, but I’m not ready to live up to your reputation as a mom yet! Remember that time you…” Getting people talking about themselves or some topic they are interested in frees you from being the center of attention.
- Be vague but pleasant: When someone inevitably brings up their roommate who is an awesome photographer, or their cousin who is an aspiring florist, you DO NOT want to immediately commit. Things can get awkward if you agree, and it turns out you hate their work, or don’t get along, or find a better deal elsewhere. Try something like: “Email/text me the info and I’ll take a look”, “It sounds lovely, let’s talk later”, or “I’m glad <insert person who did it> enjoyed that, but we are still looking around”.
- Be cautious and use the sandwich rule: For those who don’t know, the “sandwich rule” is the best way to deliver a criticism, you sandwich it in between two compliments, like so: “compliment, criticism, compliment”. Try something like: “We are so happy you’re interested in being involved in our wedding planning Nana, but we don’t really like orange and purple together. Can you help us out with baking cookies for our reception table though, you are such a great chef!”
Everyone has opinions and questions, but as the classic song “Everybody’s Free” says: “Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts, and recycling it for more than it’s worth”.
Oh, and if anyone asks about how much the ring cost? Totally inappropriate, and you can brush it off with something like: “More than ten dollars, but less than a million”. You wouldn’t ask how much someone made last year, or how much is in their 401K right? Just don’t do that.
How about you, have you gotten any totally inappropriate questions? How do you handle it?