Putting Pushy People in Their Place
It’s your wedding, so all of the pushy people in your life will automatically defer to you and respect your wedding planning decisions from now until the day you say your vows, right?
Unfortunately, this lovely fantasy world is far from the truth. Pushy people are, well, pushy. And now that you’re planning a wedding, you’ll have to deal with a whole new variety of pushiness. Here are some of the most commonly heard pushy comments–and a few choice comments to give back.
#1 “I Can’t-Wait for My Invitation.“
Just because you’ve let slip that you’re engaged, it doesn’t mean you’re inviting the whole world to your wedding. Maybe you want an intimate wedding that’s just you, your fiancé, and two sets of parents. Maybe you’re eloping. Or maybe you simply don’t have the money (or the inclination) to offer an invitation to every acquaintance. None of this occurs to the pushy person who expects an invite, though. And now they’ve put you in the awkward position of telling them they’re not invited.
If it’s still early in your planning process, just tell the truth: “We haven’t started putting together a guest list yet because we still don’t know how many people we can fit into the venue.” Feel free to mention how concerned you are that you won’t be able to include all of the wonderful people you wish you could. At any point in your planning process, you can mention your limited wedding budget and the strictness of your venue occupancy limit. (Just don’t mention how small your wedding is going to be if there’s any chance of the person finding out you had a large wedding instead.)
#2 “When Are You Going to Start Dieting?“
Sometimes the pushiest comments come from people who don’t even realize they’re being inappropriate–they just think they’re offering top-notch wedding advice. Well-meaning friends and family are inundated with the idea that brides (and grooms too) diet before a wedding, presumably because they want to look their best in the wedding photos. If the comment is offered in a friendly way, try to respond in a friendly way. Let your pushy friend know that the question was inappropriate because, regardless of whether you intend to diet or not, your decisions about your body are your own.
If the comment comes from a less-than-friendly place, however, feel free to answer it with more firmness. Sometimes upcoming weddings are all the ammunition overbearing relatives need to start pushing their weight-loss agendas. They might offer to help you buy a gown in a smaller size as “incentive” (a bad idea!), or they might offer to send you diet pills as a pre-wedding gift. They might even start ordering for you at restaurants and passing up desserts on your behalf. If you feel like wedding weight loss has turned into a power struggle, be honest. Let pushy people know that you won’t tolerate further comments about your weight, and if they can’t restrain themselves, you’ll see them after the wedding.
#3 “Marriage, Huh? Good Luck with That.”
It’s true, marriage isn’t for everyone. But since you became engaged, you’ve announced to the world that being married is a big part of your life plans. Don’t let folks who are bitter about love try to burst your happy bubble by trashing the concept of marriage in front of you. Recently-divorced friends are the worst offenders in this regard. Using the “misery loves company” approach, some divorcees try to talk you out of saying your vows by relating horror stories from their own experiences. Remember, just because one person had an unhappy marriage, it doesn’t mean you will.
The best way to deal with pushy friends who are sour on the whole concept of matrimony is to commiserate with their personal experiences. Let them know how sorry you are that they had to go through such terrible times. Then offset it with some statistics and favorite stories about happy marriages, and let them know that they could be headed for a future happy marriage themselves so they’d better keep an open mind. The more you concentrate on remaining happy and optimistic, the better chance you have of cheering up the people around you.
While announcing your upcoming marriage opens you up to a whole slew of unwelcome comments from people who are less-than-polite, you also shouldn’t let it spoil your wedding-planning excitement. After all, the world will always contain pushy people. Your wedding is just one more opportunity to practice the fine art of rising above unwelcome comments and doing what makes you happy. If you and your spouse-to-be master that skill, you’ll have a joyful marriage ahead of you.