5 tips on how to find good wedding advice — and when to stick your fingers in your ears.
When you get engaged, everyone wants to give you all kinds of advice. Some of them will even straight-up tell you what to do. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard “you can’t wear a tea length dress” or “you need to get married in Spring” or “I know exactly how you need to do your hair.”
It made me want to scream.
And unfortunately, the stuff you don’t want to listen to can drown out the actual, good wedding advice that you might be lucky enough to get. Here are some things I’ve learned about the dreaded “two cents” and what to do with it.
First, do not punch your friends in the face.
Lol…but really. After the 30th “great flower guy” recommended to you, you’ll never want to hear about roses again. I guarantee it. But remember that you’re going to be really stressed out about planning a wedding, and if it weren’t for this stressful time, you might not be so upset when your friend says something you’ve heard before. Remember that you actually like these people in real life. You don’t want to risk losing a friend or starting a fight over something that is probably coming from a good place.
Instead, no matter how ridiculous the suggestion, just thank them and tell them you’ll consider it. Every. Damn. Time. Most of your family and friends will feel happy with this answer. And they’ll feel satisfied in thinking you’re listening to them.
It’ll be hard, at first, to get into the habit, but you can practice in your mirror until it’s second nature. Practice it on your dog, the friend you haven’t seen since college, even the guy at the car repair shop. They say, “You should probably change your oil once in awhile.” You say, “Thank you so much for your help, we’ll take that into consideration.” Good job!
Write it down anyway.
When Cousin Suzy gives you the name of her roommate, who (apparently) is an amazing photographer, you might want to toss it. Hiring her might sound like the bad idea and, besides, you might already have your photographer set up.
But, when someone gives you a card or makes a suggestion, keep a list. You never know — a list of “back ups” might come in handy. What if the venue has a fire a month before the wedding or the perfect bakery goes under? Last minute, you could have a list of people to call, which is especially handy if it’s full of people like your cousin’s roommate, because maybe they’ll pull last minute strings for a friend of a friend.
Plus, a list of recommended vendors could be good just in case you change your mind. Maybe you were dead set against serving cupcakes until your fiancé pulls one of those last-minute, “wouldn’t it be great if we had cupcakes?” Don’t panic, because you have the number of a great cupcake bakery you got from Aunt Carol!
Don’t trust anyone with old information.
Be careful not to get too excited about a seemingly perfect recommendation. I’ve gotten heart-set-on-it, gotta-have-it, excited over venues that had been closed for ten years, and dress shops that are now banks. If the people you’re talking to have old information, you’re bound to get disappointed.
This is especially true when they start pulling out prices. You might think you found a gem when you hear about some cake shop that sells a three-layer cake for double digits, but if that bakery is still open, prepare to find that it’s been hit with inflation, just like everywhere else.
A good rule of thumb is four years: any wedding advice older than that and you’ll want to start Google-ing first.
Think about the messenger and not just the message.
If the suggestion is from your mom, and she thinks it’s really, REALLY important to have yellow flower centerpieces instead of blue, you might actually want to take it into consideration. Even if that’s not what you were thinking, throwing your parents (or whoever is important to you) one or two things will make them feel special, and it will mean a lot to them later.
On the other hand, feel free to brush off the ideas your weird cousin Alan offers. Don’t bend over backwards to please people if you don’t care what they think.
Remember, a good wedding is a wedding of your choosing.
You and your future spouse are in charge. It’s a whole day just for the two of you, and you’ll want it to come from your hearts. When you’re choosing between venues, or flower arrangements, or menus, try to think of what best represents you. If you’re a laid-back couple, don’t be afraid to serve nachos and burritos in your backyard. If you two are bold and adventurous, don’t hesitate to make it a destination wedding. Good wedding advice may just come from within yourselves.
At the end of the day, you’ll want something that you both love, and something that represents you as a couple. And following the above tips may help guide you — or someone you love — on how to handle it through the planning of your special day.
For more interesting perspectives on modern marriage, check out this comparison of the expectations vs. the reality of marriage, how to determine whether you’re in a real partnership, or this story about a couple who waited longer than their friends to get hitched.