There’s something about weddings that makes people chime in with their unsolicited opinions, right?!
Like your parents asking you to have a big wedding when you’ve already decided to elope.
Or your sister asking you to change your wedding date to accommodate her vacation.
Or your friend threatening to boycott your wedding if you don’t invite her obnoxious on-and-off boyfriend.
If you’re engaged, I’m sure you’ve noticed that people seem to constantly share their opinions, telling you what to do and how to do it.
Dealing with the overbearing opinions of others makes wedding planning more stressful than it already is. So today, I’m going to show you how to deal with unsolicited advice and opinions – in a positive, healthy, confident way.
Before we get started, I’d like to get off on the right foot and start with a positive perspective. In general, I believe people are inherently good and have the best of intentions. So when people share their unsolicited advice and overbearing opinions, I truly believe it’s because they care about you, they want to help, and they’re excited to celebrate! They may not realize that their opinions are overbearing. They may not realize that they’re stressing you out. So as you read through the tips below, please keep this in mind: assume that the people around you mean well.
That said, here are a few different ways to respond to folks who constantly share their overbearing opinions.
1. Smile and Nod
Sometimes, depending on who you’re talking to, it’s best to just smile and nod. This is especially true for people who you don’t see very often, and who aren’t likely to continue sharing their opinions or complaining about your decisions throughout the wedding planning process.
During these conversations, just say, “thanks, we’ll look into that,” and try to change the subject (more on changing the subject below).
2. Communicate Your Perspective
There are times when the smile-and-nod technique is not enough. In fact, in some cases, it’s downright ineffective because it might perpetuate the unsolicited advice.
If someone continues to constantly share their strong opinions and you feel like you’re being pressured to consider their advice, then it’s time to share your perspective.
To do this, I recommend preparing a response that acknowledges the other person’s opinions while confidently communicating your plans and your needs.
For example, let’s say you have a tight wedding budget and you’re planning to forgo the open bar, but your family keeps asking you to host an open bar. You can say something like:
“Thanks for trying to help, but as much as we’d like to host an open bar, we just can’t make it happen and we’re ok with that. We’re doing the best that we can with what we have, and, trust me, we’re really excited for the wedding that we’re planning!”
A response like this is super effective because you’re thanking the person for their advice, but it also makes your plans very clear – and it ends on a positive note about your enthusiasm for the wedding!
3. Be Direct
If you’ve made it clear that you’re not changing your plans and folks are still on your case, then it’s time to be more direct.
At this point, you’re probably feeling like your decisions, ideas, and plans are being undermined and/or disrespected. If they keep pressuring, you or questioning your decisions – then they’re being inconsiderate.
In this case, I’d recommend sharing your feelings and your plans, you can say something like…
“I understand that you want us to have a big wedding, but we’ve already decided on having a small wedding. I’m starting to feel pressured and it’s beginning to weigh me down. I really hope you can support our decision to make this process a little less stressful for us.”
And if the pressure continues, you can follow-up with something even more direct, like… “Thanks, but we’ve already made our decision about that.”
At this point, end the conversation or change the subject – because going any further in the conversation will lead to an argument, which will be even more stressful and unavailing.
And as Dale Carnegie said… “The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.”
4. Change the Subject
A subtle way to change the subject is to ask about their wedding. This works well because it’s still on the subject of weddings, so it’s not super obvious that you’re directing their attention away from your wedding.
You can say something like:
“Our wedding plans are starting to come together, thanks for asking – hey, can I ask about your wedding? What’s your favorite moment from your wedding day?”
Once people start talking about their wedding, the spotlight is off of yours! Plus, you’ll get to learn more about them and their big day – and it’s a great way to connect with them.
5. Keep it a Surprise!
If you prefer to avoid unsolicited advice and opinions altogether, you can just say that you prefer to keep things a surprise and that you’ve promised your partner not to give away too many of the wedding details.
Don’t get me wrong, second opinions and wedding planning advice can be great! But when opinions become too overbearing, you need to be confident and stay committed to your vision and values.
And now you know how to communicate your needs clearly and confidently!