Don't Say "It's Up to You, It's Your Wedding"

“I don’t want to make any more decisions!” says the weary bride. In the past 6 months, she has answered questions and made decisions about everything from marrying the one to the right shade of ivory. Practically everyone she speaks to needs an answer about something wedding related. By the week of her wedding, she barely wants to decide when to use the restroom, much less what time her cake or flowers should arrive. She’s got “decision exhaustion”, and rightfully so.  

It’s really not the decisions she’s done with but the research she’s required to do in order to make the right decision and the repercussion if she makes the wrong one. At first it’s fun to flip through bridal magazines or scroll through Pinterest, deciding the favorite diamond cut or gown silhouette. But sooner or later the decisions are more like “Where do you want us to put the portable bathroom?”, “Can I skip the rehearsal, I have a work thing?”, “How long is too long for my speech?”, “Should the bows drape the ground or hang a few inches from the ground?”, “Can grandpa skip the ceremony recessional?”

Can you blame her for shouting “O M Goodness …..? I DON’T CARE!”?

I certainly cannot. What can we do as friends, vendors, or family of the bride to free her of the weight of making so many decisions? Some would say that the bride just needs to delegate those decisions to someone else. But come on, that’s really not an answer. Of course that would require her to do more research and make more decisions. She has to choose the right person and then decide if that person will follow through and consider all the factors she would consider. She’d still have to communicate to the delegate if some circumstance arose. So, no, delegating didn’t help.

But, what if the friends, vendors and family started to approach the bride differently about these questions? I hate the sound of “It’s up to you, it’s your wedding.” Uhhhh, duh she knows it’s her wedding, don’t say that! Instead, offer the guidance she needs in a way that is useful to her! She is managing a wedding for the first time, without any playbook or guide. Step up and help her out by relieving the decision making anxiety in 1 of these 3 ways.  

1.    Ask the Right Questions
Consider when the bridesmaid asks the question “Can I skip the rehearsal, I have a work thing?” It’s hard for the bride to answer this. She barely knows what will happen at the rehearsal, much less the role of each participant. If she says no she could jeopardize the bridesmaid’s employment and maybe strain their friendship. If she says yes, she’ll need to find someone to stand in and give notes about where to stand and what to do for the ceremony.  If the bridesmaid had asked a different question, the bride would have an easier decision to make. “It’s looking like I won’t be able to make it to the rehearsal because of work. I’ve spoken to another friend who said she could stand in for me. She also promised to take notes and fill me in. Would it be ok if she stands in for me?” This is a more appropriate question and one that the bride can answer with ease.

2.    Provide Background Information
The bride is getting married in an outdoor venue and has hired a company to deliver a portable bathroom. She sent over a layout previously, but the company realizes that the designated space is not large enough. The vendor calls the bride and says “We can’t fit the bathroom where you wanted, where else could we put it?” The bride is not sure, she had carefully planned the layout and does not have it in front of her now.

If the vendor had PROVIDED BACKGROUND INFORMATION, the bride could more easily make the call. “We need 18 square feet for the bathroom, and the original space allotted is 14 square feet. We see a few options, we could move backwards a few feet, move to another area, or send a smaller bathroom. We don’t need to know until Friday.” With this information, the bride can take the time she needs to make a decision she’ll be comfortable with.

3.    Take Responsibility for the Decision
Lastly, take the example of the ceremony recessional. It comes time for the ceremony rehearsal and Mom asks the bride “Can grandpa skip the ceremony recessional?” Seems like a simple question, but it’s loaded with background details that are absolutely not on the bride’s radar the day before she weds. Mom didn’t mention that she is worried about grandpa walking down the aisle and then right back up for pictures. She has noticed a decrease in his stability and wouldn’t want to risk a fall on the wedding day. She is so happy that her dad is here to see her daughter’s wedding and wants to make sure he is comfortable.  

Perhaps this is not the best time to give the bride all that info. Instead Mom could opt to TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for the decision. She would then privately tell grandpa “Don’t worry about recessing, just stay put for pictures.” Likelihood that the bride ever knows about this detail … very slim!

Hopefully you can relieve a bride of some decision exhaustion by modifying your approach. If you’re the weary bride, share this! 

Author: Adrienne Brink, Uncommon Camellia