Saturday, August 22, 2015

Ask Liz: Be Nice, Please.

A little reminder can help. Print by Etsy seller Hairbrainedschemes

My friend Mindy is a Disney wedding blogger, and during her Q&A on Periscope (@MindyJoyM) yesterday, a bride asked her if she should cut one of her bridesmaids. It wasn’t working out. Her bridesmaid didn’t seem to be into the wedding and all it entailed, should the bride let her go? What would the best way to do that?

First off? There is no best way to do that. There is no clean getaway at the end of that scenario, where you tell her she’s out, she breathes a sigh of relief and gives you a big warm hug, and you walk away from the coffee shop hand in hand. No, the odds are that shock will be expressed, feelings will be deeply hurt, and that coffee shop will be the last time you see her for a while. I mean, come on.

This is a problem I’ve noticed over the years. It’s not just wedding party problems, it’s people screaming at their parents. Anger at the limo driver or the rental company. Convinced that everyone they’re dealing with either doesn’t care, isn’t doing their job, or is taking advantage of their rapidly declining good well.

Look, weddings come with a lot of pressure. A lot of pressure. Yes, most of it is on you, it’s your wedding. You’ve invested a lot of time, thought, and lot of money into creating your vision of a wonderful day. All the people around you want that the same thing you do, I swear. But, they don’t live in your head, so they don’t always know exactly what you’re looking for or what you need. Plus, everyone — including you — is trying to pull this thing off while they’re also managing the rest of their lives. Nine times out of 10, whatever they’ve done that’s pissed you off was not deliberately done to you. They might not even realize it’s affecting you at all. Most of the time, you can take a deep breath and give them the benefit of the doubt that they are not doing it on purpose. As you would want anyone to do for you.
You would want them to talk with you before making any snap decisions or judgements. You would want them to ask you what’s going on, listen to you explain, and to figure out what the next step is. And, yes, this all sounds so very rational, but it’s also the truth. Look back on any conflict you’ve had with a family member, a friend, heck, your fiance, where you’ve felt that a finger was being pointed at you. Wouldn’t you have appreciated the opportunity to explain instead of an ultimatum and the door? I know I would have.

Your feelings (and you do have them) are valid. With specific situations, I usually recommend letting it go instead of getting into it. But, sometimes you are just GAHHHHHHH!!!! You have to say something, but be nice, be nice, be nice. Not only will you feel better about the situation, you’ll feel better about yourself. Plus, the story and the memory of how you were not nice will follow you around forever, both inside your head and in everyone else’s. Wedding planning lasts a short while, the rest of your life is much longer.
So, bring it up, but say it nicely. Thank them for making the commitment in the first place — don’t treat them like you’re doing them a favor — and then be specific about the stuff that’s bugging you. “You didn’t get your dress/come to my bridal shower/reply in the group emails I’ve been sending for weeks, is everything okay?” And then listen to what they say, and ask if there is anything you can do to help, including setting specific deadlines. It could be that it is all overwhelming, or that she does need to back out, but it’s better that she comes to that conclusion rather than that you do. Have the discussion before you make the decision, please.

This tactic works with anyone you’re having a conflict with wedding-wise. A vendor, your family, the doorman who doesn’t know where the venue manager put your favors. Tell them what’s going wrong, ask them what’s going on, and figure out how to fix it. Nicely.

Ooh, and you can follow me on Periscope, too @SilverCharmLiz.
See you at the end of the aisle, 

Liz Coopersmith
Silver Charm Events
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