How can you be assertive, respectful, and firm without incurring the dreaded title of Bridezilla?
Weddings are HEAVY with emotions and pressure to conform (oh and the planning can last for years, so there’s that). Apart from the stress of planning, you must work out all of your concerns about the relationship itself so you can march down that aisle with a full heart and a clear mind.
So, that’s okay; you know you can handle that.
But when a single planning decision results in a barrage of attacks from otherwise well-meaning individuals (e.g., “I am so offended!” Or, “you can’t do that!”), it can sap your energy and make you prone to panic. Heart pounding, weak at the knees, gasping for air in the middle of Walmart panic.
Oh yeah, this can get bad, and it can last so long that each new stressor piles on like a ton of bricks, every time heavier like your heartstrings are just getting worn out.
So how in the world do you deal with that, and not get steamrolled about your own wedding? How can you be assertive, respectful, and firm without incurring the dreaded title of Bridezilla?
Most. Valuable. Parts-of-this-thing. (MVPs)
Your values are different from others because they represent YOU and YOUR PARTNER. No one else. Write them down. With this life-changing event, what are the most important aspects for the two of you? Tradition, family, food, decorations, intimate gathering versus getting everyone you know in on the fun, ambiance, entertainment, whatever it is. Different strokes for different folks.
Prioritize your MVPs by numbering them, with #1 being most important/nonnegotiable. If you had to make a decision between a better dinner or more guests, which would give you the most satisfaction?
Prioritizing is about being prepared to make the better bad choice. You might not want to choose between an extra few guests and the right bouquet, but sometimes you have to. So, it’s handy to know in advance that if push comes to shove, you know what you’re gaining by choosing the MVP that brings the better value to you.
Where You End and I Begin
Everyone has opinions about weddings. They want to share their experience, they want you to take their ideas, and that’s a nice thought, until it crosses a line. Boundaries must be set when someone doesn’t stop at giving a suggestion, and:
a: Pesters you
b: Makes you feel guilty
c: Threatens you
d: Tries to take away your right to make decisions
People often push harder when they believe they are right. And their ideas are probably perfect…for them.
If you prioritize things that are meaningless to you just to please others, the result may turn your wedding day into an event to be tolerated and not enjoyed. That would be a tragic waste.
Imagine for a moment that every single person is like a brick in a wall. We all work together to support one another, but we don’t leech into each other’s space. If we do, the structure of the wall crumbles. You can be open to receiving suggestions, ideas, and offers of help. You can compromise. But it is in your best interest to guard your own space and be aware of when someone is placing their priorities on your plate.
If they feel so strongly about event planning, make sure to encourage them to plan one of their own!
SET Method: Support, Empathy, and Truth
Rather than engage in a battle, state your opinion while preserving the relationship.
Support – Remind them that your concern for them is unconditional (e.g., “I care very much about you.”)
Empathy – Recognize and validate how they feel (e.g., “this must be upsetting for you.”)
Truth – State your truth with information about how to make it right (e.g., “I’ve made a decision and it’s important to me that you respect it.”).
Always remember to use all three, since support without truth doesn’t deliver the message, and truth without empathy can be hurtful when emotions are running high.
Deal with the Anxiety
When panic sets in, use grounding techniques to manage.
Keep it together. These are challenging moments, and many a warrior is forged in the heat of this kind of battle.
Stand tall, be yourself, and have no regrets.
Written for you, by therapists.
NWO’s source for all things relationships, mental health, wellness, and lifestyle: Kelly Magazine is a mental health outreach initiative supported by Kelly Mental Health Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the community in the area of mental health.
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