Wedding wisdom Wednesday is upon us again, and this week I’m winging it with a bit of a self-inspired ramble…
You see, here’s the thing. I’m a good person. At least, I try my best to be, and it’s always been important to me that people see that in me.
I work hard, am loyal, I’m open and honest and – rightly or wrongly – I like to be liked.
Maybe it’s being a Libran (typical traits: seeking fairness, peace and harmony), but I like everyone to get along. I feel uncomfortable if there’s unease and would hate to think I’d upset someone I care about.
If you’re like this too, there’s a good chance you’ll end up with parts of your wedding that aren’t what you wanted, because you compromised to keep the peace.
The thing is though, it shouldn’t be this way – and it’s taken me a lot of years to learn that you can be a good person while still also sticking to your guns and fighting for the things that matter. It’s not personal, but you only get one shot at this ride called life, so it’s really important to be true to yourself and look after your own happiness. You have as much right to following your own heart as the person next to you.
Us softies have big hearts which is a great strength, but it can all too often be at our detriment. In our desire to keep others happy we give up things that matter to us, and it makes me sad to think of any bride ending up with a wedding day anything less than perfect.
One of things that helped me to handle difficult situations more effectively was having an amazing manager and mentor back in the day of my corporate working girl life. She was an inspiration when it comes to this stuff. She had this incredible ability to completely step back from a situation and peel away the layers until she’d got to the very core of the issue. By entirely removing emotions from a problem, she was able to communicate very simply and factually, defusing any tension by putting the focus on facts not emotions.
And there you have the crux of dealing with any wedding planning worries that should arise.
Weddings are by their very nature an emotional subject matter, so wobbles and upsets are common and to be expected – and I’m being practical not pessimistic here. Even the most laid back brides and closest families have been known to experience disagreements when a wedding is involved, but handled well these needn’t be dragged out and made into something bigger than they are.
So what can you do if a tricky situation arises. Maybe your Dad wants to invite twenty distant cousins twice removed that you’ve never met, your Mum wants Aunty Mabel on the top table or your Granny wants a say in which dress you choose because she’s paying.
Well, I guess I should say that once a softy, always a softy. This isn’t a magic wand that will suddenly make you cool with confrontation, but there are three things you can do to handle any challenges in a sensitive way…
1. Pick your battles.
Does it REALLY matter to you? If not, don’t waste your energy – let them get their way on this one and save your strength for when something pops up that you really care about.
2. Get to the heart of the problem.
Before you talk to anyone about it, take some time to really analyse what the issue is. Take emotions and feeling away and get really factual.
For example – if it is that your parents want to invite a bunch of people you’ve never met, what specifically makes that a problem for you? If it’s because you’re footing the bill for the wedding and haven’t got the budget, that’s a really valid reason. Likewise if it’s because you had your heart set on a smaller venue and this increase in numbers would rule that out.
If you’re able to pinpoint exactly what the problem is, you’ll be able to communicate from a perspective of explaining why it’s important to you, rather than seeming defensive or argumentative.
3. Talk about it.
I know, even typing this makes me shudder. I am RUBBISH at approaching tricky subjects, but hard as it is, having an honest conversation can be one of the best things you do for yourself, your self esteem and your wedding.
If you’re dealing with someone who loves you, they want you to have the best day that you can, and once you explain to them why something is so important to you, chances are they’ll be mortified to think you’d been worrying and will happily compromise.
Sometimes it takes a bit more discussion, but stick to your guns. Don’t get dragged down the road of emotional blackmail – keep the focus on the heart of the issue and reiterate that. If your reasoning is sound and fair, and you’ve thought through what the issue is and why it matters, that’s pretty hard to disagree with.
Please believe me when I say it’s entirely possible to politely and respectfully stick to your guns without it being personal.
Being able to extract the heart of a problem from emotion is a real skill. It’s not necessarily easy, but it’s valuable and worthwhile – if the person you’re having to discuss this with loves you and cares for you, they’ll hear what you have to say.
Do you have any thoughts on family politics or wedding related squabbles? Have you come across this yourself? What are your tips for dealing with confrontation?