WeddOMG: The Unnecessary Criticism

"I think you're putting on an ostentatious display," my uncle said, as I poured him another glass of wine. We had invited him and my sort-of-aunt over for a Saturday dinner. He was asking about wedding planning (i.e.  interrogating me unfairly about how much our wedding was costing), and that was his response. I wanted to slap him. He--the man who drove a Porsche for years (and eventually traded it in for a BMW to be more practical), who flies first-class to Barbados with his live-in ex-wife for weeks at a time several times a year, who lives in a house more than triple the space and bedrooms he needs--was calling something that hasn't even materialized ostentatious, a word dripping in judgement and condescension.

I felt scarily defensive. First of all, our wedding will be far from ostentatious. How could a wedding with 50 people, locally-grown flowers, and, very possibly, a pizza bar (albeit probably gourmet) be over the top and showy? All along we've said we want fun, intimate, classy. But never showy.

But, here's the thing: even if it were, it's none of his goddamn business. Or anyone else's for that matter. Carolina Man and I are footing the bill ourselves, so we get to decide if we want to spend under $1K on local flowers instead of tropical ones (we are) or $10K for a kick-ass venue (we are) or host our rehearsal dinner at home for practically nothing (we are) or whatever we want with the budget we set. These are our decisions to make.

For people pleasers like the both of us, though, that's easier said than done. It's tough to stand in the face of criticism concerning important life decisions and not want to strike back, not defend the decision as if doing so would change the other person's view.

When it comes to weddings, I think we've all been socialized to think that everyone will magically be a better version of their selves for the benefit of the bride and groom. Oh, wouldn't it be nice if this were the case? But so far I can already tell you that it isn't true. My mom will still be opinionated (but helpful!). My uncle is still judgmental. And I still care what everyone thinks.

That last thing is the only part I have any control over: choosing to let what others say determine how I feel about a situation. Moving forward, my goal is to take such comments with a grain of salt and consider the source. My uncle? Lives with his ex-wife. Who refuses to marry him again. Not exactly an ideal go-to source for how to do things in the romantic arena. But in the end, he's family. And you'll bet he'll be enjoying his gourmet slice of pizza as much as the rest of 'em (even though he'll probably never admit it.)


14 comments:

  1. Haha! Well, good for you for being resolute and unswayed by outside opinion. Everyone's going to have something to say but what will matter is only between you two. The pizza bar & local flowers sound awesome.

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    1. Part of wedding planning is realizing that it's pretty ridiculous. And yet, it's pretty special. Keeping a sense of humor will be key, I do believe.

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  2. I found that footing our wedding bill, and involving as less people as possible, opinions still ran rampant! Family AND Strangers but at the end of the day it was OUR day so we did whatever we wanted! As should you =D

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    1. You are so right! Everyone's got something to say. I'm glad you made your day the way you wanted it!

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  3. Um... I'm a little high on cold meds right now so pardon me for a lack of anything more classy but... what a douche. Who says that? To the BRIDE?? Can I slap him for you??

    I'll say it before and I'll say it again, weddings unfortunately bring out the worst in people. And those people unfortunately think it's okay to voice their opinions. I don't get why they believe that's okay but unfortunately it's true.

    Anyway, thus far I think your wedding sounds sweet, quaint and absolutely you. And that's how it should be. Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise.

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    1. Thanks for the back-up, K! I already have in mind what I'll say if he brings it up again. It'll be of the verbal ass-kicking variety.

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  4. It has been my experience that weddings bring out the absolute worst in people. I don't know what it is, but the second people hear the word they offer all sorts of unsolicited opinions. Try to ignore everyone and do what is going to make you happy.

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  5. 'When it comes to weddings, I think we've all been socialized to think that everyone will magically be a better version of their selves for the benefit of the bride and groom."
    -Sadly, this is rarely the case. Everyone will chime in their opinion and try and tell you how you should have your wedding. In my experiences, the best and most fun weddings have always been the ones that clearly represent the couple getting married. Yes, the marriage is a joining of two families, but it's the two individuals in the marriage who get to dictate how involved the rest of the family is in important choices. I applaud you for standing your ground and staying true what you want to create for your new family!

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    1. Thank you, Molly! I agree--the weddings that feel like the couple are the best. That's what we're hoping to achieve for sure!

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  6. Go you! None of his business, indeed.

    Your wedding sounds freaking awesome. Pizza-bar? At home rehearsal dinner? Yes, please!

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    1. Thank you! We want it to be awesome, relaxed, and delicious. Our venue is a little fancy, but I hope breaking out the pizza and beer will make everyone feel right at home. ;-)

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  7. it is probably just the begiining. everybody would have an opinion on how your wedding should be and others would want to live vicariously through you

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  8. This is hard to do with family, but I have told every bride this since our wedding was over. The more tight-lipped you are about your plans, the less opportunity for someone to weigh-in and give their (usually unwanted) opinion. It's your day. You're footing the bill. You and your groom are the only ones who get to have an opinion here.

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