My Feminist Wedding // When I Said "Yes," I Learned to Say "No"

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I’ve never been good at saying no to people. I am at my very core a people-pleaser. If someone is sad, I want to cheer them up. If someone is angry, I want to fix it. If I am the cause of any negative feelings, I have a tendency to spiral into a deep hole of self-loathing. 

So for me to say no to people is…rare. And painful.

When I got engaged I expected to learn a lot of things, but learning to say no wasn’t one of them. But now I have a lot of people and businesses offering to do things for me. And I have a lot of people telling Fiancé and I what our wedding should and should not be like and how things are done and why we shouldn’t do them differently.

And I’ve had to say no. For the sake of saving our sanity and having the wedding that we want.

“No, we do not want passed hors d’oeuvres.” (And yes, I will always Google how to spell that word.)

“No, our wedding party will not be a traditional one.”

“No, we will not be doing <insert traditional, but gross ceremonial thing here> because it doesn’t jive with who we are.”

These are all things that used to terrify me. I’m the girl who goes to a flea market and bargains to pay more for something.

And I always used to think that I could avoid saying no by disguising it with a yes, but that doesn’t work here. Sometimes, especially when planning a wedding, you just have to say “No.”

And the other tricky part? Not apologizing for it.

And all of this is because I’m learning something bigger: What we want is worth fighting for.

The guilt I feel over turning people down is staggering, but I’m also learning that it’s a little egocentric. Obviously, I will always take other’s feelings into account (or I’ll try to), but it turns out that everyone’s success doesn’t rely on me. It turns out that saying no to some people is actually helpful in weird ways. It feels terrible to say it, and I will be far from bitchy about it (or, again, I’ll try), but I don’t need to beg for their forgiveness over it.

And all of this is because I’m learning something bigger: What we want is worth fighting for.

Fiancé and I have built what we feel is a beautiful dream for our wedding day. We reserve the right to stick to those plans even if they make others confused or ask questions. If we find vendors who won’t do what we want, we’ve learned that there are vendors and people who will, and saying no to one means saying yes to another. We can’t hire everyone and we can’t make everyone happy, but what we can do is celebrate our love the way that we want to with the people that we want to and hope that everyone has a blast in the process.

So, I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to say no to people when it comes to standing up for what you want and who you are. Be kind about it and be gentle (we are, after all, all human beings), but if you are also a person who hates saying no, give it a shot. Pick your moments (maybe don’t start with your boss), but find someone who you are constantly just saying yes to in order to avoid confrontation (roommate? sibling? friend?), and say: “You know what, that’s not what I want. Can we do something different?”

Chances are, they might say yes.

This article originally appeared on Awkwardly Alive and Pleasantly Peculiar


Emelie Samuelson is a girl in her twenties who is just trying her best. She spends her days reading and writing books, playing games, and snuggling with dogs. You can find more of her ramblings and embarrassing stories on her blog, Awkwardly Alive and Pleasantly Peculiar