My work as a day-of wedding coordinator kicks in about four weeks before a wedding. Unfortunately, by that point, my clients — and particularly brides — are really over wedding planning.
"I don't even like talking about the wedding," one woman told me. It was weeks before her wedding and she was getting it from all sides: "Every day, everyone is asking me, 'How's the wedding planning coming?'"
What do they want me to say? she wondered. "I tell them, 'It's normal. I've got a timeline. Do you want to see it?'"
They never do.
"I think they want me to be excited or stressed," she said. "Or maybe they're just being polite and don't actually want me to bore them with the details." (Mind you, she had been bored stiff for months.)
The response is no better if she just wants to vent.
"You can't bitch about it to almost anybody because when you do, everyone's like, 'Oh, your wedding will be so lovely. It will be so wonderful.'"
Who said it wouldn't be?
"I'm just venting about the frustration about how much time it takes and how much money everything costs and those things are irritating to me and I'm a vocal person and I need to share it.'"
But we’re taught a bride isn’t supposed to do that, is she?
She’s supposed to be quiet and demure, consumed with the gravity of becoming A Wife. She’s supposed to be above all the petty grievances that in any other situation she’d be at full liberty to discuss. She’s supposed to be an angel, decked in white.
My clients show this emotional fatigue in different ways. Often, they just stop answering emails. Other times, they buckle down, so absorbed by details that they can't have any fun. Either way, their message is the same: "Can we please get this over with already?"
What a horrible situation this puts engaged couples in, especially women. What should be a joyous occasion becomes so much work that you can't even enjoy it. It becomes yet another thing you have to do.
We can change this.
If you know someone who’s getting married, don’t make the first thing you ask them be “How’s the wedding planning going?” Instead, ask about all the other great stuff they’ve got going on: their work, their hobbies, their life.
Chances are good that your friend will share the details of their wedding anyway. The important part is that they do it in their own time and own way.
By not forcing them to share, you’re telling your friend: "It's OK your wedding isn't the center of your whole life. It shouldn't be. That would be unhealthy." You’re giving them permission to not care and a reminder that their identity wasn't lost the moment they put on an engagement ring.
And that’s the best wedding gift you can ever give.