We all know that certain situations have the mysterious power to transform pleasant, ordinary people into leading experts with opinions which they believe you can’t afford to ignore. If you’ve ever seen a group of men standing around a barbecue you’ll know what I’m talking about. People like to feel involved, especially when the task at hand is one which most or many of us are familiar with. And let’s be crushingly honest with ourselves here; we almost certainly do this too whether we’d like to think so or not. So how do you keep well meaning people from jacking your wedding?
Well, unfortunately the short answer is fairly predictable and not always easy: be assertive.
Assertiveness is a must if you’re going to prevent pushy relatives, guests, family friends, clients and colleagues from interfering in a way that you’re not comfortable with. For example, consider the following scenario:
You mention to a client at work that you’re looking for a band to play at your wedding, and they tell you that they know a great one. So, thinking this could be a good lead you tell your client that you’ll look the band up online, but they insist that they know someone in the band and must call there and then to set a meeting for you. So far you haven’t even heard these guys play and already you’re about to be committed to a meeting. What’s worse is that you’re now worrying that if you don’t hire them your client will feel slighted. And the icing on the cake might be that your client who wasn’t on the guest list could now expect to be invited. Whoah! You did not sign up for this. Your wedding has been jacked.
So here’s what you could have done to prevent this:
1. Don’t ask for advice unless you really have to: Don’t ask people for their opinions about your wedding just to fill in a conversational gap, because that’s pretty much an open invitation to get involved. Ask for advice when you really need to bounce around ideas, and make sure to state early on that you’re just ‘thinking out loud’.
2. Be direct at the outset: If you can see that someone is about to start pestering you with ideas and suggestions, just come out and say that you don’t need any more help and you’ve got a clear vision of how you want your wedding to be. If you do this right away you’ll come off as assertive; but the longer you wait the more likely it becomes that you will be misinterpreted as ungrateful or dismissive.
3. Don’t humour a wedding-jacker: If someone is forcefully trying to help you with some aspect of your wedding, don’t nod and agree and make insinuations that you’ll take their advice if you don’t really intend to. If you imply that you will and then don’t, you call your own credibility into question with that person for nothing.
Wedding-jackers can be a small nuisance but I don’t want to suggest that you ignore people’s input or keep everything to yourself. I also encourage you to see that most people intend to help and are probably even offering sensible ideas and advice. The reason you are being assertive is not ingratitude, but the fact that you can only be helped by so many people at once, and for that reason you sometimes need to set some boundaries. Don’t be afraid to do that!