Why are people so obsessed with what’s going on other people’s pockets? No seriously, I’d love to know if you have answers because I don’t. I’ve always heard people say that unsolicited advice and semi-rude comments from relatives are just another part of wedding planning, but I foolishly thought, “No, not my family. My folks are as cool as the other side of the pillow.” And then, Sunday happened.
The day started off great. I was exhausted from getting up at 6 a.m., but in my heart, I felt that it was all worth it. I was able to make it to my Young Women of Excellence Sunday School class on time, and it was a great lesson. My students walked away smiling and hopefully, enlightened. Morning worship had already begun by the time class let out, so I tried to tip through the sanctuary quietly greeting those who I passed as I made my way to my seat. I encountered a male relative during this time, who apparently felt that this was a good time to catch up. No problem. The praise and worship team was rocking the house, so I figured a couple of minutes wouldn’t hurt.
I had only seen him two or three times since getting engaged, and I could tell by how he broached the conversation that he had questions. This wasn’t a problem for me either. I’m an open book when it comes to my family.
“So how are things,” he paused, “with your boyfriend?”
My first thought was to correct him, but I figured it would be petty to get all huffy over semantics. So I let it go and went on to tell that things are great.
“What’s up with this wedding?” he asked. “You’re not going overboard, I hope.”
Wedding planning has been slightly more stressful than I imagined it would be because of all of the coordinating that is needed. But even with all of the effort that it takes to pull off the big day, I am so very grateful, and I try to refrain from complaining—especially when I’m asked how planning is going. So I offered a brief update that included the venue I am looking to book with and the time of year that I hope to hold the ceremony. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is when the foolishness began.
“Don’t be Big Willy at a place you can’t afford,” he advised. “You’ll do all of that and people will turn around and say ‘the chicken was nasty.’”
I’m sorry, what?
I smiled and nodded. Both my fiancé and I are well-established, fiscally responsible adults who would not place ourselves in a financial hole over a one-day celebration, but I get it. In most cases, your family wants the best for you. So even if they’re telling you something you already know, they probably mean well. However, he apparently felt that I wasn’t taking him seriously because he continued to press the issue—even though I’m sure he has no idea how much the venue charges.
“I’m serious!” he warned. “Who is helping you two pay for it?”
While I was beginning to feel that he was being slightly meddlesome, I pushed my feelings aside and told him that my parents volunteered to pitch in simply because they felt compelled to do so—not because I need them to.
“You should think of having it at that community center your aunt works at,” he suggested as if he didn’t already hear me say that I was about to book with a venue already. “It’s nice.”
More awkwardness. Then, he decided that it was time to harp on the date. Apparently, it wasn’t to his liking because it’s a time that he likes to travel with his wife.
“It’s more expensive that time of year anyway,” he said.
Of course, his comment was completely inaccurate. But still, I just let it go. Although I felt annoyed, I figured the conversation wasn’t worth getting worked up over.
I hooked up with my mom at the end of service, and by then, he had gotten to her as well. She serves on the finance team at our church, which keeps her pretty busy. But this same relative chose to badger her the entire time that she was working regarding my wedding and what he felt was an appropriate figure to spend. Did I mention that he hasn’t the first clue about wedding planning and no idea what our budget is? Still, my mother proceeded to tell me that he seemed to feel that we weren’t taking his advice to heart, while adding that she could tell he was getting worked up over the entire thing. Why? I haven’t the slightest clue.
Perhaps I could understand his frustration if we were asking him or other relatives for financial assistance, but we’re not. We’re good. However, it seems that overbearing relatives like him love to act the complete fool during these occasions. I really don’t like fighting with my family, and I’m strong believer in the “eat the meat, spit out the bones” concept when it comes to people and their advice, but I’m really not sure how many more conversations like this I will be able to tolerate—especially if people are going to be harassing my mama. The holidays are just around the corner, so I’ll definitely have to find a tactful way to deal with not-so-tactful folks by then.
Ladies, how do you handle the peanut gallery during major life events?