As a past bride myself and with several friends getting married, I would sometimes (okay, often) experience periods of unappreciative rage at kind souls who just wanted to show they cared.
Yes, I know it’s ungrateful to say what I’m going to say, and I know that with anyone over 30, this is going to seem super-rude, but…
Here are some tips on how to talk to a bride, whether she’s a close friend, acquaintance, or office mate, without being yet another reason she wants to pull her hair out:
Here Are Some Don’ts…
Don’t get more excited than she is.
We need to accept the fact that being female and having a wedding does not necessarily mean you are oogy-googy excited about it.
I mean, congrats if you are! But if you are, that’s something that can come across after the conversation gets going, not in the hallway or break room.
As a bride, I experienced several interactions per day filled with saccharine-sweet (yet aggressive) addresses to me. You must be so excited as if I had no choice in the matter. Oh my gosh, your wedding day will be the best day of your life, cherish this time, as if my entire life (degrees and accomplishments, pshhh!) was leading up to this magical sunny day when a man will marry me!
Not only can this be unintentionally (or intentionally) insulting, but what if there’s drama or the planning isn’t going well, or there’s money trouble? Suddenly I, the bride, with enough to worry about, am now dissecting conversational boundaries, wondering if the friend wants details. Do you want me to spill? Is that inappropriate? Am I just in a bad mood and I need to maintain my office PR?
Do her a favor – don’t decide how the bride must feel or should feel, because trust me – there are family members for that.
Don’t ask easy questions.
Unless the engagement was literally just announced, see if you can get the basics from folks who have already asked.
Think about it this way: how would you feel if about three people per day asked you when your birthday was? You’d start to hate your birthday, right? And wonder why it was such a big deal.
The same goes for weddings. It’s suddenly very easy to hate your wedding colors if you have to describe them and give your reasoning 10-12 times per week. Same goes for location, time of day, honeymoon, and size of the wedding.
This information isn’t vital to your bonding with the bride, so pick something more personal to talk about.
Don’t ask hard questions.
Just as easy questions will imply you don’t know anything about the bride’s wedding, hard questions will be just as awkward. It’s hard to list each of your bridesmaids by name to someone who will probably never meet them- let alone discuss who you know each of them and why you picked them.
Gauge your questions, comments, and stories for the situation and the person. If you are close with the person, feel free to bring up the wedding over lunch. But if you heard about the new hire’s wedding through the grapevine, please, please, please don’t corner her on the way out of the bathroom to talk about peonies.
Here Are Some Do’s
Do acknowledge that it’s a big day in one’s life – but maybe not just because of the wedding.In case anyone forgot, the wedding is important because of the significant life choice in a significant relationship.
So, while there’s a dress, design, price, make-up, and hair…. there’s also a very significant other.
Ask friendly questions about the groom. If you feel comfortable doing so, ask how the wedding is affecting the bride’s relationship for the better. Or, ask what plans the bride and groom have for relaxing before the wedding.
Do pick your time wisely.
For the record, please, please don’t bombard a bride in the breakroom or hallway with a series of questions in a high-pitched voice. It’s uncomfortable and alarming, especially considering she is probably hitting up yoga once a day just to de-stress.
Save conversations — actual conversations, not just passing questions to check “conversation” off your to-do list — for a time when you are sitting down with the bride and actually interested.
Do offer to help. Maybe you’re a hot graphic designer. Maybe you know your way around a wedding planner binder and know the bride well enough to offer your services.
No matter what, no bride minds hearing, “Is there anything I can do to help?” and there’s not a one of them who would say no to a lunch out or a gift card to Starbucks.
Do unto others as you would have them do to you. That said, who am I to tell you how to act? This is what I think. If you, as a bride, were peppy and excited and ready to share everything about the wedding, maybe that’s what you think is the best thing to do. Just pause for a moment and think about what you know about this person, and whether or not your behavior will make them uncomfortable.
Have you made it through Wedding Plan Boot Camp? Was it better or worse that you thought it’d be?