Take my advice…

Charlotte blogs over at Nothing Good Rhymes With Charlotte and is a very funny lady. Wise, too. Her thoughts on the barrage of advice that newly-engaged ladies receive are observant, witty and very self-aware. I don’t think there’s any danger of Charlotte being bogged down in the minutae of whether the window cleaners’ daughter’s teacher had the same kind of cake as she wants…! 

Everybody’s got advice for the engaged.

Colour schemes, budgeting, quality of cake sponge, which breed of dog makes the best ring bearer… all of a sudden, out of nowhere, fonts of trivial knowledge will emerge among your nearest and dearest. And indeed those less near and dear who see the ring as an invitation for opinion, which it is not.

And on the one, grateful, open minded hand all this advice can be quite useful but on the other more honest and less reasonable hand, it’s just plain irritating. Yes I know you/your daughter/sister/window cleaner got married last year/century/millennium, but I don’t remember asking you to tell me your views on the pros and cons of the wedding march. If I want to come in to the theme to the Antiques Roadshow then I damn well will!!

Now, this may all sound horribly ungrateful (and also like the best walk in idea ever, I must write that down) but what people don’t realise is that the more advice you receive, the more pressure you feel. It reminds you that there is always the chance that you’ll be standing there on the big day knowing there is at least one person who thinks you’ve made the wrong decision about your dress/flowers/shoes – and personally, I’d rather just not know.

We got engaged in February in Paris and are getting married in September next year. I simply cannot wait and am enjoying the current slow pace organising we’re doing, which will have to ramp up as soon as the calendar clicks over to 2013. I can feel myself developing a nervous twitch every time anyone mentions ‘new year’…

Shortly after my beloved proposed, it dawned on me through the cloud of joy I was living on that our wedding would involve other people. All very nice people who we love and adore and – let’s not forget – will invite, but people nonetheless with eyes and opinions. And I know this because I have used my very own at other people’s weddings – admiring the dress, welcoming the booze, considering the table decorations like a guest at the most elaborate edition of Come Dine with Me. And I do, of course, intend to use them for good – to applaud people’s efforts and marvel at their attention to detail – but I must also admit that there have been times when I have thought ‘Well, I don’t think I’d have had that meal at my wedding’ and ‘Ooh, that pudding was a bit too moist wasn’t it?!’ and even ‘I give this day a 4!’. What is it about weddings that makes us forget that people just have different taste?

The truth is, it doesn’t matter where you do it, or what you wear, or to what extent the chair covers match your underwear – if you love each other and people are happy for you then that is, of course, all that matters.
I am determined not to let the next ten months run away with me and make me forget why we decided to do this whole marriage thing in the first place. If people have come to the wedding, it is surely because they want to wish us well (I appreciate the lure of free food and drink is also rather tempting but there’s some travelling involved too so you’ve got to really want it) and if they don’t like the way we organise the day then it’ll surely just give them a head start when their turn comes around.

Everyone’s on the look out for tips when that happens, aren’t they

Categories: Any Other Wedding, Becoming A Wife, Wedding Planning
10 interesting thoughts on this

10 Comments

  1. Posted November 22, 2012 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    I love this post. It may even be my favourite AOW post yet.

    Over the past week I’ve gone from freaking out trying to take into account everyone’s opinions and thoughts on the day, to sticking both middle fingers up at them as a very energetic dance move in my head. And now I’m super excited. It is our day, and it is impossible to please everyone, so they can stuff it if they don’t like it. There is still ridiculous amounts of pressure, but at the end of the day all the judging people can await to see to whether the middle finger dance will need to be used as I walk back up the aisle, make my speech, or in my first dance?!

    L x

  2. Posted November 22, 2012 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Well, thanks very much, delighted you like it!

    Totally agree, your way or the highway my friend, or whichever transport connection gets them the hell away from your venue as quickly as possible.

    And as for the sweary dance, I’m thinking – make it your entry. Don’t walk down the aisle in the traditional way, enter from below the floor on a Rihanna/Beyoncé [enter other stadium playing artist here] style podium, rise up, arms held high above with middle fingers pointed, perhaps playing some accompanying music, such as I Am Woman (Hear Me Roar) or maybe just Shut Up by the Black Eyed Peas (tune). Best to set the tone from the very start of the day, I think :) x

  3. Posted November 22, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Brilliant post! Not at all biased by the fact that I know this young lady and she is – if possible – even more hilarious and witty in real life…

    I have to say, I now feel very guilty because I have so many opinions that they often just bubble over and fall out of my mouth, even when I don’t mean them to. I try not to give advice to newly engaged people – having been there myself, I know how awkward it is to be nodding “mm that sounds great” and thinking “dear god NO” – but sometimes I just can’t help it. These are wise words, Charlotte, wise words! I will take heed!

    ps – Antiques Roadshow, YES. DO IT. Bonus points for Fiona Bruce as bridesmaid, obvs.

  4. Zan
    Posted November 22, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    I’ve found I’ve had less of this as time has gone on… to start with (when it was all new and I was very vague about ideas) everyone had an opinion. Some more vocal than others admittedly, but that combined with wedding magazines (arrghhh) made my head literally spin.

    Laura’s so right, you just can’t please everyone. There will always be someone who says your date is ‘awkward’ (yes, really, because we chose that day just to annoy you!) or thinks they would have done the centrepieces differently or has very restrictive eating habits (not allergies, preferences!).

    The trick is to mostly not care. Case in point – I’ve see a few people look surprised (and not in a good way) at the amount of speeches we’ll be having. But, it’s important to my soon to be father-in-law to be able to say a few words. And I’m firmly of the opinion that a) it’s my wedding too, so I get to talk and b) if the best man has a speech, why shouldn’t the chief bm? So Iv’e resolved that the next time someone makes a face at the amount of speeches, I’ll ignore it :)

    Great post!

  5. Posted November 22, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    I still remember friends and family being surprised by various aspects of our wedding planning. What? You’re not inviting so and so? What? But you have to! You’re not having canapés? What?! But this is a wedding!

    It really is enough, at times, to make you doubt yourself or start making ever increasingly ‘extreme wedding’ decisions like ‘lets not have coffee after lunch, it’ll save us even more money! Yessss!’ which will give rise to even more comments you’d rather people didn’t make.

    But the problem is not just about what you don’t do, it will be about what you do as well. So even if you have ALL THE THINGS someone will still think/say something about it. Sigh.

    I don’t think there’s an answer. Apart from trying not to delete people from facebook/ uninvite them/ punch someone in the face.

    • Posted November 22, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      I’d go with not punching them in the face… But whatevs.

      Personally I’d say it depends who it is. When I was told that surely I wouldn’t be buying a white full length strapless dress because it would look “really out of fashion, it’s such a trend” in a few years, I felt fine ignoring it. When it’s my mum it’s not so easy!

      Fortunately I’m the first of family and friends so not too many people have opinions!

  6. Posted November 22, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    Welcome, Charlotte! You’ve come to the right place! No totally you mustn’t let it run away with you. I get really cross at the whole ‘you must do this’ / ‘ why aren’t you having that’ thing. I must say a couple of gentle pointers from close family/friends were useful to us as it made us think through things like how long people would have between meals etc. But generally I would say controversially that other people’s opinions aren’t relevant I’m afraid and I’d be inclined to not really tell anyone too much if you think you’ll get a negative response… You can’t please all the people all the time and why would you want to! Some people are hung up on so-called ‘traditions’ which aren’t even traditions! I think it’s fun to do things differently to open people’s eyes to the fact it DOES NOT MATTER. NOT having ANY seat covers is totally fine! NO CANAPES…brilliant! The bride wearing a pink dress/coming in to Antique’s Roadshow/not being ‘given away’…. WONDERFUL!

  7. Beth
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    This post made me laugh. I can see getting lots of unsolicited advice must be annoying. As a guest at multiple weddings over the years and supporter of friends in the build up and preparation, I’ve found that they usually want to talk and sound out ideas. On the day of course you notice the details, and some things are just a matter of taste but the overriding feeling in the room is always love not judgement. I guess what I’m trying to say is that people often offer advice as a (perhaps misguided) way of showing support but in the end they’re there to celebrate the couple getting married and have a great time, which I think is what couples want too. Hope you have a wonderful wedding!

  8. Lara Blue
    Posted November 23, 2012 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Very funny writing Charlotte (had a wee nose over at your blog too).
    I do agree that as soon as people hear that you’re having a wedding they feel entitled to give their opinion but as Beth said (although maybe we just had good experiences) most people are genuinely trying to help.
    I think the point where I get annoyed is if they then push the issue or don’t take gentle hints (or even firm ones) that you’re going in a different direction from their advice happily.
    On the day, I didn’t get any sense of judgement from people although in the run up I did sometimes worry what people would think over silly things (like not having an order of ceremony or canapés or only having pastries and wedding cupcakes for dessert) but other aspects (like having both my Dad’s walk me down the aisle or waiting for evening guests to arrive to cut the cake) I didn’t give a flying toss what anyone thought. Maybe this was because the first were to do with money whereas the second were all decisions made for emotional reasons? I don’t know.
    I think we all find our way in the end, I found a couple of people whose opinion mattered a lot to me and used them as a sounding board for my uncertainties. I also tweeted about the order of ceremonies and the lovely Aisling gave welcome permission not to bother :)

    • Posted November 23, 2012 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      Thank you for all your lovely comments – and I hope you enjoy the blog, Lara!

      I do – genuinely, I promise – very much value all your advice about taking/not taking advice as we see fit (I think that sentence made sense…)

      Having a couple of people as a sounding board is a great call – I think this will largely involve my mum and a bridesmaid or two as I can always speak frankly with them – if a little too frankly at times :)

      Thanks again for the warm welcome to AOW – delighted to be a part of it!

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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