AOW A-Z of Getting Married – Z is for Zen


The AOW A-Z of Getting Married is a resource for brides (and grooms) to be.  It’s a welcome piece of sanity in an industry-saturated world where people are bombarded with what weddings they should have, what they should act like, and how a bride should feel.  Created by the team behind Any Other Woman, this A-Z is the first collaboration of its kind, bringing together posts from readers across the AOW community filled with advice, wisdom and experience from sane, smart, real women, many of whom have been there.  From wedding planning to family trials to breaking taboos, no topic is out of bounds.  We are honoured and excited to run each and every post, and we learn from each and every one of our readers.

To help the A-Z become an even better resource, please leave your tips, advice and comments below.

Z is for Zen by Jonecca

Grace Under Pressure: Keeping Your Cool With Your Family

Reacting to a serious misgiving would have elicited a straightforward reaction to some – by panicking and cracking under pressure. Given a tensile atmosphere, it would naturally induce a host of other reactions as well. We’ve all seen enough reality TV to know how not to act. Throwing mega-sized temper tantrums, throwing wine in someone’s face, tossing a table and hurling insults are never the way to act at a party or celebration – even if someone, more so if it’s a family member or a relative, has slighted you either intentionally or unintentionally. But how do you keep your cool? And how to handle these situations that could get out of control? Let’s talk about how to always act like a lady, whether you are a guest at your roommate’s hen party weekends or attending your parents’ anniversary party.

Handling Overtly Prying and Inquisitive Questions

In whatever place or event we may be, we are sure to come across distinctive kinds of people – some introverted and some forthcoming, some reserved and some totally gregarious. Irrespective of this fact, there is certainly one type of person that you will find virtually anywhere – nosy, intrusive people. Imagine this scenario: you’re attending your parents’ anniversary party – solo – and a relative comes up to you and asks, “Why aren’t you married yet? All your siblings have already wed but you always seem to be single after all these years. Is something wrong with you dear?”

When someone asks you a personal question that you don’t want to answer, you are under no obligation to answer it. In today’s world of TMI (too much information), it may surprise you to think that something is actually not someone’s business to know. Just give her a polite smile and ask her, “Are you enjoying my parent’s party?” You can also follow that with a nice compliment to be respectful, such as “I’m sure they are so glad you are here!”

Dealing with Needless Competition

In gatherings where almost everyone of value to your life is complete, it can be an adamant goal for some to save face or to keep up the appearances of a life of prestige or superiority. This is a very common thing that women face at parties or family gatherings. It can be bold and direct or most times, but it can also be subtle. Let’s say you mention you have lost 10lbs. Your sister-in-law will pipe up, saying “Well, I’ve lost 25lbs.” Good for her, you think. But it doesn’t stop there. You mention you are redecorating the living room. Then your sister-in-law butts in with, “We’re redecorating the whole house!” Sigh. It seems whatever you have to share, this one-upper can always beat you, and seems very happy to do so. So what to do you do?

Often enough, this behavior belies a need for attention. The best way to handle the situation is actually to ignore it. Probably your family or friends will ask her some questions about her accomplishments and give her a little attention and hopefully that will be enough. Try talking to someone else at the party or family gathering so you can avoid patronizing her in this cycle of outdoing each other.

Managing Unnecessary Drama

In essence, any drama is merely the situation itself. Your drama only begins once you respond to it. As a result, while you may not be able to put an end to the drama per se, you surely can stop your own responsive drama from escalating. Simply put, you may or may not be able to take charge of the circumstances, but with some practice, you can learn to alter – and manage – your response. When you are your sister’s maid of honor, you probably will do anything to make her hen party ideas perfect. But it can be a problem when she starts to make unrealistic demands. Ice sculptures that look like baby swans swimming beside an open heart, frosted pink cupcakes in a sky-high tower and spa treatments for all of the guests. If your sister is an out of control drama queen, who fusses over the exact shade of pink that the cupcakes at her hen party, then it’s time to manage this situation before you lose your cool.

Your sister may be incredibly annoying, but at the root of this behavior, she is actually overstressed and overwhelmed too. Give her and you some much deserved R&R time. Go see a funny movie, get your nails done or just take a long walk and go out to lunch. Do something fun that takes you away from wedding planning for a few hours, and this will definitely help dissolve her edginess away.


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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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