When Mr. D and I finally decided “Yes, let’s do this,” our first step was searching for a venue. We were super excited to be doing this together—especially since the first time around we had to divide and conquer a lot of things due to Mr. D’s crazy medical school schedule, among other reasons. It made us feel so “together” to visit sites and go through the process of planning something uniquely us and what would be a day to truly celebrate our renewed life as a couple. We were ready!
What we weren’t entirely prepared for were some of the responses when venue staff and site coordinators found out we were having a vow renewal. The inevitable question that followed would always be, “Really? How long have you been married?” and when we said “almost five years” and explained our story, we’d usually get a “hmm,” with some raised eyebrows. Some even went further to actually say things like, “You guys are so young” or “Well, any excuse to have a party I guess.” Or they just gave a quizzical look as they muttered “Whatever floats your boat.” While we were able to take it with a smile and a light response, I have to admit it did catch me a little bit off guard, especially given how much this event meant to us.
I’ve often kind of wondered just what it is about the topic of weddings that seems to give a green light for someone to be more openly critical of another than they would under normal circumstances. (I hear it gets even worse when it comes to parenting, but that’s a topic for another day!) Of course everyone is entitled to an opinion, but it seems like folks are quicker to voice them directly and often not so tactfully when it comes to weddings. During our original wedding-planning process, I can still vividly recall when relatives or family friends would openly criticize a decision we had made, whether it was the location we chose, what was served for a meal, or even how too much or too little money was spent on what. Many of my married friends often also talk about how vendors would become rude and impatient once they knew you were planning a wedding versus a corporate event. And the worst of all is when, whether jokingly or not, brides get referred to as a “bridezilla.”
I have a few hypotheses: a) perhaps weddings seem to some to be indulgent and self-centered, which makes some people feel like they are more entitled to cast judgment, or b) it comes from a place of defending one’s own (likely very strong) convictions about what is and isn’t appropriate for an event that involves so many people. It does still somewhat baffle me why folks can get so worked up, though.
Luckily, for us, we’ve learned over time that you really can’t please everyone, so we were able to take things with a smile and let it roll off. As unconventional as it might be, when it came down to it, we knew exactly what we were doing and why: we both knew what we had been through, we had miraculously come such a long way, and there was much to celebrate—and that was reason enough for us.
What are your thoughts on why people are so quick to share their opinions? And for those of you who’ve been on the receiving end, what frustrates you the most?