Planning a wedding is stressful.
Typically, in our society, most of that pressure falls on the bride.
Sadly, the general public adds to the stress by asking brides-to-be awkward, overly personal and downright embarrassing questions. I experienced this in the lead-up to my own wedding, and it made me realize I’ve probably been on the opposite end without realizing it.
We all mean well, but most people don’t realize how often brides hear the same inappropriate comments and questions – and how annoying it can be. Here are a few things you should never say to a bride:
1. Do you plan to lose weight?
I joined a boxing gym a few months before I got engaged. When I announced my happy news, some of the gym regulars asked if I was “sweating for the wedding.”
Despite saying I’d continue to exercise after I got married, most refused to believe I was there to work out for anything but the big day. Many assumed, out loud, that I’d let my membership lapse after the wedding.
I admit that looking and feeling beautiful on my wedding day was important to me, but I didn’t need others reminding me. Getting married is about joining two lives together, not dropping a dress size for your wedding photos.
2. Wow, what an unusual ring!
I told my husband months before our engagement I didn’t believe in engagement rings. When I announced my engagement to my coworkers and friends, they immediately asked where my ring was.
Some women are happy to show off their rings, but others are more reticent – especially if they have a small diamond, a non-diamond, or no ring at all.
We’re all aware what a traditional engagement ring looks like, and no one wants to be reminded their ring is “different” or “interesting.” Those are all euphemisms for, “Wow, your fiance couldn’t be bothered to buy you a real diamond, huh?”
One coworker even asked me if I was engaged, months after I’d started planning my wedding. I’d talked to her about it multiple times. She said she couldn’t remember because I didn’t wear a ring.
If your friend offers to show you her ring, say it’s beautiful and move on. If she says she didn’t want one, respect her decision.
3. When do you plan to have kids?
The floodgates of inappropriate commenting open when you get engaged. Previously respectful people become nosy, asking questions that should be reserved for a private dinner or family gathering.
That brings us to the question of children.
Why is everyone in a rush to know what happens after the wedding? I just decided to commit myself to someone else for eternity and now I have to think about kids?
Most recently engaged couples are too busy thinking about cake flavors and wedding playlists to even consider the possibility of kids, much less answer questions about it. If the bride in question has firm plans to get pregnant, it will probably come up organically over the course of conversation.
4. You’re not doing what at your wedding?
I’m convinced that wedding announcements bring about more rude behavior than busy travel times at the airport. Suddenly, everyone has to share their opinions about your wedding.
No matter what you think, don’t tell a bride what she should or shouldn’t do at her wedding. I appreciated the suggestions people had about ways to save money or how to handle the guest list, but firm opinions about my specific situation made me feel uncomfortable and judged. Most of the time, I nodded politely and changed the subject.
Don’t assume brides want to hear your opinions about their wedding. Wedding planning involves bringing together two people, two families, and two distinct ideas of what a proper wedding entails. Fortunately, I married into a family who didn’t feel strongly about how the wedding should look – but not every bride is so lucky.
5. You’re not changing your name?
This is at the top of the list of things never to say to a bride.
My fiance knew I wouldn’t change my last name before we even got engaged. He was, and continues to be, fine with it. Not everyone was so comfortable with my decision.
One boss told me it was “disrespectful” to my future husband and his family. Others asked, “Is your fiance OK with you not changing your name?”
Taking on a new last name is one of the most personal decisions a bride can make – which means it’s nobody else’s business. People who judge me probably don’t know I immigrated with my family from Ukraine, and my last name is an important tie to our journey.
Even if you think I’m slighting my future husband, the only opinion that really matters is his. Again, he’s fine with it.
6. I can’t wait to come!
The most awkward experience a bride-to-be can have is with friends and family who presume, wrongly, that they’ll be invited to the wedding. No one wants to tell an excited friend they won’t need to save the date.
Don’t assume you’re coming to the wedding until you open the invitation. You’ll risk embarrassing yourself or forcing an invite out of guilt. Don’t put the bride – or yourself – in that situation.
What are some of the things you think you should never say to a bride?