When people don’t think you’re excited enough about your wedding

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Not everyone feels like jumping up and down about being engaged. Thanks to Marika for adding this to our Flickr pool!

I have been contending with a lot of negative feedback from my future in-laws regarding my nontraditional wedding decisions and so I am feeling a little humorless when it comes to discussing event details with casual acquaintances. I do not feel squealy and elated when I talk about my wedding, and this seems to disappoint (and sometimes even upset) other people.

How can I address others' unsolicited wedding enthusiasm without seeming negative or rude?

Why, I just cannot imagine why you wouldn't be jumping up and down in delight about organizing an event that's incredibly high pressure, involves family resistance, costs a small fortune, and takes up months and months of your project management time.

What, you mean you haven't spent your entire life up until this point dreaming of the day when you would put on a big white dress and stand next to a vulva sculpture? What's wrong with you, Molly? WHY AREN'T YOU EXCITED FOR YOUR SPECIAL DAAAAAY!?

I touch on this topic a bit in my book when I interviewed a couple brides who expressed frustration that family members seemed to forget about all their other accomplishments in life and fixate completely on the wedding once they got engaged.

Forget about “How's the PhD coming?” — all you'll hear is “How are the flowers coming?” and if you're not excited about your gardenias, people get disoriented. You mean … you're not excited about your flowers? You mean … you have other things going on in your life?? My god.

Your issue is a little different, but I'd still give some of the same advice — try diverting some of the bride attention onto other aspects of your life, i.e. “Oh, the wedding's coming along fine [note the complete lack of details here!], but I'm actually more excited about my new job right now!”

Other responses to the question, “So, are you excited for the wedding?”:

  • Shift focus from the wedding and the actual marriage: “Sure, I'm excited about the wedding, but really, I'm most looking forward to actually being married sharing the commitment with my partner.”
  • Kill 'em with whithering sarcasm: “Excited!? Of course! Wedding planning is going GREAT. I love how EASY it is. It's great how everyone LOVES MY NONTRADITIONAL IDEAS.”
  • The honest route combined with topic shift: “I'm happy to be getting married, but facing a lot of challenges because some of my ideas for the wedding don't match with family expectations. It's an exciting time, but I'm sort of burnt out on talking about it. How are YOU doing?”

Part of what you're doing here is re-educating people who assume that all women have been dreaming of their wedding since birth and once engaged are in the happiest time in their lives.

Think of each conversation as a form of gracious outreach, demonstrating to the world that for some women, getting engaged is just a logistical issue — and sometimes one fraught with family drama and more pains-in-the-ass than squealy excitement.

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Comments on When people don’t think you’re excited enough about your wedding

  1. LOL. Well at least I dont’ feel so alone now.

    I am excited about my handfasting, but to be honest, I get sick of talking about it. I mean it’s just one day.

    The honest route has worked well for me but if that doesn’t work ask them to volunteer to take on some of the work in producing this event. Words like, “Yeah I’m excited but this is a lot of work. I could really use some help. Do you think you might be available to help me make the 120 labels for the favors?”
    That is guaranteed to bring that subject to a halt, or gain you a valuable slave..err volunteer!

  2. Thank you for your advice. It takes a little more patience, but I will try to approach each conversation as a grounds for educating people. But I am definitely constructing a vulva sculpture for the wedding!

    Thanks also for this site–it has helped me keep my sanity.

  3. I’ve taken to replying “No” with a dead on stare. Just let it hang in there air. It makes squealers really uncomfortable.

  4. Great advice! One of my co-workers asked me how I was feeling about the wedding and I said “a little stressed out, to tell you the truth” and she actually told me I was SUPPOSED to say that I was excited… SUPPOSED TO SAY?????

  5. That’s hilarious. Everyone at work thinks that I’m either a fembot or dreading marriage because I’m not talking about the wedding non-stop or brandishing a wedding binder like a Jinzu knife in the breakroom! Isn’t saying yes proof enough that you love the guy and are excited? Duh! Thanks for the suggestions.

  6. I’m naturally a very gregarious person who at times has been known to squeel, scream, get a cutest-little-bunny-in the pet-store-can-I-have-him?! overload, but sometimes I’m tired too.

    Sometimes, I’ve talked about the wedding, and explained all excitedly about every little detail, and I’m just done. And yet when I say in a normal, happy tone that yes, I’m excited, and it’s all rainbows and clover, and all that schmootz, I still get a half-joking, but really actually bitchy underneath. “Well, you don’t sound that excited…It’s your wedding! You should be excited!”

    And to them I say: What’s your name again? Because we obvoiously don’t know each other. I hate feeling forced to be “on” to please the people who want some kind of wedding orgasm from me everytime they mention it.

    Yes, I’m excited but come on, even some speed happy ecstacy popping pink bunny can’t be EXCITED!!!!! 24/7. So how am I supposed to be?

  7. It is three weeks until my "big day" and I swear I wish I had found this site earlier in my planning. I am normally easily excitable, giggly and smiley. But the planning process of this event has made me turn around to people and tell them to elope. I wish I did it when I had the chance. I am planning a wedding 5 hours from where I currently live and the bridal party is a logistical nightmare, every grand idea I have had for my day to be my own has been shot down in flames by either my mother or my sheer bad luck in getting what I need. I've gotten to the point where I just don't care anymore. I'm not even trying to make this day different, save for the karaoke at the reception and the take home mini lolly jars. I honestly think the reason I wanted to have a proper wedding was mostly for my Grandmother, who sadly passed away in February. So when people ask me if I am excited, I just reply I am stressed and it is hard to be excited when there is so much work to be done. Most women are sympathetic, but some think I am a bit weird.

  8. I’m so glad I’m not the only non-squealing bride-to-be out there. It drives me crazy how everyone wants to talk wedding with me ALL the time. I’m not a squealy person (unless there are puppies or kittens around)and I really think anyone who knows me should have accepted that fact by now. But no. Instead of “how are you?” or “ready to start graduate school?”, I get “how’s the wedding planning?”, etc. HELLO, I have other things on my mind. I think my boss was more excited when I walked into work with my engagement ring than I was when I got it. It’s all pretty ridiculous. It’s really starting to make me regret having already put the deposit down on my ceremony and reception.

    • no no no! u plan your wedding girl and do not bother with them!!! The people who are really in your corner know what’s up and what’s NOT!!!

  9. Holy cow, THANK YOU.
    There are days where I can’t wait to get into the deep nitty-gritty of my wedding (and feel like I’m actually doing something) but there are a lot of days were I’m so burnt out that the thought of having to scope out another salon or venue makes me want to run to the courthouse screaming. I know I’m not alone, either. I have a few other friends all planning their weddings, and I get almost DAILY e-mails about how frustrating all this planning is.
    If this planning stuff has taught me anything, it’s that you really learn who your close friends are, and you need one who’s got your back.

  10. i feel so good when i read this site! In the past, I started to feel like maybe something was wrong with me or wrong with us! From our long engagement to my chilled out, I’m not doing that or this, because I don’t want to attitude, to the “oh, so you’re not doing flowers,ohh, interesting” replies. I also cannot stand the bridal shower question. OMG. NO, i am not having a bridal shower inviting people I do not even know “just to get the gifts.” haha. But, luckily the folks who really do care about me and love me, know exactly what’s coming and not coming.

    • OMG!!! We’ve been engaged for 3 years! I’m getting the same reactions! My fiance’s step mom and her family make faces every time they ask a question about the wedding and I don’t give the right answer. I don’t want a bridal shower but I’m getting one anyway because they can’t understand why I don’t want 1000 count sheets and new towels. I have sheets and towels that work perfectly fine! What is it with “just do it for the gifts”??? I’m not getting married for the gifts!
      Fortunately I have an amazing group of girls around me who have been my friends for 10+ years and understand me. They are so supportive and enthusiastic about every decision I’ve made.

      • I know how you feel. My fiancee and I felt squirmy about even having a registry for our upcoming wedding as we’ve been together for four and a half years, and have lived together for three, so we’ve got everything we need. Our friends are college students, young families just getting started in life, and relatives who have been hit hard by the economic downturn. We’re also looking at a possible cross-country move in the next five years, so even though we appreciate the sentiment, the last thing we need is more stuff!

        My original idea was to do a non-perishable food drive for a local pantry in lieu of wedding gifts, but my fiancee and I bowed to pressure from our relatives to register at a couple of places. My mom (who is normally a wonderful person) told me that I should be “all giddy” about the “potential loot.” The registry person at Bed, Bath & Beyond kept urging us toward the $900 Caphelon dishes and cookware despite our repeated wishes to keep the registry small, simple, and inexpensive. She kept telling us that our relatives would want to buy us something “really, really nice, not just something you’d normally give for a birthday or something” and expressed astonishment that we wanted the less-expensive linens and simpler, smaller kitchen stuff. It was more than a little frustrating to have to keep reasserting our non-greed!

  11. Thank you for this post. Many of my coworkers have stopped asking me about the wedding because their either did not like or didn’t expect my reaction. (Which was usually a look of panic.)
    Yes, I am excited but I’m not going to jump up and down while divulging every detail about my “big” day. That’s just not me. I’m also very busy juggling work and grad school too. If I’m stressed, people constantly bringing up the wedding plans I have difficulties making enough time for does not help! Although the panic look has scared most off, if people ask, I now say “It’s going great!” and walk away as quickly as possible.

  12. I’ve been telling people that I’m way more concerned with (and terrified about) planning my marriage than my wedding, and then ask if they have any advice on building a strong marriage. I’m getting a lot of “I felt exactly the same way, but no one ever talked about it,” and then they proceed to give advice I’ve overwhelmingly found to be helpful.
    The other plus? I don’t have to talk about not changing my last name, my short dress, male bridesmaid or paper flowers. 🙂

  13. I’m so glad I’m not alone! After months of basically battling with everyone, I’m just burnt out. So now everyone acts as if my relationship with my fiance is terrible because I don’t want to plan or discuss my lack of planning. Thank you for the brilliant ideas. =)

  14. I have been planning my wedding since I was a little girl and I was excited as ever to get engaged. Currently, though, I can honestly say I can’t wait for it to be over. So even with us girls who’ve been looking forward to it, some of us end up wondering how the hell we were ever so excited about planning this stressful event!

    I will definitely be using some of those conversation re-directs in the near future!

  15. I usually answered with “Don’t ask unless you really want to know.” Now everyone is asking how married life is, I answer “a lot better than engaged life.”

  16. I never got squealy about my wedding plans. Whenever my dad talked to me about it, he would say, “You know, it’s okay to get excited about it,” as if excitement was the only possible emotion one could feel.

    In hindsight, I realize that I would have been more excited had I had the wedding I wanted rather than the traditional wedding that everyone is supposed to have. But I’m divorced now, so if there is a next time I’ll be sure to do it my way! 🙂

  17. Oh yes, how I agree with this. How’s the planning? It isn’t and I hate it or badly were some responses. But you should be enjoying it. Yes I enjoyed the bits that went well (few) and it all turned out ok in the end but was just far too complicated (and it shouldn’t be…) argh.

    We should all be able to get excited and enjoy it, but the whole faff makes us hate it! I think I actually got excited the day before because everything had been organised/done and if it wasn’t. It was tough!

    Still recovering really!

  18. Honest to goodness, I wish I could talk about our wedding more. No one asks us about it or how it’s going, and I feel like the tool bringing it up with people.

  19. i have the same problem, for the opposite reason. this is how the conversation goes:

    “How’s wedding planning?” “Fine, we’re completely done actually.” “What?!?! You’re done already?!?”

    As far as I can tell, people think I should be freaking out about flowers. Honestly I don’t have the energy to care much about our wedding. I really don’t. I just want it to be over and done with so people can stop bugging me about it. The wedding is just a social obligation that we feel compelled to fulfill and that I’m not very excited about.

  20. Thanks guys, I love those reality check answers you’ve been giving. I usually love to organise stuff – and of course love my FH – but this wedding planning is driving me a bit nutty, especially given I have a fulltime job and all. Plus my mum and FMIL keep plumbing me for advice on what they should wear. Don’t know, don’t really care!

    I’m enjoying maintaining the wacky line (vulva sculpture, WTF?? nice!)to keep things in perspective. My friend of 20 years has just gotten engaged as well, and she and share a mutual revulsion for some of the OTT wedding traditions around, so I like to share the funny stories from my planning to date (Dad: “so, where will you live after you get married?” Me: “umm, in my house?”) There’s usually wine involved. Plus my work team are all guys, so when the conversation leads to my wedding (yes, really), I like to tell them that I’m eschewing a veil because it’s just a throwback to virgin sacrifices, and that I’d better not catch them hanging round my dressmaker like creepy uncles. They love it (I think)

    I hope to remember the jokes on The Day, when I’m knocking back Rescue Remedy and swearing about having chosen peonies over roses (or whatever)

  21. This is one of the reasons that keeping me from GETTING offically engaged, Im really scared and nervous about planning the wedding and I know the second I do get engaged everyone will be asking about THE wedding…I really just want to run away to the mountains with my immediate family and 10 friends and have a low key but super fun weekend. yet im afraid of upseting my extended family.
    Why have a wedding in the first place if it is sooo freaking stressful..here is a question that i know has been asked before but…IS IT WORTH IT??

    • Hey Sarah: While I agree with what most people have posted, the one benefit of having gone through all of this wedding planning “stuff” is that it brought my fiance and I MUCH closer together. We are about 10 days away from the “big day,” and the strengthening of our relationship has made it worth it. However, he and I still feel that we just should have done all of it ourselves. This is not meant to sway you one way or another, it is just how we feel. I wish you the best of luck in whatever your and your significant other decide to do.

  22. A coworker of mine asked me how the wedding planing was going and I shrugged and told her I haven’t really gotten into it with school going on still. She says something to the extent of ‘my god your so unexcited about this. This should be some of the happiest times of your life’. Like seriously? NO. My fiance is on the other side of the fucking country. not happy-dancey times. Glad I’m not the only one annoyed by this kind of thing!

  23. My husband and I got met with many stares when we got married engaged in 2006 and didn’t know when we were getting married. We canceled our wedding date a hundred times and by the time we finally set and date and actually got married on that date I was too pregnant to fit my wedding dress so I wore a prom dress I purchased for a nice price (light blue and silver), had a week to plan the wedding (July 7, 2007) and just had 10 people (including minister, my husband, and I) at an outdoor wedding at my parents house (on their back porch). Yes non-traditional, but I LOVE it… although, I kinda wanna wear a white wedding dress now lol We plan to do a re-newing of our vows ceremony and doing the big wedding then… someday lol

  24. Thank you! I’ve had a VERY long engagement because just thinking about planning my wedding makes my eye twitch! I can recall a conversation with a recently wedded friend after I got engaged. She looked at me like I didn’t love my honey because I said I didn’t care about the details of my wedding. Guess what? I really don’t. Sure I want our families and friends to come together in celebration of commitment, but as far as I’m concerned, we’ve been committed to each other for years, so I could care less if I got married under a bridge or in a million $ venue, and having to explain this to everyone and their mom, is quite frankly draining.

  25. It never ceases to amaze me how despite people knowing how stressful wedding planning can be that they still look at me like I have 3 heads “what do you meeeeeean you’re not having fun planning a luncheon for 130 people while preparing for your marriage?!?!”
    Are you kidding me?? I enjoy planning our ceremony and working on our vows and planning our honeymoon 🙂
    I’m REALLY looking forward to the honeymoon

  26. I feel the exact same way! People look at you like you are out of your mind for not wanting to share wedding details with them every second of every day! I’ve gotten to the point where a certain co-worker asks me EVERY single day “How are the wedding plans coming along?” and I say “Good” and walk away! I mean really at a certain point what else is there to say?? LOL

    I love my SO and yes I am excited about our wedding, but we have been together 6 years engaged for 2. This is just another level of our commitment to one another. It has nothing to do with what color scheme we chose or what my hair will look like one day out of the year.

    On top of it, 90% of our wedding details are pretty offbeat. Most people scoff at our details anyway so why would I be eager to get blank stares and rude remarks? No thank you.

    I think it’s just so outdated that people just expect all women to be oozing with pink fluffy happiness about their wedding at all times anyhow. Lets be honest…it sucks. Our wedding is casual, outdoor, and including my SO and I will be 30 people and it’s STILL one of the most stressful things I have ever planned in my whole life! All this hoopla and cash spent just to be able to say I do to the one I love? People need to get a grip!

  27. Although it’s been a while since it was posted, this is still seriously the best and my favorite post on Offbeat Bride of all time. Thank you, again.

  28. Love’d seeing this reposted. I remember once I was honest and simply said, ” I am not thinking about the wedding at all. In fact, I am not looking forward to the wedding part.” BOOM. You would have thought a nuclear bomb hit. People need to remember that the wedding and the marriage are two totally different things. I’m excited about getting married, not excited about the wedding or wedding planning.

  29. Hey!!!!! That’s my wedding day picture!!! !Yeah! I have no idea how you got it, but I decided to look at offbeat bride for the first time in months and I saw us flash on the screen!! We were very happy. I didn’t even read this post…I just feel so happy every time I see this pic:)

  30. I’m definitely not looking forward to it when I actually have to get into the planning stages for those reasons. It’s always sounded so stressful.

  31. I am definitely a squealy girl, but I am not getting super squealy (for the most part) over my wedding. Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that it isnt for 18 months. I swear if someone asks me ‘OHHH 18 months? Have you found your dress yet?’. Grrr. Why the F*** would I buy a dress 18 months before an event that I may not fit?

  32. Oh, I needed to read this! It’s all I can do to not just say “I don’t need you to tell me how MY wedding plans are wrong and that isn’t the way you would execute yours.”

  33. Thanks so much for this post! I’m definitely not a “squealy” bride either – most likely because I’d rather elope than have a wedding – and had a conversation with my mom earlier this week in which she said, “It’s getting close. Aren’t you excited?” When I said that I wasn’t getting excited, she replied with shock and disappointment. I’ve always been clear about my feelings toward wedding planning and my wedding in general, but it’s like people expect me to wake up one day and scream, “What was I thinking???!! This whole wedding planning thing is the BEST experience EVER!!! I was just lying all those times I said I didn’t want to do it. Want to sit around with me and talk about tulle, seating arrangements, and centerpieces for HOURS and HOURS?”

    My fiance is sometimes frustrating in the same way. Whenever I even slightly enjoy anything wedding-related (working on my brooch bouquet has been fun, for example), he says, “See, I knew you wanted to do this.” How does enjoying one detail translate into wanting to plan an entire wedding?!?!?!?

    Anyway, thanks for reminding me that it’s OK to not be squealy about wedding stuff!

  34. OH MY GOD THIS IS ME!!! I could have written that! Especially: “Oh, the wedding’s coming along fine [note the complete lack of details here!], but I’m actually more excited about my new job right now!”. I just started a new job in a totally different career and am loving it, but no one cares…they just wanna know about the damn wedding!

    We are totally excited about entering the next phase of our lives as a married couple…as for the wedding…well, it’s kinda stressful and I am kinda not digging the pressure and now we’re seriously contemplating changing from a big wedding to a teensy, intimate ceremony. But I feel I can’t tell people that because (despite the fact that before meeting FH I was totally indifferent to getting married) they assume that this wedding is what I’ve been looking forward to for my WHOLE LIFE. So surely I want a ginormo-wedding with all the bells and whistles? No. Actually, no. Ok? Can we talk about True Blood or kittens or teapots or something that actually gets me excited now please? Sheesh.

  35. I can relate! I’m happy to be getting married to my best friend, I couldn’t ask for a better person, seriously and honestly. What I’m not excited about is wedding planning. I haven’t been during the entire time. The wedding is now only a couple of weeks away and while my family is squealing because they can’t wait and are omg so excited, they get hurt and upset when I don’t respond the same way. I actually lost my job right after moving to a new apartment while in the middle of wedding planning and I’ve yet to find a new job, so yeah, sorry that I am not jumping at the chance to talk about crap that makes me stress out even more. It’s honestly a relief to see that others are dealing with this as well!

  36. Yes, this 10X. Everytime someone asks “so, how’s wedding planning going” I say “well, i have three tests this week, and getting an A in Microbiology is harder than getting ready to spend the rest of my life with my fiance.” I mean, I have the who, what, where, and when, everything else just seems like extra.

  37. This this this this this!!!!! The other day I was asked, “what part of the wedding are you most excited about?” I stared at them blankly.. and then said, “the being over part?” I really had no idea how to answer the damn question, and the asker looked totally disappointed. I tried to remind her that I’m not the type to get jumpy and excited about ANYthing (except if maybe a baby sloth fell into my lap), but apparently wedding-related stuff is supposed to turn you into a stereotype. I might print out this page and carry it around with me to show anyone I disappoint. 😉

  38. I really appreciate this post because I am dealing with the same thing. I’m getting married in a month and I swear that’s all people ask me about anymore! Worst part is now I’m getting comments from my best friend about how “all I talk about is the wedding”. I’m not overly girly and I don’t get SUPER SQUEALY EXCITED about ANYTHING! It’s just not me. But people truly do expect it. To top it off, since we got engaged a year and a half ago, we have experienced some of the worst things life has to offer. My parents have declined severely and I’ve been dealing with all of their health issues all by myself while planning a wedding all by myself. So when people ask me how the wedding is going, I just feel exhausted and don’t have the energy to even try to be peppy about it. Actually what I end up saying literally every time is “It’s going good. I can’t wait for it to be over though.” Which isn’t true. I’m really looking forward to our big day, but I feel I have to diminish it because I’m not capable of being super squealy excited about it externally as I am internally. Blame it on being a SUPER INTROVERT I guess. And part of me IS ready for it to be over so maybe we can get back to regular conversations and I can just focus on the rest of life outside this one day.

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