Is it okay to ask for what you want for your wedding?  It may seem like a simple question, but many brides don’t for fear of upsetting someone.  I’ve come across a lot of brides who don’t want certain people on their invite list.  But they either feel obligated to for one reason or another or their parents are paying for the wedding and it’s friends of the parents on the invite list.

I’ve met other brides who feel they want more to be done in terms of pre-wedding events such as a bridal shower and a bachelorette party (myself included!) – basically, they want a bigger fuss to be made.

Still others are following religious traditions that they may not feel are in alignment with their personal wedding wishes.  The list goes on.

If this is supposed to be the most important day of your life (which is another topic), and we’re talking about YOUR life, YOUR marriage, YOUR future, why are so many brides so quick to acquiesse to the desires of others?  Why do so many brides just stay silent instead of asking for what they want?  More importantly, is there a proper way to ask for what you want?

A few reason why people don’t ask for what they want:

  1. They’re used to manipulating and don’t want to do that again
  2. They’re afraid of / don’t want to deal with what they assume will be the other person’s reaction
  3. They simply don’t think of it – it’s amazing the amount of people who say to me, “I never really thought about just asking for what I want…”
  4. They don’t feel they know how to do it right
  5. They don’t want to make waves
  6. They don’t want to be selfish

Most of the time, the reality is that they’ve never truly just asked, so they’re not really sure what the outcome will be.  Just, “Hey, this is really important to me and this is what I’d like to happen.  Can we make that possible?”  Many people try all kinds of ways to get what they want: manipulation, doing it for someone else in hopes the other person notices and does it back, getting angry, making demands, giving ultimatems.  If you’ve ever done these (and most of us have!!), how does it make you feel once you do get what you want through these means?  Are you truly happy?  Or do you feel that you’ve pulled something over on someone? Do you regret your behavior?

A big question to ask yourself: Is there a way to simply ask for what you want?  Clearly and simply?

I beg to say that there is. Many people immediately go into the reasons why they probably won’t get what they want – even before asking!

Everyone’s situation is a little different, but here’s what I suggest.  First, acknowledge the person from whom you need to ask.  As in one of the examples above, maybe your mom  wants people at the wedding that you don’t.  Acknowledging her may go something like this, “Mom, I really love that you want to share this wedding with so many people.  It really lets me know how much you love me and want to celebrate this occasion with others.”  Then, mom feels listened to instead of instantly attacked.  When we feel attacked, listening and communication shuts down and we go on the defensive.  So, first showing that you understand where the other person is coming from is important.

Second, state why the request is important to you…using the word “AND.”  AND is completely powerful in communication.  See these two and see which one feels better:

Mom, I really love that you want to share this wedding with so many people.  It really lets me know how much you love me and want to celebrate this occasion with others. BUT, I would prefer if they weren’t there.  I don’t know them well and would like to keep those I truly love and care about around me on  my wedding day.

vs.

Mom, I really love that you want to share this wedding with so many people.  It really lets me know how much you love me and want to celebrate this occasion with others. AND, I would prefer if they weren’t there.  I don’t know them well and would like to keep those I truly love and care about around me on  my wedding day.

“And” is likely to be  a a new concept to many…AND, can you see the difference between the two?  “But” can automatically put people on the defense as they feel you’re rejecting their view.  “And” shows that you hear them and you get what they’re saying and you’re requesting something else.

So, once you’ve acknowledged the other person’s perspective (if you feel you really can’t see it, keep looking.  Oftentimes, when a wedding is concerned, it comes from love whether it looks like it or not), you can ask for what you want.

It can be very effective to ask what you want by putting it on yourself and not on the other person.  For example, saying to your maid of honor, “I want you to throw me a bachelorette party and I want it to be huge and fun and…” puts it on the other person and can make them defensive.  On the other hand, saying something like, “This is a really special and important time for me.  You are and have been such an important person in my life, which is why I asked you to be my MOH, and I want to go and have a super awesome girly time with you and the ladies and really indulge in all of this!”  – it includes the other person.  It makes them feel they add value to your life.  When someone feels valued, they’re more likely to contribute.

At the same time, you’ll want to check in and make sure that what you want isn’t completely improbable.  If you’ve got a $15,000 budget and you want to fly everyone to France and get married under the Eiffel Tower, you’re probably setting yourself up for disappointment by asking for that.  Do you have to completely give up that dream, though?  Ask yourself.  What about a Paris-themed wedding?  Small metal Eiffel towers stuffed with flowers for centerpieces.  Serve escargot at the cocktail hour, etc.

If you’re afraid of someone’s reaction based on past reactions, it may be that that person was never asked, truly asked, in the above manner.  I invite you to let go of assuming someone’s reaction.  When asking with the intent of acknowledging and putting it on yourself, you could be amazed at the results.  And, how good you feel doing it.  Being clear and just plainly asking for what you want can be pretty powerful.

Asking for what you want can be very rewarding.  It’s best when all parties involved feel empowered – you feel you’re getting what you want and the others feel they have contributed.

There’s much to be written on this topic, but I’ve gone on long enough!  Feel free to ask questions if you’d like some advice or share your own stories!

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