When you reach any new milestone in life—whether you're working your way through school, applying for your very first job, or are in a serious relationship with someone who might be "the one"—you'll likely be on the receiving end of unsolicited comments and advice from those around you. The phase of life that seems to be associated with the most commentary from family, friends, and perfect strangers is an engagement. As soon as you start planning your wedding, people will want to know every single detail, including the whens, wheres, whys, and hows of your big day—sometimes even before you know the answers yourself! Because no bride should ever feel alone in her plight to overcome the stressors caused by wedding inquiries from those around her, we're sharing the most common (and annoying) questions brides have heard in the years, months, and weeks leading up to the wedding.
"Why aren't you hiring a DJ?"
Becca G., who's planning a Sunday afternoon ceremony then a bigger party later in the year, says she's constantly asked why she's not bringing in a musician for the first event. "It's been so frustrating getting this question. We want to have a large reception later. I thought it was a waste of money to hire a DJ for two hours when I know our relatives won't dance anyway," she says. "I'm getting tired of explaining myself over and over."
"Why are you having such a small wedding?"
The size of a wedding is something that's personal to a couple, but family and friends—both those invited and not—will inquire about your choices. "On multiple occasions, my own mother, cousin, and aunt asked why I wanted to plan a small wedding outside with just some close guests," says Jessica G. To combat these inquiries, the bride-to-be explained her reasoning. "I always said I wanted the closest people in my life to share such a special day. They still may not have agreed with what I wanted, but at least I put it in a perspective to make them understand."
"How much is that costing you?"
"I have a friend who keeps asking how much everything costs whenever we book another service for our wedding," says Hilary W. "She wanted to know how much the venue cost right off the bat! When she asked, I was honestly shocked and didn't even answer her. She later asked me what else we'd booked and what the costs were and I told her that I'd rather not answer that question." Hilary adds that her annoyance over the question was twofold: "Not only is it rude, but we want our big day to be a surprise for our guests—they don't need to know every detail we are planning."
"Can I come to your wedding?"
Creating a guest list for the wedding is one of the hardest things the bride and groom have to do for the big day, so being asked for an invite is a tense subject. "An old coworker I hadn't spoken to in about six years asked if she could come to my wedding. We weren't even that close to begin with," says Jess S.
"Have you set a date yet?"
As soon as you get engaged, it seems like everyone around you is waiting for your save-the-date. That's exactly how Cessie C. feels. "I got engaged two months ago and, while I am still trying to enjoy the engagement high, people can't stop asking whether or not I have a date, when the wedding will be, where it will be and what dress I'll be wearing," says the bride-to-be. "Wedding planning is stressful enough as it is. Annoying questions like these only add to the stress. I'm still just trying to enjoy being engaged. What I really feel like saying is, 'When we have a date and location, you'll know because you'll be invited.'"
"Can I bring a plus-one?"
"My husband and I had a limit of 200 people for the space we had chosen and had to narrow our guest list quite a bit to accommodate. We only invited couples who had been living together or dating for at least a year to help keep our number within this limit," says Skyler G., but that didn't stop guests from asking if they could bring a plus-one. "It was definitely uncomfortable having to say no to those who asked, but we simply explained that the venue could only hold 200 guests and we were already at our max!"
"When do you think you guys will start having kids?"
"Anytime I've answered this question honestly, it opens the door for unsolicited advice and assumptions," says Melanie D. about questions surrounding children. "The advice I still get to this day is not to wait too long or I'll be an old parent or my baby could have health problems, or that there's never the right time so I shouldn't plan for it. Having children is an experience shared between two people who love each other and it should be left at that."
"What's the etiquette around gift giving?"
"I had close friends—bridesmaids even!—ask me what the protocol was for giving gifts when it comes to destination weddings…basically asking if it was necessary," says Cassy I. "I found it very tacky to ask the bride such a question. I responded with something like, 'It's totally up to the guest and what they feel comfortable giving.' I understand why it was asked—people assume that since they're traveling to your wedding and spending a bit more money in that regard, they may not have to buy a gift."
"What's your wedding theme?"
"In response I would think, 'Theme!? Am I supposed to have a theme?' This would send me into a bridezilla panic," laughs Rachel S. "Finally, I would stupidly respond, 'Marriage. Marriage is our theme.' I was planning our wedding, not a 5-year-old's birthday party. You don't need a theme, if you don't want a theme."