You all know that we here at Manolo for the Brides are big on the following things: individuality, DIY, and helping hands from the people you love. I know my wedding would never have come together the way it did – let alone at the bargain basement budget I had to work with! – without these three things.
Friends and family members came forward to help with food, decorations, the gown, transportation, and more. Nearly every bride I’ve ever known has had similar offers of help from various and sundry people in their life (often including me!).
Sometimes, though, someone offers to help out in a way that isn’t really going to help you out. It may be that someone wants to give you something you really don’t want to have, or it may be that they’re offering to do something they really aren’t capable of handling. Whichever case you’re dealing with, there are a few simple tips that can help you avoid unwanted ‘help’ without ruining relationships.
1: Express gratitude for the generosity offered. Even if the offer is for neon pink plastic bead tiaras for the bridesmaids at your back to nature themed all-organic wedding, the first words out of your mouth should be about how much you love the culprit for wanting to help out. Once you’ve appreciated the giver, it’s easier for him/her to swallow the refusal of the inappropriate item or unnecessary service. If the first thing you say is “Sweet merciful kumquats! How revolting!” chances are that the giver will be entirely too stung to hear thanks afterward. That’s going to lead to relationship woes, particularly if the person you just insulted is a relative of your intended’s.
2: Be clear in your refusal. Now, while you don’t want to hurt feelings, you also do not want to be a doormat. Make sure that the person in question understands that the answer is no. After all, you don’t want Uncle Fred to show up with his gas grill and two hundred t-bone steaks to your vegan reception because he didn’t understand that you honestly had a reason why you hadn’t planned to serve meat.
3: If you say you’re turning something down because you don’t intend to have it, don’t have it at the wedding. If you tell your really sweet coworker that you aren’t accepting her offer to make your garter because you’re not having the garter toss, don’t have a garter toss! If someone offers something you want – but don’t want from them – tell them as kindly as possible that you’ve already made other arrangements. If you haven’t made those arrangements, do so ASAP.
4: Don’t gossip about the awful thing someone tried to give you. I don’t care if your cousin who wanted to sing a solo sounds like a water buffalo with adenoids. Don’t start talking about what a horrible singer she is. Word could get back to her, and you don’t want that.
5: Where possible, offer the helpful soul another way to help you out. These are people who care about you and your upcoming wedding. That’s why they’re offering you help. So you can’t use a granola cake with soy bean glaze at your princess themed reception. You can let the person who offered it know that where you could really use a hand is with addressing invitations, putting together favors, or French braiding the flower girl’s hair.
Oh, and always remember my mother’s words of wisdom: Never choke a volunteer.