Big Wedding, Small Budget

Lessons Learned – Ask for what you want

on January 31, 2013

As wedding planning is starting to draw to a close (eek), I’ve started reflecting on some lessons I’ve learned during the process. Obviously, I’m learning a lot about how to plan and throw a big event; I’ll probably go into that more after the wedding actually happens. And I think Steve and I have learned (and are still learning) quite a lot about how we work as a couple and how to play to our strengths while mitigating our weaknesses. But I’ve also learned some personal lessons.

One thing I’ve learned is how important it is to ask for what I want. This has come into play especially while working with vendors. At first, I was afraid to seem too much like a bridezilla (seriously, one day I’ll write a post about this anti-woman bridal stereotype); I was committed to being, or at least seeming like, a laid-back bride. So I figured that meant just going with the flow; I didn’t want to give our vendors too much direction, and I thought I should be happy with however things turned out.

Then I realized that was not the right strategy at all. The thing is, I am a fairly laid-back bride (as far as brides go), but I do have certain idea that I feel strongly about. There’s a lot about which I couldn’t care less, but articulating those important points doesn’t make me high strung or neurotic. Actually, the more neurotic tactic would be not to give any direction, then to be totally unhappy with the final result.

Recently, I was speaking to a potential videographer. When we reviewed the wedding details, he had some questions for me that I ultimately left up to him to decide. But I also had some pretty specific requests and preferences. And I made sure to communicate those to him, even though I felt a little demanding doing it. I mean, I’m paying him, right? We’re both motivated to get the best possible product out of the deal.

This is definitely a lesson that applies to my life outside of wedding planning. Society expects women to stay quiet about our needs and wants, taking whatever we can get from others. Or, we’re supposed to manipulate our partners into doing what we want. But isn’t every couple happier when one partner explains what they need and the other partner can make them happy by giving it to them? And at work—I’m definitely happier when my boss is clear about what she wants from me and I can do it. And she is probably happier with that kind of arrangement as well.

Being clear about what I want helps me as well as those around me. Feeling uncomfortable asserting that is just a hurdle I have to get over. Just like with wedding planning, I need to just ignore the discomfort and do it anyway until it feels natural. And thanks to wedding planning, I should reach that point pretty soon.

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