How to say no, nicely

by | Dec 5, 2021 | Weddings, Your Ceremony

Your day your way they say, but how realistic is that?

Weddings can bring the best, and the worst out in you, your nearest and dearest, and your spouse to be.

Why? Because no one wants to get it wrong.

People want to help.

Feeling significant in making someone’s day that little bit better and is very gratifying, so people want some of that!

Here I talk about how you can be grateful and move on rather than it being the dead wood to your wedding, and kick the chains of self-inflicted duty off from around your ankles

Lauren  Knuckey

Photo Credit Lauren  Knuckey

It’s about being able to say no. Saying no respectfully and politely but firmly and with a smile.

 Now, that could be no to anything or anyone. But with regards to ceremony planning in a pandemic that doesn’t seem to want to jog on, we now – touch wood – do seem to be able to have that big day or our loved ones funeral, or our little one’s naming for example, mostly, the way we want it.

But a word of advice.  PAUSE.  That gold dust tip that might come your way, will only be helpful if you make time to really listen think about it.

 As soon as you say ‘I’m engaged!’ or ‘I’ve got the ring at the ready!’  unsolicited advice will rain down upon you!

 So that PAUSE is for you both BEFORE you announce it to the world.  Pause, and think about the magnitude of the question, and answer that has just happened!  Soak it all up.  Make sure YOU BOTH are happy, and have a shared or at least agreed 🙂 on vision of marriage, and then let the style come from that.

Photo credit Tony Pullen

If you don’t have this big conversation (which is unavoidable if I’m your celebrant as I want to know what you talked about and discovered!) then that’s when you might hit trouble.

What trouble? Well; feeling unsupported by family or friend, getting influenced or bullied by a sister in law to be, or your neighbour even, because she’s been married 3 times so she can tell you exactly what to do…or not to!  It might even be that you love your dress, and you took your maid of honour along with you but she’s told you she doesn’t think it suits you and now you feel totally deflated… because actually you still love it and desperately want it but now you are so worried you look terrible that you end up choosing another dress…

Photo credit Jason Leahman

My advice to you, is TEAM WORK.  Get your ‘team’ around you, even if it’s your team of two – you and your spouse – and ‘stay in your lane’ as they say.

 So decide – what do you want?

 It’s so easy. Isn’t it? It’s such an easy question to ask, but goodness me it’s really freaking hard question to answer because how do you know what sort of wedding or marriage do you want if you have no experience of either?

 So again, PAUSE.  Breath.  Listen to your body when someone askes you a question or suggest something or recommends an idea.  Do you feel tense? Do you feel panicked?  If so say thank you, and you shall bear that in mind, and then sleep on it and talk about it with your other half.

 You get engaged and then all that follows is questions, suggestions and judgment. Or at least that’s what it can feel like if your not secure in your vision or self trust.  Of course patriarchy and duty also can play a massive (unhelpful) role in the wedding mindset.

 So some tips

 1 – PAUSE – before you share your news

This is my main one.  Take a moment to soak up what’s just happened, and bask in the private purity of it all.

 2 – PAUSE  – before you reply to anyone’s ‘helpful tips, trick or recommendations.  Silence is golden.  Smile, take it in.  you might not even reply at all, but if you do, do it after some thought. 

 3 – PAUSE – Delay your conversations. 

“what are your plans?” is the first one, along with ‘When and where”.  Its  are questions, questions, questions, questions.  So, how about answering “No, no, nothing yet. We are just enjoying being in the present moment of being engaged!”  People will either rback off and smile and say something like “oh yes of course, how wonderful, absolutly’  in which case you smile.  Or they will get busy and say things like “oh well you must get a time line line sorted soon!”  to which you say ‘thank you’

4 – GRATITUDE –  Say thank you.  Even if you have to bite your tongue at everything else, saying thank you is never a wrong move. It goes back to what I said at the start – people are offering up their voice because they either want to feel significant (so its their need that they actually want to fill and not yours)  or they want to help as they love you. Either way, THANK YOU will give them the ‘hit’ they need at that moment.  The thank you doesn’t have to be followed by anything, but if you feel ‘something ‘ needs to follow, then …

5 – SMILE. Smiling, sincerely, can settle any feelings.

Mother Teresa said  ‘every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, and a beautiful thing’ .  I don’t disagree.

Photo credit Shona Nolan

6 – Give them an INTENTION or JOB.

Once you have paused, said thank you, smiled and slept on it, my final tip is to give people a job that has intention behind it.    For example, a friend, groomsman or bridesmaid, you might ask them to ensure you don’t get too drunk – So say  “Oh, thank you for your suggestion about…. But actually, what I’d really be so grateful for is if you could please please make sure I don’t get too drunk; you know, just pass the water once an hour or make sure I’ve eaten  – just help me enjoy my day so I don’t get overly nervous or overly drunk or overly hungry! I want to make sure I’m my best self .  Your support would be amazing, could you do that for me please?”

How empowered and key to the day do they feel now?!  they feel heard, seen and wanted!  (and you have also said thanks but no to the other thing they were offering)

7 Be KIND.  Kindness makes you the most beautiful person in the world.  Of all the days where you want to feel your most beautiful inside and out, is THIS day. So its win win. 

Patriarchy, duty and family politics will of course weave their way in something some where and some how, and I realise that of course there may be family you can’t say no to but,  there are ways of saying “Yes, thank you, lovely. I’ll have a think” and you SMILE….

It’s still a no, but they hear ‘Yes’, they hear a ‘thank you’, and they see a smile, which, hopefully , is all they want really anyway. They want to be able to help. They want to feel like they’ve helped and been heard. They want you to be grateful for their help because they want to feel significant.  So Be KIND.

It’s important to say no, because this is the start of your married life, and your marriage is between you and your spouse and no one else, so you set the president there and then, BUT it’s important to say no nicely.  You don’t want to be mean, you don’t want to burn those bridges and you don’t want your day to have an undercurrent of strife.



Pause. Thank. Smile. Give intention. Be kind.

Photo Credit Lauren  Knuckey

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