How to handle questions from family about the wedding
After you announce that you’re engaged, questions—and expectations—start to follow. Maybe they’re mainly from your family of origin or maybe your friends and chosen family are starting to exhaust you with all their follow-ups. It’s impossible to please everyone, but the most important thing is taking care of yourself and your partner. If you need help navigating all the questions you’re getting, here’s where to start.
Set clear boundaries—and stick to them.
If you and your partner are choosing not to reveal your wedding date until it’s finalized, say that. It’s okay to figure out what you feel comfortable sharing with others and make that boundary clear. If your partner’s family has a history of asking for too many details about finances and you don’t want to share the costs or your budget, let them know. If you have a friend who keeps asking whether you’re wearing a dress and you aren’t sure yet, tell them that (and ask them nicely not to bring it up again unless you do).
Setting boundaries can be particularly important for LGBTQ+ couples, especially if you have people in your life who aren’t totally supportive of your marriage or the traditions you will or won’t follow. This wedding is really about you and your partner, and you deserve to practice self-care and take a step back whenever you need to.
Ask your allies to step in.
When people are being particularly rude (or you’re just tired of another joke about which one of you is the groom), it’s time to ask your active, engaged allies to help out. Do you have anyone in your lives who is a true support system, who feels comfortable getting uncomfortable on your behalf? It’s okay to call on your community, especially non-LGBTQ+ people, to take some of the stress off your plate. Maybe that looks like them calling vendors for you to make sure they’re LGBTQ-friendly, listening to you vent about how your family of origin isn’t supportive or speaking up when a friend asks an offensive question.
Talk to your partner.
No one knows what you’re going through better than your partner—after all, they’re also getting married and probably bombarded with questions. Maybe the two of you come from different backgrounds and experiences, but they’re a solid support system and you can lean on each other. Make time to complain about all the annoyances that come with wedding planning, including expectations and questions from the people you both love. It’s healthy to be honest with each other and get it all out there, and you might even laugh about it.
Talk to other friends who have gotten married.
It helps a lot if you can talk to a friend who’s in a similar position as you—maybe you have another trans friend who got married or a friend who also has a nonbinary partner. Reach out to people in your life who understand and get their perspectives. Do they have any advice about how you can set realistic, healthy boundaries? They might have tips on how you can answer the most common questions you keep getting or what to say when someone unexpectedly hits you with a wedding expectation (like whether you should do the traditional walk down the aisle or bouquet toss).
Tell people you’re still considering your options.
It’s a classic move, but if people ask questions and set expectations you don’t feel like dealing with, tell them you’re still considering all your options. Do you have a wedding date yet? You can give them a pretty wide range and say you’re considering next year or even the year after that. Where are you getting married? Say you’re looking at a bunch of venues (maybe give a few basic locations) and you’re undecided. Let people know you and your partner are still taking your time so you can enjoy and celebrate being engaged, and make a decision that feels right.
Turn the questions around on them.
Sometimes what seems like nosiness and pestering is just polite conversation: People don’t know what to say, so they ask about your wedding plans. A lot of people love to talk about themselves and their opinions, so any easy out is to ask them to share! If they’ve had a wedding, ask what they loved about it. Give them a chance to give you their best advice. Ask them what wedding trends they love and hate (but keep in mind that they might have totally a different opinion from you, and even if they hate cupcakes in lieu of a wedding cake, you can still do that).
You and your partner will enjoy your wedding a lot more if you’re not exhausted by the constant questions and expectations from other people and you can focus simply on what you want from the special day. Tell your people that they need to give you some space to practice self-care and make choices that work for you and your partner. That’s what your wedding (and marriage) is all about.
Alaina Leary Lavoie
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