By now there isn't one person out there who hasn't been affected one way or another by COVID-19. Everyone has felt the toll of this global pandemic, and adding a wedding into the mix makes it even more difficult. Although family and friends often mean well, it can be very hard to balance the feelings of understanding where others are coming from, with the sadness or frustration you may be feeling as a couple. I've been feeling this a lot in recent weeks and have struggled with being empathetic to the questions, comments, and decisions of others, while also coming to terms with the loss of the wedding I had been dreaming of having. While my heart knows it's unintentional, it can be so hard to feel disappointed or hurt when the actions of others come off as less than empathetic.
It's completely understandable for guests to have questions, concerns, or their own emotions tied to attending a wedding over the next several months. This post is in no way intended to discredit those emotions. Instead, my hope is to provide some insight into how to express what you may be wondering or what you need to say in a way that comes across in a more empathetic way. Let's be honest, there's not much anyone can say to make a bride feel better while delivering bad news, but being more mindful of word choice and delivery may make difficult conversations sting just a little bit less. Today I'm sharing 5 "Don'ts" and what to "Do" instead while supporting the Covid Bride in your life!
Don't: Focus the conversation just on you.
Do: Ask how they are doing.
You have questions or concerns, and that's okay! However, try to avoid getting so caught up on getting your questions answered that you forget to actually check in on your friend and make sure they are okay. Trust me, they probably aren't, and focusing the conversations solely on getting questions answered does not feel good. Even the simplest "How are you doing?" will go a long way!
The current reality that a large number of friends or family will choose not to attend weddings this year. Regardless of the reason, that can be a painful realization for most brides. If you find yourself asking others about wedding plans or avoiding sending in an RSVP, consider how your friend is feeling. Communicate your thought process, ask if she's okay, and keep her informed as you begin to make decisions. Speaking from experience, radio silence from friends does not feel good.
Don't: Ask too many questions.
Do: Wait or ask someone else
Did the bride in your life just postpone their wedding? Are they facing negative news from the media as their wedding date grows closer? She probably has a ton to worry about, including communicating changes to her guests. Give her a moment to process and make a plan without overloading her with questions. If a time-sensitive decision needs to be made, explain your situation in the most understanding way possible, and if it's an option for you, consider asking a mutual friend or member of the bride's family instead. Remember, anytime you ask about details for the wedding or potential backup options, be sure to always check in on her emotions, too!
Don't: Offer unsolicited advice
When friends come to us with concerns, we're often compelled to provide a solution, advice, or a recommendation of what we would do in a similar situation. It's important to remember that no family is the same, no situation is the same, and no wedding is the same. Brides are getting advice from many different sources, and differing opinions can add to the stress of an already emotional time. Be mindful of how often you find yourself sharing advice, and make sure you're taking the time to do enough listening. Give your friend the opportunity to vent out their feelings and until you're asked directly, try to keep your advice to a minimum.
Don't: Over justify
Do: Be direct and empathetic
Unless you're dealing with a total Bridezilla with a serious lack of empathy, there's no way your bride hasn't considered the feelings of her guests. If you have something negative to discuss, over-justifying will come off as defensive and possible insensitive. Share your concern by being direct, yet empathetic, and keep your message short and sweet.
What would you add to the list? How have you felt supported throughout the wedding planning process? How have you supported other brides-to-be? Send me an email and let me know all about it at TieTheKnotInStyle@gmail.com!