Thursday, April 28, 2011

Learn to Say Yes

I had to learn how to say yes. Which is a lot harder than saying no. You may feel like you’re giving a piece of yourself away. Like your wedding is shifting and changing and like your voice isn’t being heard. And those things are both true. Your wedding will change. And your voice won’t always matter, once you give the go-ahead to others. On the important things (you know what those things really and truly are) put your foot down. Hard. And on the other things... the things that make you kind of uncomfortable and don’t really fit with you vision but don’t really matter in the grand scheme... give in. 

I found myself reflexively saying No after working so hard to protect all the important things upfront and after  having to fight for my less traditional wedding. Saying yes had became hard. Yes felt uncomfortable. I had to start asking why I was saying no, because I didn’t always have a good (enough) reason. And I had to learn to give in and give away pieces of my wedding - sometimes in ways I was VERY uncomfortable with (and had good reason to be uncomfortable with) but which were worth it, because something larger was at stake. I had to learn that generosity mattered more.

Let other people contribute. Allow other people to be a part of your wedding, even if it’s not the exact way you would have wanted. People want to be generous, although their generosity may rarely line up with the ways in which you thought you wanted or needed generosity. But generosity is an amazing thing. It gives heart to a wedding. It helps your community feel like they’re part of your day, like they've helped build something special (which they have) and it increases their joy, and therefore your joy, in the wedding. It brings you all together. So learn to say yes. Say no when it matters (we said no a lot) but yes is sometimes harder and more important.

I was predisposed to say no. I got used to saying no, to protecting myself and our wedding in necessary and vital ways. And I couldn’t be more grateful that I also leaned to say yes.


  1. Beautiful. I tried to say the same thing once ("if it doesn't matter, let other people decide"), but I didn't really mean "if it doesn't matter." What I meant to say, and what this post says much more clearly, if you can change your vision to accommodate someone else's whose feelings are also important, try to do it when it's not one of the vital/essential things. I can't wait to read more about how the day turned out for you. :)

  2. I'm having such a hard time with this right now. I feel really protective of our wedding and having things be the way we want but I'm like that with all aspects of my life, not just the wedding. Thanks for the reminder that I need to try harder to include people so that they feel invested in the day like I do.

  3. @Rachelle - I'm the same way in life too. I've had to fight to define a life that's mine and now, ours. I'm used to pushing back, hard, because my decisions aren't usually what people expect. Similarly, I was fiercely protective of our wedding and how we allowed others to get involved, especially because our choices were sometimes wildly different than what our families would have made.

    But along the way I realized that weddings aren't about the physical vision and the look-and-feel and the details. My real vision for the day was joy, family, and inclusiveness. And that meant saying yes to things I didn't really want. Or even like. But which I ended up *loving*, because it contributed to the real point: family and friends.

    I also found it easier to start by opening up pieces of the peripheral events. Our parents jointly hosted a welcome dinner. It looked a lot different than a welcome dinner I would have planned, but it FELT just like the event I would have wanted, and I ended up loving every detail and moment of it. So what if X, Y, Z weren't my aesthetic? They were cute! They were fun! Our mothers loved them! Yay!

    Once I started saying Yes there, Yes became easier elsewhere.

  4. THIS.

    (After not being able to comment on any Blogger thing today I finally realized I *had* to comment on this one, so tried it in IE, and lo and behold my Chrome is broken.)

    I just want to stand up and dance about this post. I'm in the middle of learning to say yes. The first time I did was so freeing and so difficult and now I'm trying really hard to say yes.

  5. Becca, can you tell this to my fiance?!!! ;)

    It's weird. Perhaps because I've done a lot of producing plays and things, I'm pretty used to collaboration and accepting other people's visions. Him? Not so much.

    So I said yes to some things that I was uncomfortable about, but that I KNEW were SO important to him. And I'm really happy I did, because (without going into details) they were special, meaningful, wonderful things for him. I've tried to say yes as much to our mothers and others.

    He has a lot harder time letting go and saying yes. And so sometimes, at my least grateful, at my most whiny and self-pitying and most martyriffic, I feel like, when do people say yes to ME? And like this wedding is all about me saying yes to others because I want to be that cool laid-back bride while my fiance gets to say no to everyone because bridezillas are scary beasts but groomzillas are just so cute and involved!

    Heh. Okay, clearly I have unresolved issues. But I've loved your last two posts.

  6. @ruchi - We went through exactly what you went through. I said yes a whole lot to Jason and has some ugly whiny self-pitying nights wondering when I got some yes in return. Oh yeah. And somehow, all the compromises I made were meaningful, right, and so special in the end. (And yes, Jason made some compromises too.)

    But I found it was different with people outside the two of us. He could say yes to them, but I kept getting stuck. Possibly because I was so possessive of OUR wedding and had made so many compromises already? But like I said, once I said yes to people outside our two-person-team, our team got to expand. And that was magic.


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