How to just say “NO” to just about everyone about just about anything.

The moment you announce that you are getting married you will not only receive a ton of heart-felt congratulations but also another ton of ideas, suggestions, advice, and offers to help that may surprise you and in some cases make you wish you could run for the hills.

But here’s the thing; everyone gets excited about weddings, and that’s a good thing. And almost everyone has a supposedly great suggestion for you, which is really just an expression of thier excitement about your upcoming wedding.

Even though you may be inundated with some of the worst ideas ever (at least in your book) your duty as the bride-to-be is to be thankful, gracious, and very, very tactful.

Your cousin tells you she would love to sing at the wedding, even though you know she can’t sing without crying.  Your sister tells you that her two- year-old, who screams when mom is more than three feet away, would be thrilled to be the flower girl.  Your mom wants your dad, your grand-dad and her second and third husbands all to walk you down the aisle.  Your best friend wants you to use her cousin as a travel agent for your honeymoon plans, because she could really use the practice.

So what to do?

Don’t panic. Listen patiently and express your thankfulness for the offer, whatever it entails. Be gracious enough to not simply say “ick” or “not in this lifetime” or “what, are you nuts?” even if you really, really want to.

Let the person you are talking to know how pleased you are that they are so excited about your wedding.  Smile, breathe, and tell them that your not sure if their idea will fit in with your plans, but again, express your thanks for their thoughtfulness.

And perhaps most important of all, don’t hurt anyone’s feelings.  If you really hate an idea, you don’t need to mention it to everyone, and you certainly should not make any catty or disparaging remarks about the person who offered the idea.  Those comments have a way of making their way back to that person and you may have made them, even inadvertently, the butt of a joke.  And that’s never the classy thing to do.

So, here’s an example:

Great Aunt Grace wants you to wear the garter she wore for her wedding as “something blue”.  But its more yellow than blue now, is definitely not your style and smells distinctly of moth balls.

But she’s not just offering you her garter, she’s offering you a symbol of her affection for you.  So, tell her “thank you” sincerely, accept the garter, don’t wear it (but keep that a secret) and then send her a thank you note for helping to make your wedding day special. And that’s not a lie, because her excitement about your wedding is something you will always treasure.

So there you go.  By remaining thankful, gracious and tactful you can say “no” to just about everyone and everything without ever having to actually say “No!”