Boundaries 102 (or, WTF is a Wedding Coach, Round 3)
I am a solution-oriented person. It sometimes surprises people how practical I am, because I come off all “namaste, love and light!” but I am first and foremost a wedding planner, and that means I’m a problem-solver.
So when I came across this quote in Michelle Goodloe’s blog the other day, I made a lot of scrunched-up, glowering faces:
“The key to maintaining boundaries in our relationships requires the work and respect of the other person.”
I have strong feelings of dislike for this sentence, because it is unequivocally true, and I am a control freak. Also, I wrote a few blog posts and designed an offer around maintaining your boundaries while planning your wedding, and it made me feel like I’m doomed to fail.
I immediately went to Uncle Google for help. I typed in “how to get someone to respect your boundaries?” Don’t bother, unless you want to be totally frustrated, because Michelle is right: you can’t.
Every article I read came up with the same solution:
“Decide whether your boundary is really important to you, and if it is, then consider ending your relationship with that person.”
That’s it. Sometimes the article would divide this into steps, or recommend the worst possible solution, best exemplified by 2020’s motto - I particularly like this crossstitch by @starry.eyed.stitcher - but no one could tell me how to force someone to respect a boundary.
And when you’re planning a wedding, especially if someone else is underwriting that wedding and thus has a financial (and definitely emotional) stake in the event, there are guaranteed to be things that you disagree on.
And sometimes, I’m not going to be able to help you get your way. In fact, trying too hard to get your way can lead to some awful conclusions, depending on how obstinate both parties are. Here are some unfortunate things I’ve witnessed over the years:
A backhanded speech that shouldn’t have been delivered
Ugly crying at the honour table
Someone spending the entire day and night worrying about gossip and snide remarks, instead of soaking up the goodness
There are few things I hate more than not having an answer for you, so here is what I can do about this problem when it arises in your wedding planning journey:
I can listen to you vent about the problem and not tell anyone in your circle
I can offer solutions you might not have considered, because weddings are my world and I’ve seen and come up with some pretty ingenious stuff in my fifteen years in the industry
I can help you manage your mindset and find a way to let it go. We’ll give them the pickle, and *wink wink nudge nudge* on the wedding day when they do/say the thing.
As I said to a friend just earlier today, I promise that you will laugh about this in twenty years. It is a big, important, special, and magical day. And it has a ton of expectations and meaning attached to it. But as a wise person once said in one of my favourite Adam Sandler movies… “You’re not going to let a little rain stop you from making a hundred hamburgers, are you?”