Weddings can bring out the worst in people, even your closest friends and family. What loved ones may think are innocent questions could prove offensive to the bride and groom.
To prepare for the avalanche of rudeness that can come with a wedding, take a look at these polite responses to some common prenuptial questions.
“It’s inevitable that you’ll get rude, intrusive questions when people find out you’re getting married,” says Tina B. Tessina, psychotherapist and author of Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting about the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage. “Many people have no clue about what is acceptable or polite, so they ask.”
How much did your ring cost?
This will likely be among the first questions you will be asked following the announcement of your engagement. The best way to brush off this question is with a joke, Tessina says. With a big smile or laugh, you can say something like, “two arms and a leg.” Then you can divert the person by changing the subject quickly: “That’s a lovely color you’re wearing.”
You could also completely ignore the money question as though they didn’t ask it, Tessina says: “Bobby surprised me with it at dinner.”
Donna Flagg, author of Surviving Dreaded Conversations, suggests saying something like, “Gosh, I make it a habit to never discuss personal matters such as how much things cost.”
The bride can also simply say she has no idea how much the ring cost — after all, some grooms do not divulge this information anyway. Ramani Durvasula, clinical psychologist and professor of psychology, suggests saying something such as, “You know, I’m not sure, we didn’t really discuss it, and I trust that he made a choice that works for him and ultimately for our budget as we move into our wedding and marriage.”
How big is the diamond?
“There is a perception with diamonds that bigger is always better; [and] nothing could be further from the truth, but explaining that isn’t easy,” says Kevin Flaherty, vice president of marketing for Ritani, a designer and manufacturer of custom engagement rings and diamond jewelry.
Flaherty suggests responding with, “Isn’t it a perfect diamond for my ring?! I just love how it sparkles.”
Many brides these days are also opting for non-diamond engagement rings, so the bride can focus on why she loves the stone her groom picked.
Am I going to be a bridesmaid?
Tessina suggests saying something to the effect of, “Thank you so much for volunteering, but my bridesmaids are already chosen, and they’ve all accepted.”
It’s best to be honest about this question, but it depends on the nature of the relationship, Flagg says. If it is someone close, then a full conversation explaining how the bride-to-be arrived at her decisions is appropriate.
If it is someone deluding herself that the relationship with the bride is more than it is, this probably also requires some clearing up. The response can be something as simple as, “It doesn’t look that way.” From there, you can cite all kinds of reasons such as minimizing the size of the wedding party, or keeping it confined to family, Flagg says.
If you and the groom are early in the wedding planning, Durvasula says, you can say something like, “It’s all so new that I am still getting my head around the marriage part — the wedding is still a work in progress.”
May I invite a date?
Every bride faces this question, Flagg says. She suggests making it a logistics answer: “Unfortunately, we are managing the head counts and really need to stick with the number we’ve committed to.”
Making it about logistics is the best way, Durvasula agrees. The couple can respond with something like, “I do hope so — we are trying to do this on a budget, so we are trying to figure out a way to do all of this and have those we love most without breaking the bank.”
Or something similar: “It’s a balancing act of family, out-of-town guests, dear friends — so once we get a handle on that, let’s touch base. We want it to be a fun day for everyone.”
Along the same lines as the date question, people may ask if they can invite their children. Your response can be focused on the budget, how many people the venue holds or if the venue even allows children. If you are having a destination wedding, some resorts do not allow kids.
When are you going to have kids?
As you enter the next big stage of your relationship, parents and grandparents, in particular, may be anxious for babies.
You can counter this question with something like, “We are focused on our wedding for now and haven’t thought about a timeline for children yet.”
Or to keep them satisfied as you plan the wedding, say something like, “We are very excited to have kids, and we will let you know when that time comes. For now, we are focused on this stage of our lives.”