Wedding etiquette: How do you gracefully deal with wedding “suggestions” from family or friends?
by Stephanie


A Fist Full of Bolts

QUESTION: How do you gracefully deal with wedding “suggestions” from family/friends about how to plan or create your wedding day?

GINA'S ANSWER: Ah the old unsolicited advice debacle. It’s hard, but I think the most gracious way to respond is to listen, say ‘thank you’ and change the subject. Don’t get caught up in the details or you may each end up arguing your points and no one will walk away satisfied. Let your advice-giver know you appreciate their suggestions, make no promises, and go forth with your planning.

JESS' ANSWER: Nod and smile! Always graciously accept advice, but that doesn’t mean you have to take it! But something to remember, is that friends and family have been through this before! Even if you don’t like hearing nagging suggestions like, “be sure you don’t forget to eat lunch!” and “you need to make sure you plan for rain!”, your experienced loved ones know what they’re talking about!

Make sure you don’t discredit everything they’re saying. Now, if it’s something like “you absolutely need to hire a calligrapher for your placecards” or “you HAVE to have succulents in your bouquet”-- these are suggestions you can graciously accept, but don't need to.

ASHLEY'S ANSWER: Personally, I hear about this topic often. Always acknowledge others input, however you may politely decline if it is not in your highest regard. You can tip toe around this subject by explaining to people that you have very specific ideas in mind already, or maybe it is not in within your budget, or even explain that whichever the suggestion is will not work with the venue or scenario.

It is your event and you should never take or act on suggestions you do not wish to incorporate into your wedding. I would offer them another event surrounding the wedding in which they may suggest input, like the rehearsal dinner. This way they are being included and have something to do for you.

Need more wedding etiquette, advice and tips? See previous etiquette posts here.

Gina and Matt_web_175
Gina and Matt_web_175

Gina Heideman is a bride-in-training from Boise, Idaho. When she's not planning her navy/preppy/downtown wedding, she spends her time perfecting her crab cake recipe, drinking wine and playing cribbage with her fiance, and playing outside. She's an avid swimmer, runner, gardener and reality TV junkie. By day she works as Executive Director of a statewide nonprofit organization that focuses on meth use prevention. By night she's a freelance graphic designer (

Jess Keys is a Journalism graduate of Indiana University, a Chicago transplant and Founder of The Golden Girl Blog. She was first bitten by the wedding bug at age 11, when she purchased her first Brides magazine in the Lexington, KY airport. She's partial to red lipstick, French Bulldogs, and a lover of the written word. When she's not writing for Wedding Party, you can often find her at the closest Dim Sum establishment, or exploring the Windy City with her camera in tow.

Ashley Smith is the wedding planner for Buzzworthy SF. She believes that purpose, craft, design, and strategy are all cohesive elements to produce a successful event. Ashley is available for weddings in California and worldwide. Her expertise is in the Bay Area, but her heart is in Mexico, where she is certified by the board of tourism to plan and work. If she is not in San Francisco planning weddings and being social, you’ll find her on the beach at Playa Azul, Papaya Playa, or exploring the coast lines in Central America via bicycle.