The Coronavirus pandemic took the whole world by surprise. Some of us are still in shock about how the year 2020 is turning out. Airlines, our favourite places to eat and our TGIF spots have been shut down. Social distancing being one of the requirements to stay safe from contracting the virus, we can’t have our usual Saturday ritual: the owambe parties, where we dance and make merry. This being even worse for people who have planned their weddings and set the date months ahead before the lockdown commenced. That had to hold off or cancelled their wedding. Getting such news can never be taken lightly, considering the time and money spent on planning their dream wedding.
Calling off a wedding comes with a lot of uncertainty, frustration and constant reminders that there is money going down to drain. Nobody wants to put up a fight, or get a reaction they never expected just by something they said when the bad news is delivered “We called off the wedding”. To avoid the drama, here are 9 things not to say.
1. Get over it.
Everyone going through something wished they could ‘get over it’ within a blink of an eye, but it’s never easy and telling someone that just called off their wedding or put it on hold due to one reason or the other, is insensitive. Healing over anything is a slow process, especially when it has to do with such an important aspect of their life, like getting married to their supposed ‘love of their life.’
2. Are you sure you want to get married or you just want a wedding?
Is that even a question you should be asking? We are sure this sounds too familiar to a lot of people. We all value different things in life and for some people, they want to find their soulmate and spend eternity with them. For some, a teddy bear might be a toy, but for others, it means a lot more. Not the best analogy but we are sure you get the point, there is always a background story and a part of it that you don’t know about.
Even though it is the wedding party that the bride or groom is fascinated about, this is not the best way to put it to either of them. Be more empathetic and polite, while giving yourself reasons for your question, and you might just make your point without offending anyone or making them feel bad. Different perspectives in life are allowed and are still valid, therefore you have no say on how another person should get married.
3. If you really loved the person, a party won’t matter.
Let us just start by saying “Please! Don’t come and spoil our potential chances to turn up.” Also, avoid topping it up with further questions like,
“Is marriage all about partying?”
It is a celebration, and celebrations are meant to be celebrated. Especially for the long-awaited ones. A party might not be that important to you but people are different. Some couples just want to have a big party with family and friends coming together to celebrate a remarkable day. The wedding just got cancelled and saying it might be because a party isn’t the right thing to do.
How the couple chooses to mark their day isn’t really up to anyone but the couple.
4. Can’t you see that couple that cancelled their wedding and married via Zoom?
First of all, let’s leave Zoom and Skype for online classes, meetings, and CNN, thank you! We don’t remember when these apps became mediums for celebrating weddings. We cannot overemphasize how different people are. Hello? It’s 2020, we all should know this.
Suggesting a Zoom wedding to the couple who cancelled their wedding is not the right way to go. Just because you saw it on Instagram and the couple looked so happy, does not make it an option for everyone. If a couple chooses to get physical and in-the-moment, then let them have it their way and be happy. The pandemic is already disheartening enough for the wedding to get cancelled, give them space while they figure out what’s next.
5. Why are you in a hurry?
Let’s break it down for you. Imagine someone in their final year of medical school and is about to become a doctor (finally!), start a new phase of their lives treating sick people and helping families. Suddenly, a pandemic comes in the way to stop it all. Marriage, like most milestones, is a significant part of anyone’s life, or at least most people.
People have timelines and spend months in the planning and preparations for events like these. It can be very annoying to the couple if you ask this question because what may seem like a hurry to you is going according to their plans, only for the wedding to get cancelled.
6. Thank God I got married last month before this pandemic became serious.
Really? You want to share your testimony right now in the presence of someone’s agony and frustration? Your thanksgiving may happen unconsciously because really, Thank God o! but try not to be insensitive at times like this, especially when it is someone confiding in you about their present their dilemma or predicament.
7. You don’t need all that crowd anyway.
You don’t get to determine how much crowd the couple needs or does not need. The couple and their mothers do. If not their mothers alone. LOL! Some weddings are planned to accommodate the crowd and it is what it is.
You are likely to get a stern look after this statement. You’re not in the position to tell them what they need or what needs to be done. As mentioned earlier, what works for you and your potential spouse may not work for other couples.
8. Would people even want to come?
Please, positive vibes only! And yes, definitely! People would want to come. How many times do you see a large number of people turn down any wedding invite? Often more than not, it is usually overcrowded. So, yes! People will want to come.
Optimism is the only energy that a couple who just cancelled their wedding needs. If you can’t offer that, then it’s best not to say anything. Be quiet but reassure them of your unwavering support. Say good things to cheer them up. The wedding that just got cancelled was important to them and they probably have a lot going through their minds, the last thing they need to think about is if people would have showed up or not. Do your bit and make them feel better. That’s all they need.
9. It’s good you just cancelled it.
Getting married for some people is an amazing experience, like that of getting into a rocket and travelling to space. New, exciting, phenomenal, extraordinary. So no, they wouldn’t cancel it if they didn’t have to.
Saying this just shows that you were never in support of the wedding in the first place and if this is the way the bride or groom-to-be finds out from you, then you have got some serious explaining to do.
Be reminded that words go a very long way which can harm your relationship with them. To avoid hostility, malice, or even a backlash, reassurance is something they would love to hear. Welcome them with long hugs and show them that you care.
When they hit you with the bad news, say things like, “Let me know if you need me to do anything” or “Is there any way I can help?”
Creating a safe and comfortable environment to communicate and focus on the positive is always a good idea. If you realize they don’t want to talk about it, move on and talk about work or family. Engage them in conversations on random topics or bring up your usual gossip. On the other hand, if they want a shoulder to shed tears on, please provide it for them. In all things, please read the room and stay emotionally intelligent.