Broke-Ass Category: Real Talk


Finding the love of your life and taking that next big step towards forever is a blissful time of your life, but what happens when someone you love has life experiences that are giving them a broken heart?

caring for friends

Whether it’s the ending of a relationship, loss of a loved one, money, job or health troubles, certain struggles can zap the celebration spirit right out of a person, even if they love you dearly and share your joy. It’s ok to feel disappointment and to go on with your excitement, but taking the time to specially care for your loved one in their time of need can make the situation better for everyone involved.

Remember their pain is not your fault.

You didn’t cause the pain your friend is feeling, and even though it can feel unfair to go one with your happiness while someone you love is hurting, it’s really not. They almost certainly don’t feel it is, either. Being sensitive to their needs can help dissolve any potential bitterness and may even give you a needed break from all of the weddingland craziness.

Let them set the pace.

Everyone reacts to tragedy differently, so don’t be shy about asking how involved they want to be and make sure they know they can change their minds. Assuming someone doesn’t want to be involved in fun trips like outfit shopping (or, in my case, anything followed by the word “tasting“) can hurt more than it helps. Extend the invitation, but be gracious if the answer is no.

Set aside time just for them.

This is just a good practice in general, but loved ones going through a rough patch or all-out heartbreak really deserve the extra attention. Help out by taking care of a need — whether a daunting chore or a fun night out — and focus your energy on them, rather than wedding plans.

Show up for the big things.

The mean curveballs life can throw often come with life-altering events that are an excellent opportunity to show your support: medical treatments, funerals, an unexpected move … stopping your day to be there may sound like a given, but it goes a long way to someone in need of that support.

Honor their requests for discretion.

When you’re going through a time of personal trouble, one of the hardest things can be to keep positive while well-meaning outsiders ask questions. If your brother is going through a divorce or your best friend lost her job, they may not want to share the details with the people they meet through parties and get-togethers that sometimes accompany an engagement. Unless they ask you to pass on their regrets to others, keep the bad news within their circle and allow them to put on a happy face if that’s what works best for them.

Be mindful of money troubles and help where you can.

This is especially true for people in the wedding party. It’s no secret that being a part of the wedding can rack up some serious dollar signs, so whether their expendable cash is simply lacking or their money troubles are rooted in outside trouble, look for ways to keep costs down. Besides, choosing budget friendly options for wedding attire and party destinations never hurts!

Be prepared to let them off the hook.

It’s never easy to back out of a commitment, so if it gets to that point, understand they’re likely as disappointed as you are. Give them time to heal and look for other fun ways to bond and celebrate the special relationship you have. Being flexible lets them know how important they are to you and spending time together is a good reminder for you that even though times might be difficult for them, they still care about you and your happiness.

Have you run into a sticky situation while planning your wedding? Need some advice on how to handle it? Let us know in the comments below!

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    It’s a little crazy, right? An entire wedding with fun, games, coloring and more with hardly a kid in sight. Yeah, it was a bit weird, but we knew all along we wanted a kid-free wedding, so even after picking our theme we stuck to it. There were several reasons for this: 1) It’s cheaper — the fewer people, the less money we were spending on tables, chairs, food, candy, beverages and so on; 2) I wanted to give my guests the opportunity to have a night of crazy fun; and 3) I am not a kid person, okay? I’m just not. I have been to weddings where the dance floor was packed with kids all hopped up on sugar and running around and just being crazy like kids are supposed to be … and OMG. I knew that wasn’t the kind of reception for me. I know it can be a controversial thing, but we really didn’t have any issues. Here’s how we navigated the whole thing.

    I had made comments for years about having an adults-only wedding, so my close friends and fam certainly weren’t surprised. I’d gotten the occasional side-eye or weird look, with the usual comments from other brides saying no one would have come to their shindig if they couldn’t bring their children. Well, that just straight up sucks in my book. A typical wedding requires a lot of planning, which takes a lot of time. If you have months and months and months, heck maybe even years of notice, I feel like you can line up a babysitter. Disclaimer: I am not a parent. I know this. But I know many of them. I have siblings and in-laws and close friends who have kids. I know how hard it can be to find a trustworthy person to watch your kids. I truly, truly get that. But all of them have managed to find someone. Whether it’s another family member, a nanny, or just the occasional sitter, they’ve all done it. So I was confident that with enough lead time, basically everyone could make it happen. I made sure it was very clear on our wedding website that we were having an adults-only day. Our save the dates went out in early February, coupled with a Facebook post with a link to the site in case they didn’t notice it on our cute little tickets. It also stated we would provide childcare if they’d like us to.

    Officially, we gave everyone eight months to start working on a plan. Even so, we wanted to help just in case they couldn’t come up with one. Russel and I also took into account that a lot of our guests were coming from out of town, and maybe they wouldn’t want to leave their little ones for an entire night or weekend. Because of that, we offered to provide babysitting for anyone who wished to take advantage. When we mailed out invitations about seven weeks prior to our big day, I included a handwritten note to all of the people who have children. (BTW, this is a good time to mention that we are not monsters and were pretty flexible on the whole. If someone had a newborn or baby who was still nursing, they were absolutely encouraged to bring said little nugget. I made that clear on handwritten notes as well.) I gave everyone my phone number and encouraged them to call or text me if they wanted to discuss babysitting. No one called. I wasn’t even really surprised, to be honest. Not a lot of our friends or family members have young kids. Maybe a little weird for a couple in their early 30s, but it’s how we roll in our social circle. Those who do had all managed to line up child care ahead of time and didn’t need our help. Had anyone requested it, they could have left their kids with a trusted, CPR certified sitter at the hotel in town. We had a room block, and it’s where most of our guests stayed. Their children would have been waiting for them post-reception, stuffed with pizza and all tired out from swimming and playing.

    In the end, it really couldn’t have worked out any better. I felt like we really tried our best to give people plenty of time to plan, and we would have been more than happy to arrange a sitter had the need arisen. I get that it can kind of be a slap in the face to have someone say they want you at their big day … but don’t bring the little monster, so we really wanted to go above and beyond to make our intentions clear and take the burden off our guests.

    Of course there were three children in attendance who we wouldn’t have dreamed of leaving out. One of my nieces and my nephew were my flower girl and ring bearer, and my other niece was there as well. It should go without saying that Russel and I wanted them to celebrate with us, and celebrate they did. We had carnival games set up on the lawn for cocktail hour, and to make it super official, my mom bought a bunch of stuffed animal prizes. They made out like bandits. Add in coloring, dancing, glow in the dark balloons and eating yummy fair food all night, and they were in heaven.



    Photos by Jenni Bella Photography

    If you think a kid-free wedding is for you, do it! Stick to your guns, but also remember to be a little flexible. These are your guests, so go out of your way to make it easy for them. If you’re like us, you’ll be very happy with the result.

    Have you thought of going kid-free? What challenges are you facing? Share in the comments!

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