Bossy Bride Or Business-Minded?
I’ve lost count of the number of times in my life when I’ve been called ‘bossy’. My friends, parents, and boyfriends have all labeled me with the word that, for a very long time. ‘Bossy’ refers to someone who is fond of giving orders; someone who is domineering. ‘Bossy’ doesn’t come with positive connotations - they are all inherently negative. And the unfortunate thing is that people who know what they want and then delegate jobs to the people who have offered their help get lumped into this category too. Knowing what you want and then making leadership decisions in order to make it happen isn’t bossy - that’s just effective project management.
Planning a wedding is, as unglamorous as it sounds, a project that needs managing. And as the bride you’re often at the helm of this assignment. You have a lot of decisions to make on behalf of yourself, and the other ‘stakeholders’ involved in your wedding day which in itself is a tough task. But it’s made tougher by the fact that if you’re clear in your head about what you actually want and you have the strength to be upfront about that, then it’s likely someone will call you at least ‘demanding’, if not ‘bossy’.
I used to blush and cringe when someone referred to me as bossy. It hit such a nerve that people thought I was pushy or insistent. However, I don’t understand why being sure of yourself and asking for what you need has become entwined with this embarrassing trait. Surely we should be praising the people who, in this day and age, are confident enough to say “this is what I want to happen” and not apologise for it. Because, at the end of the day, knowing you’re worthy of something and asking people to support you in your endeavours is a real sign of self-belief. Something that should be encouraged, not slated.
It took me until starting my business to realise that actually ‘bossy’ is an inaccurate insult. It clearly originates from the word ‘boss’ and since when has being the boss ever been a bad thing? It’s a label we millennial females tout as a badge of honour, with ‘Girl Boss’ as a fierce revolution that we all hashtag and pledge an allegiance to. It’s a sisterhood that everyone wants entry to, not one that people hate to be associated with like it’s ‘bossy’ little sister. Being the boss means to be in charge, and you should be in charge of your own life and your own wedding.
I’ve come to accept that less-secure people tend to throw the word ‘bossy’ back in the face of people who ask them to do something because it’s a guaranteed way to shut them up. Call someone bossy and you’re almost daring them to keep asking you to do things - and they won’t, because no-one wants to be associated with that word. We’ve recently heard about this in the workplace, with regards to female managers or team leaders being held back from progressing up the career because they are labelled as bossy. Would you ever hear a man, or a groom, being described as bossy? Nope, they just get the fairly respectable ‘strong-minded’ or ‘confident’.
So with this in mind don’t be surprised if, during your wedding planning, your fiancé, parents or bridesmaids turn around and call you the ‘b’ word. Just remember, they’re trying to shake you, unnerve you and ultimately get you to stop asking them to do things and they know this tactic will work. It’s probably not even a conscious reaction, we’ve just all been shaped by social norms to react to women with power differently. But if you’re asking people nicely and they’re still reacting in this way then rest assured that the clichéd “it’s not you; it’s them” is at play here. If they can’t handle being asked to help get things ready for your wedding, when they probably already agreed to do it, then something else is going on under the surface. It’s up to you whether you want to dig deeper and find out what that is or not.
The situation will tend to arise most with your Maid of Honour, and that’s usually because of the confusion as to what you, and she, believe the role requires. Some brides think that their Maid of Honour is in charge of everything from organising the hen-do, to helping make the favours, and setting up the day before the wedding. However, the Maid of Honour may just think the role means ‘head bridesmaid’ and not a lot else. If there’s uncertainty about what this title actually involves then asking your friend to do x, y and z will sound ‘bossy’ if she’s not on the same page. Which is why it’s good to be clear from the get-go as to what you would actually appreciate her doing as Maid of Honour. If you’re upfront and honest about what you would like help with then it’s up to her whether she agrees to accept. Obviously, this doesn't give you the right to start demanding ridiculous things of her but it’s entirely reasonable for you to ask her to assist you with jobs on the run up to the big day. Just keep checking in with her that she feels okay with what you’ve delegated, and if not, then perhaps ask your mum or one of your other bridesmaids to pitch in and help to lighten the load.
At the end of the day, the responsibility should not fall to you and only you. There will be two of you in your marriage and that means that you both should contribute to the wedding plans. If all the organisation falls to you, and you’re only asking one person to take care of some of the things on your to-do list, then it may well come across as demanding. However, spread the load wide and everyone will end up with a manageable amount to do. So get the groomsmen involved and anyone else who expresses an interest in helping you out. And make sure the groom is the one to ask his mates to do tasks for the wedding, in that ‘strong-minded and confident’ manner he has.
It is hard to be labelled as ‘bossy’. Take it from me, I’ve heard that word enough to last a lifetime. But what people don’t realise is how much more efficient planning a wedding, or any other event, is if someone is clear in their mind of what needs to be done. Holding back and being indecisive may come across as less pushy but you waste an awful lot of time debating everything instead, and that becomes tiresome very quickly. To sit there and go back and forth on the options, for appearance sake, when you already know in your mind what you want is just unfair on yourself. It’s a breath fresh air to have someone who knows what they need, prepares a list and then shares jobs out with those willing to help. If more people did this then wedding planning would take much less time and be much less stressful. So don’t be afraid to be confident in your directness, and if people call you the ‘b’ word then take it as a compliment - at least they recognise that you’re the boss! Be the CEO of your own life and don’t for a second doubt yourself.
Written by Charlotte Spain