I have a question that is probably going to make me sound really mean, but here goes: how do I gracefully turn down offers of jewelry or other accessories to wear on my wedding day?
Both my mom and mother-in-law-to-be are very nice, generous people. But they have taste in clothes & jewelry that really clashes with mine. They love delicate gold sparkly pretty princess things, and I love big chunky bold modern stuff — soooo very different.
I will let them know in advance that I have already purchased everything I need, but that might not get the point across. Is there a decent way of pre-emptively saying “please don't give me anything, no really, please DO NOT”? How do I say this TACTFULLY but make sure the message is loud and clear? OR, if they ignore me and give me something and it's awful, how do I turn it down tactfully?
Definitely make it clear that you've already purchased your jewelry. Show off what you've gotten in person or via email. Explain why you love it so much and how excited you are about it. Hopefully this will nip things in the bud. But if they insist on giving you jewelry anyway, try this technique:
”Thank you so much,” you can say. “Although I've already purchased the jewelry I'll be wearing at the wedding, I'm so honored that you thought of me and I'm so excited to integrate your gift into the wedding day — let's find a way to make it work!”
The key here is not to turn them down, but to find an alternate way to use the gift. Here's one example: I asked a friend if she would make me a necklace for my wedding day. A month or so later, an old blogging pal asked if she could send me a necklace she'd made. Not only did I already have a wedding necklace I was happy with, but I wasn't sure if necklace #2 was going to go very well with my wedding day aesthetic. I told Friend #2 that I wasn't sure I'd be able to wear the necklace on my wedding day, and she was fine with that — she just wanted to gift it to me.
When necklace #2 arrived, I immediately saw that no: it wasn't what I'd be wearing around my neck. I'd already set the expectation with Friend #2 that I wasn't sure I'd be wearing it … but then, on a total whim, I tried sticking Necklace #2 in my hair.
Necklace #2 became a headpiece I hadn't even realized I needed!
Now, not every piece of jewelry would work in your hair, but you could easily integrate jewelry that just doesn't go into a bouquet, a centerpiece, or your altar (wrapped around a candle, perhaps?).
The key is to set the expectation up-front that you've already purchased your wedding day jewelry AND (not but — AND!!) that you'd love to find a way to integrate the jewelry that you've been gifted. You can be gracious and accepting while also maintaining your own vision.