Wedding pros! I'm looking for some guidance on this issue.  I have a bride who just can't seem to make a decision on ANYTHING.  I give her my professional advice on her questions/concerns (a few examples are what wedding colors to choose and should I include so-and-so in my bridal party), but she wants me to tell her what to do.  It's not my wedding!


Any advice/suggestions?

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Great topic, and so much good advice already. I'd like to change the frame on our indecisive bride discussion for a minute.

Brides are first-timers, for the most part. They have no idea how to work effectively with you as their partner or how to make what seem like milestone decisions. Bridal Babe, DIVAity and Dave all hit i on the head. It's your job to help your bride decide, but not in the way you might thin, though. Let me explain.

Be the Leader

Yes, you. You can shape not only your bride's wedding day, but her experience of planning, too. There's a saying that says most people are quietly waiting to be lead. That's YOUR bride. Take the time to establish right up front how she feels about taking responsibility for her decisions (this fear is probably what's keeping her on the fence). Explain to her the ways you can help her make decisions and ask what works best for her. Women who are normally decisive can become so overwhelmed that they melt. Find out up front how, when and what kind of help you can offer.

Ease her Pain

That was the trivia question on a game the other night, 'in what movie did the main character hear the words: ease his pain? You gotta do the same for your bride. Look, she realizes she's dithering and is embarrassed by it, whether she shows it or not. Don't let her suffer in silence. Bring up her indecision gently. Out into the open where you can get a look at it and figure out a way around it. Ask her something like: I noticed on our last few meetings that you sometimes have a hard time choosing. Have you noticed that, too? Sure, it might lead to a little laugh if she's been especially pokey, and that's a good thing. Humor helps! Point out that wedding white elephant so you can get her out the room already!

Manage You

When you've got so many details to wrangle, and a few more weddings to coordinate, having a wavering bride might seem like torture. Excruciating, pulling-out-your-fingernails torture, I know. I didn't always have the patience of Job. Mine grew from years of stretching myself to see the other person's perspective, weaknesses, challenges and strengths. When you realize that we all have tough times and flaws, even someone like you LOL, it gets easier to be compassionate.

OK, hope that helps. I"m gonna expand this response into a blog post for Wednesday- thanks!

We create custom wedding invitations, and indecisiveness is as common as breathing around here. I think it helps the overwhelmed-with-choices bride to take a deep breath, forget the constraints of color/style, and look around for something she just falls in love with. It might be a pattern, or a ribbon, or even a graphic. Then we just build from there.

Kristy McTaggart / Artiface / Costa Mesa, CA
Make sure you are charging fairly for your own amount of extra of time . --That this tpye of bride is surely, going to need. Often I find very quickly, that my set fee is not going to be fair, at all , to me, with someone who is VERY in -decisive EVERYWHERE !!! in her life, not just in the wedding topic .
. Also as the PRO, keep it simple, -- do not give this person too many choices; they JUST can't handle that .
Always smart to pick up on the clues of this type of personaility EARLY !
And stream line things to make your experience and hers; ---so much easier and less stressful !
I would suggest asking her questions to help her come to her own decision. For exampe, about should I have so-and-so in my bridal party.. Ask her How long have they been friends? Would she feel bad no including her? How close are they? Was she in her bridal party? (If she's been married) What does your fiance think? Etc. And then for colors, show her some examples and ask which colors she likes better? Eliminate the ones she doesn't like and then together you can come up with what she wants. Whenever I'm working with an indecisive bride I try to ask as many questions as possible to help them come the the decision on their own. I hope this helps!
I have been reading all your posts and I love them all! We all can relate to the situation of the "Indecisive Bride". From what I can summarize, she may be dealing with too many choices, and other professionals, maybe too many! This , in my opinion happens when they "shop around" too much for the best price, expecting better than the best price, and the same goes with the gown.

Theoretically, she is NEVER going to make up her mind. We all do our best to work with Brides and want to make her day special. I believe, after spending too much of time and not getting's best to send these Brides on their way and move on. Give them your business card and tell them to call you when they are really ready to set their choices in already answered their questions!
This is a very common problem and expected part of the job. I find that it's very overwhelming for them, because it's THE day they were dreaming about since school days. I find that brides rely on us to guide them and sometimes really point them in the right direction. In photography I tell them perhaps 3 choices and tell them why each is good. They tend to make a quicker decision if all the choices are vndor-approved. I guess what I am saying is, they want our guidance even if they don't express it.
I come from a family counseling perspective. These are thoughts/questions I have:

Does the bride have anyone else in her life involved in the wedding planning? Why or why not and if so, can you get them to come on board?

Have you asked the client something like, "I hear uncertainty and I'm wondering if it comes from the fear of making a mistake?" Let her say yes or no and articulate her feelings more. If it IS that, wow, you have a heckuva lot more information to go on and confidence you can build since she hired you. The other option is she is really insecure and has never had to make choices before. Or, she may be frugal and wanting that "best" deal. Until you know it's going to be hard to approach her.

You could also ask her, "Can you think of another time you had to make a lot of decisions? How did that go for you?" and that may pull out a lifelong theme of this, OR it may pull out something distinctive about this wedding vs the rest of her life. You may also find a strategy in her story on working with her now.

I'd also deflect back to her, "how does it feel to think about showing up to your wedding having made none of the decisions?" (ie, she wants you to decide.) You'll also get some of her emotions "omg, that'd be AWESOME, because I HATE all this and don't give a rats tushie about it!" Then I'd probably ask who are some of the key stakeholders in this wedding and the two family clans, to confirm who else might be able to step in to help.

I'll stop here.... :-)
Great take on how to handle things, Elizabeth
An Idea Board would be a GREAT IDEA for this bride. Have her go through a few piles of wedding magazines and scan google images of weddings ideas. Have her cut out/print what she likes and after she's made her idea board, you will come up with a good idea of what colors she likes-she will have made the decision, all you have to do is show her how things flow together. Also, when it comes to attendants, get her fiance involved. Some guys aren't into wedding planning but when it comes to WHO will be in the wedding, they usually have opinions. I also agree with Glen when it comes to time limits, thats a great way to get some things done.
I have just been put through a similar situation, and I must say it is very frustrating..
Bride decides on a theme and colour scheme and I go our sourcing items to match her theme
and only 1 month prior to the Wedding date she up and changes the lot!!

I did explain that I have already bought items for her original theme and now would need to
source other items for her.. she does not seem phased of what a nuisance that is for us a a business!!

There must be a law against this??
don't know if this will help ~ I've found that the bride that has the toughest time making a decision is because she is a visual person. Try showing her pictures of your suggestions or physically visit the location. Definitely use the time element to help her process. If these don't work, maybe she hired you to make these decisions for her. She trusts your taste and if she just can't decide but seems to love your ideas, go for it and dazzle her! Take her vision and make it come to life! Good luck! Merrylin from Artistic Productions
Tell her that You are a florist, dress designer or whatever you are being hired for and tell her you are professional at what you do but anything outside of what you are being hired for, is not your expertise and that they are decisions she is going to have to make herself or with someone that knows her better. Stay focused on what she is hiring you for and keep her focused on what you are there for.


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