If you’ve ever dared to utter the “W”-word in conversation with a group of 20-somethings in a major American metropolis, chances are you’ve opened the door to an onslaught of stock responses. Pew-pew-pew! Like little silver BBs they fly out of people’s mouths, these most disparaging opinions about weddings, aimed not to hurt so much as sting, with a smile.

Verily, our generation hates weddings second only to hunting dentists killing lions with nice names. Weddings: They are really so stupid! And so if you find yourself planning one, you big idiot, there’s a lion-sized chance you’ll get nipped by one or fifteen thousand of these cunty little pellet-sized digs along the way. They come from all angles: well-meaning friends who just want to give you a new perspective, random people on the Internet if you’re brainless enough to share your wedding plans, and yes, actual assholes who will forever be waiting for their Coolest Person trophy to arrive in the mail (6-8 weeks, guys!) because they did The Year’s Coolest Thing by deciding to Think Weddings Are Dumb And Then Tell You So. Regardless of who’s shooting, the worst thing a BB can do is blind you; more commonly, they annoy the living shit out of you.

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Here’s how to prepare for an attack, and arm yourself for defense against four forbidden utterances.

“We never, ever want a wedding. We just want, like, a really big, fun party!”

Why this statement sucks: Newsflash, people trying to achieve the Apogee of Chillness by uttering this ultra-relaxed statement. Guys? Weddings are really big, fun parties. I know, it’s hard to imagine, but once you look past all the virgin sacrifices that happen at the altar, impalement spikes spontaneously emerging from beneath the dance floor, rabid dogs feasting on human flesh, voodoo curses falling upon the guests like black cloaks of doom, and drunk uncles, what you’re left with is, literally, the most basic components of an impeccable rager: unlimited booze, loud music, food that is bite-size and often fried, cute outfits, and the promise of sexy out-of-towner sex.

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What to fire back: “I see, yes. Understood. Well, my wedding won’t be a ‘big party’—it’s more a grand fête. You know, less cocktails and food, more libations and feasting. And we probably won’t dance or be at all horny; though I’m sure there will be plenty of time spent moving rhythmically in a group to popular pieces of music, and I don’t doubt that at least 4.7 people will become physically entangled. So yeah, you’d probably not like it, especially since you like having fun, so you shouldn’t come, so bye!”

“Why would you spend so much money on a stupid wedding when you could use that money to TRAVEL instead?”

Why this statement sucks: This may be a personal preference, but if I could choose between being asked this question one more time in my life by some wide-eyed so-called ~wanderluster~ or being slapped across the face with a sock filled with Matchbox trucks, I’d be like, “Truck me, baby!” Because all people who “travel” actually do not moonlight as your own personal financial consultants or holy deities of all things spend, save, swipe. It is actually incredible to me the level of ferocious confidence with which a 22-year-old who has been to India once with her dad can convince herself that she knows more about how I, also a grown woman, should spend my own money. The bottom line is: Yes, weddings can be irrationally expensive. Indulgent. Self-serving. And tell me: What “traveler’s” Instagram feed isn’t? We’re all on our own journey, friends—some feel like spending theirs walkin’ down an aisle right now.

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What to fire back: “Why would you spend so much money on stupid traveling when you could use that money to INVEST instead? Why would you spend so much money on stupid investing when you could use that money to buy a SICK CAR instead? Why would you spend so much money on a stupid sick car when you could use that money to buy 10,000 TOASTERS instead? Why would you spend so much money on stupid toasters when you could use that money to buy your dog a 3,000 square-foot CITY LOFT instead? Why would you—”

“You cannot be a feminist and marry, I went to college and college says so.”

Why this statement sucks: The interesting thing about feminism is that it’s sort of founded in this, I dunno, central tenet that women have something like “agency” by which they are capable of “making their own decisions” to “further their own lives for the better.” That’s just my interpretation, but then again, I’m some fruitcake who’s planning on walking around in a grassy field with a slice of $400 tulle plopped on her head to show some dumb man how much she loves him. But anyway, yes: Some dude, or worse, another woman putting you down for making the personal decision to get married, stripping you of your agency, isolating you from some vague social-intellectual ideal “anti-marriage feminism” that doesn’t actually exist, now that’s what I call a breach of feminism! Plus, this isn’t 1824 and Western marriages these days usually are consensual and don’t involve transactions of dowry.

What to fire back: At times like these it would be too easy and unceremonious to simply say, “Wow, you are wrong and here is why.” It’s much more fun to go the theatrical route. My usual M.O. is to say something like, “Everything you said is 100% true and real, I am just hearing this for the first time, thank you a lot.” Then I take out my phone and dial a number (usually my favorite pizza place, Luigi’s, on DeKalb between Washington and Hall in Fort Greene, Brooklyn) and say into the phone, “Hello? Joseph? My dearest betrothed? The wedding is off. It’s finished. Goodbye, forever.” THEATER!!!!!

“I didn’t even take you for a wedding-wedding kind of person!”

Why this statement sucks: Well, it sort of suggests that the utterer thinks you have some sad, terminal case of brain-eating amoeba, and that every day, you’re becoming more and more insane, and that by next Tuesday, you’ll be so insane, you might do something completely fucked up, like eat an entire baby for breakfast. As if you’re sick and insane, and they’re the doctor who’s preparing you for death. Hey, wait: They aren’t a doctor! They’re just some person! THIS WHOLE THING HAS GOTTEN ENTIRELY OUT OF HAND.

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What to fire back: Step 1: Remove skin suit using back zipper. Step 2: Reveal to interlocutor that “you” are actually a stack of five wily jack o’lanterns with a duckling wearing a Richard Nixon mask standing on top. Step 3: Say, “I guess I’m not at all the kind of person you thought I was.”

BUT, let it be known: Just because you don’t have to put up with being harshly judged by your friends and acquaintances for making a joyful personal decision that goes against some current bummer of a social trend, doesn’t mean you, the imminently wed, are 100% free to say whatever dumb thing you want during the planning process, either. It’s great to stand behind your choice, and be excited and steadfast, but no one, not even your most supportive confidant, wants to talk about tea-dyed doily table runners for hours on end, wants to hear your dumb advice about how to find “the one,” or wants to give you a blue ribbon for being a bride- or groom-to-be. Plus, you’re getting married, not installing sewer systems in underserved Brazilian favelas. So, like, heel.

It really shouldn’t be so hard to talk about weddings. The dialogue—much like marriage itself—is all about balance. A give-and-take. Respect. Empathy. And most importantly: Not shooting one another with fucking BBs whenever we feel like making a point. For there are so many other, more serious infractions by which we should harshly judge our friends, like ordering wheat beers garnished with orange slices at bars, or wearing boots and socks in the summertime.


Watch this space weekly as Lauren Rodrigue shares the victories and freakouts of planning her 2016 wedding (and the marriage that’ll follow). Tweet her at @laurenzalita.

Image via Shutterstock.