The Q: I recently got engaged (about a month before Thanksgiving) and was completely overwhelmed by the number of wedding questions everyone was asking me at Thanksgiving. I sort of wanted to take my time with this.... Anyway, my fiance and I haven't really made much progress in the last few weeks and I'm not sure how to deal with all the questions, questions when we see them all for Christmas. How can I politely get them off my back?
The A: It's a tricky thing... I think a lot of brides feel that their enthusiasm for wedding planning somehow is related to their degree of love and excitement about the marriage and it isn't (AT ALL). Plus, there is always that nagging feeling that maybe you SHOULD be doing something more about the wedding and you are messing everything up...So it's coupling bridal sensitivity with what's perceived as a generally fun topic of conversation for a group: wedding planning. "What bride doesn't want to talk about their wedding?" kind of thing.
I would say that you can either opt to completely table it for 2008 and say to your family: "You know, we haven't really put a lot of thought into it yet. We wanted to just enjoy being engaged over the holidays and start the planning in 2009." For the most part, people will accept that. But the important thing is to not seem insensitive. It's even OK to say, "I was so overwhelmed with it, I didn't want to start until the New Year."
Your other option is the use this time to gather addresses and information, and that in and of itself will make it seem like you are at least thinking about something. In which case you say "We really haven't thought about what we're going to do, but while we're here, do you have the family addresses that you can send me/ print for me? We're not sure yet how large a wedding it might need to be." And so on and so forth. But beware: if you and your fiance haven't had any basic wedding "talks", opening up this talk to your families could be a recipe for disaster and TOO many opinions (My Big Fat Greek Wedding comes to mind)