bride getting dressed with bridesmaids and laughing
Vanessa Joy Photography

A big part of planning your wedding is dealing with people—your family members, future in-laws, wedding vendors, wedding party, guests, and more. And sometimes, including these people in your wedding means you’ll encounter situations that are about as much fun as running into an ex when you're hungover. Needless to say, it's important to be prepared.

These are the awkward conversations you may experience during wedding planning (and what NOT to say).

The conversation: You have to ask your parents if they’re going to help pay for your wedding.

What to say: “We are starting to discuss our wedding plans and are ready to create a budget. We were wondering if you would be able to contribute money.”
What not to say: “We’re going to need [x amount of money] for the wedding. Will you be paying with cash or a check?”

The conversation: The rate for a wedding vendor you love is a little high for your budget. You want to negotiate with him or her.

What to say: “I really want to work with you, but your rate is a bit too high for my budget, which is [provide the exact amount]. Is there any way we can adjust the package?”
What not to say: “I talked to three other vendors and their rate is much lower than yours, so....”

The conversation: A not-so-close friend asks you point-blank if he’s invited to your wedding. He’s not.

What to say: “We really wanted to invite all of our friends to our wedding, but our budget is super-tight and we just can’t afford to have everyone attend.”
What not to say: “I’m not sure.” (Don’t be wishy-washy—tell the truth politely!)

The conversation: A friend asks if they’re going to be in your wedding party. The answer is no.

What to say: “We’re really trying to keep things small for our wedding party, and unfortunately we couldn’t include everyone. We still hope you’ll celebrate with us!”
What not to say: “You always cause so much drama. Do you really think I’m going to let you be in my wedding?”

The conversation: Your bridesmaid/groomsmen is being difficult. You want them out of your wedding party.

What to say: “I’ve noticed that there seems to be a lot of tension among the bridesmaids/groomsmen. What’s going on? How can I help?”
What not to say: “You’re fired.”

The conversation: Your parents want to invite more people than you’re comfortable with.

What to say: “[Future spouse] and I really want to try to keep the guest list down to [number]. Let’s go through your list together and figure out how to meet that guest count.”
What not to say: “There’s no way we are inviting all of these randos to my wedding.”

The conversation: Your mother-in-law wants you to wear her wedding gown. You’re planning on buying your dress.

What to say: “I’m so honored that you asked me to wear your dress, but I just don’t think it will suit me. Let’s think of another way to incorporate it into the wedding. Perhaps I can use some of the fabric to wrap around my bouquet.”
What not to say: “No way. That thing is hideous.”

bride running
Meghan Rolfe Photography

The conversation: A friend has offered to take care of wedding-related services for you (bake your cake, make your centerpieces, etc.). You’re not interested.

What to say: “I’m so flattered, but let’s leave that to the professionals. I really want you to enjoy the wedding and not lift a finger!”
What not to say: “Your skills are not up to my standards, so thanks but no thanks.”

The conversation: A co-workers wants to know everything about your wedding, but you’d prefer to keep things private.

What to say: “Wedding planning is really stressful, so I’d prefer to leave it at the door when I come to work. Can we talk about Stranger Things instead?”
What not to say: “Stop asking me about my wedding. None of you are invited anyway.”

The conversation: A family member asks if she can bring her new significant other to the wedding. It’s a no.

What to say: “I’m really sorry but we’re over capacity for our venue and we can’t accommodate any additional guests.”
What not to say: “I don’t even know him/her, and you think he/she’s invited to my wedding? Bye, Felicia.”

The conversation: A friend RSVPs for her children, even though they’re not invited. You need to tell her they can’t come.

What to say: “Our wedding is adults-only for budget and safety reasons, so unfortunately, we can’t accommodate your little ones.”
What not to say: “This is a wedding, not a daycare center. Seriously.”

The conversation: A family member wants to give a toast during your reception.

What to say: “We really appreciate the offer, but trying to keep it to just a few speeches. We really want everyone to spend the most time dancing!”
What not to say: “You’re going to be wasted anyway so I’m not letting you within ten feet of a microphone.”

The conversation: Your great-aunt sent you a gift that wasn’t on your registry and you returned it. At a family reunion, she asks you how you liked her gift.

What to say: “You always give the most interesting gifts, Great Aunt Susan! Now, which way is the buffet?”
What not to say: “Oh that? Returned it.”