HOW TO: say no in awkward situations when planning your wedding

shutterstock_286218545Bridezilla is a branding that every B2B is desperate to avoid. Soon-to-be brides will do just about anything to avoid this loathed label, including tip-toeing around other people’s feelings and compromising when we really want to lay down the law.

Don’t sweat it: even Kim Kardashian made a pitiful attempt to persuade sister Kylie to keep her promise to cover up her teal dip-dye hair when she was bridesmaid at her wedding to Kanye West (we bet he wasn’t exactly Mr Meet-halfway either).

We’ve set out four common planning conundrums where you might be tempted to give in and offer some solutions that will keep everyone happy…

“My friend has presumed she is a bridesmaid!”
This has the potential to be more awkward than bumping into your personal trainer as you leave McDonald’s. Approaching lying with caution. For example, don’t tell her you can’t afford to have any more bridesmaids and then have six-foot swan ice sculptures dotted around your reception room.

Your bridal party is your choice, so be polite but firm when you explain that she is very important to you, but unfortunately she didn’t make the cut. Could she be given another role, like doing a reading at the ceremony?

“My parents are taking up half my guest list!”
If your folks are paying for some (or all) of your wedding, they might feel they can invite whoever they like. When deciding who is on the guest list, one useful rule is that both you and B/H2B should have met them before. Most courtships will have been long enough to have allowed you to meet almost everyone truly significant (or significant enough for a £60pp meal).

Explain to your parents that you are extremely appreciative of all their help, and it’s important to you that you reach a resolution that everyone is happy with. Offer to take them through everyone that’s likely to get cut if they add in their cruise buddies and why this would upset you. Above all, stay calm. Your family is forever, while friends come and go.

“My mum has offered me her dress!”
It’s the social equivalent of riding a unicycle across an ice rink – a delicate and dangerous balancing act, where one false move could result in tears and an extremely cold shoulder.

Resist all temptation to scoffingly say “Only if you also have a time machine to take me back to when women actually wanted to look like Liberace in drag.”

If it’s an outright no, then explain that she loved her dress so much because it was her dream dress, and you were so looking forward to the experience of picking your own. Alternatively, you could suggest a re-work of the dress to modernise it or make it more to your taste. The thought of a dressmaker hacking it up could be so upsetting that she retracts the offer.

“The suppliers are pushing me to add on extras”
You should be confident that your suppliers have extensive bridal expertise and know their stuff. That said, don’t feel obliged to take on all their recommendations once you have already agreed to a basic package or service. If you are on a tight budget, you might have selected a particular florist because they are excellent value for money, but it is so easy to get carried away, when you meet with them and find out about all the cool stuff you didn’t even know existed (your flowergirl now needs a floral wand).

Budget planning at the early stages means you can clearly communicate with everyone how much cash you have allocated for each part of the wedding, and firmly ensure your hold on the financial reins is tighter than your emergency Spanx. Don’t get caught up in the moment. Ask to sleep on it, and then make your mind up with a clear head. Let them down gently – with lots of flattery – but stick to your gut feeling!