5 Ways to Say "No" to People's Suggestions During Wedding Planning

Need to (politely) shut down your mother-in-law during wedding planning? Here’s how to do it with grace.
by The Knot

Let's face it—you're not going to love every idea, suggestion or detail others have for your wedding day. And remember that it is, in fact, your wedding day—and you don't want it to turn into someone else's vision (just ask this bride). 

Of course, saying "no" without offending someone, hurting their feelings or making them feel excluded can be tough terrain to navigate. Before you decide to politely smile and nod to every request that comes, remember there are plenty of ways to get what you want without negatively affecting others.

1. "Let's compromise."

Even if you have the most laid-back family members and friends, there's something about a wedding announcement that makes people get very particular about their wants and expectations.

While we can guarantee big requests will feel daunting—your mother wants you to wear her wedding dress, your aunt wants to make your cake or your hobby photographer friend wants to shoot your wedding—don't underestimate the small asked-for details too. 

If you think a request could work with your personality, try making a twist on it. For example, if your mom wants you to wear a piece of jewelry (that's a family heirloom) and it doesn't match your gown, suggest a compromise by offering to wrap it around your bouquet or pin it inside the dress instead. 

2. "It'd mean a lot to me and [partner's name] if we could do it our way."

Compromise is one way to avoid being a negative Nancy, but not all requests are that simple. For example: a parent's request you get married in a church when neither you nor your partner consider yourself to be religious. Budging on your values may not sit well, and that's where a bigger conversation needs to be had. While the ultimate goal is to turn down the request, a straight "no" can feel harsh. Explain to your parents how you feel and what the venue you'd like to use means to the two of you as a couple. They may not like it—or be willing to help pay for the expense— but if it's a decision that you feel is best, then it's the right course of action.

3. "I love that idea, but let's tweak it a little bit."

Even if your aunt is a great baker, if she's never made an actual wedding cake, it's natural to feel a bit iffy about her abilities. Instead of your wedding cake, ask her to put her baking skills to work making cupcakes to serve at the rehearsal dinner instead.

Or if your mom wants you to wear her wedding dress from the early 1980s but the dress looks like it should stay in that decade, ask if you can wear her veil instead. Or maybe see if she'd consider a bespoke gown made from the dress, merging your two styles into one fresh, new gown.

4. "Let's try a less important day."

Your friend's photography skills may be good, but there is a lot of lighting, lens and overall experience and knowledge needed to beautifully capture all the details of your day. Ask them to shoot your engagement photos instead, allowing them to give you a gift and be involved without the risk of losing cherished memories from your wedding day. (You heard it here first: Always hire a pro for the big, important stuff like photography.)

5. "We already have the timeline set."

The good news is not all nos have to come directly from you. You can actually put a trusted friend or even a wedding planner on the job to politely shut them down. After all, once you have your day-of schedule, you won't want to disrupt it with something that'll affect the entire timeline—even if your enthusiastic relative really, really wants to sing a surprise song at your reception.

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