Just Say No: When (and How) to Put Your Foot Down

Planning a wedding involves heaps of work. You want to make sure everything is perfect, all while keeping a positive state of mind. After all, it’s your big day! So what to do when you’ve had enough and need to put your foot down? We’ve tapped three industry experts to tell you exactly how to handle sticky situations, such as saying no to uninvited guests, unsolicited advice, and more. 

Saying "No" to Wedding Vendors 

Sometimes, wedding vendors can be a bit aggressive when it comes to signing contracts and pursuing you to go with their venue or service. “Remember it is not personal, it’s business, and as a wedding professional, we know this is part of being one — you are not always the right fit for everyone,” says Norcross. “If you feel bullied or pressured at any point, walk away and move on. You should never feel unconformable with your vendors. They are there to be your team for the day and should make you feel like you can talk to them at any time openly.” 

You should also speak up if you aren’t interested in working with a specific vendor. “While persistence might be unwelcome by you, it definitely takes time and effort out of a vendors day, so if you’re uninterested in working with them, say so,” notes Mizrahi. Otherwise, they may continue reaching out and following up. “It’s saving them time from continuing to be in contact with you,” she says, so it’s best to “give an explanation, not an excuse.”

Saying "No" to Your Wedding Planner

Not seeing eye to eye with your wedding planner? Don’t sweat it. But don’t let it linger either, as it will just cause stress and tension between the two of you. “Odds are if you feel you’re being misheard or misrepresented, your planner also feels the lack of connection and clarity,” says Mizrahi. “Honesty is the best policy with this situation. Whether you had false expectations or your planner is not honoring the agreement you made, there must be a conversation to discuss whether the relationship can be adjusted to benefit you both or should be terminated for the best interest of both.” 

And remember, it’s all part of the package. “For us it is business and we are there to best serve you, so letting us know if we are not the same page is usually an easier fix if you are upfront about your needs, wants, and expectations from us,” says Norcross. 

Saying "No" to Social Media

Social media has taken weddings by storm. However, there are brides who still choose to keep things private. While there’s no way to completely keep guests from taking photos during the event’s duration, there are a few things you can do to relay to guests that you’d prefer to post the first images on social media. But do so prior to your big day, otherwise, guests might not get the hint. 

“Include wording on your wedding website, on the save the date, invitation, welcome bag itinerary and on signage at the wedding itself,” says Mizrahi. “Call it unplugged, off the grid, unpublicized, intimate, or personal. Remind your guests that your wedding is an important experience you want to share directly with your closest and dearest family and friends and not the rest of the world.” Nicely encourage them to document, but to also keep it to themselves until you’ve shared with your extended family first. 

Saying "No" to Friends/Family Who Didn't Make the Cut

Your colleagues are stoked about your big day. What to do if you aren’t planning on inviting them but they insist on throwing you a work shower and the whole nine yards?  “If you are unable to invite your coworkers to your wedding, do not send them an invitation,” says Hopkins “If they mention the wedding, kindly let them know that you truly wish you could invite them, but that you are holding a small intimate wedding with a few of your closest friends and family.” 

You can also ease the awkwardness by saying that your parents are forking over the dough for your big day. “Feel free to blame your parents for commandeering your entire guest list, but only if you know they won’t be able to verify that excuse,” says Mizrahi. “Buy cake or donuts for the office when you’re breaking the news to them. Nothing is as bad when you have a face full of cake!”

Saying "No" to Religious Conflicts

Your parents want a traditional Catholic ceremony, but you and your fiancé want to enlist your best friend to ordain. What next? Mizrahi recommends starting this conversation early on in the game. “It will likely be a conversation that will require time for both parties to be heard, understood, and accept the others wishes and feelings,” she says. “There can’t be a unified script for this because all families are different. The ideal end result isn’t necessarily to agree, it’s to acknowledge and respect your perspective and ultimately support your wishes. Times have changed; weddings don’t resemble what they once did, but if you’re the first or only offspring to wed, then this is a concept your family hasn’t ever experienced before.” 

Make sure to voice that you want your wedding to 100% be about you and your fiancé, but you still want them to feel like part of your big day. “Sit your family down for an open and honest discussion on your beliefs, how you intend to incorporate them into your wedding, and what it means to you and your fiancé,” notes Hopkins. “If they are insistent upon their religious traditions, kindly remind them that you respect their beliefs and wish them to respect yours.”