When well-meaning family and friends find out that you’re engaged and starting to wedding plan, they may come to you offering to help. Some of these people may be relatives you haven’t heard from in ages and some might be people you don’t even plan on inviting to the wedding. Maybe your cousin offers to bake your cake or your college roommate wants to be your photographer.

Related: 7 Things You Should Tell Your Wedding Photographer

You appreciate them wanting to help, but the problem is that you’ve never seen (much less tasted) one of your cousin’s cakes. And your old roommate, although a decent photographer, lacks the style you want. And maybe there’s a little part of you that wants to play it safe and stick with the wedding professionals.

Question is, how do you politely decline these offers in a way that doesn’t burn bridges? Especially if other family and friends expect you to accept (“But she’s family!”).

There are a few ways you can go about declining friends and/or family who want to act as a vendor at your wedding.

Two smiling groomsmen carrying a smiling and laughing bride with her bouquet and groom on the patio of a rustic home at Jacoby's restaurant in Austin, Texas.  Photograph by Austin, Texas wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen.

Ideas on How to Say No

If the person hasn’t been too pushy about the subject, you can send a polite email or text that says something like:

“We appreciate the thought, but we would love for you to just be a guest and not have to worry or stress over wedding planning.”

“It’s really sweet of you to offer, but we already have that taken care of. We look forward to seeing you at the wedding!”

“Thank you for thinking of us, but we would just really love to have you at the wedding as a guest, sans any obligations.”

“All of the wedding logistics are taken care of, but we appreciate your offer. Can’t wait to celebrate with you on Saturday!”

On the other hand, if you’ve already politely declined, but the person keeps pushing, you’ll want to be more direct. Something like, “We will not be using friends or family as wedding vendors of any kind, full stop,” should do the trick.

If the person is someone you don’t plan on inviting to the wedding, keep your response simple and direct. There’s no need to go into any detail. “Thank you, but we have everything sorted out,” is polite, but to the point.

One thing you should definitely not do is ignore an offer or string someone along with vague interest. Doing so could hurt the relationship, and just because you ignore something, doesn’t mean it’s not there or will go away unscathed.

Bride and her female friends standing side-by-side and smiling at the camera while in a patio with cobblestone flooring and trees in the background.  Photograph by Austin, Texas wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen.

If you feel that a particular person just wants to feel helpful or if someone comes at you with a general, “Is there anything I can help with?” consider giving her/him a small task, but only if you really want to. Maybe that means letting your cousin bake cupcakes for the bridal shower or inviting a friend over to help address envelopes.

Just keep in mind that people really do have good intentions (even they get a bit pushy sometimes) and want to do what they can to make your big day a success. But that doesn’t mean you have to give in to every puppy dog eye that comes your way. They might even thank you once they realize how much work goes into even the seemingly smallest things.

Related: The Perfect Wedding Guest Book Idea

Looking for more ways to politely decline the wedding services of your family and friends? I'm sure I can help!

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