Picture this: you’re newly engaged, basking in all the social media glory, still teary-eyed looking at the rock on your left hand. You’re getting double-taps and comments like there’s no tomorrow, and you’re all “YAS, I AM THE BRIDE QUEEN, Y’ALL!”. You with me? Good.

Then, imagine that Kayla, your second cousin on your mom’s side—you know, the one who you played with that one summer at Granny’s but then never talked to much again aside from the occasional family gathering—comments, and is all “Hey, Cuz! Congrats! Can’t wait to be part of the big day! #bridesmaids4ever”. You melt. Your joyful, newly-engaged, rosy cheeks fade to ghost-white as your sweet momma says “Well, isn’t that nice of Kayla! She’ll fit right in as a bridesmaid—her complexion is good too so you can put her in any color and she won’t look dead!” Enter obligation: the joy-killer to the wedding-planning bride.

You don’t dislike Kayla, you just don’t know Kayla. But, your mom and her sister, Aunt Sharon, are fully expecting you to include Kayla in the wedding. Heck, Kayla is expecting it, too. So, what do you do? Not including her might cause a familial rift that rivals 1998’s family reunion tug-o-war debacle. But, if you include her, that means you have to either bump a close friend or have a huge bridal party. There is no one-size-fits-all solution here (sorry, y’all), but in my experience, here are some tips to un-obilgate yourself to Kayla and still keep the peace:

Tip #1: Be honest. Yes, I know the “h” word is scary, especially when others’ feelings are involved, but by being honest with your momma first, she and others will be able to sympathize with your position. In a tactful way, simply tell your mom, “Mom, I know you and Aunt Sharon are close and while I have nothing against Kayla, I’d prefer to reserve my bridal party for the girls I’m closest with.”

Tip #2: Find a job for Kayla to have at the wedding. Whether attending the guest book/gift table or cutting the cake, there are always extra jobs waiting to be filled by your “obligatory inclusions” (i.e. extended family). As your wedding planner, I can find a spot for any extraneous cousin, aunt, uncle that you throw my way.

Tip #3: Talk to Kayla. Again, #awkward, but if she feels entitled to being in the wedding—or if she’s been told to expect it—then she’s already feeling the pressure. Send her a message or give her a quick call to say, “Hey, Kayla! I just wanted to say thanks for being so excited and supportive of our big day—it really means a lot! I also wanted to let you know that while I’d love to include all my friends and family in the bridal party, I’m opting to keep the group smaller and limited to my sisters and closest friends. However, I’d love for you to be part of our day in another way, if you’re open to it!” This way, you rid yourself of the obligation of including her while also offering to keep her involved.

Bottom line: be honest, be kind, be straightforward. Your wedding should be spent how you want and with whom you want, and explaining this to others in a sensitive manner is totally possible!