It’s supposed to be the greatest day of your life, but if family dramas crop up during the planning for your wedding, they can dull your joy. Here’s how to keep your families involved and still retain your happiness.

Even the happiest brides encounter some degree of family drama during wedding planning. The good news is you’re not alone. The bad news? It really stinks when you’re in the thick of it. Try these strategies if you get stuck.

The Issue: You and Your Groom Are Two Different Religions
You know there are lots of options for interfaith weddings; your and/or his religious family may not care. Get to the heart of why this difference bugs them: Is it because they’re afraid you’ll neglect your traditions at the wedding? That your children won’t grow up with their values? Discuss these topics openly and honestly and arrange get-togethers with them and your fiance so they can see how wonderful he is.

The Issue: You and Your Groom Are Two Different Races
Not that it’s an excuse, but those who grew up only around people who looked like them may be distrustful of others. Follow the same advice as above: Find out exactly why your mate choice bothers them. They just could be worried that intolerant people will give you and your future children a hard time. Let them know that that’s your potential problem, not theirs. For relatives who are so stuck in their ways they won’t even meet your fiance, let them know that you’d love for them to attend the wedding because they’re a big part of your life, but you’re not going to abandon someone you love because of their old-school views.

The Issue: Your or His Family Want to Call the Shots
It’s true: Whoever helps pay for the party gets a say. The trick: Find out what they absolutely don’t want at your wedding instead of what they’d like to have. There will still be disagreements (I’m reminded of the “Bridezillas” episode where the mom forbade the bride from renting a photo booth), but there will probably be fewer things on your relatives’ never-in-a-million-years lists than on their I’d-prefer-this lists. If they and you can’t compromise, be prepared to fund the fete yourself.

The Issue: Your or His Family Won’t Help Pay for the Wedding
Unfortunately, that’s their decision, and short of breaking into their bank accounts (please don’t try that!), there’s nothing you can do about it. You’re welcome to play the “It’s not fair” card, but it isn’t likely to work. Happily, you can give your families guest-list caps, and if they protest, invite them to fork over the dough to pay for those extra guests.

The Issue: You Have a Jealous Sibling (or Sibling-in-Law-to-Be)
She may have wanted to walk down the aisle before you — and is now acting like a spiteful biyotch. As with jealous bridesmaids, it’s best to let her be as involved or uninvolved in your wedding as she’d like. While it’s wise to avoid accusing her of being jealous, you can say that her behavior (be specific) is upsetting you and you’d like to know how you can make it stop. She may make it easy (“Stop talking about your wedding to me!”); or she may be impossible to please (“Don’t get married now.”). If it’s the former, do as she’s asked, and if it’s the latter, you can get a neutral party (an understanding mom, perhaps?) to talk some sense into her — or just ignore her until she grows up.

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