If you're one of the many folks tying the knot this wedding season, first of all, congratulations. Seriously — planning a wedding is no easy feat. And for the many, many, many of you who will also be planning your wedding with your toxic family members in mind, you have my sympathy. Dealing with toxic people at your wedding is doable without completely ruining your nuptials or throwing up your hands and deciding to elope. (Though eloping can be a pretty sophisticated way to avoid wedding-day drama.) "This is YOUR day," therapist Dr. Rachel O'Neill tells Bustle. "You may not be able to control how your family acts, but you can control your reaction to their behavior."
If the thought of a wedding combined with your toxic relative makes you break out in hives, you're not being irrational. Big family events that involve a lot of planning give toxic people many opportunities to exercise their particular gifts, from demanding control to making offensive remarks, to guilt-tripping, to who knows what. You're not being unrealistic or hysterical if you're afraid of what will happen. But it doesn't have to be a disaster, and you have an arsenal of tips and tricks up your sleeve to make sure that you have a day that's special, fun, and toxicity-free.