When it comes right down to it, I think bridesmaids don’t get their fair share of exposure (although, honestly, who wants this kind of exposure?). Etiquette Hell offers over a hundred deliciously devious stories about bridesmaids who go all ‘Zilla on unsuspecting brides. And they’re funny, for the most part. Some are just painful to read, though. There’s nothing like a good wedding misunderstanding to ruin a formerly strong friendship!
What makes the bridesmaid issue so important is that it rears it’s ugly head (or attractive head, as the case may be) over and over. Of the brides I’ve interviewed, problems with bridesmaids, or who they chose as bridesmaids, ranks high on their lists of what they would change in a wedding do-over.
One bride from Kansas wrote about what she would change in re-doing her wedding: “I think I would wait longer to pick our bridal party. People change over the course of a year. . . .”
A Minnesota bride would have kept her same wedding party, but divvied up the roles differently: “I would pick from my bridesmaids differently. My maid of honor [. . .] hasn’t helped with any planning or decisions at all.”
And I’ve seen that happen in several instances: Bride A Chooses her Best Friends B and C to be her wing-women, and over the course of the next few months, Best Friends B and C become Sometimes Friends B and C who are too busy to do much more than show up the morning of the wedding.
While there’s really no excuse for a friend to bail on a bride, the bride needs to make sure she isn’t giving her girls fodder for resentment. (All of you brides who have stuffed your ‘maids into unflattering gowns, I’m talking to YOU!)
Take the advice of one savvy bride from South Carolina: “Know that no one else is as excited as you are about your wedding, so do not expect your bridesmaids and all of your other friends to want to talk about your wedding all the time. Remember that they are your friends first, bridesmaids second. I had to learn that one on my own, but it is not something I will forget.”
As long as you’re treating your bridesmaids with respect and not demanding so much of them that their BM duties should pull in a higher salary than their jobs, whatever happens, you’ll know you didn’t push any of your bridesmaids away. Do your part as a thoughtful bride who keeps her best friends’ best interests in mind, and chances are you’ll have smooth sailing.
If you don’t . . . well, chalk it up to your gal’s youth, or overly-hectic schedule, or personal problems, or whatever the situation may be. Discuss your concerns — calmly — with the offending party: “I’ve noticed you’re kind of steering clear of wedding stuff, lately. Is there something you want to talk about?”
I hate to say it, but there will be some ‘maids who aren’t willing to find common ground. When that happens, move forward with your own happy plans and let her step to the sidelines until picture time on your big day — or for good, if she needs to. But tossing a bridesmaid out of your wedding party is a sure-fire way to kill any remaining goodwill between the two of you. When it comes to disagreements between a bride and one of her ‘maids, it’s a lot easier to let it blow over than to force the issue and potentially lose the friendship.
Because, believe me, I have also seen that (nearly) happen. But in one case, only days after the honeymoon ended, that bride and her BFF were, once again, BFFs.
I guess that just proves we girls are a forgiving bunch. Keep that in mind — and keep in mind why you chose your bridesmaids in the first place: Because they’re the friends you can’t imagine your wedding without.