I think I’ve lost count of the amount of stories I hear of bad bridesmaids! Sometimes the stories are valid and other times you wonder if maybe the person telling the story is a being a bit of a bridezilla! A lot of brides will probably say that one of their stress factors during the planning was Bridesmaid related. Your closest friends and those you’d want by your side on the big day are not necessarily “bridesmaid material”. You may get lucky and they step up to the plate but if they don’t can you really hold it against them? You knew it wasn’t going to be their strong point when you asked them.
I think a lot of it comes down to expectations on both sides and being “fair”. Remember there are two sides to every story.
Let’s start with who you ask. It’s easy to say but not always easy to put into practice but don’t pick people because you feel obligated to. Select who YOU want. Remember you can’t change it in years to come when you’re looking back at photos.
It would be very unusual for there not to be a little bit of underlying drama between your bridesmaids. Being asked to be a bridesmaid is a massive acknowledgement of your friendship but they’ll all be wondering who will get the top prize of Maid of Honour! Even without that there will be an unspoken competition for your attention and to be the “bestest bridesmaid”. Be mindful of this. You can’t completely avoid it, but you can do things to try not to stir up the hornets nest. Try to treat them all equally and let them all have the opportunity to voice their opinions. We all know that we have some friends have louder voices than others who might stay quiet to keep the peace so try to give the quieter ones that chance to say what they think so they don’t feel overshadowed. Things are more easily dealt with when it’s nipped in the bud quickly before things escalate.
Bear in mind that although more bridesmaids means more helping hands it will also mean you have to contend with more opinions and more people to keep happy (oh and let’s not forget the extra costs for more bouquets, dresses etc) so make that judgment carefully!
Try to ensure you make everyone feel included. It’s often when a bridesmaid has not been included that they become upset and resentment starts to kick in that could erupt in the heat of the moment. Remember that although all of your bridesmaids might be your closest friends that doesn’t mean they will all get on with each other.
There are definitely cases of bridesmaids being uncommitted, unenthusiastic and just a big pain in the bum! If that is the case, why are they one of your bridesmaids? Remember you don’t have to have someone as a bridesmaid and if they really can’t be bothered then you can always politely ask them to step down. Just make sure you are definitely not being a Bridezilla (or Groomzilla for that matter) because those kind of things are hard to come back from.
It’s easy to get caught up in all of the exciting of planning your big day, it is after all one of the most special days of your life but for everyone else it’s not going to be that high on their priorities list, sorry but I have to be honest and if you keep that in mind you’ll probably be a bit more grounded and able to judge realistically if your bridesmaid is being crap or just caught up in their own world.
Try to make things fun. Arrange nights in when you can do some of your wedding tasks but get some fun songs playing in the background, open a bottle of bubbles, order a take away and catch up on the gossip. I know your brain will be whirling round and round with the wedding but when you see friends and family try to limit how much of the conversation revolves around the wedding (I know it’s hard) but no doubt there are loads of other topics your friends and family want to talk to you about. And be grateful, everyone appreciates being thanked and they’ll be more willing to continue offering their help and support if they know how much it means to you and what a difference it’s making. Remember, they don’t have to, so whatever they do is because they genuinely want to help.
One area that can ruffle feathers, is your hen do. You really need to make a decision; either you need to tell your bridemaids what you want (and don’t want) or sit back and allow them to surprise you. I guess it comes down to how much of a control freak you are. I can hold my hands up and say I am a control freak but I think allowing your friends to have complete control and seeing what they come up with to surprise you is so special. Either way I would definitely always advise you provide “ground rules” i.e. no strippers/yes strippers, restrictions on how long/locations etc.
The biggest advice I can give you is to always ALWAYS say things directly to your bridesmaids and not to the other invitees in order for them to feedback to the bridesmaids. You’re likely to stir up trouble. If you trusted them to plan your hen do then let them plan it.
Another topic that can always stir up a bit of trouble is…money. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to how much you can ask your bridesmaids to contribute (as long as you’re not being completely unreasonable) but there are right and wrong ways of handling it. Firstly, be upfront about what you are planning to ask them to pay for i.e. you’re paying for their dress but you’re asking them to buy their own shoes and if they want their hair and make-up doing they’d need to pay for this too. If you are asking them to pay for things you need to allow them some choice or opportunity to work to their own budget. Weddings are expensive for everyone, including your guests. Once you’ve paid for the hen do, the outfit, the gift, accommodation if needed or taxis, drinks at the wedding you’ve probably spent a considerable amount and for your bridesmaids they may have to pay for other parts on top so you want to be understanding of this. Say for example you want them to purchase their own shoes, you may need to be more flexible and specify a colour you’d like them to be and then let them buy what works for their budget. If you’re having a hair and make up artist let them choose if they want to have theirs professionally done or if they want to do their own. Maybe if you know they are all not blessed in the purse department you could arrange to go to a make up shop and do a make up tutorial so they can learn some tips from a professional to do themselves on the day.
Weddings can bring a lot of stress especially during the planning stages, emotions run high and small things can feel like a really big deal in the heat of the moment. It’s so easy to get frustrated or upset by the actions of others, thinking that they don’t realise how important this day is, feeling like people are working against you rather than helping you out. Please remember that it is ok, take time to process things because you act. I always say to sleep on something because how you feel in the moment is normally different to how you feel once you’ve slept on it. Chat through issues with your close ones to get a different perspective and sometimes saying something out loud makes it not seem as bad as the thoughts wizzing round your brain.
I’d be lying if I said you were unlikely to have a little bit of drama or tension with your bridesmaids at some point but if you try to keep things in perceptive you might avoid things being blown out of proportion and after all the main thing is that you enjoy the planning and mainly have a great wedding day so just remember to breathe, focus on what’s important and remember…karma’s a b***h!
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