Wedding Planning - Preventing Hassles Between You and Your Maids
We've all heard those infamous bridal horror stories of the good-bridesmaid-turned-bad. We're left shocked by the many etiquette faux pas committed by the bad apple of the bunch-- the one who never shows up for dress fittings, refuses to attend the rehearsal dinner, constantly flirts with the married groomsmen or is suddenly AWOL two days before the wedding. How does the friendship between a bride and her maids go from pleasant to sour during a matter of months? It's obvious that each individual case and circumstance will differ. Sometimes these scenarios are preventable-other times they are not. We've got a few suggestions on how to keep the peace between you and your maids. If you are experiencing the "bad apple" of the bunch, maybe our suggestions will help neutralize the situation. And if your relationship with your maids couldn't get any better, read on for a few ways to keep it smooth sailing.
- He slips the ring on your finger and pops the question. Ten minutes later you are on the phone calling your ten closest friends and asking them to be in your wedding. We strongly urge against this. This is a very important decision that should be given some thought-- especially if your wedding will be 12 months or more ahead of you. Realize that friendships and circumstances can change over that time. You won't want to regret your decision later. Once you've asked someone to be in your wedding, it's considered poor etiquette to later ask that they step down from their duty if things aren't working out.
- It takes a very special individual to fill the shoes of a bridesmaid. After all, the duty entails more than simply standing by your side at the altar. Your bridesmaids will become one of your main lines of support; the ones who will offer a soft shoulder and reassuring words of support during those times when wedding plans go haywire. Consider this as you make your decision. If you have any reservations whatsoever about a certain individual you are thinking about asking to be in your wedding, you may want to reconsider. Think about their personality traits. Are they fickle? Are they often jealous of your life and your accomplishments? Ask yourself how your current relationship is with this individual. Has it been bumpy or uncertain? Your bridesmaids should be some of the nearest and dearest ladies in your life. Is it worth it to choose someone who may possibly cause stress and problems down the line? You have enough on your plate to worry about, this should not be one of them.
- Are you finding yourself in a bind over whether to ask your sister or your best friend to be your honor attendant? If in this situation you know that no matter whom you choose, there will probably be upset feelings and possibly a grudge. Avoid this sticky situation by asking them both to be an honor attendant in your wedding. There aren't any etiquette rules that advise against this, and you'll save yourself from a potential argument or tension between youself and the two ladies who mean the most to you.
- Understand each individual's financial situation before and after you ask them to be in your wedding. If one of your friends has to graciously decline the honor due to financial reasons, be sure to show that you are understanding of her situation. It is strictly up to you (and your wedding budget) if you can or want to help any of your maids financially (with the purchase of the dress, travel expenses, etc), but you are in no way obligated to do so. Realize this so you won't be stuck in an awkward situation further down the line. Instead, you can offer up another special wedding day duty (such as partaking in a ceremony reading or handing out programs) to show that it would mean a lot to you if they would be involved in your special day.
- Many arguments between a bride and her maids have been traced to the bridesmaid dress. So many factors have been brought up as to what causes the bickering-- from the style and/or color of the gown to the gaspingly, outrageous price tag dangling from it. Of course the style and color are ultimately up to the bride, but if you are willing to compromise when it comes to this garment of clothing, you may save yourself and your maids from all the wrangling. If you previously discussed and agreed upon a specific price range with your maids, then it's your duty to try and stick to that price range. If one of your maids is expressing concern about being uncomfortable with wearing a strapless style-offer for her to wear it with a matching wrap. Again, compromise is key here. If possible, show your maids several dress styles from bridal magazines and discuss the style and color scheme you prefer for the dresses. If possible, let your bridesmaids use that as their guide and be open to what they may have in mind. It may be impossible to please everyone, but you can at least show that you are trying to choose a garment they will all be happy with. On the other hand, any bridesmaid that continues to bicker about every style you offer up will most likely be unhappy with anything you choose. Give it time and she will most likely get over it. This decision is ultimately up to you-- this was part of the "agreement" when she accepted the role of bridesmaid.
- If any of your maids live out-of-town, keep them in communication with your wedding plans. Just as you want them to feel excited and interested in your special day, you should keep them up-to-date and feeling included as well. If they will be unable to participate in picking out the bridesmaid dress at the salon with you and the rest of your maids, then send them snapshots or magazine clippings of the dress you have in mind. Call them on the phone, e-mail and write letters to keep in contact with them throughout the wedding planning process. The more you show a willingness to keep them informed, the more your out-of-town maids will keep an interest as well.
- Keep all of your bridesmaids up-to-date with wedding plans. It's a good idea to send group e-mails to your maids and keep them informed with dress fitting schedules and all the other wedding details. They'll enjoy the fact that you are including them in all aspects of wedding planning and they will be less likely to miss a dress fitting or other special pre-wedding event. Several weeks before the wedding it's also a good idea to make your bridesmaids a wedding day agenda. You can include information and details about the rehearsal and dinner, ceremony arrival times, etc.
- Invite your bridesmaids over for dinner or meet with them for lunch, shopping or a movie every so often. It is OK (and highly recommended) that you find time to separate your wedding planning from the rest of your social life. Show interest in the friendships you share with your maids and ask them how things are going in their lives as well. Your bridesmaids will be happy that you are genuinely interested in the happenings in their lives and that you are still there for them, too.
- If you notice that one of your maids is showing a lack of interest in the wedding and is becoming less involved over time, you may want to confront her (using care) and let her know that you are concerned. Ask if she has any concerns about the wedding and try to address these concerns before the tension amongst the two of you grows uncomfortable. Most likely you will be able to resolve the problem by confronting her about it before it gets to the point where you are barely speaking to each other.
Hopefully following the above suggestions will keep things on a cool level for you and your maids. If you are experiencing a bridesmaid that is acting beastly and none of the above is working, there may not be much more you can do besides talking with her and being firm. If all else fails and your bridesmaid has truly become a threat or harm to you, your sanity and your wedding day then use strong precaution and your best judgement on whether or not you give her the boot. For the less serious of the bridesmaid crimes, there is nothing else you can do except grin and bear it. It's unfortunate when you have a maid that acts immaturely or strongly disinterested, but realize there is only so much you can do. Just hope for the best and remember the others who are your true friends-- the ones who will be standing by your side on your big day; eyes brimming with tears. They are the ladies who will get you through it all. Rely on their support and remember, this is your day and no one can take it from you.