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Choosing Your Bridal Party Wisely

May 12, 2008
I cannot begin to count the number of brides who spend the final weeks of their planning process fighting with their attendants. Unlike your family, you CAN choose your bridal party. You should feel no obligation to include those who expect that they should be included or those that you feel you should include 'just because.' Having an unruly bridal party can put a real damper on your planning process. But don't fear, bridesmaid drama is 100% avoidable.

The Purpose of Maids

Being a bridesmaid does not only consist of looking pretty and posing for pictures. A bridesmaid, and especially a maid of honor, is a close friend or family member, a supporter of the marriage, someone that you trust and someone who is willing and able to help you plan your wedding. Anyone who does not meet each and every one of these requirements should be crossed off your list. This is not the time to reach back to childhood/high school/college friends with whom you've lost contact. Nor is it the time to take suggestions from others on who should be in your wedding party. This is a decision that you should take seriously from the beginning.

Maids not Slaves

Of course, it is expected that bridesmaids will help in the planning process. This could consist of attending vendor meetings, dress shopping, working on the DIY assembly line (creating invitations, favors, etc.), running errands and a host of other wedding related duties. Being a bridesmaid also requires a financial commitment to buy a dress and contributing to showers and other festivities. While this is all expected, you should act with appreciation and understanding. This means not selecting a $600 bridesmaid dress knowing that your maids cannot afford it. It means not demanding that your maids give up all of their free time to help you. And it means always saying thank you and showing your appreciation. Your maids are there to help you, not to work as indentured servants. Treating your maids with respect and appreciation will ensure that you have a loving, great relationship with your bridal party on the wedding day. Acting as a slave master could lead to resentment and ill feelings that could take away from your day.

Booting a Maid

If you do find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having maid drama, you may consider asking the problem attendant to leave the party. This is a dilemma that I see often. Somewhere around the 60 day mark, a frantic bride will call me and ask what to do about a jealous, controlling or uncooperative bridesmaid. There is really no easy way to handle this. You have three options. One, you could sit the unruly maid down for a heart to heart and tell her how her behavior is hurting you. Ask that she be more mindful of her actions and try to make your wedding pleasant. Two, you could ask your maid of honor, or another bridesmaid, to run interference for you. Lastly, you could ask her to leave the party. Most experts recommend against this, but in nightmarish cases, this may be the only option. Know that it will almost certainly be a fatal blow to the friendship and it will be difficult. You could say something like, "I am so grateful that you agreed to be in my bridal party, but I see that this has become a burden for you. You are dear to me and our friendship is very important. I would rather have you as a friend than a bridesmaid." You will need great communications skills to handle this - but hey, you are getting married and this is perfect practice for the artful communication necessary to sustain a marriage. Good Luck!
About the Author
Tiffany R. Wright is a top wedding planner in Washington, DC. She is the founder of PIROUETTE, Inc., a premiere wedding planning company in Maryland, founded in 2005.
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