How to rein in bratty bridesmaids

Bridesmaids are supposed to be there for you throughout planning, attend gown fittings, and be the voice of reason when you’re tempted to give into those dark bridezilla thoughts. However, unfortunately sometimes there can be bratty bridesmaids who never seem to be happy with, well, anything.

What do bratty bridesmaids do?

They complain about their dress, what you have asked them to help with, and maybe even offer unsolicited advice or critiques of what you have planned for your big day. You may love them to pieces, or they may be an obligatory sister-in-law-to-be or other relative placement. Either way, it is important to try keep peace within the bridal party so you can enjoy your big day.

While it is you and your fiance’s big day, there is always room for compromise. However, don’t feel like you have to bow to the every command of a demanding bridesmaid by the same token – the trick is in finding the balance.

There is no easy solution to solving all bridal party beefs, but here are a few scenarios that may arise and some tools you can use to solve the problem with minimal fuss.

War of the dresses

There is no doubt that the attraction of a good friend is their ability to be honest, but when they add a dash of diva into the mix, things can quickly spiral out of control.

It is one thing to knock back one or two dresses if your gal pal can give a good reason why it won’t work, or if your great idea just simply doesn’t look that great in reality. In these cases, you will see it for yourself and probably move on. But when she starts to find fault with every possible option, it’s time to pull in the reigns.

Bridesmaids come in all shapes and sizes and it can be hard to find a style that will suit them all, especially if you have more than a couple with you.

Some brides will opt for a colour scheme and have their girls pick one colour from the palette that they like the best.Or, brides will choose a single colour and give bridesmaids a longer leash with the style they choose, including one simple rule that they all be strapless, or knee-length.

This puts constraints on the creative control given to the bridesmaids, and will help bratty bridesmaids take a step down off their pedestal. If this is not enough to take the beast, remind her know how important your vision is, and that you will work together to find a dress that will make you both happy. It also might be a good idea to reiterate that ultimately, it is your final decision that counts.

Grumbles about expenses

When choosing who will be in your bridal party and the size of it, you will need to consider what financial commitment you will require of them.

You might ask them to go all in and pay for their dress, shoes, hair, and makeup. Or, you might split it down the middle and pay for the dress and shoes, while they can cover their own costs for the hairdresser and makeup artist. If you are upfront about this when you ask them, there shouldn’t be any issues as everything will be on the table.

But if money wasn’t discussed, and a bridesmaid now finds herself on the cusp of forking out hundreds of dollars, they may well start to rock the boat. Especially if you are asking them to buy a dress that they know they will literally only wear to your wedding, as it’s not usually their style.

If you are already too far down the path on this one and you have a bridesmaid who is digging in her heels, see if there is something you and your fiance can incorporate into your budget to lighten the load, even if it is springing for her costume jewellery and shoes. They shouldn’t have to go broke or take out a small loan to have the honour of being part of your bridal party.

Time commitments

Have a look at your to-do list and think realistically about how much time you expect your maids to devote to your big day before the main event.

Bridesmaids can go rogue if they feel like too much is being asked of them or that you are being too demanding. Attending the dress fitting, the bridal shower, the rehearsal dinner, and a one-night stay (or two maximum) in a hotel is an acceptable expectation.

If you’d like them to help you with favours and other planning duties, offer the invitation and let them know it’s not a requirement, but you would like their help if they are free.

If you have multiple bridesmaids, spreading those invites around means you won’t be tiring out just one of them.

In-fighting

Because you have lived a life full of friends from different eras, sometimes your bridal party will be a mish-mash of all of them. But when you have, for example, three friends from university or work, and one that you have known since kindergarten who is your bestie but now lives in another country, it can make for some awkward forced-friendships.

If you have an odd-bunch who may not know each other, it could be a good idea to get the crew together before the wedding planning kicks into high gear so they can start to form a bond.

But if a personality clash occurs or one bridesmaid continues to feel like the outsider and starts distancing herself, you may need to step in and remind them that they are all important to you, and you would love them to put their differences aside to celebrate your big day.

If not all of your bridesmaids are “maids”…

There is a lot to be said for sisterhood bonding, but if your BFF happens to be a guy, that doesn’t mean he should be excluded from all of the maidly duties your ladies will be undertaking – if he doesn’t want to be.

If you have a best guy friend or male family member whom you wish to include as one of your attendants, be assured that the days of the all-female bridal party are over.

When it comes to outfits, he can match the groomsmen, or he can match your girls by wearing a tie or other accessory that incorporates the colour of their dresses. When it comes to other tasks, make sure you include him as you would the others, or think of other ways he can feel involved if shoe shopping and invite-making is not his cup of tea.

Speak up against diva-dom

If you have done everything you can to make your ladies’ experience fun and affordable, it is hard to find an excuse for poor behaviour. So if you continue to get nothing but stubbornness about simple details and requests, address the elephant in the room and speak with them directly about it rather than asking someone to step in as the mediator. If you take it on like a lady, you should be able to get your message across without further ruffling feathers.

But sometimes when all else fails or when something explosive has happened, the only alternative is to ask a bummer bridesmaid to step down. The worst part is, there really is no right way to do this. Just remember the most important thing is to be honest, and if she truly were a good friend, there would not be so much drama going on.

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