How to Handle Difficult Bridesmaids

Wanda the whiner. Katie the critic. Lucy the loner. Meet the women you've asked to stand up for you — and learn how to turn them back into the women you love.

The Rookie

This is the first time she's ever been asked to be a bridesmaid. She doesn't know she's expected to help shop for dresses, plan the shower and bachelorette party, and show up at pre-wedding events. You may feel hurt that she's not more involved.

Such was the case for Felicia Lo, from St. Augustine, Florida, who asked her sister, Dorothy, to be her maid of honor—her first gig as one. Dorothy didn't help the bridesmaids plan any pre-wedding festivities (she didn't refuse to help—she was away at school in another state and didn't make herself available to the other bridesmaids), including the bridal shower or bachelorette party. "As a result, my best friend had to host my shower," says Lo. "And my sister didn't even come to the bachelorette party!"

What's going on: She's clueless! Because she has little or no wedding experience, she is simply unaware that a bridesmaid has responsibilities other than showing up at the church in an outfit the bride's picked out.

How to deal: Don't take her inaction personally. Before you got engaged, you'd probably never heard of a wishing well, either! The Rookie simply needs a crash course in "Being a Bridesmaid 101." Maybe you can buy her one of the many humorous books on the topic, such as The Bridesmaid's Survival Guide (Viking Press), by Mary Kay McDermott, or ask one of your more experienced pals to teach her the ropes. If this person happens to be your maid of honor, you might want to ask another bridesmaid to step in at times (as Lo's best friend did), and perhaps make that willing and able bridesmaid a co-maid of honor as a thank-you.

Your bridesmaid is...
 The Diva
► The Critic
► The Loner
► The Whiner
► The Had-to-Ask-Her
► The Gem