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 Had-to-Ask-Her

Even though you really don't want your long-lost-cousin/fiancé's stepsister/insert-random-family-member-here to be a member of your wedding party, you feel obligated to ask her. But giving in to pressure from other people can make you feel resentful.

What's going on: Your invitation to join the bridal party is insincere, and the person you're asking may very well know it—but feels obligated to accept for the same reasons you asked her. A catch-22!

How to deal: Jackie Lisek, a Stewartstown, Pennsylvania-based bridesmaid who suspects she was a Had-to-Ask-Her at a recent wedding, has a tip for brides in this tricky position: Don't extend the invitation in the first place. "If you think it's an obligation to ask someone, that person probably knows it, too," says Lisek. "Personally, I'd rather not be in the wedding in that case." However, if you know that being a bridesmaid is really important to your future sister-in-law, for example, "then do it," advises Nissinen. It could be a big step in improving family relations (we're talking about your future husband's relatives, after all—who will soon be yours, too). Besides, if you chalk it up to keeping the peace with your new in-laws it won't feel like such a burden. Just do your best to make the bridesmaid feel she's as special as all the other attendants, and you can always look back on the experience and feel good, knowing you did the right thing.

Your bridesmaid is...
 The Diva
► The Rookie
► The Critic
► The Loner
► The Whiner
► The Gem