Brilliant bridesmaid groups get along like sisters, work together to come up with amazing ideas, manage a budget... and make the bride happy. You don’t want any high school-ish "Mean Girls" action in your circle of bridesmaids. You don’t want ideas shot down rudely. And you don’t want the richer bridesmaids calling all the shots, while the budget-crunched bridesmaids seethe with resentment. That, unfortunately, happens in some bridesmaid groups... but not your bridesmaid group!
Here’s how to keep the drama to a minimum:
Since some of the bridesmaids may be the groom’s sisters or the bride’s college friends, it’s hugely important for everyone to start off by saying hello, saying who they are, how they know the bride and where they live. When bridesmaids are strangers to one another (just names on an e-mail), you don’t get the same partnering level that you do when you all reach out and become real to one another. Once you know each other, you will feel more comfortable talking honestly about your budget boundaries and style wishes for the dress.
Accept that the maid of honor is your leader.
Or maids of honor. Or however the "of honors" were handed out. Every successful team needs a clearly defined leader, and the bride chose this person or people to lead the way for all of you. So when you have ideas, send them to her first before e-mailing the whole group. The she can share with everyone. It sounds like a no-brainer. But you’d be surprised at how quickly the drama ramps up and sides get taken when your well-meaning e-mail about the dresses you like goes to everyone, making it seem like you want to be in charge. Some people have get-it-done personalities, and they mean no harm. But there’s a special dynamic in bridesmaid circles that requires the maid of honor be the person in charge. When you show respect for her title, she’ll show respect for your wishes.
Get it done now.
When the bride or maid of honor sends you a text or e-mail about an idea or to let you know that dress deposits are due, jump on it now. It’s a gift to the bride and a sign that you hold her wedding in high value when you deliver what you’ve been asked quickly, ahead of deadline if possible. The best bridesmaid groups operate like this because someone who holds up the group just frustrates everyone and may even cost the group late fees if the dress order gets delayed for lack of payment.
Stop the games.
If you see that a bitter bridesmaid in the circle is starting to gossip or complain, don’t let it turn into a huge problem. Remind her that she’s been honored by being named a bridesmaid, and part of that honor is being nice to the other bridesmaids.
Make it fun for the bride.
Take her out of wedding planning world on a regular basis, especially when the big day draws near, and plan a girls’ nights out (or in). It doesn’t have to be a pricy night out on the town. You can order pizza and watch a TV show or go out to a movie or go play tennis. Remind the bride of how lucky she is to have great sisters and friends like you, and you’ll keep her sane and relaxed while you enjoy time with the girls. And when the bride calls you to vent about the wedding plans or her groom or her mother-in-law, get her to lighten up by making jokes about the whole thing. Everything’s hitting her harder now. That’s not to say, and you shouldn’t say, she’s making too much of something—that just angers the bride. Instead, empathize with her, let her vent, and then get her smiling. The bride will love you, and later when she remembers how you came to her rescue.
And there’s one more... make everything fit the bride’s style, her personality, her favorite things, her relationship with her groom. The main mantra is “What Would Bride Want?” A bridesmaid group that keeps this in mind is truly brilliant!
Sharon Naylor is the best-selling author of over 35 wedding books, including The Ultimate Bridal Shower Idea Book, The Bridesmaid Handbook and the new Bridesmaid on a Budget. Visit sharonnaylor.net for more bridesmaid tips and advice.