6 Potential Bridesmaid Problems and How to Handle Them

Here’s how to smooth over bridal party drama.
by The Knot

Even the most tight-knit wedding parties can go through moments of tension leading up to the wedding day. Your bridesmaids are supposed to be your support system on your journey to the altar—and they are. But that doesn’t mean they’re not human. Busy personal lives, budget anxiety, high expectations and insecurity can creep up on anyone during this hectic time of heightened emotions. From clashing opinions on their wedding day attire to complaints about expenses, here are the most common bridesmaid complaints, and how to handle them with care.

1. When They Dislike Their Wedding Day Outfit 

Everyone’s style and comfort levels vary, so discrepancies in dress preferences are only natural. We get it—even if their honesty is what you love most about your BFFs, when it comes to your wedding day, complaining about the dress might feel like crossing a line. Our advice? If it's not too late, work out a compromise. It’s your wedding, but it's their self-esteem (and probably their cash too), and there’s no use letting an outfit come between you. Consider telling them you'll pick the color and let them choose the style. There are so many bridesmaid dress brands that let you customize everyone’s necklines and dress details in the same color. But there’s also no rule saying every dress needs to be identical (or that everyone needs to be wearing dresses in the first place—jumpsuits, anyone?).

That said, these details are ultimately your decision. If a bridesmaid is being truly unreasonable and unaccommodating (in other words, make sure you’re not the one being too demanding), let her know how important your vision is and that you’ll work together to find something everyone agrees on.

2. When They Grumble About Wedding Party Expenses

Being in a wedding party is expensive, and money is always a tricky topic. Most importantly, be considerate. It's likely your crew will only wear their day-of ensemble dress for a few hours, so don't make them dip into their savings to stand at your side. Choose a dress that’s reasonably priced—and have them tell you what reasonable is—or work together with your party to find a dress that's both within their style and budget. Try to mitigate spending elsewhere too: Don’t plan a crazy-expensive bachelorette party, let them wear shoes they already own, pay for their hair and makeup as your thank-you gift, and so on. If someone in the group continues to make remarks about money, sit down with them one on one and come up with a solution to their biggest pain points. Whether they choose to skip a prewedding event or fly to your destination separately, you both have several solutions and compromises to consider. 

3. When Someone Feels Left Out Because They’re Not a “Maid”

We’ll keep this simple: If you have a best guy friend or male family member you want to include in your squad, go right ahead. The days of needing an all-female bridal party are long gone. Worried about attire? There’s no need. He can match the groomsmen or the bridesmaids with a coordinating detail. Or, he can rock a look of his own. 

4. When Someone Gets Jealous and Tries to Steal the Spotlight

Any bridesmaid vying for the spotlight at your wedding has a lesson to learn. We promise you this: There has never, in the history of all weddings, been a bridesmaid who outshines the bride. It’s just the glow of someone deeply in love and ready to say “I do” that will always, always set you apart. Do your best to ignore anyone irking you or trying to make you feel insecure (and in this case, are they really a true friend who deserves to stand by your side?). Chances are, their behavior is coming from something else, and they’ll snap out of it by the time your actual wedding day rolls around. 

5. When People Aren’t Meeting Expectations

In short, the role of a great bridesmaid is identical to that of a great friend. It’s appropriate to expect your wedding party members to volunteer to help wherever needed and to provide both emotional and logistical support throughout your wedding planning process. If you feel someone isn’t doing their part, it’s important to communicate honestly with them. But before you point any fingers, remember, it may be that your expectations are unreasonable, or that her behavior could be stemming from another stressor entirely. Once you've both cleared the air you should be able to move ahead. Lastly, don’t forget to thank them openly and often along the way—gratitude is an amazing remedy.

6. When Feelings Get Snubbed (Unintentionally)

You might feel pressure to invite someone you’re not super-close with to be in your wedding party, or that you’d flat-out rather not include. You shouldn’t feel obligated to include a distant relative, your partner’s cousin or a friend whose wedding you were in—but be very considerate of their feelings and think about the aftermath of not asking them before going through with it. Then be ready to face any fallout head-on. Tell whomever it is that you’ve always envisioned a small wedding party and you're trying to keep your crew to your closest friends and family. Mitigate hurt feelings by coming up with ways to keep nonwedding party members involved, whether it’s having them do a ceremony reading, getting ready with you on the day of, making a toast or helping you plan your bachelorette party.

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