As the song goes…. “Breaking up is hard to do”….Ain’t that the truth! This topic of conversation has come through to me in a surprisingly high number in the last year. I was at two minds whether I would write this up but I felt that this could offer some clarity or help for both sides of the bridal party!
Photo Credit: Jennifer Clapp Photography
I have been a bridesmaid five times, (once a grooms-maid and once a chief grooms-maid!). I’ve also been a bride, so I have seen it from all sides of the coin. My bridal party were hands down UH-MAY-ZING, honestly, they were exceptional and there was no drama, messing or in-fighting. I firmly believe that being in a bridal party is the ultimate test of a relationship. Being a bridesmaid requires selflessness and dedication to the bride-to-be. That as a dynamic in itself is a lot to wrap your head around.
On two of the weddings I was bridesmaid for, the friendship was really tested and our friendship phased out. I’ve also been an outstanding bridesmaid where relationships have grown stronger. There a few thoughts I have over the ‘why’ of all of this and from my view and in my case, where you are in your life can be a big determinant as to how this will go. Looking back, I should never have accepted the kind offer of being bridesmaid for the two weddings were it went pear shaped. I wasn’t in a place where I could be 100% committed to someone else’s needs. I was either just out of college (didn’t really have a rashers what I needed to be doing) and I was doing my masters while working full-time on the other. I just remember feeling under so much pressure on both occasions and that’s not where you want to be. You want to be 10 steps ahead of your bride/groom and making their life easy but also not being a slave to the role either. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of situations where brides lose the run of themselves too. We live, we learn and we move on!
I always suggest that couples give plenty of time before confirming who will be in their bridal party. So many jump in straight after the engagement and start asking but I strongly urge you to give plenty of thought as you need people who will be ready to muck in.
So, what can you do if you are in this situation as a bride?
It’s important to prioritise your own well-being as you will have plenty of pressures going on. One thing I always say to brides on this one is, Never Assume This Is About You…
Sit with that for a second.
Never Assume This Is About You…..
Here are some actions to consider:
Identify the issue:
Try to identify the specific issue or behaviour that is causing the problem. Is your bridesmaid being unreliable or uncooperative? Is she causing conflicts or drama within the bridal party? Is she overly negative or non-responsive. Or is it an overall ‘vibe’ that you just get a sense that she isn’t herself or disengages when you bring up the wedding. You need to be able to put your finger on it so that you can articulate what you are picking up.
Schedule a time to talk with your bridesmaid in person or over the phone. DO NOT GET IN TO A TEXT WAR! Park the wedding conversation and ask her, ‘Is everything ok’ as you haven’t seemed yourself? You never know what is going on in someone else’s life. Be honest and direct, but also compassionate and respectful. As the conversation evolves, you can explain how you are perceiving her actions or attitude. Less words from you, just put the question on the table and let her explain her side.
Listen to her perspective:
It’s important to listen to your bridesmaid’s perspective and feelings, and to be open to feedback. Allow her to express herself and try to understand her point of view. Sometimes, (please don’t jump down my throat) as brides, we can become a little consumed with our wedding and might not always recognise that we are over-doing it on wedding chat. Some bridesmaids are genuinely none the wiser as to whats expected of them. there’s no malice intended. Through various conversations with brides over the years, and although earlier I said to never assume its about you, sometimes seeing a best friend or group of friends move on can spark resentment that they may not even be aware of.
Clearly communicate what your expectations are for the participation in the wedding planning process. If she has specific responsibilities as a bridesmaid, make sure she understands what is expected of her. If she feels that this is too much, then at least you can bottom out any overwhelm or feeling of burden.
If the issue persists, sometimes you have to just call it. While it may be difficult to remove a bridesmaid from your wedding, your happiness and well-being should be the top priority. It’s not pleasant but either you continue to tip toe around the situation making your wedding planning miserable or you cut the situation now and move on. Either way, your friendship is more than likely done. Of course, there are friendships that will remain but it’s never the same. To do this, a face to face conversation explaining that you think it’s best that she is not a bridesmaid but still value her and your friendship but fear that the responsibility of bridesmaid could result in damaging your friendship. Provided this is all ok, you may need to consider finding a replacement bridesmaid or reorganising your bridal party to better suit your needs. Don’t worry about uneven numbers in the bridal party, it really doesn’t make a difference.
Dealing with a bad bridesmaid is never easy, but by addressing the situation with clear communication & understanding, you can minimise the impact on your wedding planning process and maintain positive relationships with those involved.
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