Leah says, I never should have picked my shy, socially awkward sister as my maid of honour. She rolls her eyes when she recalls her 1996 Winnipeg wedding. Nerves made her down a bottle of my father-in-law’s homemade red wine before the ceremony. I asked for last-minute help fixing my bustle, but she was too drunk to do it. She collapsed on the washroom floor in a puddle of tears and couldn’t be consoled. I was afraid she’d throw up on my dress.
Drinking, pouting, excessive flirting: these are attributes nobody wants in a bridesmaid. Unfortunately for some brides, a wedding is the ultimate chance for their friends to party – especially if they’re dressed in taffeta. Take steps to ensure your trusted bridesmaids don’t commit one of these heinous crimes.
Bridesmaid crimes can be avoided by letting people know about:
a) all the financial and time commitments and b) exactly what you expect from them. Susan Campbell, PhD, relationships expert and author of Saying What’s Real, advises spelling everything out to the letter, then asking Are you really sure you want to do this? Because this is my day and I want everything to go according to my vision. Call me a control freak if you like, but this is one time when I do want to be in control.
Don’t assume that your best friend will know what it takes to be a great bridesmaid. It’s better that someone turn down the role than take it on and let you down.
Drinking, pouting, excessive flirting: these are attributes no one wants in a bridesmaid.
If you’re concerned about how people might behave, you need to approach them before the wedding. Tell them how important their good behaviour is to you, says Campbell. Make a pact with your attendants about behaviourВ – and include your own behaviour. Review a list of nonos, such as having no excessive drinking. She says, Agree that if one of you breaks the pact, the others will remind her that she is acting inappropriately.
If relationships are souring with your bridesmaids, examine how you’ve been treating them. Have you been demanding, neglectful, unappreciative?
Campbell suggests checking in with your bridesmaids from time to time, saying, How’s it going with your having to do all this stuff for my wedding?
Appreciate their time, effort and financial input and remember that these are your closest friends. Campbell says, Keep your friendships free of unfinished business before the wedding, otherwise it will come back later and bite you on the rear end.
Crime #1 the spotlight stealer
This self-centred behaviour is a common crime. The worst example is when the bridesmaid grabs the microphone at the reception and announces her own engagement or other personal news. This can create a gaping chasm of awkwardness.
When someone sneaks their own announcement into their toast to you, it’s how you both react to it that matters most, says Sharon Naylor, author of The Bridesmaid Handbook. Smile graciously and let the tacky people embarrass themselves. If cornered and asked for permission for such an announcement to be made, don’t be afraid to say no, and as a precaution, tell the emcee ahead of time that you want to be notified and asked for permission before any guest is given access to the microphone.
Crime #2 the control freak
She’s been there, done that and is happy to tell the bride/family/priest exactly where they are going wrong. Is she looking out for your best interests a little too enthusiastically or trying to run the show?
Tell her if she is being intrusive. It may be enough to keep her in check. Naylor says it’s important to let her know that the decisions are yours, but you’ll make any attempts you can to suit her schedule because she is, after all, a good friend. She can’t, however, expect the plans to revolve around her timetable and taste. Keep your sense of humour as you reign her in, because she may not realize that she is being controlling.
Crime #3 the joker
The whole thing is a joke and she is not taking her obligations seriously. Being asked to be a bridesmaid is an honour, but it comes with a set of respon-sibilities. If this is ignored, it puts far too much pressure on the bride. Some bridesmaids may seem lazy when, in fact, they don’t realize how much it all entails or how it may interfere with their usual schedules.
On the other hand, brides must ensure that their expectations aren’t too high. Fair is fair! If you feel a bridesmaid is letting you down, tackle her directly. Meet her in person and let her know that her actions (or lack of action as the case may be) are causing you stress.
Don’t start off with an attack, says Naylor. Approach with empathy. Ask her if something is going on in her life that’s causing her delays. If not, then simply explain that it would really help you keep on track with the wedding plans if she would just be a little faster in her turn-around.
You have to request what you need directly to get any satisfaction. If, after this conversation, nothing changes, you may need to get tough by redis-tributing some of her wedding tasks and perhaps even ejecting her from the wedding party if her lack of commitment starts causing you overwhelming problems.
Crime #4 the flirt
Using your wedding as a pick-up opportunity.
My maid of honour was terrible, says Hannah. She spent the whole evening yanking the front of her bridesmaid gown low enough to show her lacy bra. She flirted with every man, even those with girlfriends. People came up to me to ask me to do something about her vulgar behaviour.
Let other members of the wedding party deal with thisВ – the bride shouldn’t have to deal with anything other than having a good time.
Asking bridesmaids to limit their alcohol consumption may assist in quelling overenthusiastic libidos.
Crime #5 the piss artist
Some get trashed at the reception. This is a Spanish love song, squealed Jana’s bridesmaid, grabbing the mike and a guitar. She then launched into some sultry Spanish mumbling followed by foot stomping and manic strumming. After bathing in scattered applause she staggered off the stage to get another glass of Chardonnay. A great girl in most situations, she totally humiliated herself at the reception and mortified Jana.
If she’s making a fool of herself, it’s wise to ask responsible family members or bridal party members to take her outside for some air or have someone put her in a cab for a safe ride home, says Naylor.
- Reduce the bride’s stress by arranging a weekend at a spa or a night at a comedy club.
- Remind the bride what a great guy the groom is when she gets overwhelmed.
- Keep their sense of humour under all circumstances.
- Be understanding and patient when the bride’s behaviour is uncharacteristic.
- Keep a smile on their faces and efficiently pay attention to all their duties.