Sometimes your bridesmaids are the most helpful and awesome people on the planet, and sometimes a little less so. Here are the 3 most common bridesmaid-related etiquette issues and ways that you can work to resolve them.
Your bridesmaids are M.I.A.
You need help with something and a bridesmaid is nowhere to be found? First make sure you have managed your expectations. Your bridesmaids may not be able to come to every planning errand, especially if they live far away. But if you can't even get them to shop for their own dress, you may have a problem. Before you talk with them, make sure that this is a trend and not just a moment. Don't jump down their throat the first time they tell you they can't make it. Approach them thoughtfully and not angrily. Ask what's going on in their life right now. It could be that you've been so busy with wedding planning that you didn't realize they had just broken up with their boyfriend or received a promotion at work. Rather than insist they change their act, just mention how much you value their opinion and would love to see more of them at these events.
A headstrong bridesmaid thinks it is her wedding.
She probably thinks she is being helpful, but if she suggests carnations one more time, you might come unglued. If you have a bridesmaid that seems to argue every little decision with you, it can get annoying really, really fast. Again, don't feel the need to chat with them about it if it has only happened once or twice. But if she seems to have a new career as devil's advocate, you have a couple of options. First, you can ignore it. It's not like you have to follow her suggestions. It's your wedding. Second, if she and the maid of honor have a good relationship, you could send your MOH on a diplomacy mission. And lastly, you can have a conversation about it. Make sure to express how grateful you are for her support and enthusiasm, but that it is starting to feel like she doesn't approve of your choices. She might be a little offended at first, but the kinder you are, the more quickly she will recover.
They hate each other.
While we would all love to believe that all female friendship is like one Oprah and Gail moment after another, we know this isn't so. Put a bunch of ladies of the same age in a room together and it can get really competitive. Who's going to look best in the bridesmaid dress? Who is closest to you? Unfortunately, there is no surefire way to resolve this. As tempting as it might be to drill sergeant them into line, all you will get back is a pretty vicious mutiny. Instead try the individual approach. Make everyone feel important in their own way. Enlist your MOH and any family members in the bridal party to help with this by asking them to build friendships with each gal. And then, just try to ride out the storm.
Photo credit: Ian Andrew Photography