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How to deal with bridesmaids troubles

How to avoid battles

The most frequent questions we get to our advice column on OneWed.com have to do with one of the most important relationships in the wedding. No, I'm not talking about the bride and groom, I'm talking about that other important relationship, the bride and her bridesmaids. Most of the problems can be traced to one of two reasons.

Bride with bridesmaid

1. Choosing the Wrong Bridesmaid (or the Right One for the Wrong Reason)

Many bridesmaid problems could be solved before they started if brides made sure to pick the women who will be the most helpful to them from the beginning.

Simply put, your bridesmaids should be your best friends. They should be the women who have stood with you through good and bad times. They should be the women who make you feel good about yourself and know how to talk you down from a high ledge. No matter how low-key a bride you are wedding planning will get stressful and your bridesmaids should be able to help reduce the stress not add to it.

Too often, this is not who women choose. They choose siblings or cousins because of family pressure, they choose "frenemies," women they want to impress, or friends from past times with whom they want to reconnect. Some women think "Well, Anne is always so organized, and she knows so much about weddings, she'll make a great bridesmaid," forgetting that Anne's organization and know-it-all attitude are exactly the reasons she only likes to see her at parties, not one-on-one. Other brides get excited in the early days of planning and randomly ask women they like, but with whom they don't have enough history.

Sometimes choosing the wrong bridesmaid is unavoidable. Family and peer pressure can be overwhelming. If you do feel forced to choose a specific bridesmaid, keep in mind her strengths and weaknesses and do what you can to work around them. If you know your sister is horrible at planning parties, don't expect her to plan your bridal shower, even if she's your Maid of Honor. If your cousin always criticizes your choices, don't invite her to go dress shopping with you.

Lack of Communication

As in any relationship, the number one cause for misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and break ups is bad communication. A lot of the rules of weddings have faded away, and with them a lot of the rules about what bridesmaids are and are not supposed to do. It's important that when you ask your girls to be your bridesmaids you be open and honest with them about what that means to you.

Before asking anyone to be in your wedding, give a little thought to what it is you do want from your bridesmaids. Do you need help making wedding decisions? Do you want help creating flower arrangements the day of the wedding? Or, do you simply want the women to look nice and stand next to you on your wedding day? Do you know that you want the bridesmaids to wear matching dresses? Are you planning a destination wedding? Being honest about your expectations from the get go can help prevent frustrations later on.

One Simple Fact

Your wedding may be the most important day of your life. But, here's the sobering truth, no matter how much she loves you, it is NOT the most important day of your Maid of Honor's life. The fact that she is not willing to drop everything to help you does not mean she doesn't love you, or doesn't care about your wedding, it just means that it's your wedding, not hers. Keeping this one little fact in mind may be the key to all your bridesmaid troubles.

More wedding tips and ideas from OneWed:

Vent about Your Bridesmaids in Wedding Forums
Learn about Bridesmaids' Duties
Buy Bridal Party Gifts

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