Let's face it: Expecting your entire bridal party to get along at every moment of the wedding-planning process is basically like expecting to win the lottery—probably not going to happen. Cue the movie Bridesmaids, which shows you just how much drama can ensue between the bride, maid of honor, and the bridesmaids. Thankfully, most real conflicts between bridal party members are minimal at most. To help ensure your entire group gets along, we asked experienced wedding planners for the no-drama precautions every bride should take with her 'maids.
Be selective in choosing your bridal party.
You'll want to ask your closest friends to be your bridesmaids, but remember that these women will be spending a lot of time together. In other words, if you have two friends who don't get along, it might be best to avoid asking one or both of them to be a bridesmaid. "Conflict is sure to arise if bridal party members are forced to play nice," says Angelica McDonnell, owner and lead wedding and event planner at Green Orchid Events. "If you really feel the need to ask them both, maybe try to limit their activity together.
Have an icebreaker event if your bridal party members don't know each other.
This will help them get to know each other in a fun and casual setting. "It can be intimidating meeting new people so consider planning a night out where your bridal party can get comfortable with each other," says McDonnell. "It is the perfect opportunity for you to explain how you know everyone as well." Remember: These people are going to be your support system so it is best to break the ice in the beginning!
Set expectations from the beginning.
Share what you expect of each bridal party member at the very beginning. Make sure you explain who the maid of honor is and what responsibilities everyone will have. "Tell each member, either individually or up front, that you realize everyone may not agree on certain decisions but that they need to respect the person making them," says Deborah L. Erb, owner and event planner for Simply Events Inc. "Also, ask each bridal party member to work out any issues with another bridal party member on their own before coming to you." Otherwise, you're the one dealing with all of the drama on top of everything else you have on your plate.
Give everyone roles and tasks to reduce the likelihood of arguments such as someone's being too controlling or someone wasn't involved enough. "These tasks can be anything from dinner reservations, to putting together wedding favors, to an assigned dress steamer the day of the wedding," explains McDonnell. "Explain why you gave them that task and how much it will help you stay stress free."
Be considerate about what you ask your bridal party to pay for.
Will your attire choice (and accessories) be a financial burden to anyone? Are you paying for any attire? "Look online or for sales in department stores, as both tend to be less expensive than bridal shops," suggests Erb. Try to make it as easy as possible for bridal party members who live out of town, too. "Research places that sell your attire close by to bridal party members living a distance from you or from where the wedding will take place." Also allow appropriate time frames for bridal party members to search, try on and get fitted before arriving for the wedding weekend.
Choose a dress that works well with most body types.
Is it modest? Will your bridesmaids be comfortable on the wedding day? Is the attire appropriate for the season? "Consider giving bridal party colors, but allow them to pick attire that fits them best," suggests Erb. "Ask each bridal party member to give you three options that they are comfortable with so you can choose the one you think is most appropriate." And, if you're feeling extra nice, consider attire that they might want to wear again.
Stay calm and they will too.
As they say, your vibe attracts your tribe. If you're going to be a stressed out and panicked bride, your bridal party is going to feed off of that energy. "You set the tone of how the day is going to run and those emotions will show in your wedding photos," explains McDonnell. "If there is conflict the day of the wedding, try your best to brush it off and encourage your bridal party to do the same." You don't get to redo this day every year so make it the best day it can be!