In an ideal world, your bridesmaids would get along great, and they'd collaborate productively to tackle their shared tasks. But more likely than not, your crew is composed of people with different personalities and backgrounds. While this is mostly great (it's exciting to be surrounded by a group with a range of perspectives and talents), it can also lead to disagreements and overall tension. If things get tricky, how can you keep the peace throughout the course of their involvement in the wedding? We asked Holly Star, an intuitive healer, to share her best tips for setting the stage for, fostering, and maintaining harmony in this subset of the wedding party.
Choose with care.
"Your bridesmaids should be made up of people you know will be in your life for the long term. Choose people who have been there for you the most and who also make you feel alive," Star explains. "Pick people that make your life easy, the ones that want you to be happy." This is simpler when it comes to your besties—you're friends with them for a reason! But what about current or future family members that you feel obligated to include? "Ideally, when you think of [your bridesmaids] in your life, the memories are positive and they bring a peaceful feeling to you," Star shares. If this isn't the reality, "make sure you fully accept them as they are and recognize the potential challenges that may arise, so you can be mindful and get ahead of the conflict."
That being said, it's your wedding, and you don't have to include anybody. Star says that it's okay to "avoid anyone that you know will make the day more about them than you."
Pick a wing woman.
Delegating the role of maid of honor is an important job. She'll be there to help you with any bridesmaid-related issues down the road. "Choose someone who has your back, and who's in it for the long haul. The one that trusts your decisions and supports them, and even celebrates them with you," Star suggests. Of course, "this person shouldn't be afraid to let you know if she completely disagrees with you," either. Almost every bride needs a reality check at some point.
Start off strong.
Once you've assembled your group, Star recommends getting the conflict-free ball rolling with a few exercises. "At the very start, I would gift each bridesmaid something that'll help bring harmony. Perhaps a rose-quartz necklace, as a way to open everyone's hearts and let in love. Amethyst is also a great choice, to help bring in positive energy to facilitate connections. If jewelry's not in the budget, a small gift of a candle or essential oils like a blend of rose, rosemary, and patchouli could do the trick. I personally love Matter & Home's Love and Friendship candles for this purpose of bringing people together!"
On the day that everyone meets, you can also do the following: "Light a candle, and have everyone face each other and say, 'I forgive you' and touch hands—even if there's nothing to forgive at the time. Creating and making this peace before any conflicts arise will set up the expectation of unity and harmony. If something big does comes up at a later time, go back and have the people involved repeat this ritual. For this purpose, try Matter & Home's Align and/or Unity candles, which promote harmony, unity, and a deepened sense of peace. "
Help them help you.
"It's always good to have a mix of personalities, including the social extrovert and the quieter type," says Star. To ensure that their separate strengths are being recognized, though, "make sure all voices are heard." Overall, you and your maid of honor set the tone for the rest of the crew. "I always believe in deep levels of communication and keeping the space open to communicate at all times," Star recommends. "Let everyone know it's your day, and why you have chosen each of them to be there. I think it's good to know your crew and give each one personalized tasks to make them feel honored and recognized."
You'll probably be spending a lot of time with your bridesmaids, and they'll probably be spending a lot of time with each other. There are a few creative ways to encourage peace at all of your pre-wedding affairs. "Setting an intention with the group (and with yourself) at the beginning of any gathering is very important to make everyone feel included and accountable." This can come in the form of "a pre-event toast, where everyone states an intention out loud or silently by writing it down on a piece of paper, and then burning the paper to seal that intention." As for some examples of said intentions? "Letting go of a part of their personality that may conflict in a group setting, or vowing to be more flexible and open to new ideas and experiences." We think "having a great time" is a good goal, too!
Other cool recommendations from Star include using lavender in floral arrangements. Put the bloom in your bridal-shower centerpieces "to help create calmness." Floral drinks like rose-infused waters also have "calming and grounding properties," so try serving them at a pre-nuptial fête.
Tackle conflict quickly.
Star reiterates the need to communicate when issues arise. "Be kind above all," she adds. "Also, give people a chance to look at the big picture and pull back when they're getting too involved emotionally or stuck in the details."