This is an uncomfortable situation, so it needs to be handled with tact.

By Blythe Copeland
April 16, 2020
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JGI/Jamie Grill

Plenty of brides can tell horror stories of best friends who turned into worst nightmares as soon as they opened that "Will you be my bridesmaid?" card—often (even if they won't admit it) because they're jealous. "A jealous bridesmaid is very common, especially with large wedding parties," says planner Gail Johnson of Gail Johnson Weddings. "You will find at least one bridesmaid that typically feels jealous when she senses some type of threat to their relationship." Whether that threat stems from the groom, the other bridesmaids, or the bride's temporary role as the center of attention, jealousy can show itself in a variety of unfriendly ways. "The bridesmaid tends to be extra possessive and vocal throughout the wedding," says Johnson. "Jealousy may manifest itself in ways such as petty fights, procrastination, sabotage, or even name-calling. The jealous bridesmaid's number one job is to create drama so that all the attention is diverted away from the bride and shifts the focus to her. She creates negative energy that doesn't go away until she leaves the room."

If you're dealing with a jealous bridesmaid, the first step is to have an honest talk about why she's acting so unlike herself. Since she's (theoretically) one of the closest people in your life, you should be able to open this conversation yourself, but if it feels too awkward, or you're worried about her reaction, ask your wedding planner to take the lead. "Typically, I like to address the bad behavior," says Johnson, "because I can be a neutral party—since I will probably will never see this bridesmaid again." Though you might be tempted to ask your family, fiancé, or other friends to step in and save you from an uncomfortable moment, that's more likely to make the conflict worse: "I have found that involving the mother of the bride, groom or another bridesmaid only escalates the situation," says Johnson.

If a gentle request to tone down the attitude doesn't work, then decide how you want to proceed: In a heated, day-of moment, you may need to ask the bridesmaid to step out or have security remove her. If you're still in the planning stages, though, and running into constant issues with a bridesmaid, then you can also ask her to bow out—a difficult request that you'll have to be the one to make. "I believe it is the responsibility of the bride to ask her bridesmaid to step down because this means their relationship has reached a critical milestone," says Johnson. "Maybe this relationship can be repaired after the wedding, or it may mean the end of their relationship."

Although sometimes you can't avoid a jealous bridesmaid—like if she's your sister—Johnson encourages her brides to avoid drama by putting careful thought into whom they ask to stand beside them. "I always tell my brides to pick their bridesmaids wisely," she says. "Be on the lookout for someone who constantly has drama in their life or doesn't get along well with people or doesn't handle stress well—these can be good indicators of jealousy or a fair-weather friend."

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