Dealing with a difficult bridesmaid? This week, to coincide with the launch of her novel “Terror in Taffeta”, author Marla Cooper shares tips on handling bridal party divas.
We’ve all heard horror stories about Bridezillas, those spoiled brats in big gowns who think the world revolves around them. But in reality, most brides just want to have a great day surrounded by their friends and family (especially when they’re Reflective Brides!)
In my book, it’s the bridesmaids who are much more likely to behave badly. (By the way, when I say “in my book,” I mean literally: in my mystery novel, Terror in Taffeta, one of the bridesmaids gets it in the first chapter, and, well, let’s just say that her behavior provided plenty of motive.)
And while some people think that having a bridesmaid-zilla adds a dash of fun and drama to the proceedings, they’re much more fun to watch when they’re destroying someone else’s wedding and not your own. So how do you avoid having one in your wedding party?
1. Make good choices.
This one’s a no-brainer. Don’t invite anyone out of obligation, especially if they’re prone to jealousy, insecurity, or fits of attention-seeking behavior. Don’t invite your super-fun friend from college who likes to get blackout drunk. Don’t invite your fiance’s sister who likes to glare at you during family meals. And needless to say, don’t invite your fiance’s ex-girlfriend unless—well, I’m sure there’s an exception to that rule, but I don’t know what it is.
2. Set them up for success.
Some Bad Bridesmaid Behavior (or “BBB”) is the result of the bridesmaid in question not feeling like she can tell you that you’re driving her absolutely nuts. Or that she really can’t afford to be a bridesmaid but loves you too much to say no. Or that she’s bummed that you’re getting all the attention (as you rightfully should). So be extra considerate. Make sure your demands are reasonable. Don’t ask your bridesmaids to spend more than you would want to spend if the rhinestone-embellished shoe were on the other foot. Give them lots of attention, praise them frequently, and make sure they feel appreciated.
3. Talk to her.
If a bridesmaid behaves poorly despite your best efforts, take her to lunch and clear the air. Ask her if something’s bothering her. Maybe it’s something that can be easily addressed. If so? Address it! Problem solved. If the two of you have irreconcilable differences, give her an easy out. Say something like, “Taylor, I notice that every time I mention the wedding, you run from the room sobbing. My feelings won’t be hurt if you’d rather just be a guest.” She might even be relieved! Of course, if she goes the passive aggressive route and says nothing’s wrong when it clearly is, it might be time to set her free.
Of course, BBB doesn’t always present until the day of the wedding, when it’s too late to do anything about it. The potent combination of cocktails and someone else getting all the attention can be too much for some girls to take. (Extra credit tip: If your bridesmaids suggest doing shots before the wedding, JUST SAY NO!) So what do you do if you’re in the middle of the reception and your bridesmaid shows signs of zilla-ing?
4. Distract her.
Depending on the severity of the behavior, you might be able to just divert her attention. Try stuffing an hors d’oeuvre into her mouth. (“Jordan, try the meatballs! Like, right now.”) If that doesn’t work, get one of the groomsmen to ask her to dance. (Pick a cute one for maximum effectiveness.) If that doesn’t work, tell her that there’s a surprise waiting for her in the bathroom, then lock her in it. Or have someone else do it. Yeah, that’s probably a better plan.
5. Laugh it off.
Don’t dwell on the bad behavior. It almost always makes it worse. Just remember that it’s no reflection on you—unless you get involved in the drama. Besides, most guests enjoy a little entertainment to liven things up. A sense of humor is the best way to deal with any wedding disaster, and people will remember the awesome way you handled things.
6. The nuclear option.
If you feel a meltdown coming on, get your BFF (unless she’s the bridemaid-zilla) to keep her cell phone nearby. Instruct her to start filming if there’s a scene, and have her loudly exclaim, “I can’t wait to post this on Facebook.” That will usually send the bridesmaid running—and if not, it will be useful as evidence later when the police are called.
Not to worry: In all likelihood, your bridesmaids will be fun, supportive, and drama-free. But on the off chance they’re not, you’ll be ready for them with these six tips. Happy wedding planning!
Marla Cooper is the author of “Terror in Taffeta”, a humorous mystery about a destination wedding planner who’s called on to investigate when a bridesmaid-zilla drops dead right in the middle of the wedding ceremony. Terror in Taffeta comes out March 22, 2016 from Minotaur Books. (That’s today!) You can find Marla at www.marla-cooper.com or on Facebook.
(All images provided by author. Third image from Blaine Siesser Photography.