How to Cope With a Competitive Bride (Oh No, She Didn't!)

Etiquette, Relationships

Photo: Getty Images

What's a girl to do when her life turns into a real life Bride Wars? You know, minus the whole vying for the same wedding venue on the same exact date, but still with the whole cutthroat, ""If I were your wedding, I'd be sleeping with one eye open" vibe. National etiquette expert Diane Gottsman, owner of The Protocol School of Texas, gives us a quick lesson in learning how to cope with an engaged from who's turning out to be a crazy competitive bride.

Make it personal.
So your BFF is a copycat, eh? While she can certainly steal your theme, book the same venue and secretly attempt to hire your vendors, you can combat all that by getting really creative. "Infuse your own personality into your wedding by doing things that are uniquely representative of you and your groom and that would be meaningless to the other couple," recommends Gottsman. "For example, borrow your mother-in-law's gorgeous vintage gown, hire your groom's favorite college band or take your wedding pictures in a special location to be displayed around the reception (and don't reveal that site to anyone!)." These are individual details that are hard to duplicate.

Sit her down for a friendly chat.
Kill her with kindness, basically! Gottsman suggests inviting her out to lunch to talk wedding stuff, saying that you want to ensure there are no conflicts or duplicates of themes and other details with each of your respective big days. "Mention that you're excited to be going through the experience together and express how happy you are to share this special time." Most importantly, stay focused on your own wedding. "Otherwise, you'll spend a lot of needless energy worrying about a bride who is attempting to outdo you or snatch your ideas." Amen!

See More: We Asked, You Told: How to Pick Bridesmaids

Don't engage in the gossip.
If one of your mutual friends tries to get in the middle of things and give you the gossip on what the other bride is doing or planning, politely let her know you're not interested, advises Gottsman. "Say, 'If you don't mind, I'd prefer to talk about something else. She can plan her wedding any way she'd like and I'm doing the same.'"

Confront her in a polite way.
If it reaches the point where confronting her is inevitable, the best way to handle things is to express what's on your mind, in a gracious way of course. Tell her you're sensing an uneasy edge as of late and would like to get to the bottom of her attitude, instructs Gottsman. "Diffuse any jealousy by explaining that you don't consider her 'competition' and she shouldn't consider you to be hers. If you feel compelled to do so, politely address your specific issues of concern."

Come to terms with the fact that nothing may get resolved.
"The bottom line is that there's a good chance her day will go off exactly as she planned and so will yours," notes Gottsman. Unless you make a concerted effort to do the exact opposite of the competitive bride, which would be costly and time consuming, there are no guarantees you can or want to stay one step ahead, she warns. "Instead, do exactly what you'd like and let her do the same." If only for the sake of your sanity and happiness!

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