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A wedding party implies it's a happy group, and that's certainly your goal on your wedding day. But just because you and your fiancé love all of the people who will be standing up for you doesn't mean that all of your bridesmaids and groomsmen are as equally enamored of each other.
Whether they're your siblings or best friends, chances are most of your wedding party will have met each other in the past. If you're marrying your childhood sweetheart or high school crush, it's likely that your social circles have mixed, mingled and possibly even hooked up with one another through the history of your relationship.
Before you start asking people to stand by your side on your big day, I recommend brides and grooms consider the makeup of the group. If you MUST include people who have had previous romantic entanglements, or who openly dislike each other for any other reason, be prepared for some drama during your wedding planning and on the big day. But whatever the specific issues may be, try my five expert tips for helping your wedding party get along:
1. Don't choose favorites.
If two of your friends detest each other, and tend to compete for your attention, do not choose one of them, over the other, to be your maid of honor (or best man). You will hurt feelings, and you will give one of them a leg up on the other. True, their problems with each other are not YOUR problems. But if they're bickering in your bridal suite, nobody has fun.
2. Don't include your entire wedding party in all of your planning missions.
Not all the bridesmaids need to go wedding dress shopping with you. Hair and makeup trials only require opinions from a couple of people, max. There are plenty of pre-wedding tasks that need to be accomplished and there's no need to force people to hang out with friends of yours they don't like for more than the wedding weekend.
3. Don't pair up former pairs.
Avoid pairing ex-partners to walk down your aisle, or dance at the wedding. If these people really liked each other, they'd still be together. Hopefully, they're able to be poised and gracious for the duration of your wedding events, but asking them to sit next to each other at dinner is thoughtless, and a little bit cruel.
4. Don't be a fixer.
You know where your trouble spots are — figure out how to work around them. Don't try to use your own wedding to mend fences between friends who aren't speaking to each other. As members of the wedding party, they have an obligation to behave in a civil manner, but zero obligation to be friendly.
5. If you do need to step in, do it early.
Tackle the problem before the week of the wedding, if something must be said. Sit down, privately, and explain your concerns if you're worried that someone will drink too much and things may turn nasty. Ask them to respect the importance of your day. And be sure to talk to all parties involved in the conflict, so that nobody feels singled out.
Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events and author of How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show Wedding Island, about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques.