Photo: Universal Pictures/Courtesy Neal Peters Collection
Your bridesmaids are supposed to be your support system before and during your wedding day — aside from your fiancé, of course! So the last thing you want to have to deal with is clashing personalities in pastel pink. But what if you just know that one or more of your best gals is likely to be a handful? We asked the pros for their advice on managing your maids and enjoying your big day.
If you're anticipating some drama, no matter how big or small, it's best to communicate early and often, says Megan Velez of DestinationWeddings.com. "Be mindful of your bridesmaids' sensitivities or potential issues in advance — you know them best!" Relationship and etiquette expert and author April Masini agrees that talking through things without pointing fingers is best. "Tell them that you're really stressed because of the conflict and ask if they'd help you with that." This may put them in more of a problem-solving than combative state of mind.
Still, close friends or family members may have their own meltdowns when there's the usual stress or anxiety surrounding the big event. "Remember too, that it's a special day for them as well," says Aviva Samuels of Kiss The Planner. Although it's your wedding, your 'maids are viewing it as their best friend's wedding, older sister's wedding, and so on, and they've likely spent a ton of time and energy (and money) preparing and anticipating it as well. "If you remember that they too are in the spotlight on this special day, then it will be easier to understand how they can be on edge and with this new found empathy it will be much easier to deal with."
Velez recommends having plenty of pre-planned meals and excursions on the agenda so everyone keeps busy, and staying calm in hopes that it will diffuse any tension. Of course, if the wedding party members are prone to clashing with one another, you may want to limit the number of times when they'll be together. Velez says it's fine to connect virtually (group text, anyone?) or to do in-person meetings one-on-one. Your friends will likely jump at the chance to have some alone time with you, and that may be time you can spend working out whatever issues are at play.
See More: The 49 Mistakes Bridesmaids Always Make
Another great tactic is to give each person in your wedding party a project that doesn't require collaboration with whoever she doesn't mesh well, says Stephanie Aspinwall of Pretty Entertaining. "Emphasize to each 'maid that you're giving her this job because you know she's just the right person to manage it, then let her fly and support her as needed," she says. Masini suggests having one bridesmaid host the grannies and another deal with the florist so they can focus on the task at hand and feel useful. "Building people up often helps keep them from tearing others down," Aspinwall adds.
Looking for one more way to keep everyone happy and reduce any competitiveness? Let your girls choose their own looks, Aspinwall suggests. If you provide them with a color palette and a few style directions, feel free to let them find gowns they love. And hope that any energy that might have gone into feuding will go into finding the perfect dress.
When it comes to the wedding day, build in some buffer and schedule the clashing bridesmaids far apart from one another for hair, makeup, processional order, and formal photos. Play it safe and seat them at different tables, both at the rehearsal dinner and at the wedding reception, if possible. "Give them the opportunity to enjoy some personal space, rather than throwing them together all day long," Aspinwall adds.
If all else fails, never underestimate the value of a sincere heart-to-heart. It's important to acknowledge that your friends aren't getting along but to ask that they get to know each other better and see why you love both of them. "Ask them to give it a chance for your sake," Samuels says. "If you handle it in this way, at the very least there won't be any ill will and they will respect your need for bridesmaid-harmony."