The heightened emotions surrounding a wedding can turn even the most well-meaning bestie into an unintentionally overbearing stressor. Here's how to spot potential "friendzillas" and how to deal with them before they threaten to take over your big day.
The Marriage Expert
With experience comes knowledge... and the potential to dictate exactly how everyone else should plan their weddings. Married friends who feel the need to weigh in on every little detail that you're planning "are often reliving their experience — particularly if they have regrets about their wedding day," says Sarah Pease, New York City-based owner and creative director of Brilliant Event Planning. "They're likely trying to help you avoid the negative things they did," Pease adds.
She suggests learning this simple phrase and repeating it as often as necessary: "Wow, that's really good advice! I'll have to take a look at that." Why does it work? "You want to acknowledge the fact that they're trying to help because it's coming from a positive place," Pease explains. "But it also lets them know that you're ultimately going to make the right decision for you."
See More: 8 Signs You're a Bridezilla
Some people simply don't know how to self-censor. And while honest opinions are important when you're planning something as momentous as a wedding, words can still hurt. But remember: A blunt pal is different from a bully — someone who openly mocks your choices — and that unfiltered friend "is more likely to respect the bride's decisions and recognize that the decisions are hers, not theirs," says Irene S. Levine, PhD, friendship expert, and professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine.
Still, it's worth having a chat to let her know your feelings have been hurt. "You might tell her that you recognize you are sensitive and stressed — and that you realize she's trying to be helpful," Levine says. "Then point out one or two specific comments or instances that left you reeling. Try to get in touch with all the reasons why you choose your friend to be part of this special day. They are the same reasons why you want to preserve the friendship."
The Hot Mess(es)
The woman who brought an uninvited plus one. The guy who's sick in the bathroom from drinking too much. The college roommate who texts the bride that she's lost and needs directions ... an hour before the ceremony. As a wedding planner, Pease has seen it all. But there's no need for the bride to be bothered with these headaches on her wedding day. Instead, designate one or two people to run interference on the inconveniences that will inevitably pop up throughout the day. If your friends and family aren't likely to be very good buffers at keeping every minor incident out of your mind, "a wedding planner can act as your sort of bad cop" to take care of things, Pease says.