Next up in our series of How to Deal… the Slacker Bridesmaid.
When choosing your bridal party, you probably took great care to consider and choose your closest friends to stand by your side and participate in all the fun leading up to your wedding day. So if one of those carefully chosen friends becomes absent or disinterested, it can certainly be upsetting. But before you get worked up and “fire” a bridesmaid, take some time to consider the following.
- What’s going on in her life? Is she in her final semester of grad school? Going through a bad break up? Working overtime in hopes of a promotion? Her life may be just as hectic as yours at the moment, and she may need a friend to help out just as much as you do. Reaching out to see how you can help her will hopefully remind her to do the same for you.
- Were you clear on expectations? Not everyone has been in a bridal party in the past, and it’s entirely possible that your friend may not know what’s expected of her. Make sure you’re clear on the things that you feel are important for your bridal party to do: attending showers, ordering her dress on time, scheduling hair and makeup appointments, etc. Most of these things are time-sensitive (for example, you may need all the bridesmaids dresses ordered by a certain date to insure they are cut from the same lot of fabric), but if you’re friend isn’t aware of all of this, she may not realize that her procrastination is a problem. Also, make sure your expectations are reasonable. (For example, are you asking your recently laid-off friend to buy a $400 bridesmaid gown?)
- Provide an “out”. If it gets to a point where you’ve gone through everything with her but she is still not participating in the way you had hoped she would, talk to her and provide an opportunity for her to “step down”. You might say “It seems like you have a lot going on right now, or maybe you’re just not interested in being in the bridal party. It truly won’t hurt my feelings if you would like to step down. If you don’t want to step down, I need you to promise you will (order your dress, help with the shower, etc.) by (next weekend, tomorrow, right now pretty please)”. If she takes the out, great, you’ve eliminated stress from your life without having to “fire” anyone. If she doesn’t take the out, and she doesn’t keep her promises, then you have every right to inform her that you’ll no longer expect to her to be a bridesmaid, but that you look forward to celebrating with her and your other guests on the wedding night.
So in short, bridesmaids sometimes get a bad rap, but just like your Overzealous Mother in Law, they probably have the best of intentions. Despite that, you may have one friend who is simply unaware of how her actions (or inaction as the case may be) are affecting you and the rest of the bridal party. Give her the benefit of the doubt, talk openly and honestly about what’s going on and what you need, and if things still don’t work out, open the door for a drama-free exit.
Up next: The Uninvolved Groom