Q: I asked a cousin of mine to be a bridesmaid in my wedding, and I am now seriously wishing I hadn’t! She has told the other bridesmaids (who are my good friends) she doesn’t like the bridesmaid dress I picked out, and has complained to me about my decision to have my bachelorette party in Vegas. And now has basically stopped responding to my e-mails asking if she wants hair/makeup on the wedding day or if I can offer to pay for a babysitter (we are having an adult-only wedding and she has a 4-year-old). I’m really kind of pissed at her and am not sure what to do. Can I tell her not to be a bridesmaid anymore?- Bethany
A: It’s always frustrating to hear about bridesmaids that seem to have an issue with every little single thing you do. After all this is your wedding, and this kind of vocal complaining (that ultimately gets back to you) can feel completely unnecessary. But what can (or should) you do?
First things first: I definitely don’t think you should ask her not to be a bridesmaid anymore. That could cause a rift that might NEVER go away. Instead, I think one of the best ways to clear the air with someone is to have a frank and honest conversation with them. I’ve found that it’s usually one thing that has ticked a bridesmaid off that ultimately ends up getting blown out of proportion somehow, yet in the end it is almost always easily fixed with a phone call (or better yet girls’ night out with a glass of wine). If your cousin is not responding to your e-mail, call her and let her know you would love to talk to her. Whether you can both get together or have to have the conversation over the phone, I would start it off by telling her how happy you are that she is a bridesmaid in your wedding, and that you feel so lucky to have such a great group of friends and family who can be there for you that way (ok you might have to blow a little bit of smoke up her you know what). I would then explain that you know that being a bridesmaid can be expensive or feel like a total pain in the butt (it can!), and ask if there’s anything you can do to make it easier and more fun. Bring up the bachelorette party, and let her know that you’re definitely aware that destination bachelorette parties can be super expensive, and that it must be hard to leave her little one at home also. You can then very nicely say that you would 1,000% understand if she couldn’t make it because of any of those reasons. This will hopefully alleviate the pressure she might be feeling!
In terms of the bridesmaid dress that is the one topic I would go ahead and leave untouched. You definitely don’t want to make her think your friends are tattling on her, but instead ask her how the dress turned out (if she already bought it), or if not how that process is going and if she needs any help. She might disclose to you that the dress makes her feel uncomfortable or doesn’t fit, or she feels like it’s too revealing, etc. If it’s a physical issue then that would be a great time to talk about ways you might accessorize the bridesmaid dress (like with a cardigan or wrap) to make her feel better. If she simply doesn’t like the color…well, I would just politely move on from that subject and say you are sure she is going to look gorgeous in it. 🙂
As for the hair/makeup on your wedding day I would also make sure she knows that this is not required at all, and that you were just taking a poll to see who might be interested (unless you’re paying for the bridesmaids’ wedding hair and makeup this should be completely optional. And even if you were she might not want to have it done, either.). I also think picking up the wedding babysitter charge is a super sweet gesture, and I would stress to her that you would love to do that. It could be one of the reasons why she’s ticked off, to be honest, but deciding to have an adults only wedding is completely your right and choice. If you bring up a babysitter and she does not feel comfortable getting one, I would then have the conversation with her that (again, in the nicest way possible) you would completely understand if she wasn’t able to come to the wedding. Hopefully the conversation doesn’t come to that, but just in case.
At the end of the day while it’s your wedding, it can be easy to overlook some small issues that might annoy your bridesmaids and turn into larger ones. Having a friendly conversation with them can go a loooooong way, and will typically turn even the biggest bridesmaid-zilla into the best bridesmaid ever.