Victoria is a stay-at-home mom, author, educator, and blogger at Healthy at Home. She currently lives in Colorado with her family.
Family members and the bride are not the only ones who can cause problems at a wedding. Wedding party members are in the same boat when it comes to etiquette and simple respect when it comes to someone else’s special day.
I have planned weddings for about eight years now and have seen a lot of weddings, including their myriad of interesting and unique problems. Although weddings should be a time of happiness and celebration for a couple that has found love amongst the billions of people living on this Earth, due to the great deal of emotions and the fragility of hearts and minds at this special time in so many lives, problems usually exceed the norm. And the people who can cause the most damage, and inflict the most pain, tend to be the people the closest to you, which just so happens to be everyone at most weddings all over the world.
No wedding is perfect. Flowers may wilt, it may rain outside, or something may have been forgotten at home, but those are unavoidable. Check out some of these typical faux pas on the part of the wedding party that are sure to cause the bride heartache, and even possibly ruin the day. Hopefully reading it here will help to keep them from happening in the future.
1. Being MIA
When you agree to be a bridesmaid or groomsman, you are agreeing to support the bride and groom throughout their engagement and their wedding. This may mean talking on the phone, responding to emails, going shopping for wedding attire, and participating in wedding activities. Guys are usually pretty easy, so this is more so for bridesmaids than groomsmen.
I can easily understand the dilemma for those individuals that live out of state or have demanding jobs. If this is the case, and you don’t feel like you can be the supportive team member like a bridesmaid or groomsman should, you should let them know and graciously decline the offer from the beginning. However, not answering phone calls, not responding to emails, and simply not showing up for bridal showers and favor nights is just not acceptable. If you take the job, acknowledge your part on the team as well.
2. Asking About Same Details Over and Over
Of all the things a bride should have on her to-do list, she shouldn’t have to take care of a stray bridesmaid as well. Her team of bridesmaids is supposed to be there to support her, not the other way around. A bridesmaid that asks for the same details over and over is just a pain.
Chances are she’s probably told you what you’re looking for already. Instead of asking her again and again, and showing her how little you value your position and your friendship, go look through your emails, check her wedding website, or ask one of the other bridesmaids. At least look like you’re trying.
For each question, choose the best answer. The answer key is below.
- How soon do you think bridesmaids dresses need to be purchased?
- One year out
- Six months out
- Three months out
- Six weeks out
- Six months out
3. Waiting Until the Last Minute to Buy the Dress
You’ll have to trust the bride on this one, especially if you weren’t able to make it to pick out the bridesmaids’ dresses. Weddings are typically planned in a certain order with perfectly laid out timing. If the bride (or groom) says that you need to go get your dress, go out and get it right away. Don’t wait another week to do this. Dresses take time to order and be delivered, and then you will still need to get it altered. What happens if you wait so long that the dress is sold out and no longer available? You’ll then be scrambling to find it in another city, have it special ordered, or even find it on eBay.
There should be no reason for the bride to call and ask you again. This seems a little demanding and pushy, but it’s just so easy. She already has more than you could imagine on her plate right now (weddings are harder to plan than you’d think unless you’ve done it before), and doesn’t need to add you to that list. Call and do it over the phone if you need to. Have someone else in your life swing by and grab it for you if you can’t get over there. Don’t stress the bride out by making her chase you around.
4. Not Getting Along With the Other Bridesmaids
Obviously, personalities aren’t always going to mix, and you’re not going to like everyone you have to work with all the time. However, it’s important to remember that the bride chose each of her bridesmaids (and the groom his groomsmen) for a reason. These are girls she cares about, and that alone is reason enough to try to get along when you’re with them.
Be patient, vent any frustrations you might have to someone not involved in the wedding (that won’t cause more problems), and realize that this isn’t a competition. Remember that you are simply there to support the bride emotionally, mentally, and physically through the process of getting married. Arguing and fighting aren’t going to get you any closer to that goal.
5. Speaking Badly About the Significant Other
The bride and groom have just shared an amazing moment declaring their love for each other and deciding to spend their lives together. They are now battling the emotions and schedules of wedding planning to have their big day pledging their lives to each other for eternity. And here you come along and criticize his awful laugh, his love for golf, or his serious need to work out.
This is the man she loves. If you’re not careful, you’re likely to quickly get booted out of the wedding. This also goes for the groom, if not more so. Men get very protective over the ones they love. Talk badly about his woman, and you’re likely to get left behind as he and his wife move forward. Just remember to be supportive.
6. Criticizing the Bride’s Choices
Yes, the bride is your friend, and you want to steer her towards making good decisions. However, there is such a thing as too much brutal honesty, particularly if the bride has already committed to something. For instance, if she asks you whether you think pearl or crystal wedding jewelry would look better with her bridal gown, it is fine to give her your opinion.
But if she has already bought her wedding jewelry, it is no longer the time to tell her she should have chosen pearl bridal jewelry instead of crystal. The number one thing a bridesmaid should never do is to criticize the bride’s choice of wedding gown once it has been purchased. Even higher on the list is her choice of groom.
7. Turning Into a Demanding Bridesmaidzilla
We all know about bridezillas, but there seems to be an increasing number of bridesmaidzillas on the loose these days. That is the bridesmaid who seems to think that the wedding is all about her and makes a series of demands on the bride. The bridesmaidzilla is the attendant who tells the bride she will drop out of the wedding if she doesn’t get to wear the bridesmaid dress and wedding jewelry of her choice.
She is the one who can’t be bothered to show up for dress fittings, bails on the wedding rehearsal because “something better came up,” and who tells the bride she had better buy her a really expensive bridesmaid gift to compensate her for being in the wedding. Remember that the primary job of a bridesmaid is to support the bride, not to grab the spotlight for herself!
8. Not Showing Up on Time
Of all the times to choose to make a mistake, the wedding day should not be that moment. Even if you’ve been the most amazing bridesmaid or groomsman in the world, show up late on the wedding day, and not only do you stress out the bride and groom, but you throw a wrench in the schedule.
Wedding days are filled with hair and makeup, getting ready photos, wedding party pictures, and more than anything, a nervous bride and groom that need you. More than at any other moment during the entire engagement, this is when your support is most needed.
9. Not Dressing Appropriately
With some of the crazy dresses bridesmaids are being asked to wear and some of the bright colors showing up in groomsmen attire, it can be tempting to deviate from the required dress for the day. The picture that this brings to mind is a scene from the movie Monster in Law with Jennifer Lopez when her future mother-in-law tossed her bridesmaids’ dress out the window of her car. This is just asking for trouble and bad feelings that will last well after the wedding.
For a single day, it shouldn’t be difficult to set aside your pride and be there for someone else on their wedding day. Every year that goes by, wedding party attire seems to be getting better and better. Colors are varying, groomsmen are being allowed to wear their own suits or more casual attire, and brides are allowing their bridesmaids to choose varying dresses that both make them feel beautiful, and that will be comfortable. With new trends taking off in this area every day, you may not think twice about wearing the right outfit ever again!
10. Uploading Wedding Photos to Social Media
In this day and age, it’s so easy to take pictures with your phone, and so tempting to share them with your friends online immediately. In any other situation, this might be okay, but there are serious consequences to doing this at a wedding. Initially, you risk blowing the dress reveal to the groom and all other guests by posting pictures of the bride in her dress before the groom has even seen her. You’ve got to admit, not all pictures taken on a phone are very flattering either.
Here the bride is paying good money to a professional photographer to take great pictures of her wedding day, and you’re posting pictures that would make her blush, as the very first pictures anyone gets to see of her wedding, for the world to see online. This is guaranteed to make for a very angry bride. You can easily avoid this problem simply by asking her (or him) first before posting anything and don’t reveal the bride before the wedding.
11. Getting Entangled With a Groomsman
Love is in the air at weddings, but that doesn’t mean falling for the advances of whatever groomsman looks the best in his tux. Unfortunately, there are some guys who assume that part of being a groomsman means getting access to pretty bridesmaids for the weekend!
Don’t fall for this old stereotype that will likely leave a bad memory whenever you think back on the wedding. Weddings are indeed a great place to meet people, but they are not the time or place to have a one-night stand. Real relationships definitely do start at weddings, just be sure to start them off the right way. Then who knows, the next wedding you attend might just be your own.
12. Getting Drunk on the Wedding Day
It should be obvious why this is a wedding party no-no. Drunk guests are never a positive thing at a wedding, much less the people that are supposed to be supporting and representing the bride and groom. Just don’t do it. Save this practice for your own time. Once again, the theme of the day is support and setting aside your own desires for those of the wedding couple.
When it comes down to truly being a part of another couple’s wedding, it’s all about them, and it should be. One day you’ll have your own special day, or maybe you already have, and you’ll really appreciate those individuals who stood by your side during this special time in your life.
If you choose to accept an invitation to be a part of someone’s big day by being in the wedding party, you have a very important job to do. Be there to stand by the bride and groom, be respectful if for some reason you can’t participate in something wedding-related, and be willing to bow out in the case that you cannot provide the time and effort it takes to be an amazing attendant. They’ll thank you for being honest, even if they’re disappointed, and you can always volunteer to support them in another way.
© 2013 Victoria Van Ness