Some girls have been choosing bridesmaids since elementary school — you know, back when you chose your favorite playground ladies to support you during your fantasy recess wedding to A.C. Slater. Others are a bit clueless when trying to define specific roles, especially if they have 15 eligible sorority sisters and only four open spots. Some women even forego the tradition entirely, and choose to stand up there solo alongside the person they're about to marry. All situations are completely fine, but if you do choose to walk down the aisle with a slew of friends wearing matching dresses, there are a couple of things you're going to want to keep in mind when picking out your bridesmaids.
Your best girls won't need a song or dance when asked (think: promposal), and will pencil the festivities in their calendars immediately. They'll also be pretty straightforward with what dresses they like, but won't throw a tantrum if your ideas head in a different direction. And, most importantly, they won't ditch you immediately after the wedding — which yes, is a thing that often happens.
Before you make your choices for this monumental day, remember that you might have to hurt some feelings. This shouldn't be about ranking your friends, nor should it be a call that makes you feel absolutely bonkers. Likewise, your party shouldn't contain 15 people per side, since you also want to make sure people sit in the audience to watch the "I do's" go down.
Here are some signs that you might have chosen the wrong bridesmaid, or might ultimately disconnect with your bridesmaid immediately after the wedding.
1. She's not answering your e-mails... or your texts
Your bridesmaids shouldn't be at your beck and call, but if you're in the midst of scheduling something with the ladies (like selecting your dresses) and she's off the radar, things will become a lot more difficult. Heck, even a response saying "I can't be there" is better than wondering whether or not her e-mail was hacked and her cell phone was stolen simultaneously. If you constantly hear nothing for weeks, you're dealing with someone who doesn't understand how stressful planning can be.
Chances are, she'll also be the first to complain if the other girls decide on a dress without her. Fingers crossed she'll go with the flow.
2. She's already thinking about which of the groom's friends she'll be hooking up with
To her, weddings are simply parties, and her parties back in college got pretty racy. Instead of hanging with the girls, she'll be more interested in the guys — who is single, and up for grabs?
Hookups sometimes happen at weddings, and sometimes those hookups turn into meaningful relationships, but if that's her sole focus, you're dealing with a potentially hazardous situation. (Especially if the groomsmen she chooses is a family member, and she tries to use you and your new spouse to make the "connection" last post-reception.)
3. She mocks your visions
You never realized that you'd have to choose weird details like linen colors and napkin folds, so when it was time to make the selections, you went with your gut. If your bridesmaid tells you that your vision is way off, it could lead to some animosity.
If someone's been a bridesmaid yet never a bride, they might unknowingly try to spin your wedding into their own. Her negative comments about the dress (like, "Well, I'd never wear it!") shouldn't be overthought (you wouldn't wear half of the stuff she does, but you've never had the gall to vocalize it before).
Your wedding will be beautiful since you pieced it together. If you have any naysayers, chances are they'll dampen the mood. If the comments get out of control, make sure to tell her that she's free to do whatever she wants when her time comes.
4. She starts fights with the other bridesmaids
If your bridesmaids come from a selection of different life stages, there's a chance they won't bond and become the best of friends like you originally envisioned. However, if one bridesmaid immediately starts targeting another, you might want to remove her before a war breaks out. At the very least, have a sit down conversation about how her attitude makes you feel.
Bridesmaids shouldn't compete over "who knows the bride better," and any kind of arguments spurring from their one common bond (you) will likely cause the most stress to the person who needs it the least (you.)
5. You don't know much about her
You felt pressured to have a round number of bridesmaids, so you invited the girl you had some classes with during senior year. She seems nice, and she seems to utilize Facebook in a non-offensive way, so you figure she'll be a good fit.
Try to avoid this, and keep her feelings and funds in mind here. Random bridesmaids know they're random bridesmaids, and if you're buying her earrings as a bridal gift without knowing whether or not she has pierced ears, she'd have made a better guest.
There are no rules when it comes to bridal party numbers. Five girls and four guys? Sure! Two girls and three guys? No problem! Stop focusing on things looking "even," and think about who you truly want to represent your day.
6. She's bound to make you uncomfortable at your bachelorette
You had no insight towards the planning, but had one simple request — no wangs.
Your bridesmaid laughed this off, and told the rest of the party that it'd be absolutely hilarious to go to a bar covered with wang memorabilia. Penis pasta? Weird balloons? The potential for a male stripper? Shut it down, bride-to-be.
While it'll be too late to change things, you need to see this as a sign of disrespect. Your bridesmaid planned the party she wanted, and your level of comfort wasn't considered whatsoever. This isn't cool. Bachelorette parties can absolutely be low-key, and don't need to contain glitter and sashes and male genitalia.
7. When you mention your wedding, she laments about how she's single
If you're talking about your wedding every second or two, try to reel it in. It's easy to become absorbed in it, especially since it's taken you all year to finally put together. But if you're discussing details in a moderate way, your bridesmaid shouldn't use the opportunity to complain about her own life. Once? Sure. Every time? Annoying.
Women need to be happy for each other. They need to celebrate each other's achievements, and lend a hand (or an ear) when bad news strikes. Your girl shouldn't make you feel sorry for being in a relationship, nor should she use it as an excuse to wallow. After all, people get married at different times.
8. She's known for drinking to the extreme
Your bridesmaid constantly has to check her phone and make sure she didn't say anything regrettable last night. If there's a party and alcohol is flowing, your friend will probably disappear in the bathroom for an hour or so after heavily imbibing. She takes drinking to the extreme, and was never the type to relax with a sole glass of whiskey. She picks fights, she cries, and she's a little unpredictable when she's had one too many.
You're worried, since you're having an open bar, and want to have a scene-free wedding. If you've discussed this with her (and expressed your concern about her well-being) and she's laughed it off, said "that's what people do," or made it clear that she was offended, you have reason to worry.
Granted, she could easily party too hard as a guest, as well — but in that case, you won't have to worry about her sleeping through appointments, and not showing up on time. If you're feeling anxious, make sure to let the bartender know to take precautions with his pours. No matter what happens the night of, follow up with your support. She could be going through something she's not capable of handling alone.
9. Her schedule is constantly packed
Even when you try to set plans, they're typically for next month or on a random Tuesday afternoon. Your friend is crazy-busy with work and family, and even grabbing a coffee with her is difficult to manage.
It's good for your friend to be busy, but if she's known to bail last minute (in favor of other plans, or since she's simply exhausted), it's tough to count on her during your big day. It's even more stressful if she's the bridesmaid you've planned everything around. Sit down with her and let her know that you won't be offended if she honestly can't fit these extra responsibilities into her schedule. She might be relieved if you come at it in an understanding tone.
10. She bullied you into it
You only wanted two bridesmaids, but all of a sudden you have three. Simply put, your childhood friend (who you only see maybe once a year) acted offended when she asked you about the lineup, and you could just tell she was expecting an invite to the wedding party. To avoid an awkward situation or a fight, you decided to squeeze her in.
Sure, it might have been an oversight on your part, but just like no good marriage starts with an ultimatum, no good bridesmaid relationship starts with peer pressure. Don't be afraid to stand your ground, and offer another task for her, like a reading during the ceremony — a way to make her feel included but not crush your longstanding plan.
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