Today we have a great guest post from Disneyland Bride Hope. If you’re at all involved with the Disneyland Weddings community then you already know Hope always has the best advice whenever someone has a conflict or problem! She has also already shared some fabulous advice here on the blog … check out her previous posts 10 Budget Tips From a Real Disneyland Bride, and The Argument for a Wedding In-Park Photo Shoot. I’m always happy when she offers to share her wisdom here!
Unfortunately bridal party drama is something we see happening over and over again, so I’m really happy Hope offered to write about this topic for us. Hopefully it will help some of you who may find yourself struggling with bridesmaid-related stress. Thank you, Hope!
I’ve been involved with bridal communities for the past decade and one of the main issues I see recurring often is bridal party drama. Whether you’re the bride or the bridesmaid, there seems to be things that come up that lead to hurt feelings and misunderstandings, so here are some suggestions to hopefully avoid all of that and not damage your relationships.
12 Tips for Avoiding Bridal Party Drama
Tips for the Bride
1. The best way to avoid drama is to take a page out of the This Fairy Tale Life handbook and not have bridesmaids (or groomsmen) altogether. I know this sounds harsh, but I thought it was worth mentioning that it is completely okay to forego this tradition and still have a beautiful wedding. You can still ask your friends and family to help you with wedding day tasks, but they don’t all have to invest in the same dress and stand at the altar with you to do so. I know most brides want to give their Besties some kind of recognition and this can certainly be accomplished with an acknowledgement in the program or during the toast. Taking out the financial and time commitments of being in a bridal party means less pressure on your Besties and on you since you don’t have to chase them to make sure they’ve purchased the dresses you picked out for them.
2. If you’re still committed to having a bridal party, be discerning about who you ask. Don’t choose someone because you “owe” it to them since they had you in their wedding or because you promised each other in grade school that you’d be each other’s bridesmaids. There’s a lot of financial and time commitment involved with being in a wedding so make sure you ask those that you can trust to take this task seriously. I know there are some “political situations” where you are “forced” to have someone in your bridal party because it would mean more drama if you didn’t have them, but if you don’t want them at the altar with you or if you know that they are unreliable, consider giving them some other wedding day position like Usher, Guestbook attendant, Reader at the Ceremony, or invite them to a special dance at your reception. It’s never a good idea to have someone in your bridal party that you know is not going to be a team player but there are ways to still include them in your wedding day.
3. Another way to avoid problems is to have a smaller bridal party. As with any group situation, the more people you have involved the harder it is to wrangle everyone, so it’s best to just pick a few Besties rather than all of them. Also consider your ceremony location. The Rose Court Garden at The Disneyland Hotel is pretty big, but it can get crowded on the Gazebo steps when you have a huge bridal party. Large bridal parties also take longer walking down the aisle which cuts into the 30 minutes ceremony time allotted for Disneyland weddings. You definitely don’t want the processional to turn into a Bridal Party Parade that results in less time for the more meaningful parts of your ceremony.
4. Before you head to Pinterest to find a cute way to ask your bridesmaids to be in your wedding, think about what you want them to do for you on the day. Traditionally, bridesmaids just stand at the altar with you as witnesses to your marriage and help to plan pre-wedding events for you. If you expect more, be clear of your expectations from the beginning and point out the financial commitments that they are about to undertake. Don’t assume they know what you want and don’t surprise them with all of the things they have to buy as your wedding draws near. That’s the worst thing you could do to them. I was very clear from the start about what I needed help with and gave my prospective bridesmaids (or rather “Bridal Fairies” as I called mine) a little PowerPoint presentation with an overview of our event, the costs they would incur, and the help I would need. I gave them time to get back to me so that they wouldn’t feel pressured to agree to be in my wedding. I also skipped giving out gifts when I asked them because I didn’t want that gesture to guilt them into saying yes. It sounds so business-like, but I was specifically trying to be as organized and upfront from the start so that I wouldn’t have any issues with them down the road. I think that helped us know where we stood and avoided potential drama.
5. Speaking of financial commitments be reasonable about your requests. If you want them to buy the same dress, give them options at different price points. Bridesmaid dresses come in the same basic silhouettes and colors so shop around and don’t make them spend top dollar on a garment that they will only use at your event. Also, be kind to your Besties and make sure that you cater to both their budgets and body types. You want them to still be your friends after the wedding is over, right? If you’re going to require them to have hair and makeup, make sure you let them know ahead of time so that they have time to save up for these services. I’ve been in a few weddings and getting professional hair and makeup was all part of the financial commitment but I’ve also heard from other brides who gift these services to their bridal party. I’ve also been in weddings where I was asked to get professional services done but I was left with the option of either getting the services with the Bride’s vendor or with my own. If you are okay with them doing their own hair and makeup to save them money, that’s great! Just be mindful that a lot of the on location hair and makeup artists won’t come to you if you don’t meet their minimum number of services.
6. Feel free to ask your bridesmaids for help if you need it but do so within reason. I’ve seen brides treat their bridal party like free labor or constant sounding boards. It’s not a bad thing to ask for help or to vent, just be aware that while your wedding is the biggest deal in YOUR life, it’s not necessarily the biggest deal in theirs. Be respectful of their time and be a friend to them, too. Don’t forget to ask them how their life is going and take breaks from the wedding talk. Remember that you were friends long before you got engaged and the wedding took over, so don’t let what sparked the friendship extinguish. I highly suggest a “no wedding talk allowed” Disneyland date with your bridal party to get some quality time with them!
Photo by Nataly Lemus Photography
Tips for the Bridesmaid
1. Yay! You’ve been asked to be a bridesmaid! It’s an honor but it comes with great responsibility. Make sure you ask about what you are expected to do and buy so you know whether you can commit. It’s totally okay to decline, even if it hurts some feelings. You will most likely be required to invest in a dress, shoes, and cosmetology services on the wedding day, and to help fund pre-wedding events. If the wedding is out of town (as sometimes is the case with Disneyland weddings), you will probably also have to think about travel and accommodations. It all adds up, so if you cannot make the financial commitment, it’s better to say so now than to agree and then flake on your friend. Your friend should understand and appreciate your honesty. If they seem disappointed, offer to help with the wedding planning in some other way without necessarily being part of the “official bridal party.”
2. Speaking of help, this should go without saying but sometimes people forget to check in with the bride in the months leading up to the wedding. Maybe your friend is too shy to ask for help, but they’ll take it if it’s offered. Planning a wedding can be stressful so lend an ear or a hand or invite your friend out to a non-wedding planning friend date to ease their mind. Disneyland is a great place for a friend date and if your friend is going through the planning blues, I’m sure they’ll appreciate a little pick me up at the Happiest Place on Earth.
3. Don’t forget to check in with the Maid of Honor, too. Just because they hold the “higher title” doesn’t mean they should carry the entire planning and financial burden of pre-wedding events by themselves. You’re all in this together!
4. Be a superstar on the wedding day. Most bridesmaids think once they take formal portraits and the ceremony is over, so are their responsibilities. While that’s true for the most part, there are other things that come up on wedding day that may require your attention and assistance so be “on it” that day. Offer to make or carry the emergency kit (mints, extra makeup, feminine products, pins, etc.), help bustle the wedding gown, help wrangle guests (especially if they’re unfamiliar with the locations), and help the bride visit the restroom. I know the latter sounds weird, but it’s one of those unmentioned tasks that nobody realizes until the big day. I’ll admit one of my bridesmaids was a superstar when it came to it and helped lift my gown over my waist when I had to go so I wouldn’t drag it or get bathroom germs on it. It’s not glamorous but it’s the truth. I’ve also returned that favor to the bride when I was a bridesmaid and it just comes with the territory. So don’t abandon the bride during the reception and be prepared for anything!
5. If you see the dance floor is empty, get the party started! Sometimes the bride and groom are off taking pictures and other guests aren’t really sure if they’re “allowed” to dance yet, so set the example. I admit I love to dance and doing this isn’t too out of left field for me, but when I was a bridesmaid I took it upon myself to ask other guests to dance with me and kept the dance floor jiving for the couple so they wouldn’t return to the reception room and find a dull scene.
6. Learn to pick your battles. There may be things you don’t agree with or like but remember it’s not YOUR wedding, and to be kind with how you voice your opinions. Brides are under a lot of pressure and your playful ribbing or constant suggestions about how things could be better may not be appreciated. As Disneyland Brides there’s already a stigma and the last thing your bride friend wants to hear is nay-saying from their inner circle. However, if it’s a matter of money, then speak up. Perhaps your bride friend added a last minute cost that you weren’t prepared for or the dress they selected makes you feel less than fabulous. Let your friend know right away. It’s never a good idea to suffer in silence and your friendship has weathered all other storms before so it should be strong enough to be honest with each other now.
While I can’t guarantee following these tips will make your wedding planning experience entirely stress free, I hope these suggestions will help to you avoid the main pitfalls that I see come up from time to time. No matter what, remember to be kind and honest with each other. You were all friends before the wedding planning and hopefully you will remain friends long after the big day.!
Thanks again to Disneyland Bride Hope for these great tips! Do you have any suggestions on keeping the peace between brides and the bridal party?