Bridesmaidzillas

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A reader who asked to be identified as CTR (for good reason) is desperate to know how she should deal with belligerent bridesmaids:

I selected my bridal party nine months ago and the wedding is coming up fast. My best friend will be my MOH and my fiancťís sister will stand as my only other attendant. At eight months prior to my wedding, I sourced the bridesmaid dresses and told my BF and my future SIL that they could choose any dress made by the company, as long as they ordered something tea length in periwinkle silk. This should have been easy, as all of the dress styles offered can be ordered in that length and fabric. As of a month ago, my BF had not ordered a dress. When I asked why, she told me she didnít like anything from the company I chose and that she wanted to order from a local seamstress. The rush order deadline from said company is coming up fast, so I told her to do what she had to do. She has since ordered a dress.

My future SIL, however, still has not ordered a dress even though, at this point, there is a good chance a rush order will be impossible. First she said that she wanted to gain some weight. Then she wanted to see what my BF was ordering. I donít want to kick her out of my already tiny bridal party, but I do want her to dress the part of a bridesmaid. When Mr. CRT tried to stress how important this is to both of us, his sister blew up at him. I canít understand why she waited this long to order her dress. If she didnít want to be a bridesmaid, she could have told me that months ago and I would have understood. If she was too busy, I would have understood that, too. Now Iím just plain hurt and very, very angry. Is there anything at all I can do to fix this?

The image of Bridezilla is one that has been burned into the cultural consciousness by TV shows and books about brides-to-be who alienate family, friends, and shopkeepers in the quest for the perfect wedding. We seldom hear about Bridesmaidzillas. They are the sisters, cousins, and girlfriends who just canít be arsed to get involved…even when all that is asked of them is that they buy a dress and show up.

It happens more than you might think and not only to brides who make outrageous demands, like asking their maids to learn calligraphy so they can address 500 invitations or telling their MOH to organize multiple themed showers. There will, sadly, always be those poor, innocent brides-to-be who try to do their maids a favor and still get burned. To go with CTRís example, giving your bridesmaids the freedom to pick a dress they like often means dealing with indecisive or overly picky people who take their time.

Iím glad to hear that one of CTRís attendants ordered a dress and that it will more than likely get there in time for the wedding. But she isnít out of the woods just yet. The fact that the second attendant is Mr. CRTís sister makes the situation pretty dang complicated. I donít know what sort of relationship they have, but it sounds like the sister either doesnít care much about the wedding in general or just doesnít want to be a part of it. If CTR is okay with standing at the altar with a shrunken bridal party, she should consider giving the sister an out by letting her know that she can step down if she tells her NOW. She may respond by taking CTR up on her offer…in which case, problem solved.

She may, however, become offended at the suggestion or even offended that CTR feels sheís been slacking. Which, as more than half a year has gone by, she obviously has. But people will react however people want to react to the perfectly valid concerns of others. If the sister does get offended, CTR shouldnít apologize, as she has done nothing wrong. Heck, seeing that she was so kind as to allow her attendants to choose their own dresses, Iíd say she did everything right.

If CTRís future SIL still does want to be a part of the bridal party, I suggest that she give the slacking sister a very short deadline in which to fulfill her end of the deal, i.e. get a dress. If the sister doesnít meet the deadline, sheís out. It wonít be pretty, but it will prevent any ugly day-of wedding mishaps.

In conclusion, CTR, don’t let your anger get the best of you, but don’t let anyone walk all over you, either.

6 Responses to “Bridesmaidzillas”

  1. Ladyjenbug says:

    I’m a pretty half-a**ed bride-to-be, but my first thought was “just let her show up to the wedding wearing whatever — she’s going to be the stupid-looking one who feels out of place.” Of course, if CRT is concerned about how the pictures will look, this is not such a good option. Another possibility would be for CRT or her Mr. to talk to FMIL. My FSIL is a great bridesmaid, but if she weren’t, her mom would shame her into behaving pretty quickly!

  2. Dianasaur says:

    I’m thankfully marrying into a wonderful family, but I still gave my FSIL and other bridesmaids a copy of The Bridesmaid Guide by Kate Chynoweth (which I know you’ve mentioned in your blog). My FSIL was so grateful because she’s in a couple other weddings and has wanted to disagree with a Bridezilla, but the book’s advice helped her be tactful and hold her tongue when she should. It’s a funny book, and a great way to ask someone to be in your wedding.

  3. Pencils says:

    The good part is, that if she’s only having a MOH and a bridesmaid, it doesn’t really matter that much if they match, it could look deliberate if they don’t. The lazy bridesmaid could wear a black dress to match the tuxes and it would look planned. Maybe.

    I’m trying my best to NOT be a Bridezilla, although my patience has been sorely tried at times. Did you guys know that mixing script and block fonts on a wedding invitation is “tacky?” It was a surprise to me, but I risked it all and went ahead with the tacky invitations I designed. They were mailed out yesterday, and I’m hoping that my friends and loved ones still come to my wedding, that they find the strength to overlook the gaucheness of my invitations and attend our wedding.

  4. Never teh Bride says:

    OH MY GAWD, PENCILS, YOU SOOOO DIDN’T!

    Ha ha, only kidding. Good gravy, it’s just a font…and a font on something that most people will later toss or recycle! I’m glad you went ahead and did what you wanted to do…sometimes these old school rules are entirely ridiculous!

  5. La BellaDonna says:

    If, at this point, CRT (who has been most reasonable, IMO) doesn’t want her horrid SIL in the wedding party, she can say, with complete sweetness, “I’m so sorry that you won’t be in the wedding party itself; I was looking forward to it. However, I know that there are a lot of factors which have made it impossible for you to participate that actively, and I do understand.” She doesn’t have to state that the factors that have made it impossible include the SIL’s lousy attitude, and that she understands her SIL is a b*tch. She can, if she likes, add something to the effect that she’s happy to have her SIL just at the wedding, because her being the groom’s sister means she’ll always have a special place in their relationship – even though she’s not a member of the wedding party.

    I had actually encountered a similar problem with a bridesmaid. My bridesmaids were given very minor constraints: their gowns were to be a specific period, but any cut proper to that period was acceptable; they were to be a shade of blue, but the shade was up to them; and any trim was to be gold. The groomsmen had the same requirements, with the trim in silver (I was in white and gold, and the groom in white and silver).

    Now, one bridesmaid, several years before, was supposed to wear a particular gown as bridesmaid to another mutual friend (who was also in my wedding party, in fact). She didn’t manage to comply; she turned up at the church wearing only the underdress, which was black, which was not acceptable at that time. That bride was furious, but not the sort to turn her bridesmaid away at the church door. I therefore told Bad Bridesmaid that she really did need to wear the correct dress, that I loved her to pieces, and I would have no problems chucking her out the door if she did the same thing to me. As it turns out, a few weeks before the wedding, she did not have her dress (or her act) together, but she let me know, and she dropped out of the wedding party with minimal hard feelings, under the circumstances.

    My maid of honor, on the other hand, was a complete horror story. For this wedding, I was making my outfit; my groom’s outfit; my mother’s outfit; my sister’s outfit; and the outfit one of my brothers wore. Among other things, the MOH, who was a seamstress of longer standing than I at that point, ranted at me for not helping her make her dress. Because, of course, there weren’t two other seamstresses in the wedding party besides the two of us! Oh, wait – there were.

    Her wedding gift to us, as I recall, was a set of six placemats with napkins, in a poly-cotton print, purchased at a discount house.

  6. Never teh Bride says:

    I’ll tell you, La BellaDonna, I am amazed at this point at how many horror stories I have heard. Sometimes weddings bring out the best in people…but much of the time, they do the opposite!