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How to Handle a Bad Bridesmaid

Sure, some Bridezillas might get crazy when putting together their wedding day, but there are times they’re simple driven there by a bridesmaid who is making her life harder (and the planning process a lot less fun). Whether she’s MIA in the months or weeks leading up to the big day, or tries to make everything all about her, it can be hurtful when a friend doesn’t seem happy for you during this already stressful time.

“Sometimes it’s a jealousy factor, but more often than not it’s not about the bride when a bridesmaid doesn’t act their best,” says Sharon Naylor, author of numerous wedding books, including The Bridesmaid Handbook ( “But many times, there are other stresses at play here—financial, work, relationships—and your wedding is bringing it all to the surface.”

Yet you still have a wedding to plan, so how can you deal with your maid’s less-than-stellar behavior?

Bad Behavior: She’s not helping you out with any wedding duties

Despite what a Bridezilla might think, a bridesmaid’s job isn’t to be your personal assistant from the moment you get engaged to the wedding day. Choose a few activities you’d love your maids to help out with—coming to a gown fitting, stuffing invites, putting together favors, etc.—and ask who would like to do what. This way, everyone feels like they have a choice in the matter and they’re just not being ordered around by you. “You also have to realize that a bridesmaid might have other things going on in her life that might prevent her from doing everything you want,” says Naylor. “Try to be understanding, and if she’s consistently MIA, ask her if there’s something she needs to talk about with you. You want to honor the friendship and show her you care—this is a relationship that will be important long after the wedding day.”

Bad Behavior: She’s complaining about costs.

Everyone knows being in a bridal party is an expensive endeavor, but you still want to be considerate of everyone’s financial situations. “Invite your bridesmaids over to your house for lunch and let them know that you’re going to do everything you can to keep wedding costs down,” says Naylor. You might want to shop around for bridesmaid dresses beforehand so you can give your girls a heads up on what they can expect. And talk to your maid of honor about keeping the budget on other activities—the bridal shower, the bachelorette party—low as well.

What if a particular bridesmaid continues to complain? “Sit down and ask her what’s really going on,” says Naylor. “Say something like, ‘I’m concerned about you and I don’t want the wedding to be a burden for you. What can I do to help?’” But don’t offer or agree to pay for anything, warns Naylor—unless you’re prepared to do it for everyone else in the bridal party, too.

Bad Behavior: She doesn’t like the dress.

When it comes to fashion, you simply can’t make everyone happy. Every woman has a different body type and style, and while you can try to choose a dress that looks good on everyone, you might still get a negative comment about cut, color and the like. If all of the bridesmaids except one love the dress, then move on. Or you can try to compromise by choosing the color and letting them choose the style. “If a bridesmaid keeps complaining about the dress, she’s either stressed out about something else or she wants out of the wedding,” says Naylor. “So you might have to talk to her about what is at the core of her behavior. If she says she can’t or doesn’t want to be in the bridal party anymore, then you have to respect her decision. Don’t try to guilt her into still being a bridesmaid.”

Bad Behavior: She has a tantrum on the wedding day.

Her hair doesn’t look right, she still doesn’t like the dress, she hates the groomsmen escorting her down the aisle – whatever is causing her to pitch a fit is not your problem on the big day. “This is where the Maid of Honor needs to step in and calm her down,” says Naylor. “This is your day and you’ll have enough on your mind—you don’t need to deal with anyone else’s problems.”

Bad Behavior: She has a little too much fun at the reception.

Let it go, says Naylor. “You might think a bridesmaid’s bad behavior at the wedding is a poor reflection on you, but it’s not. In the end, the only person she’s embarrassing is herself.”