Bridezilla? Who? Me? Of course, most brides want to avoid being high-maintenance. But with all the pressure of planning a wedding, you're bound to take some of it out on your bridesmaids or simply let things fall through the cracks. In order to be the best bride and friend you can be, we asked former bridesmaids to share their subtle — and sometimes obvious — wedding pet peeves. Here are eight things you didn't realize were annoying your bridesmaids, plus practical tips for avoiding these mistakes.
1. Expecting All Your Bridesmaids to Be BFFs Automatically
Why it's annoying: Chances are many of your bridesmaids have never met. When you throw together strangers with various personalities sans any introduction, awkward email chains and bridesmaids tiffs can result about anything from the trivial bachelorette party favors to the important wedding speeches.
How to avoid it: Once you select your bridal party, get everyone together for a casual, low-pressure brunch to break the ice. If you can't get people together in person, then start an email chain introducing everyone and offering some context for how you know each person and what she's all about. It will help break down the initial uncomfortableness and help your best friends understand why each other is important to you.
2. Pretending the Bridesmaids' Dresses Can Be Worn Again
Why it's annoying: They've heard it before. You might think your style is classic and universally flattering, but chances are they won't be wearing that dress again. Suggesting otherwise will just make them roll their eyes.
How to avoid it: Instead of implying you're doing them a favor by picking a dress they can wear again, simply thank them for participating in your big day and wearing a dress you absolutely love. If you do want to increase the chances they will in fact reuse the dress, then go with a black dress or perhaps pick a color theme and let them choose the dress they like in that color.
3. Having Multiple Expensive Events
Why it's annoying: Asking your bridesmaids to pay for multiple flights, hotels, and activities on top of a pricey bridesmaid dress, shoes, and jewelry is asking them to resent you.
How to avoid it: If you're having a destination wedding, then opt for a local bachelorette weekend. Also, suggest single bridesmaids go in on a room or rental car together. And make some things optional, like the hair and makeup, pre-wedding mani/pedis, or spa treatments during the bachelorette party. Meanwhile, be aware if one bridesmaid bears more of the burden than others. If she lives out of town, for example, give her a pass on coming to a shower or other parties.
4. Saying "I Really Don't Care What You Wear"
Why it's annoying: Let's be honest — you care a little bit, and saying you don't is like asking your bridesmaids to read your mind. You may think you're laid-back, but really you're just stressing out your bridesmaids, who will worry about disappointing you with their appearances on such an important day.
How to avoid it: Send a clear email giving your bridesmaids direction. It's also your chance to outline the things you really do not care about whatsoever, like their nail polish or jewelry choices. Even if you want them to pick their own dress, they'll appreciate some insight on the color, style, or on how formal you'd like it to be. And consider creating and sharing a Pinterest board for inspiration. Communicating upfront will put every one on the same page, and they can reference the email instead of bombarding you with one-off questions about their outfits.
5. Giving Last-Minute Instructions
Why it's annoying: You may be knee-deep in the details of your wedding, but if you don't share things like the time of the rehearsal or that you'd like them to make speeches, then your bridesmaids will feel overwhelmed when the wedding finally comes.
How to avoid it: Email an itinerary for the wedding weekend, including an hour-by-hour breakdown for the wedding day, a couple weeks in advance. That way your wedding party knows where they need to be and what they need to do. And if you expect them to do a fun dance when the bridal party is introduced, then make sure you mention it before they're standing in line with nothing prepared.
6. Treating Your Single Bridesmaids Differently
Why it's annoying: Sitting your single bridesmaids at the unofficial singles' table is just as bad as getting stuck at the kids' table. It feels patronizing and as if you think she can't hang with the grown-up couples at the party.
How to avoid it: Your unattached bridesmaid would probably enjoy herself more sitting with people she knows, even if the rest of the table is filled with couples. Keep in mind that just because you've found happily ever after, your wedding is not the time to make sure your bridesmaid does too. And if you only have a one or two single friends, then consider sparing them the embarrassment of a bouquet toss.
7. Maintaining a "Bride Knows Best" Attitude
Why it's annoying: You can't expect your bridesmaids to change who they are. It will peeve your friends if you ask them to tone down their makeup or skip the spray tan, if those are things that make them feel good about themselves. This know-it-all attitude will also grate on your bridesmaids when you insist your mom-bridesmaid leave her kid at home for the entire weekend, or tell your single friend that she'll have more fun if she doesn't bring a date.
How to avoid it: It's OK to want to have a clear vision for your wedding, but you have to remember to treat your bridesmaids as autonomous adult women. Maybe you want an adult-only wedding, but it's your friends' choice if she wants to bring her baby along for a destination wedding and get a sitter during the main event. And if your bridesmaid really wants to bring the new guy she's seeing, then, if you can, you should bend your plus-one rule for her since she's putting much more time and resources into your wedding than your average guest. When it comes to their appearance on the day, make sure you explain that you want everyone to have a uniform appearance with some humility, instead of acting like an all-powerful dictator.
8. Being Mean on Your Wedding Day
Why it's annoying: Your bridesmaids are there to support you, but you cannot take out your stress unreasonably on them. If you yell at her for stepping on your dress, then she probably won't try to give you that hug next time.
How to avoid it: If you need something last-minute, then consider a text with a few friendly emojis rather than a call, since you might be tempted to get snappy. And be sure to eat a solid breakfast before you start getting ready — hunger can lead to crankiness.
Be sure to check out: 9 Things Bridesmaids Don't Realize Annoy the Bride.