Weddings are stressful. With all that planning, money being spent and effort put into executing the upcoming big day, the bride and groom to-be already have their plates full enough.
So add an overbearing diva bridesmaid into the mix and you’ve got the straw that could potentially break the figurative wedding camel’s back.
She (or sometimes he) is known as the “bridesmaid-zilla,” and they have the ability to induce major anxiety and make the planning process more trouble than what it should be.
What is a bridesmaid-zilla?
Put simply, bridesmaid-zillas don’t intentionally mean any real harm, but there are varying degrees of such bridesmaids that can really wreak havoc and put a damper on weddings.
For Tracey Manailescu, co-founder of the Wedding Planners Institute of Canada (WPIC), a bridesmaid-zilla can be someone with good intentions.
“With bridesmaid-zillas, I think it’s truly just protective friends who really want something to be involved in,” says Manailescu. “I think they’re just really looking out for the couple and want to give something of themselves to make sure things are running properly. It’s that protective friendship thing.”
She adds, “There is absolutely a difference between an involved bridesmaid and a bridesmaid-zilla though. It’s that point where things go too far and the bridesmaid isn’t listening to the couple and what they want.”
On the other end of the spectrum, however, high-handed bridesmaids may be a little less forgiving in their approach, says Deniz Kemal, founder of Dolce Events & Wedding Planning Services.
“ when one bridesmaid feels that they have control of everything and feel as if everyone else is inferior,” she says. “These bridesmaids can most definitely harm a wedding. In some cases, if pushed far enough, some bridesmaids will drop out of the wedding or just refuse to assist, leaving the bride stranded. By being condescending and just downright rude, other girls in the wedding party – and sometimes groomsmen – will feel the need to be less involved. This will cause the bride and groom to deal with everything and may even cause trauma between them.”
And anyone can become a bridesmaid-zilla – even those who you least expect.
The signs you may have a bridesmaid-zilla on your hands
While that doesn’t quite narrow it down, there are some more concrete signs that may help alert couples to potential bridesmaid-zillas. According to Manailescu, they are:
- Gossipers: People who love to gossip, or have been known to gossip in the past, may cause some issues within a bridal party.
- Money issues: If a bridesmaid doesn’t have the funds to be a bridesmaid. This can present as a problem as they may feel held back, which will stress them out and exacerbate problems.
- Taker-overs: If you see a bridesmaid is taking over dress fittings or other appointments, this can be a major red flag. They may only try on dresses they’ve chosen from the racks, or have a lot of opinions on the bride’s choice in wedding gowns.
Other things to look out for, Kemal says, are:
- Getting complaints from other bridal party members
- Witnessing the potential bridesmaid-zilla cutting off other bridesmaids during meetings and appointments, speaking poorly of others or putting down the ideas of others
- If a bride notices a divide between the wedding party, that could signal problems with a certain bridesmaid
Tips on how to deal with a bossy bridesmaid
So what’s a bride and groom to do?
Avoiding the problem first starts with who you choose to include in your wedding party, Manailescu says.
“Make sure the people you choose are able to give their time and effort that will be needed from them over the next year – so make sure it’s not an extremely busy person that wouldn’t be able to come to meetings, parties and dress fittings because that’s just going to set everyone off,” she says. “And, of course, make sure they’re able to afford being a bridesmaid as well.”
Once the wedding party is chosen, both Manailescu and Kemal say it’s a good idea to set up a meeting with their wedding party before planning is underway. This will set the tone for what the couple expects from their bridal party, as well as establish some ground rules.
This is also the couple’s opportunity to take charge and delegate certain jobs to each member of the bridal party. Make it fair, Kemal says, so no one thinks one is better than the other. That way everyone has their own focus and no one is taking over the whole shebang.
“Stress will always seem too much, especially when it comes to a wedding,” Kemal says. “Trying to please everyone involved will cause anyone to break down. I would suggest to start off with talking to them as a warning before just removing them from the wedding party. Explain to them that their behaviour is not what you had in mind when planning this wedding.”
And if that doesn’t work…
Should the problem rear its ugly head anyway, it’s time for the couple to start thinking of their options and perhaps make some tough decisions – like removing said bridesmaid.
Remember though, that if a couple should choose the route of firing a bridesmaid – or any other member of their wedding party – feelings are likely to be hurt as a result, Manailescu and Kemal say.
“When removing someone from the wedding party, there is always a high risk that the bride and the ex-bridesmaid will not have the same relationship again,” Kemal says. “But then again, were they really that good of a friend if they treated the ones you love with disrespect?”
To minimize the potential damage as much as possible, Manailescu says to keep the conversation calm and polite.
“The bride and groom are the most important people there and we do not want them stressed out,” she says. “So if a situation really can’t be resolved, then it’s time to let them go. But do that in a sit-down meeting so it’s not cold – not over the phone or by e-mail – so the harsh feelings don’t come out.”
Have you ever had to deal with a bridesmaid-zilla? If so, tell us your experience. How did you handle the situation? Did it all work out in the end?
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