J., before I dive into your question, let me talk about bridal parties and dates. I’ll meet you at the end of the post, okay?
If a member of your bridal party wants to bring date you don’t like… well, there’s not a lot you can do about it. Wanna know the best way to shatter a friendship and break up your bridal party? Tell one bridesmaid they can’t bring a date and let another bring one. OR, you can let the bridesmaid bring a date, but just not the one she wants. If any of the bridal party gets a plus one, they all get a plus one. Yes, even your single bridesmaids. Trust your friends to not bring someone inappropriate or who hates you. You can let them in on how busy they’ll be the day of the wedding and how you think their date will be bored, but in the end, short of flat-out banning their date and causing a ruckus, you’ll just have to accept the situation and move on. Look, as much as I dislike the idea of a bridesmaid bringing a date who is not friends with the couple to a wedding, the “no ring, no bring” rule for the bridal party I’ve seen batted around wedding boards is worse. For those unfamiliar (I hope you all are blessedly unfamiliar), it’s the idea that unless they are married or engaged, bridesmaids and groomsmen aren’t allowed to bring a date. Unless the date is a terrible human being, you are not going to notice they are there. (If they are a terrible human being, keep reading to J’s advice.) If the idea of this date eating your canapés just tears you up inside, have a talk with your friend and explain to them why you’d rather them not be there. Just be prepared for the conversation to turn uncomfortable; you not wanting their date there is actually a judgement on their relationship, and that will be upsetting. Besides, isn’t dictating their clothes, shoes, jewelry and hairstyle enough? (Kidding! Mostly.)
Now. Back to J.:
J., your situation is different because your maid of honor is in a dangerously bad relationship. Asking her to choose a different date is certainly not a good option, but neither is expecting you to grin and bear him being at your wedding, considering the past. This is a bigger issue than your wedding and one that might be worth risking your friendship for. Talk to a crisis counselor and see how you should handle speaking to her about this and her situation. The last thing you want to do is turn this into a “pick me or him,” or put her in a potentially dangerous situation, having to tell her abusive partner that he’s not welcome at your wedding. Having a counselor guide you through the best ways to approach this will go a long way in keeping your friendship intact and helping keep her safe. And that’s the most important thing: helping keep her safe, and helping her find her way. Because the real issue here is her (and her children’s) health and well-being.
Your turn, Team Practical! What are your thoughts on bridal party members bringing dates that aren’t friends with the couple? Mental health professionals, do you recommend an organization that J. can speak to in order to help her maid of honor?
If you would like to ask Team Practical a question please don’t be shy! You can email Alyssa at: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com. If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted. Though we prefer if you make up a totally ridiculous sign-off like conflicted and rageful but deeply in love in Detroit (CARBDILID, duh). You don’t HAVE to use a sign-off; but if you do, we will secretly think of you as one of the cool kids.