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Ask Team Practical: Bridesmaid For A Spoiled Bride


How on earth do I toast this woman?

by Liz Moorhead, Ask Team Practical

Ask Team Practical: Bridesmaid For A Spoiled Bride | A Practical Wedding

Q: I am the MOH for a family member who is getting married in the fall. Very long, dramatic, emotional story short, we (the other bridesmaids, and mothers of the couple) planned what we thought was a beautiful bridal shower for the bride. We worked well together, made lots of decisions democratically, and divided the tasks to be completed. The bride got wind of what we planned (read: prodded each of us until she collected all the details), then literally pitched a fit. She told me she was hurt that she wasn’t included in the planning of the shower, and thought it should have been a collaborative effort between her and me, a bonding experience, and that the shower should match the wedding more. I was hurt because when I asked for input, she gave me none, and I thought we did a great job planning something she would love! In the end, all the shower details (menu, drinks, favors, invitations, etc.) were changed to match what she wanted. The bride’s mother felt so bad about us having to re-plan everything that she and the bride’s father paid for the whole shower. 

My question is this: what the hell do I say during my toast at the wedding in the fall? I have known this woman since we were children, and she has always been spoiled, but this wedding planning business has brought out the worst of it. Everything I have planned—the shower, bachelorette, etc.—has been re-planned by her. I am her verbal punching bag and have taken millions of passive aggressive sucker punches over the past few months. I’d love to use the toast to jab her back, and make a few jokes about the stressful planning process, but I know that will only upset her and give her a reason to be angry with me the day of the wedding. I need to write a very generic toast, that she cannot possibly find fault in, but I don’t even know where to begin, or if that is possible. Any suggestions, on dealing with a very difficult, emotionally abusive bride? Or how to toast to her and her new husband that I really don’t know very well? 

Sincerely, 

Exasperated Maid of Honor

A: Dear EMOH,

This is the stuff of nightmares for bridesmaids everywhere. You always hear these stories, and hope against hope that they’re not really real, yeah?

Snarking during the toast is a terrible idea, as wonderful as it might feel in the moment. Sorry miss, but you know that. Taking the high road is always better for your soul in the end. (Though please, imagine the toast you’d like to give at your bitterest moments in great detail. Just keep it in your head, where it belongs. No making the speech, but also no emailing about it. That stuff has a way of coming back to haunt you.)

The problem here isn’t just that she’s been sort of picky (and okay, maybe a little bitchy) but also that she didn’t voice her expectations. She didn’t tell you she wanted to be involved in the shower planning (an unusual request, but all the more reason for her to voice it). She didn’t mention hoping that the shower decor would match the vibe of the wedding day. So, moving forward, don’t make the same mistake. Passive aggressively joking about her attitude at the wedding is a bad call, not just because it would piss off someone who seems ultra piss-off-able. It’s the wrong choice because it doesn’t actually address or resolve anything.

If all that’s left is the wedding day, it may be too late to change things. At this point, you might be better off just diving in for those last six hours, and then shake it all off. But, if she’s continuing to talk to you in a way that isn’t appropriate, or tear into you for something that isn’t your fault, you’re allowed to say, “Please don’t.” You’re allowed to voice expectations about how you’d like to be treated (even if those expectations are seemingly obvious).

Whether or not you address it at this pointthat’s your call. But you do still have that pesky speech to make. How do you do it? Say something innocent, and get the eff out of there. “So happy for you both,” mic drop, shove some cake into your face. Once this wedding is over, you’re finally freed from caring about planning things to her exact, unvoiced, perfectionist expectations. Just get it the hell over with.

It’s actually surprisingly easy to say something lovely and sort of neutral, without lying or sinking into snark. Meg suggests a story from your childhood, which is easy to make both funny and poignant (good speeches are either funny or poignantbonus points if you hit both). Otherwise, try to think about her good qualities. (Come on, you know she has some or else you’d have never agreed to be in her bridal party.) Talk about those without saying anything that is an outright lie. You could offer some encouragement and advice from your own experience in relationships, or you can stick to some hopes and dreams for theirs. Coming up with something nicey-nice is easy! (Check out our easy guide to toast writing here, and feel free to make yours less personal.)

Squelching that resentment is… less easy. But I have faith that you can do it! Then you can come back here and get a pat on the back for a job well done. Deal?

Team Practical, how do you deal with a demanding bride? How do you make a good toast about someone you’re less than happy with?

If you would like to ask Team Practical a question please don’t be shy! You can email Liz at: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com. If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted. Though it really makes our day when you come up with a clever sign-off!

Liz Moorhead

Liz is an illustrator and writer who paints custom stationery and types up impassioned opinions about weddings, etiquette, feminism and motherhood (usually while shaking a fist and mumbling expletives around mouthfuls of cheese fries). Her spare time is spent sipping bourbon with her husband and playing Don’t Throw That in the Toilet with her son.

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  • SarahG

    I totally agree with Liz that digging deep to find a nice anecdote not only makes a good toast but may help you soften towards her (not that she doesn’t deserve… not softness, but really being pissed off is such a lousy feeling to carry around with you). If you can’t find one, comment on the wedding itself — the nice people from all parts of their lives that care so much about them, the beautiful vows, the time she/he/they spent putting together a thoughtful party that would make everyone feel comfortable. You can probably find some good things to say about that that are true and also won’t feel like you’re having to say much you aren’t feeling. Also: keeping it short, because long toasts are the worst. Nobody will mind if it’s short. Good luck!

  • Jessica

    My best friend used the “Regina George” description speech from Mean Girls to start off the toasts (and had a bunch of our college friends stand up to deliver lines like “I hear her hair is insured for a million dollars,” and “she punched me in the face once, it was awesome!”) I don’t think my bridesmaid was mad at me, but I could see maybe using that (if you’re both mean girls fans) as a subtle yet hilarious way to call out what a Plastic she’s being before getting to the fun “this is why we’re friends” anecdote that ends with you wishing her a life of Non-Plasticy goodness. If you’re not Mean Girls fans then this comment has no point.

  • Sarah E

    Go read the Hallmark wedding cards at the grocery store for “generic but lovely” inspiration. If I had that much resentment, I’d have a hard time even hearkening back to childhood of yore. But generic is incredibly easy. Make significant eye contact with the super sentimental aunt, or cry-at-the-drop-of-a-hat cousin, and get them sniffing with your “may all your dreams come true” Hallmark speech, and likely the people around them will start nodding their heads and think how lovely the toast was, too.

    Having written an (unused) toast for one current friend to give at an ex-friend’s wedding, it’s totally possible to write or say something nice about people you don’t feel nicely towards. Just keep it surface-friendly, like for any acquaintance.

    • http://karenmadrone.wordpress.com/ Karen

      Yep, Hallmark is the way to go. I agree.

  • Chalk

    I was in a similar situation. I kept my speech very short, and added somewhere in there, “I hope today is everything you hoped it would be.” Add typical best of luck, so happy for you both, and then I handed the mic over. I didn’t give away how resentful of the bride I was by the time the wedding rolled around, but I was satisfied reading between my own lines. I kept things generic, impersonal, but positive. Never give people ammunition to use against you, it’s never worth it.

  • A.

    This is tangential, but along the lines of a (potentially, but not meaning to be!) spoiled bride. I want to see if people think this would be good, insulting, etc. My fiance and I are hoping to have a joint bachelor and bachelorette party. However, we’re really aware of how much money our wedding crew will be putting into this, so we would like to subsidize the cost of the accommodations, food, and booze, since we can afford it and we want to make the party as inexpensive for our friends as possible.

    Obviously, we could just throw the party ourselves, but our best man and maid of honor really want to take the reins in planning and organizing. So would it be totally obnoxious if we told them that we would like to contribute X amount to the festivities, with the expectation that it will be primarily spent on the above basic items? Or is that being too much of a control freak? We aren’t contributing so we can steamroll them, we just want to be sensitive to rising costs. But maybe we should just butt out altogether? Would you have appreciated that if you were organizing a bachelor/ette?

    • A.

      (I should note that X isn’t an insignificant amount, which might make it trickier than even if we were like “Hey, we’d like to contribute a few hundred bucks” — we don’t want to seem like we’re throwing around our socioeconomic status or make anyone feel like what they would have put together wouldn’t have been up to our standards.

      Also, everyone has already agreed on renting a house and most people will have to travel, so “accommodations” are definitely something that would have to happen no matter what)

      • Amy March

        I think just paying for the house rental would be nice and not offensive to suggest.

        • KC

          I totally agree with this, and would note that if some/all people are paying to travel to be there, that’s also a good excuse/reason for pitching in financially (on the “we appreciate you all being willing to spend time and money to be there, so we want to contribute, too” sort of front).

          Also, no one (other than the organizers) needs to know who’s paying for specific costs. For all anyone else knows, the house might be a free loan from someone’s great-aunt Agatha or something – no financial rubbing-in required. :-)

      • Natalie

        It sounds like offering to pay for the house rental is the way to go. If you want to budget more than that cost, maybe offer to pay for the “stocking” of the house – booze and groceries you guys will consume while at the house. That seems like a generous offer to me, and not showing off your money.

        • thefluter

          Heartily agree with this. Talk to the main party planners, and let them know that since everyone is traveling, you’d like to cover the cost of the house rental and some basic food/drink for it as a thank you to everyone spending money to celebrate with you. That way, the amount of money you’re spending never comes up (I find that people grossly underestimate how much food and booze for large groups costs, unless they’re paying for it).

          If they refuse, I think you can reply once with “Well, we’ve budgeted X amount (whatever you feel comfortable disclosing — maybe it’s not the full amount you originally planned to spend), that we’d like to give you guys to spend on whatever you want for the party.” If they refuse again, you just have to take them at their word that they’ve got it covered.

    • Liz

      I don’t think the offer is rude or control freakish. It’s a very sweet thought.

      But be prepared for the chance that they might not accept. Having been involved in planning a few of these things (while being broke!) I don’t know that I’d ever take money from the couple.

      • Lawyerette510

        While I don’t think I would have ever taken the money if it was offered just to me. I know I’ve been planning before where I’ve had to cut things out/ down in scope because the consensus among participants is a total budget of X. There are times where I have been able to eat the difference between X and Y myself and did to make it so everyone in the bridal party who wanted to participate could etc; but there were also times where I and no one else in the party could eat that difference between X and Y so as a result we stayed somewhere less-great, cut out activities etc. In those second cases I certainly would have taken the money if the bride and groom offered it, not because they should offer it, but because it would make the weekend/ party better and save money for everyone.

    • Lawyerette510

      I think that this is a lovely gesture. And saying to the organizers that you want to contribute X to the festivities budget to be shared equally among the participants isn’t controlling if you’re not telling them how to spend it (more on accommodations, less on food etc). I’d approach it like you’d want anyone who is helping you pay for your wedding to approach that: Here is X amount for you to use on this event as you see fit, but I would like it if you put it towards the basics so it alleviates costs for all participants.

    • Nell

      You could simplify everything by putting that X dollars toward the accommodations alone (I know that if someone was paying for my housing I’d be doubly generous on food and booze!)

      You could also tell your best man and maid of honor that you would like to “sponsor” a big dinner out – whatever that dinner ends up being.

      If you put it in terms of “We don’t want any of our friends worrying about cash when they could be dancing their butts off/doing whatever this party entails” I think that you’ll get a positive response.

  • Megera

    I was super pissed off with my sister when she got married, but found that by the time we had actually got to the point of toasts most of my anger had burned away and I was left with mostly nice feelings. I’d had a chat with another bridesmaid in the ladies room about how my sister had always seen herself ‘leading the way’ as the oldest sibling, so I just named a bunch of things that we had both done (and she had done first).

    A wedding toast is not the time to air grievances (that’s for Festivus) or try to change anybody’s mind. Best to be as nice as you can, and limit contact until you aren’t pissed off any more. Also, it might be worth a conversation about WHY she felt the need to be such a pain over the shower: was she hurt that she wasn’t involved? Did she want a chance to bond with you? Is she scared about being married, or worried people won’t take her seriously? If you feel like discussing this (which you may not, given how frustrated you sound), you may find that she has a lot of feelings that she hasn’t been able to express that are instead coming out as emotional abuse.

    • Dell_Griffith

      +100 for the Festivus reference

  • Laura

    My advice: focus the toast on her (after all, it seems like that’s a topic she’s more than happy to hear about), rather than on your relationship with her (which is probably going to sound forced). Rather than feeling like you’re endorsing the bride and all of her accompanying behavior by going on about what great friends you are and how much you love her, simply keep it simple, sweet, and generically pleasant.

    “In all the years I’ve known Bride [insert cute, relevant childhood anecdote if you feel up to it], I’ve never seen her so excited about anything as she has been to marry Partner. Together, they worked so hard to bring their loved ones together to celebrate this momentous occasion, and it has been a truly beautiful day. I think I speak for everyone when I say that we were all touched to watch them exchange vows and demonstrate their deep commitment to one another. Please join me in wishing Bride and Partner all of the happiness in the world as they begin the next stage of their lives together.” And then toast.

    Also, it’s entirely possible that no matter how sweet, heartfelt, or loving your toast, the bride will be dissatisfied with what you said. Given her past behavior, it’s likely that she has mentally scripted a toast for you that includes hilarious anecdotes and effusive displays of love (all of which no doubt match the magical wedding theme she has in mind). So no matter how much time you spend trying to craft a polite, generic, not lying-through-your-teeth toast, she may very well hate it anyway.

    • Lawyerette510

      Perfect advice right here!

    • Hannah

      “Also, it’s entirely possible that no matter how sweet, heartfelt, or loving your toast, the bride will be dissatisfied with what you said.”

      That’s a great point, so I’d add that the LW should probably ask the bride if there’s anything she wants to hear in the toast. It’s possible she pulls another shower, and has everything she wanted planned but refuses to vocalize it, but at least that base is covered!

  • Amy March

    Think of your toast in 3 parts:

    1- who am I and why am I talking (I’ve known bride since we were three year olds plotting how to steal all the icing flowers on the birthday cake)

    2- isn’t this couple nice? (It’s been a joy for me to see bride fall in love with such a wonderful man. [insert nice anecdote here]).

    3- drinking time (pls join me in raising a glass to the bride, groom, and many happy years to come. To the bride and groom).

    • thefluter

      I think this is the way to go, honestly. Keep it short and sweet. You can be honest without being totally honest about your current feelings for the bride (“We met as kids and were always getting into trouble together, the bride lights up whenever she sees her groom, the bride looks beautiful today, the wedding was beautiful, cheers to the bride and groom.”)

      • lauren

        I would second all of the above and add that the process of writing the speech and of thinking back on your shared history/cool stuff she’s done in the past and honestly reflecting might help you move past what an insane bitch she’s being. The outcome you want is to get out of this whole thing relatively unscathed and you might find that giving a lovely toast is just the way to do this. End it all on a high note, not for her but for you.

      • vegankitchendiaries

        So agree. We had PERFECTLY short and sweet toasts from our appointed speech givers (BM, MOH). I advised them to try and keep it under 3 minutes. Anyone who’s been at a wedding where the speech goes on for 10+ minutes knows it’s almost always totally boring for 99% of the audience.

        • anon for this!

          recently sat through a SEVERAL MINUTE speech by a FOG that was the most bro-tastic, my son is the sickest athlete around, and his new hottt wife basically is yet another trophy, speech i’ve ever heard. i was kind of glad i’d had 2.5 glasses of wine already because instead of feeling stabby i was just dying laughing (quietly) into hubs’ shoulder. but later i felt stabby (we were on the bride’s side…she’s much more than a trophy. i think he meant well but it was NOT executed well).

    • Meg Keene

      Magic.

  • Lawyerette510

    ” I need to write a very generic toast, that she cannot possibly find fault in, but I don’t even know where to begin, or if that is possible.” If she is being hyper-critical and an ungrateful control-freak, which it sounds like she is (I’m sorry but that is so rude to insist on re-planning a shower, that is a gift that you graciously accept and shut the f up about if it didn’t match your colors), then it may not be possible to write a toast she cannot find fault it. Because of this, I don’t think your goal should be to write a toast that she can’t fault, but instead to write a toast that captures whatever positive feelings/ memories/ wishes you have for her and her spouse. Based on her recent behavior, that toast may be short and omit a lot of things, but if you give a toast from a place of love and kindness and generosity of spirit (which clearly you have that kind of place to come from because you are putting up with all of this nonsense from her) then whether she likes it or not, it will be morally unimpeachable and everyone else will think it nice, so she won’t have any sympathetic listeners about how you didn’t meet her expectations for the speech.

    If you want to try to salvage the relationship, after the wedding and honeymoon are over and she’s had some time to move past all those intense emotions (and maybe even see she was an ungrateful bitch), I would talk to her about what she did that was hurtful to you, as I know I wouldn’t be able to move past this kind of behavior without talking about it.

  • Elaine

    What about. . . the reverse situation?

    I am kind of regretting asking one particular person to be a bridesmaid. We’re old friends, she gets along swimmingly with my fiancee, we have had a lot of good times together. But, I forgot that she has a completely terrible temper – especially around my MOH. I am afraid that her tendency to stir things up will stress me out – but she’s already in the wedding party. . . so I guess I am honoring our friendship? It feels very, very strange. I’m worried about all the events she’ll be a part of and how I’ll feel about having her there when our friendship feels sort of rocky. Anyone have experience with this?

    • Liz

      I think it would probably depend on if any run-ins have happened yet. If so, pull her aside, say, “It stresses me out when XYZ happens,” sandwiched between niceties and encouragement that you asked her to be your bridesmaid because you enjoy her so much and were looking forward to having her help you keep calm.

    • Megera

      I’d say hope for the best and expect the worst. Make it clear that you need and trust her to be supportive when you are stressed… but have a backup plan in case something dramatic comes up that you can’t handle. Do you have another bridesmaid or family member who can step in if things seem like they might be going to a bad place?

      • Lawyerette510

        Yes, this sounds like you might need an “emotional bodyguard” for this one bridesmaid for the day-of. Someone who has a head’s up on the potential situation and who you can count on to step in if needed. That way you can trust that it’s not your job to deal with a situation day-of.

      • Elaine

        I actually have thought about adding more bridesmaids to the wedding party to put some distance between the two women who don’t get along. Is that lunacy? Is it too late? My wedding is a year away.

        • Megera

          Doesn’t seem like a terrible idea, but it would depend on how much time you want to spend with your bridal brigade. I think the only time my bridesmaids and I will all be together will be at a shower, at the bachelorette and at the wedding; we’re busy ladies and communicate mostly by email. If you can swing that, your ladies should be able to suck up/not share with you any bad feelings they may have.

          • Elaine

            That’s a good point. I’m not even having a shower – so we’re talking bachelorette, rehearsal dinner, wedding morning, wedding evening. The bridesmaids aren’t going to be the ONLY people at any of those events, anyway – and there is one friend in particular who is amazing at smoothing out other girls’ drama. I can probably muddle through. I just wish there wasn’t so much muddling to be done!

          • Megera

            You could always try to psych out the troublesome ‘maid by pulling her aside and telling her that you are super worried about there being a lot of drama, and you are depending on her to help calm everyone down for you. Might not work, of course — there’s always the chance that she’ll be VERY dramatic trying to get everyone to calm down!

  • Berkshire

    If you are really worried about her finding fault with your toast, and you’d like to get her to realize that her hyper-critical-ness has hurt you, perhaps go to her and say something like “I have been struggling with writing my toast, and it seems, between the shower and the bachelorette, you haven’t be satisfied with anything I’ve done. So what would you like me to put in my toast, because I don’t want to disappoint you again?”

    Of course, this has a couple possible negative outcomes – she happily writes your toast for you (yuck), or she gets offended that you are calling her controlling (even if you are careful about the wording, she might get the point a little too clearly). But just maybe, it gets her to apologize for how she’s been acting, and get you both to a happier place where you can compose your own toast without resorting to hallmark platitudes.

  • Natalie

    I put off writing my MOH toast for my sister’s wedding until the night before the wedding (I don’t suggest doing that). I had brainstormed ideas, but not really written it yet. And so of course my sister and I had a big fight the night before her wedding. We are very different people who have long had trouble getting along, and the stress of crazy relatives in town, wedding planning, etc., caused her to snap at my mom and then me to snap at her for being a brat to our mom. Big door-slamming, yelling, middle school-style fight with tears ensued (although no hair pulling). Then I had to go write the toast. It was hard, but calming down to write a nice speech about her made me not made anymore, and reminded me why I love my little sister, even though she’s sometimes a brat.

    Focus on why the bride is your friend when you’re trying to write your toast. Focus on your dreams and well wishes for her. And if you need to, make it short and sweet and quote a few lines of a sappy song she likes.

  • Anon

    Maybe you could just ask the bride if she has any thoughts about the speech? If she gets snarky again maybe you can ask her if something is bothering her or if she’s upset about something. When you ask if she’s upset it may catch her off guard if she doesn’t realize she’s taking things out on you. It could open up a great conversation….or she could just be a spoiled brat about it, but you’ll never regret taking the high road.

    Best of luck and if all else fails, go short, sweet, and generic!

  • Sarah

    Why not just have her read it and sign off on it in advance? She seems to be totally okay doing parts of the wedding process that the bride typically isn’t involved in, and in fact wants to do most of it herself. You could ask her if she wants to read the whole thing in advance, or just run an “outline” or certain anecdotes by her to make sure she approves. Granted, this doesn’t solve the whole “how do I write anything nice about a crazy bridezilla” part (lots of other good suggestions here about how to be neutral/nice), but should aid in addressing issues with her being angry and upset about it afterward.

  • Melissa

    Like another commenter, I also have a “reverse situation” — though mine is somewhat different. My bridal party is comprised entirely of siblings (mine/his) whom I LOVE with all my heart… but for a variety of reasons (none of which are sad or depressing, I promise), they’ve been absent throughout the planning process. Like, all of them. I can take the physical absence but the lack of interest/emotional support has been really trying for me. The thought of toasting them and thanking them for their help at our rehearsal dinner is already stressing me out — either my voice will be dripping with sarcasm or I’ll bawl my eyes out. It’s difficult because I know for sure that they all love me and mean well — there is no crazy beneath-the-surface drama — they’re just so preoccupied with their own lives, and I’m having a hard time accepting that I can’t change them.

    Has anyone else been in a similar situation? Advice for how to move forward?

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Our rehearsal dinner was just the wedding party, officiant, parents, and spouses. In a smaller group, toasts can be shorter – no stories, just “I want to thank name, name, name for what they’ve done helping me to get reading for this weekend, and mostly for being here to celebrate with us. Here’s to name, name, name!”

      We actually didn’t even have that at our rehearsal dinner. (We had even shorter, more generic toasts.) I thanked my bridesmaids (my sisters) at an even smaller family dinner. So there are ways of avoiding big toasts, if that’s the issue.

      I’d also say that my sisters weren’t very interested or supportive in my wedding planning. They’re much younger. One was literally on the other side of the world for most of it. They hadn’t been around other weddings. I share this because maybe stories where the bridal party just isn’t super-involved will normalize your experience and help you re-set your experiences.

      • Melissa

        This is helpful — just knowing that someone else has been in a similar situation. It seems like all my girlfriends have had large bridal parties comprised of women super-eager to be involved. I definitely don’t expect my bridesmaids to bend over backwards (although an occasional text or phone call asking how it’s going would be appreciated!), but I do find myself comparing my experience to others. Thanks for sharing yours.

        • http://mnnjcooks.blogspot.com/ Jessica Nelson

          My sisters haven’t been terribly excited about wedding planning either, although I goofed and didn’t invite them dress shopping, which apparently was something they wanted to do. I think there’s a major upside of having siblings in the wedding party (they won’t disappear from your life several years later, you don’t have to rank/sort your friends into wedding party or not), but for whatever reason siblings aren’t always quite as invested as friends might be.

          • Melissa

            My reasoning was exactly the same as yours: I love my girlfriends, but my sister and SILs will be in my life forever. Choosing bridesmaids was simple for me. It doesn’t make logical sense to me that siblings would be less invested than friends, but perhaps it comes from a sense of obligation (whereas a friend might be thrilled to be asked?). It’s good to know I’m not the only one experiencing this phenomenon!

    • Nell

      Your toast doesn’t have to be “thank you” themed. You said you love them with all your heart – so why not just tell them that? Tell them why you’re glad to have them as sisters/in-laws!

  • Alyssa M

    So lord knows if anybody will even read my comment this late, maybe I’ll repost this on happy hour… but I’m having some serious MOH party planning issues and need help.

    My best friend for 15 years is my MOH. She’s unemployed and super stressed at the moment, so I said I’d be cool with a bachelorette party that was just, like, a boozy slumber party. Cheap, easy to plan, probably even hosted at my place. BUT she never planned it. At all… like, we’ve got two months and she never even contacted the other BM about dates. So I decided that if it was important to me, I would just go ahead and plan/pay for it myself, because I understand she’s got a LOT going on. So I planned a weekend away that I and the other BM would pay for and all she had to do was just BE THERE for me. But when the other BM contacted her and asked her about the plans, she flipped out and said she doesn’t want to go because I’m not inviting her (gender shifting) partner. I really desperately do not want a couple at my bachelorette party. I explained months ago that it had NOTHING to do with gender politics and everything to do with them being in a relationship, but apparently she (they) don’t believe me. I’m really not sure what to do at this point, and feelings are hurt all over. The other BM is planning on just doing the weekend the two of us, but I really don’t know how to go forward with my MOH without damaging our relationship further.

    • Hannah B

      that sounds so rough! I mean, I think it’s pretty clear to just re-state, “listen, no matter who you are dating, I just want you, my best friend of 15 years, who I love dearly, to hang out with me and my other super close friend because I know you both better than anyone and I don’t know your partner, though she’s perfectly lovely, and I want something intimate! other BM doesn’t get a date, and neither do you, whether you want to bring a man, woman, or inanimate object. wouldn’t it be weird if I brought fiance? that’s a couple’s retreat, not a bachelorette party, and I’d be totally down to get schwasty with you and your partner at another time. I am sorry if you took this the wrong way initially, but I really just want time with you and other BM”…or maybe that’s all been said? Either way, good luck!!

    • Natalie

      That’s rough. I had similar issues (on a much smaller level, because wedding planning stress wasn’t involved) when my lesbian BFF started dating someone, and wanted her girlfriend to be invited to the “girls’ night” hang out time I used to host. I initially called it “girls’ night” to exclude boyfriends (as initially all of us with SO’s were straight). But the point wasn’t gender, it was to get a group of close friends together without their significant others. I regularly made time for my close friends without my boyfriend present, and it became very frustrating to never see my BFF without her girlfriend. Not because I didn’t like her GF, but because the dynamic changes when couples are involved and it’s nice to have some time for just the core friend group without significant others.

      Maybe you can try explaining to your MOH that you really want your bachelorette party to be just you and YOUR closest friends. Say that you’re excited to have your MOH’s partner at the rehearsal dinner and the wedding, but that it’s important to you to make time for just your closest friends without significant others at the bachelorette party. Reiterate that the bachelorette party isn’t about gender, but about having your closest friends be there for you as you prepare for your marriage. Emphasize that your relationship with her is important to you, and remind her that you make time for her without including your fiance. If you have trouble expressing yourself in person (e.g., if your friend is the type to get offended before you’ve had a chance to eloquently express your feelings), maybe try writing her a letter.

    • Keren

      As someone in a lesbian relationship but with mainly straight friends, I’d just like to add a note that you’re probably all aware of. Please, PLEASE approach this invite exclusivity issue really sensitively and gently. If your bachelorette party is, genuinely, just your wedding party or wedding party plus family then cool – it makes for a simple, clear conversation. If your party list is made up of “all the women who are most important to you” and happen to include people who are pretty much the same level of “friend” as your pal’s partner, then just take a minute to work out how you’re going to frame that conversation so the partner (and friend) doesn’t feel rejected or left out. It’s your prerogative to invite who you want but just make sure you step gently. It’s can be really hard to be the only girl-partner in these situations – you don’t fit with the groom’s team and if you’re not included in the bride’s team you can feel pretty surplus to requirements. Super shitty feeling.

  • Emily

    I agree with the advice not to stoop to snark… but I’ve been known to write the snarkiest, most brutally honest things down in my journal or on paper and then destroy it. It is helpful to me to just get that stuff out and move past it. I want to be clear-I’m not suggesting sharing it with anyone else! Good luck; this sounds like a stressful event!

  • Em

    Oh, I have been in your shoes. My advice? She will probably find fault in things, even if the day was beautiful and amazing (as all celebrations of marriage should be). Obviously causing a scene is not the way to go, but a simple “Please don’t talk to me like that” is allowed if she is being hateful. As for the speech, I remember being so incredibly stressed and frustrated with my friend that I could only throw in a humorous anecdote about how we met, and then focused the rest of the speech on the marriage. So, maybe don’t focus on the bride, and instead piece together a very generic Hallmark speech about the couple and how it is so obvious that they love each other, you are so happy to be part of this day with them, and it is so great to see a couple in love and excited for this new journey together. Isn’t that what the whole point of the wedding is? And done! After the bride leaves for the honeymoon and you possibly burn the dress you bought, don’t have contact for at least 2 months. If you want to keep this relationship, make sure to talk it out with her in an honest way, after the dust has settled from the wedding.

  • Lizzie G

    I dealt with this exact situation this summer and I’m sorry you’re dealing with it now. I was the MOH to a bride that not only was emotionally abusive, but pushy, bossy and did not voice her expectations at all but expected her mind to be read at all times. I spent thousands of dollars and changed countless plans for her shower and bachelorette. It was a nightmare. in fact, I am getting married next summer and she is my MOH and during this process, I seriously questioned my decision on even continuing the friendship. It was a tough time, emotionally draining, and made me sad because I worried about how she would be when I was going through all of this. When it came time for the speech, I had to go through the same decision making process as you and I’ll agree deeply with having to block out whatever has happened to you recently, and go into your past, and try to find the silver lining in your friendship. You don’t want to look back on her wedding day and feel sadness and regret over making the decision to be snarky in a moment of weakness.Think deeply on how you want this moment to look years from now. I made an effort to see past who she had become when the bride gene took over, and took the high road, and I feel good about it. Once the wedding passed, I realized that my friend was not someone who dealt with stress in a healthy way, and had been really struggling physically and mentally to get through the planning. She has been nothing but lovely since, and the bride gene has dissipated, and I’ve gotten my friend back. I’m so happy I didn’t make the toast about me and how I felt about her in that moment. I instead tried to honor her and her husband and her special day, and it meant a lot to her. I would never want her to look back on that day as a day where I threw a dig during her most special time, instead of supporting her.

  • All Spice

    I was in a similar situation, when I was MOH in a wedding where the couple had met through me. Both are wonderful friends, but I have actually known him longer. She turned into psychotic bridezilla. It was terrible, but you know, I was so anxious about the speech under the circumstances that it turned out to be one of my best MOH speeches ever (and I have given several). I actually focused a bit in how his strengths would complement her ( a luxury that I knew him well) and added a good helping of her strengths, and what a great duo they would be balancing each other. I rocked it. Relatives came out if the woodwork to pat me on the back, and it felt great to have taken the high road. She actually never acknowledged my speech that night.

    But after a very trying bridal weekend, it was a nice way to end. And after a year-long break, she and I moved last her bridal episode. And she graciously just accepted my request to help schlep gifts with my family after the wedding is over. ;)

  • Donna

    I also have had some difficult MOH experiences. I found, however, that in the end, it taught me how *not* to treat my bridesmaids, and that was a good lesson to learn. I learned to show gratitude for anything that anyone did for me and to show my appreciation for our bridal party often. These were the biggest two take aways.

  • JSwen

    Wow. I don’t know if I could go through with it. I’d probably tell her I wasn’t good with public speaking or something and opt OUT. That’s me though. I don’t have a high tolerance for Ass Hole.

  • Mags

    My sister was a difficult bride and I remember my father trying really hard to say nice things about her for his speech in the days before the wedding (you know you’re being a you-know-what when your own dad can’t come up with something nice to say). It was hard and he asked the whole family for help (most of which could also not think of anything nice to say). To structure his speech he ended up using three adjectives to describe her with anecdotes to accompany each. I helped him come up with these adjectives and did so by making the bad things sound better. I could say she is stubborn, but it sounded much nicer to call her persistent and then mention how she finished college in three years. I was thinking she was childish, but we went with fun-loving and talked about how she (even as an adult) liked to use funny accents and run around clothing stores pretending she was wearing silly clothes.

    It sounds like your friend might be spoiled but also “knows what she wants and is willing to work hard to get it.” You must know a positive anecdote which describes this.

    Oh, and you may want to end with a warning to the groom that he nows has to deal with all of her trouble, but instead just tell him that “he is so lucky to get to enjoy all of the traits.”

    • http://www.moxiebrightevents.com Renee @ Moxie Bright Events

      I really love this approach. I may steal this for my clients. :-)

  • Kirstin

    I was in a similar boat of feeling frustrated. I focused on telling the story of how the couple met and the lessons about relationships that they had taught me and others in the room through their example. I kept it short and sweet with a bit of funny. I always appreciate toasts that focus less on the relationship of bridal party member to the bride or groom, and more on things everyone can relate to and see. No inside jokes or embarrassing stories. I’ve also seen folks give awesome toasts where they collected advice from others for the bride and groom and then shared that. Keep it more about them together and less about you and her.