Q: Dear Amy,
I currently want to strangle one of my bridesmaids. I’ve got a bundle of them, including my sisters as maids of honor. They are all planning a bridal shower for me (which is so nice of them!) and there is so. much. drama.
One bridesmaid (let’s call her Rachel) is bitching to me about another (Monica). Monica has been particularly helpful and take charge with the shower planning, and Rachel is complaining that Monica is being controlling and leaving people out.
When Rachel complains to me all I can think is, “Monica is just being nice, and she would never want to exclude anyone,” but when I say that to Rachel, I think she feels like I am taking Monica’s side and defending her (because I kind of am, because I think Rachel is being ridiculous).
I kind of feel like my bridesmaids are forgetting that in my mind, my wedding day isn’t all about the activities leading up to it and what my table decor looks like. It’s about celebrating that I am marrying my best friend, and it’s to celebrate a lifetime of happiness and love! How am I supposed to be excited about a wedding when everyone’s complaining to me about each other?
Here are my questions for you:
- How the hell do I kindly tell my bridesmaids to leave me out of anything that is supposed to be a surprise?
- Can my MOH/sister tell my bridesmaids kindly to not text me or reach out to me about one another?
- How do I kindly tell my bridesmaids that my wedding is about my marriage and not so much about my shower decorations and who’s paying for the hotel for my bachelorette?
- Only one of my bridesmaids (besides MOH) has actually been married. How do I politely say, “You really don’t understand until you’re the bride,” without sounding like a know it all?
- How do I kindly tell my bridesmaids that I want them all to wear the same color to my bridal shower so that they don’t wear white? One of them wants to wear a very white patterned dress and thinks it’s totally appropriate, but I am too nervous to tell her it bothers me because I feel like a petty bitch if a god damn dress bothers me.
Can I Register For Bail Money If I Strangle Them?
A: Dear Bail Money,
Bless. There is so much here. I am overwhelmed reading your letter and I suspect—strongly—that you are too! Let’s unpack it piece by piece.
Easiest question! The rules on surprises are pretty universal—don’t ruin them. Totally fine to say, “Wait, wait is this a surprise?” And if the answer is yes, literally put your hands over your ears and say, “La la la I can’t hear you,” in your best eight-year-old sing-song. Hopefully they’ll get the message.
These are really two separate problems. Maids of honor often serve as sort of a bridesmaid-in-chief. No one will really bat an eye if your MOH reins in the planning a bit. She could absolutely email everyone and say, “Hey, bride’s seeming pretty overwhelmed, so from here on out, let’s try to not talk to her about the shower and just let her show up and enjoy,” and then tackle the logistics with the bridesmaids.
But. Rachel and Monica? You need to put on your big girl panties and deal with your people yourself. You can’t have your sister play backup on your personal relationships with your friends. If Rachel is complaining to you about Monica, and you don’t want her to, then you need to draw that boundary. That means instead of defending Monica (because let’s be real here, I am Monica sometimes and no, it isn’t just being nice—it’s totally being controlling and bossy), it’s okay to tell Rachel, “I love you both so much! Which is why I’m not going to talk about Monica with you. If you have a problem with her, you need to deal with her directly.” I know. It sounds impossibly difficult. But I have confidence in you! And being able to have that conversation and then stick to it and refuse to discuss other people’s drama is a skill worth doing the hard work to develop.
At the end of the day, you are right. Your priority is your marriage. But that isn’t their priority! Their priority is this little tiny piece of the pie that they get to take ownership of as a way to tell you how much they love you. It’s unnecessarily harsh to tell people who are doing something nice for you, “I don’t care about this. It is meaningless to me in the face of my pledge of eternal love. Just pick the damn napkins already.” Instead, how about, “Gosh you have such good taste, I’m sure whatever you choose will be lovely,” or, “You know I’ve been making so many decisions about the wedding I just can’t choose anything else. It would be so helpful to me if you could just pick and I’m sure I’ll love it,” or, in an emergency, “Ohhh you know who has lots of feelings about shower favors? My mother! Would you please call her? She would love to chat about it.”
Never utter these words, “You really don’t understand until you’re the bride,” aloud to anyone. There is no way to do so without sounding like an insufferable know-it-all. Try to not even think these words, for fear they will slip out unintentionally. I get what you’re trying to say, but I’m here to tell you that you can’t say it.
Here, I must tell you firmly no. Kindly, with love, but absolutely not. They all get to wear whatever they want to your shower. The general rule is that people can wear whatever color they want to social occasions, with the exception being white to someone else’s wedding. Wedding. Not bridal shower. She can wear a patterned white dress to your shower. It will be totally fine. If you’re worried about it, try repeating to yourself three times nightly, “It does not matter what anyone wears but me.”
The good news is that you have a gaggle of people who mean well and love you and are trying really hard to shower you with genuine affection. When you’re feeling overwhelmed by the shower of feelings take some deep breaths, brew a cup of tea, watch an episode of The Great British Baking Show, and you’ll get through it just fine.
DO YOU FEEL LIKE EVERYWHERE YOU TURN, MORE PEOPLE ARE GETTING MARRIED? LIKE ATTENDING WEDDINGS HAS SOMEHOW BECOME YOUR HOBBY? IS “EXPENSIVE CRAP FOR OTHER PEOPLE’S WEDDINGS” A BIGGER BUDGET CATEGORY THAN “MANICURES, BOOKS, AND CHEESE”? EMAIL ME: AMYMARCH [AT] APRACTICALWEDDING [DOT] COM.