The rules of wedding etiquette are constantly changing, making it difficult for modern brides, grooms and guests to find up-to-date and correct information. That’s why we launched #MannersMondays, a series in which we ask our followers on Twitter and Facebook to submit their most burning etiquette-related questions. Then, with the help of our team of etiquette experts, we get you the right answers to your biggest Big Day dilemmas. Check out this week’s question below!
“What do you do if you have a dear friend who just doesn’t play well with others and you’re trying to choose your bridesmaids? In other words, what’s the etiquette for sticky bridesmaid situations?” – Meredith via email
Anna Post — great-great-granddaughter of etiquette guru Emily Post and author of Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette — is here to help us answer this week’s question. Find out what she had to say below:
When you picture yourself standing in your wedding dress to say your vows, who are the women (or men) you picture next to you? It sounds like your dear friend should be in the mix. If there are others you’d like to ask as well, my guess is, barring Jerry Springer-like issues between them, that a little tact and some separate tasks will get you and all of the bridesmaids through.
From there, start by minimizing opportunities for friction. No one ever said all the bridesmaids have to spend much time, if any, together outside of the bachelorette party, showers, the rehearsal dinner and the wedding day. In fact, showers don’t need to be held by the bridesmaids, so this could be a good moment to look to a favorite aunt or close family friend to host. Voila, no bridesmaid fighting over whether to serve cupcakes or macarons.
Dress shopping and fittings are fun to do with bridesmaids, but you don’t have to have everyone there at the same time. And though the wedding party is usually seated together, you can get creative with the rehearsal dinner and reception seating, sprinkling a few bridesmaids and groomsmen at various tables if that will help relieve any particular tension. Or, if it’s a conflict between two people in particular, have name cards set at the exact places you’d like your wedding party seated, putting as many chairs between the sources of conflict as needed to ensure harmony.
Next, play to her strengths. Is she great with music? Put her in charge of coming up with an after-party playlist. Does she have great handwriting? Ask her to help write out place cards. Does she get along with any of the other bridesmaids, or even groomsmen? Pair them off and send them on their way with a task.
If you’re concerned about her ability to be civil to the other bridesmaids once the bouquets are in hand, have a word with her well before the wedding. As with sticky family situations, it’s important to be clear up front about your expectations for the wedding day, and hope that those who love you will honor your request. For example: “Jen, I know Amanda isn’t your favorite, but for this one day, can you set that aside?” A good friend won’t say no to that. Once you’ve had your say, trust her to rise to the occasion, and be prepared to let it go if she doesn’t get perfect marks on the big day. Policing a bridesmaid is the last thing any bride should spend time worrying about.
You can submit your wedding etiquette questions via Facebook or tweet them to us @HuffPostWedding with the hashtag #MannersMondays.