Singaporebrides | Weddings 101

September 2011

Bridal Party Troubles

We have hot tips on how to handle potentially problematic situations with your bridal entourage with tender loving care.

Your bridal party is supposed to stand by you – from the hellish planning stage to the time you walk down the aisle to the grand finale of your banquet. But sometimes, these duties can be so overwhelming that nobody seems to be behaving sanely anymore. SingaporeBrides lists the Top 5 bridal party troubles.

Problem 1: Your future sis-in-law insists on being your bridesmaid. You don’t even know her very well. Besides, you prefer to ask your best friend from college instead. What can you do?

Solve it!
Let’s face it:  A wedding is not all about you and your one and only. Many times, bridal couples can get pressured to include people in their bridal party. Take Sandra*, who had to ask her cousin to be her bridesmaid. “Cousin Amanda* looked up to me and pleaded with my mother to ask me if she could join in the fun,” recalls Sandra. “I wanted to keep the numbers small so I couldn’t ask my best friend to be a part of my special day – even though I knew she was the one who would go all out to help me with the planning!”

The thing is, no one can hold a knife to your neck and force you to include them in your wedding. But navigating through this emotional maze can be tricky (beware of hurt feelings!). If you really decide against including some people, make sure you turn them down tactfully. And, make it up to them in other ways – like encouraging them to make heartfelt speeches. Oh, and don’t go mad trying to match four bridesmaids to four groomsmen either – it’s okay to have uneven numbers in a bridal party.

Problem 2: Your five bridesmaids cannot agree on the dresses. Some want to make-to-measure from a nice boutique, but others insist on wearing their own.

Solve it!
This is more common a problem than you realise. Bridesmaids come in all shapes and sizes – that plunging V-neck number that looks great on Jane may look terrible on Nellie. And if they bicker, you get a headache. Besides, they may have to cough out cash for those dresses – so it’s important that they get something they like.

Planner Ong Aidi, 29, has a solution. “I had two different colour themes for my wedding – cream in the day and crimson for the banquet,” she said. “So I simply told my bridesmaids to get their own cream and crimson knee-length dresses – never mind the style. As a gesture of appreciation, I also presented them with mini-hongbaos to offset the cost.” Aidi’s plan worked. Some of her bridesmaids opted for made-to-measure gowns while a budget-conscious friend chose to borrow from her colleague. “Everyone still ended up looking fab – and nobody quarrelled.”

Problem 3: You accidentally discover that your bridesmaids have been complaining about the bridal expenses behind your back. You want everyone to be happy, not whiny. What can you do?

Solve it!
Bridesmaids do have a lot to pay for when it comes to weddings – dresses that they will only wear for a few hours, presents for your bridal shower and the nitty-gritties for your bachelorette party. They shouldn’t have to go broke just because they’ve agreed to be part of your bridal party. Be generous with hongbaos because they will help to soothe pockets (and emotions). Also think about buying them matching accessories – like a pretty bracelet – so they have one less thing to worry about. In a nutshell, just show that you care.

Astina Chung, 31, wanted to be sure that her bridesmaids wouldn’t incur too much costs for her wedding in October last year. She says: “It wouldn’t be fair for them to cough up so much money just for my Big Day. Besides, year-end is a popular time for weddings – some of them were bridesmaids at other weddings too.” So the 30-year-old and her husband Anthony bought the outfits for their bridal party. Showing your appreciation helps too. After the wedding, she also presented them with small gifts. “I gave them dainty mirrors I bought during my honeymoon in Tokyo, Japan.”

Calvary Baptist Church Singapore wedding 4Germaine and Mitchell’s Glamourous Wedding at Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore, by Antelope Studios

Problem 4: One of your bridesmaids is turning into a Bridesmaid-zilla! She’s already invited her own friends, insisting on those embossed invitations and organised a swanky after-wedding party in a hotel suite. Roar!

Solve it!
Although less common than the Bridezilla, the Bridesmaid-zilla is not an endangered species. Just cue Little Miss Perfect Helen from the recent chick flick Bridesmaids. Though well-meaning, she managed to order her choice of bridesmaid dress for everyone, book an extravagant trip to Las Vegas for the bachelorette party and throw an elaborate Parisian-themed bridal shower – with puppies as party gifts! Even the bride-to-be was so overwhelmed she ended up hiding in her bed.

A bridesmaid-zilla needs to be reminded that it’s your wedding, not hers. You’re not obligated to take up all her suggestions. Ask her out for a nice lunch. Explain to her that you’re grateful for all the help and dedication she’s been pouring into your Big Day. But do let her know that you’re uncomfortable that she’s been making most of the decisions. Also share how you’ve been dreaming of your wedding and have certain ideas about how you want it to go. If she’s a true friend, she will understand. Just be tactful.

Problem 5: You feel that some members of your bridal party are uninterested in your wedding, which is just months away. You want to ask them to step down, but are unsure about how to do so tactfully.

Solve it!
You’ve sent dozen of emails about the gatecrashing games but some of them just aren’t interested in offering ideas or suggestions. In fact, some of your bridesmaids still couldn’t find time to attend your dress fittings (“I’m working late!” is the usual excuse). Well, this situation is more common than you may realise. When this happens, you may eventually regret asking them to be part of your bridal party (and perhaps they regret agreeing in the first place!).

Consider asking them to step down in a diplomatic way. Call them and gently say: “I’ve been running around getting a few things done for the wedding. It seems that things are only going to get busier. If you’re busy with work, I will totally understand if you would like to back out…” It’s not easy, but this gives them an opportunity to opt out graciously. Chances are, they’ll take it.

Dawn and Ming's Sweet Wedding at The Singapore Thomson Road Baptist Church 10Dawn and Ming’s Bright and Modern Church Wedding, by Smittenpixels Photography

*Not their real names.

Credits: Feature image from Meredith and Ian’s Romantic Beach Wedding at Phuket by Mambo Photography