So you've made the decision to have a bridal party and consider yourself a pretty chilled and relaxed anti-bride. I mean you're all friends, so really how hard can this 'managing a bridal party' thing be?
Potentially just a little more complex that you may have anticipated...
Here's the thing, you're all adults with your own opinions, likes, dislikes and personalities and cash flow. Throw in a significant event, financial strain and stress and before you know it you're wishing you had run off to Mexico to elope.
Short of being a runway bride, here are a few tips that may help you through some potential conflicts.
1. Choose wisely.
If you are already anticipating conflict before you have even asked your bridesmaids or bridesmen to be part of your day, it may make sense to go back to the drawing board. There are other ways to incorporate friends and loved ones into your wedding, without going down the traditional bridal party route.
Yes, it is a honour to be asked to be in your friends bridal party, but often there are significant costs that come with that. Keep that in mind and navigate the topic early. Will you cover the cost for the outfits (hair and makeup and jewellery)? Do you expect your bridal party to pay for all of it - or some of it? Have that conversation very early on so it's all out in the open. Also don't take it to heart if a friend is not in a financial position to afford a designer outfit and shoes - be understanding of this aspect (even though it is your day.) Think about considering options in varying price brackets to allow for your friends differing budgets - or if you're adamant on a certain label, factor in you may need to chip in. If you're super laid-back you may be completely fine for your bridal party to choose and wear something they already own - or buy something they would love to wear again. Be open about your wishes and expectations from the start to avoid potential conflict later down the track.
Clear communication is essential, as every bride is different. You may not have the slightest interest in any of the traditional 'bridey' things (ie showers, hens parties, dress fittings, someone to fuss over you) and just want them to show up and be by your side on the day. However, unless you communicate this your bridal party may already have sent out the invites to your stripper themed hens night. (Yay!)
Nobody wants to look like a red hot mess at your wedding. Before locking in outfits, put some consideration into it's suitability for a variety of body shapes and bust sizes. Ultimately however, it really is your call about what you'd like your bridal party to wear. But if one of your bridesmaids is having a panic attack about supporting her bust with a wispy spaghetti strap, it may make sense to reconsider your choice. For example, if everyone in your bridal party needs to be in mismatched styles, let them choose who wears the jumpsuit, the mini, the v neck , suit etc. Or if you think one of your bridesmaids has a legitimate point about the style not working for them, see if you can find a similar style but with a slightly different silhouette that everyone can wear. Of course the ultimate decision does lie with you, and your bridal party does need to respect that also.
5. Think Beyond The Day.
Remember you have most likely chosen this support crew (or been chosen) because of years of friendship and good times. Don't let a wedding or wedding planning stress get between you. And this goes both ways - if you're stuck wearing an outfit you dislike, ultimately you just need to roll with the punches and make the most of it. Take joy in your friends day and vice versa. If you're the bride, try to not sweat the small stuff and appreciate your friends for their own personalities and styles. If any conflict comes up ask yourself how important these issues really are to you. Stay open minded and compromise where possible, but stick to the decisions that genuinely matter to you. Remember nothing in life is perfect - and neither is wedding planning.