Here are the worst things real brides say to their bridesmaids and tips on how to keep them from coming out of your mouth:
1. I’m thinking weekend in Vegas for my bachelorette!
Why not: Where you see an awesome all-girl getaway, your attendants see nothing but dollar signs. As in, “Great! Another massive expense I didn’t see coming.” Even if finance is not a factor, this is one party-planning committee you don’t belong on. Sure, you can give your two cents when asked specifics, e.g., thumbs down on skydiving, thumbs up on barhopping. Otherwise, mum’s the word (that means butt out).
Rephrase it: You guys know me better than anyone. I’m sure whatever you cook up will be fab.
2. My wedding, my wedding, my wedding. How are y_ wait, that reminds me of another thing … about my wedding.
Why not: Because the day your honeymoon ends, and it’s real life reentry time, it will totally suck to be friendless. We’re joking! But seriously, you could stand to tighten up your game a little. A bit fuzzy on what’s up in your bridesmaids’ lives? Pick up the phone and call one, pronto. Ask her what’s shaking; then listen. Do your best to go the whole convo without uttering the W word once.
Rephrase it: Hey girl, I’m just calling to check in. What’s new with you?
3. Surprise! I just picked out your (crazy-expensive) bridesmaid dress. Now all you have to do is pay for it.
Why not: Don’t even think about browsing for gowns until you’ve polled your maids and are crystal clear on their budget restrictions. What’s more, shopping for pretty dresses is one of the best parts of wedding planning. Why pass up an opportunity to do so en masse? Come on! When’s the last time you had that much girl time? Make the most of it, and milk it for all it’s worth.
Rephrase it: I can’t wait to help you guys pick out the perfect dresses. Who’s in?
4. Make sure you don’t look too good. I don’t want you upstaging me.
Why not: This isn’t a beauty pageant where the winner gets to take home the groom. This is YOUR WEDDING. Bottom line, even if your maids wear white dresses and carry elaborate bridal bouquets, they’ll be hard-pressed to steal your thunder. What’s more, they probably have no desire to. So take a deep breath, relax, and encourage everyone to look her absolute best.
Rephrase it: Wow! I can’t believe how gorgeous you’re going to look.
5. Let’s all get tans/Botox/personal trainers before the wedding.
Why not: Because last we checked, this was not an episode of Bridalplasty. In other words, major makeovers (especially those of the permanent variety) are not what your maids signed up for. And while there’s nothing wrong with passing around a little bronzing gel or inviting them to a class or two – asking your girls to submit to any kind of pre-wedding regimen would be a massive overstep.
Rephrase it: If any of you are up for crashing my bridal boot camp class, I could really use the support.
6. Can you have your hair and makeup professionally done on my big day, and (cough) foot the bill?
Why not: Having the entire bridal party groomed and glossed by a team of pros is definitely a posh perk. But it falls into the same category as monogrammed aisle runners. Beautiful? Yep. Luxurious? Sure. But … required? Oh hell no. Unless this is something you’re willing to finance yourself (or an indulgence your maids say they want to spring for), let it go. Chances are, your girls can clean up pretty well on their own.
Rephrase it: Let’s talk hair and makeup. Do you guys have any ideas?
6. I need you to cover up your tattoo for the wedding, Mkay?
Why not: You knew what Kat Von D looked like when you asked her to be your maid. But now that you’re up to your eyeballs in wedding porn, her look’s not cutting it? Not cool. Singling her out could hurt her feelings (and maybe the friendship). But if a maid gets new ink after committing to be in your party, it’s fine to ask her to camouflage it. Even better: offer to buy the specialty makeup required.
Rephrase it: I’ve never met the giant pterodactyl on your shoulder. Any chance it can fly away during the ceremony?
7. Here’s my wedding guest list of 100-plus; please invite them all to the shower you throw me.
Why not: Unless you are actually trying to give your bridesmaids a heart attack, refrain from uttering the above sentence. Here’s the deal; lots of brides have multiple, small showers (e.g., one for girlfriends, another for family). There’s no rule that says bridesmaids have to throw you a ginormous shower. So take a step back. If your maids ask for a guest list, fork it over. But make it clear that you’re grateful for whatever they might be planning.
Rephrase it: I’m super curious about shower details. What’s the plan? Or is it all hush-hush?
8. Next six Saturdays: wedding factory at my place. Mandatory attendance, BT-dubs.
Why not: Are you walking down the aisle or running a sweatshop? We get it, you need help … but an engagement ring does not give you permission to take hostages. Remember, these girls have their own lives, and they don’t have to spend weekends tying tiny bows around wedding bubbles. To get them on board, sweeten the deal. Create a party atmosphere (think nibbles and wine) and use it as an excuse to catch up with your besties. Show them a good time and they won’t hesitate to sign on for future craftaculars.
Rephrase it: Who’s up for DIY night at my place? I’ll supply the vino.
9. I know you’re a double D, but I’m loving this sheer, backless bridesmaid dress.
Why not: Not taking your bridesmaids’ body types into consideration when choosing dresses is a pretty big girl sin. Sure, they may not wind up with the dress of their dreams, but they do deserve to have their needs and wants taken into account. If your maids have very different figures (making settling on a single style tricky), consider choosing a color and letting each one find a dress that flatters her bod. Nervous? Don’t be. You retain final veto.
Rephrase it: I want you to find a dress that makes you look and feel gorgeous.
10. Only married couples can bring dates to the reception. My apologies to your boyfriend.
Why not: Sure, whittling down that guest list is the fastest way to battle budget bloat. But penalizing a bridesmaid for not having a ring on her finger seems arbitrary – and kind of mean. Bottom line: it’s unsportsmanlike to expect so much from a friend without giving a little back. Think: Is there another way to trim the fat? If there is, make an exception. The members of your bridal party deserve VIP treatment.
Rephrase it: I’m really trying to rein in my guest list. I’m not sure there’s room for random dates.
11. I’m really disappointed in how (insert bridesmaid’s name here) has been performing.
Why not: Any comment that might create petty rivalries between attendants is a no-no. What’s more, it’s a page torn straight from the mean girls’ playbook. If one maid seems unenthused or isn’t pulling her weight, talk to her directly. She may be going through something you haven’t picked up on. Don’t be accusatory or confrontational. Instead, ask her if everything is all right. Admit that you’re feeling some distance and wonder what you can do to fix it.
Rephrase it: I should grab a drink with (insert maid’s name here); we need to catch up.
12. It’s MY day!
Why not: Let’s put it this way, if it was really “your day,” you’d be in a room, alone, wearing a gorgeous white gown. But there’s a groom, and you’ve asked guests galore (not to mention the members of your bridal party) to come celebrate it with you. So it’s really more of an “our day” kind of deal. Got it? Treat your bridesmaids more like honored guests and less like humble subjects and you’ll all have a better time.
Rephrase it: It really means a lot that you’ll be standing up there with me.