Bitch, ditch or fix? The wedding attendant-saving flow chart

Guest post by Liz

Conventional wisdom is sometimes just as helpful to unconventional people.

Conventional wisdom suggests one should wait for the excitement to abate before inviting loved ones to join a wedding honor party. Unconventional wisdom concurs.

Conventional wisdom suggests certain roles and duties are attached to the titles we give these people. Unconventional wisdom suggests that even though we are planning unconventional nuptials, folks should know their damned roles and duties and fulfill them, often with the addition of offering their assistance unasked to help our DIY empires weddings, come to fruition.

Conventional wisdom suggests when you have a problem with a loved one, you should be a bigger person, invite them out to coffee and get down to the bottom of it with love and tact. Unconventional wisdom might substitute bubble tea, but also admits that sometimes relationships are just dysfunctional or outright broken, and that a cup of beverage isn't going to cause a 180 degree change — but it usually doesn't hurt to try.

I firmly believe that the best thing anyone can do, inside or outside of wedding planning, is to step back from the problem, reevaluate expectations and communicate them with clarity. I don't believe in assuming people know what you expect of them because you've offered them the title Maid of Honor, and even less so if you take the offbeat step to retitle Maid/Man of Awesome, etc.

Your wedding is a unique little butterfly, so to avoid the tsunami caused by fluttering wings the wrong way (okay, end crazy metaphor) by communicating your expectations thoroughly, clearly, confidently, and with the understanding that even though these are your expectations and you feel they are reasonable, not everyone will agree. You have to accept what people can offer you, too, meet them where they are, and know that sometimes, in a dysfunctional relationship, their best at that moment is their best at that moment, and move forward anyway.

With all this in mind I offer this flowchart as a guideline for how to consider your wedding party. Perhaps this might help forward this conversation in a more meaningful and less reactionary way.

I want to include the caveat that yes, of course there are reasons to end relationships with people you've invited to your wedding party — but where that is truly the case, you would/could/should be ending that relationship regardless of the fact you're planning a wedding, because it's toxic, not because they're not the ideal Maid/Made of Awesome.

This discussion is NOT about those situations.

This is about filtering through how your expectations are communicated and how the person you're communicating with is equipped to handle and/or meet your expectations, how/if/when to reevaluate your expectations, and how to check ourselves before we wreck ourselves.

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Comments on Bitch, ditch or fix? The wedding attendant-saving flow chart

  1. I’m having a very simple wedding and didn’t pick a MOH but my two sisters and best friend to be attendants-equal members of team bridesmaid. I tried to make my expectations clear from the beginning: they could wear whatever they wanted and the only thing I really wanted/needed from them was to come to the wedding the day before(for the rehersal) and be my moral support through the rest of the beautiful but stressful wedding weekend. I also said because we were trying to keep everything that had to do with our wedding simple I didn’t need or particularly want any formal showers or bachelorettes. I said maybe we could get some of my girlfriends together for drinks the weekend before the wedding to hang out before the big day.
    But since I’ve been engaged my best friend has become another person. Every step of the way has been this huge drama-rama. She says she feels like my sisters are leaving her out of stuff (I’m not sure what) and that three is a really hard number. She has had agony over what to wear because she is worried I’ll be disapointed in her choice and ruin the photos (I continue to remind her that as long as she likes it and feels comfortable she will look beautiful). And she has insisted on planning this huge, expensive, complicated shower which I told her wasn’t necessary but she keeps saying ‘it’s her job.’Now is constantly complaining that no one will help her with it- though I’ve offered myself to help and suggested other friends who would be willing-and she is so stressed because she has so much to do for my party and so much to prepare for the wedding.
    Now, I’m in no way thinking of ending my relationship with this person and am hoping things go back to normal once we’re married. I feel like a lot is written about Mama-drama out there in the bloggosphere. Has anyone had experiences with best friend drama? Will the body snatchers return my friend when this is all over? Any suggestions on how to deal with this in the final weeks coming up to my wedding?

  2. My bff is going to be my maid of honor, and while I genuinely want her by my side on my wedding day (we’re practically twins), she’s also going to be the Pagan presence in the ceremony and maneuver the cords for the handfasting. Sort of an un-ordained, unofficial Pagan celebrant. I’ve already talked this over with her – all she’s gotta do besides wrapping the handfasting cords, is silently call down good vibes and ‘keep the spiritual line open’, as it were; she’s totally cool with this, and she’s already strongly Pagan to begin with.
    My bridesmaids are mostly moral support and possibly some crafting help, and also people who have been important in my life.
    Thank you for this. It really helps put into perspective the “roles” of the wedding party, (a.k.a. pick them ‘cuz you love them!), plus I learned something and was better able to parse out my own reasons for choosing who I did.

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