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Bridesmaids: How to Deal With a Difficult Bride

If the bride has you wanting to submit your bridesmaid resignation, take a deep breath and follow our seven tips for making it through to the wedding.

Photo: Kelly Brown Weddings

Your friend will soon be waltzing down the aisle, and you couldn't be happier for her. But the closer the wedding gets, the more your buddy seems to be transforming into a crazed drill sergeant. What do you do? Take a deep breath and keep in mind that her insanity is only temporary. In the meantime, follow our tips for handling these seven stressful situations.

Situation 1:

She insists the bridesmaids wear tight, strapless dresses that make everyone feel and look like sausages.

What to do: Unfortunately, the bride has final say when it comes to your frocks, even though you'll be shelling out the cash for them. If she asks for input along the way, it's fine to suggest something more flattering, but if she's made her decision, you'll have to suck it up (and in) with a smile. If you're really bent out of shape, suggesting a pretty cover-up to wear for at least part of the evening may be an agreeable compromise.

Situation 2:

When you ask for a guest list for her bridal shower, she hands over a list of everyone she's ever met since grade school.

What to do: While any number of guests over about 25 is pushing it, complaining about the large number of invitees will only cause unneeded tension between you and the bride. You asked her whom she wanted there and she told you, right? Instead of pushing back, round up more hostesses to help organize and put together the party. This way, you'll have additional resources for the purchasing of food and decorations, not to mention more manpower for things like writing out invitations.

Situation 3:

Your friend harasses you with nonstop chatter about the wedding, and rarely (if ever) inquires about what's going on in your life.

What to do: Don't take it personally. A wedding is a really big deal with endless stress-inducing details. So she needs all the ear time she can get for bouncing off ideas and getting advice. Zip your lips for now and let her unload as much as she needs to. Through it all, keep in mind that it'll be over soon and you'll have your good-listening, interested, fun-loving pal back.

Situation 4:

She's requested that you spend an evening wrapping ribbon around hundreds of little silver bells. The problem is that you're the only one who could make it and it's now three o'clock in the morning.

What to do: At this point, you're not the only one fried. She needs lots of help with menial tasks like this one, and your willingness to pitch in is not only generous, but also comes with being a bridesmaid. But unless the wedding is the following day, don't feel bad about calling it a night. Reassure her that you'll be back to help her finish, and call around for extra hands for next time. If there's no other option but to persevere, give each other five-minute shoulder rubs and put on dance tunes to keep yourselves going.

Situation 5:

When it comes time to plan the bachelorette party, your friend won't budge on any idea other than an extended weekend away at a pricey resort.

What to do: Even though she is the bride, the bachelorette party is a gift from you and her other friends, so while it should be something that she'll enjoy, demanding an expensive vacation is crossing the line. Explain that while you would all love to take her away for an over-the-top trip, it just isn't feasible for everyone. Suggest more affordable accommodations, a destination closer to home, or a shorter stay. Or, tell her that you understand her wishes but that in the end, you'd like to surprise her.

Situation 6:

She insists that the whole bridal party have hair and makeup done for a jaw-dropping fee.

What to do: You might have to grin and bear this one, but first have a heart-to-heart with her. If professionally done hair and makeup is at the top of her list, she may be willing to reconsider costs elsewhere and pony up for your shoes, or acquiesce to lessening the costs of the bridal shower or bachelorette party.

Situation 7:

She puts you at a table where you don't know anyone, except her old Aunt Martha, who you only just met briefly at the rehearsal dinner.

What to do: Strike up a conversation with Aunt Martha and charm the rest of the guests too, because your job is also partly to play host. There's a good chance that your friend put you at this table because she knows how wonderful you are with strangers, and these may be the folks who don't know anyone. So put on a bright smile and make them all feel welcome.

-- Alison Alfandre

See More: Basics for Bridesmaids