Managing a Broken Bridal Party

A wedding is a monumental event, and involves the integration and cooperation of a many people; from friends and relatives, to wedding suppliers.

It is for this reason, that it is important that every person involved in the wedding is carefully selected, ensuring that they either want, or need to be there. This is particularly important when it comes to selecting a bridal party.

But what happens when there is a rift in the bridal party, or when the bride or groom has a fallout with a bridal party member?

Is it Common?

As a civil celebrant, I have seen this happen on many occasions, and have witnessed how different brides and grooms cope when faced with such a scenario. It may be worth emphasising that broken bridal parties are more common than you think.

The reasons why a bridal party may break are numerous, but are often based on the underlying stresses and pressures of the intense and important day that lies ahead.

The Bridezilla

Arguably the most common reason for a bridal party to splinter, is due to a stressed bride, who has placed the importance of her wedding day, above the feelings and concerns of her closest friends or family. This spells immediate danger, because a bride’s support network is often the most vital element of her wedding day.

Ironically, spotting a bridezilla is normally the domain of the bridal party, since their role is to work closely with the bride; shopping for wedding suppliers, discussing decorations and colours, and assisting and supporting her every step of the way.

It may be worth noting, that I see far more female bridal party members ousted than males. This is to be expected, since groom’s often have much fewer wedding responsibilities, hence much less wedding stress. The male members of the bridal party are also limited to a few simple tasks, mainly trying on suits, and (possibly) doing a short speech at the reception.

The Bridesmaidzilla

Stress (and the notion of being unreasonable), is not just confined to brides. It can also manifest in bridesmaids, who are either dominant, reluctant, petulant, or overly keen to relive their own wedding day.

Once again, it is the management of such situations that falls to the bride and groom. In extreme cases, it is common for the perpetrator to be ousted from the bridal party, in order to maintain harmony.

Bridal Party Management Solutions

It is common-place for a bridal party to incorporate the bride’s closest friends and family. It is for this reason, that simply ousting bridal party members is not always feasible.

So how do you manage an unruly bridal party member?

The first step is to determine whether an issue can be resolved quickly and easily, and what triggered the issue in the first instance. It is also important to be subjective at all times.

One idea, is for the bridal party to meet (if practicable), to air any issues that may have arisen. It then falls to the entire bridal party (rather than just the bride) to begin the task of negotiating a middle ground.

But what if you are dealing with a bridezilla?

Dealing with a bride who has become overly precious about her wedding day is like ‘walking on egg shells’, because there is often an element of irrationality. There are also (often) casualties, not only in the bridal party, but often in the wider guest list.

Once again, it may be useful for the bridal party to meet to provide support for the bride, and include a close family member such as a mother, father, or close sibling. If a bride has become irrational (about her upcoming wedding day) it is important to understand why?

Is she anxious, nervous, overwhelmed, poor at making decisions or too quick to reach a conclusion. Are there financial issues, or is the bride unable to get the exact colour, size or shape of a particular wedding feature?

Getting married is arguably one of the biggest days in a couple’s life, and apart from involving intricate planning (and loads of money), it also involves dealing with family and close friends. This can be intense, since families and friends have a history, and putting them all together in one place, can prove stressful for the fledgling wedding couple.

Weddings are renowned for bringing friends and families together, not the contrary. It is to this end, that offering assistance and support to bridal party members (during the stressful moments), is far more logical than ousting them.


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