Women's Issues

Adjust Your Bridezilla Expectations Before You Fire A Bridesmaid

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The how and why to fire a bridesmaid is one of those etiquette questions you hope you never have to answer. I have been a bridesmaid several times, and I totally understand how weddings can make even the kindest, best people go crazy.

Brides have a lot of stress to deal with—both externally and self-induced. I get that. I’m fortunate because the weddings I was in were mostly smooth sailing; I felt honored to be asked to be a bridesmaid. But even when things go south, it should take a lot, and I mean A LOT, before a bride makes the major decision to fire or demote a member of her bridal party.

Okay, okay, we are all well-acquainted with the modern phenomenon of the Bridezilla. Some brides are totally over-the-top and want everything their way. These same brides are quick to fire their bridesmaids or make their life a living hell if they don’t bend over backward to help create the perfect day.

These are the brides who need to think twice before firing a bridesmaid willy-nilly:

I’m new and I didn’t find a post with this issue – (I’m getting married in June 2010)I had a falling out with one of my best friend’s from college (she didn’t want to believe me when I told her that her boyfriend cheated on her…). It’s been two years and she finally emailed me one day to apologize. We met up and started talking again since then (4 months ago). A couple months ago I had a brunch at my house and I was a little tipsy on mimosas when I asked her to be a bridesmaid. She said yes, but since then she has been flaking out and blowing me off.

I’ve tried to get together with her numerous times since then, but she always has something going on – usually she’s going to dinner with a family member or working late. These seem like excuses, and she never offers a day that would work for her even when I ask. I’m finding it impossible to rekindle our friendship, since I’m trying really hard and she’s not. I don’t know if I want her to be a bridesmaid anymore, especially since I don’t think I would have asked her if I had been sober. I’m not sure how long I should wait to see if things work out with her, because I have a few other people I would love to ask. Should I fire her? How long should I wait to see if things work out? How do you fire a bridesmaid?

I can put myself in the bride’s shoes here, but the truth of the matter is that if you are going to do something as major as fire a bridesmaid, know that you’re probably going to lose a friend for life. There’s no delicate way to fire a bridesmaid, even if they aren’t acting how you expect them to.

Save your Donald Trump tirade for a truly terrible bridesmaid who deserves to be fired:

  1. I am having to make the hardest decision. This girl, she was the first one I had asked to be a bridesmaid and she literally broke down. We have been friends for quite some time and we have seen one another through some pretty rough times. Now…it’s been about 2 months that I haven’t heard from her and today is the deadline to order dresses and shoes and she has not even gone to get fitted, nor has she been in contact with me at all…
  2. This past weekend, all of my bridesmaids and I went to Las Vegas for my bachelorette party. Not all of my girls get along perfectly, so I was hoping that we weren’t going to have any problems, but I thought that everyone could probably put their own issues aside and have fun together for two nights…. So to wrap this crazy story up- she went from being in a complete rage, to uncontrollable crying, then packed her bags and took a cab to the airport. She now claims she doesn’t remember anything that happened (Total BS, by the way). After that scene, I told her that for obvious reasons, she was no longer welcome at our wedding. 

All I can say is that managing a wedding party is a complicated business. I’m glad my wedding is over and done with so that I never have to think about this. (For the record, I opted not to have bridesmaids since I had a destination wedding.)

Firing a bridesmaid will have big repercussions. If your bridesmaid doesn’t “act right,” you’re probably going to have to suck it up and deal with her in your wedding pictures because you made the mistake of asking her in the first place. If your bridesmaid sleeps with your fiancé, a dramatic firing is fair game.

(Image: djem/Shutterstock)

53 Comments

  1. Kay_Sue

    May 2, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    I’m sorry. I was under the impression that the only thing you can be fired from is a “job”, and that a job is something for which you are paid, not a social obligation for a friend.

    I’m not saying bridesmaids should rebel or anything. I’m saying…your wedding is the most important day. For you. If we could get people to put that idea in their head, and hold it there tightly, I am fairly certain we could clear up 90% of wedding-related drama.

    • Butt Trophy Recipient

      May 2, 2014 at 12:26 pm

      Kay, we need to UNIONIZE!!! Strike Strike Strike!!!

      (I’ll collect the dues)

    • Kay_Sue

      May 2, 2014 at 12:36 pm

      I did rebel a few times. I live on the edge.

    • Butt Trophy Recipient

      May 2, 2014 at 12:46 pm

      Remember, one bride’s terrorist, is another bride’s freedom fighter

    • K.

      May 2, 2014 at 12:47 pm

      That’s PRECISELY what I was thinking!

      Jeezelouise–bridesmaids are supposed to be your friends. They come to your dress fitting and throw you a shower because they LIKE you, not because these are their “duties.” I mean, really–what does it say about you and your friendships if you have to talk about your wedding events as bridesmaid “obligations”??

      And as THEIR friend, you’re also supposed to understand that your dress fitting is lower on the totem pole to their job requirements and family obligations–you’re supposed to understand that your bridesmaids have lives too, and you’re supposed to be supportive of them living and thriving in their own lives, even if it conflicts with *gasp* your wedding.

    • Kay_Sue

      May 2, 2014 at 12:55 pm

      Amen. Friends understand that things come up. That’s part of why you are friends to begin with…

    • Alene

      May 2, 2014 at 1:26 pm

      I totally agree with what you’re saying, really, but I will admit I’d be slightly pissed if she missed the fitting deadline. Especially since I would imagine she told the bridesmaid the deadline (and hopefully reminded her as it got closer). Like I said, I completely agree with the jist of what you’re saying… but there are a few fundamental rules of bridesmaidhood (you have to stand next to me wearing a dress that I picked out or at least had some say in). So I can sympathize with that part. But the rest is a big hell no.

    • K.

      May 2, 2014 at 3:40 pm

      Oh, I wasn’t talking about the bridesmaid’s fitting; I was talking about coming to the bride’s fitting, like the whole Kleinfeld’s find a wedding dress thing.

    • Alene

      May 2, 2014 at 6:13 pm

      Completely agree in that case. I interpreted “deadline” as “please go to this store by this date to get fitted for this dress so it arrives in time.” Which I think is totally reasonable. But everyone going to the store to pick the bride’s dress? Nope. That should definitely not be a requirement.

    • practicallyperfectineveryway

      May 4, 2014 at 11:24 am

      In my experience (of watching almost every episode of Say Yes to the Dress and SYTTD Atlanta) it’s just going to create drama to bring your whole bridal party to pick out your dress anyway. I say bring your maid of honor and your mom. anyone else who wants to see it can come along to your fitting and tell you how gorgeous you are.

    • LiteBrite

      May 2, 2014 at 3:41 pm

      I would be pissed off too and would take that as a sign she doesn’t want to be in the wedding. So, she wouldn’t be “fired” exactly but I would make the assumption that was her way of “quitting.”

    • Butt Trophy Recipient

      May 2, 2014 at 3:57 pm

      New Avy!

    • LiteBrite

      May 2, 2014 at 5:03 pm

      Got that right. Spring time = Change time.

      It’s a whole new LiteBrite. (Well, not really.)

    • JenH1986

      May 2, 2014 at 2:54 pm

      I had to ask a friend not to be a bridesmaid…well I guess she really asked if she could opt out because she did not get fitted, she did not put a down payment for the dress and when the last day to order had come, she asked if I could spot her the $100. Under normal circumstances I’d have said yes, but I felt that 14 months was plenty of time to save $100 for a dress and that she had made zero effort. I didn’t curse her or anything, I just told her with wedding expenses I couldn’t help her, she wouldn’t be able to be a bridesmaid, but we would still have fun at the reception. She was so pissed I wouldn’t help her with the dress she refused to come to my wedding. She claimed a migraine but then posted photos on FB of her partying at a club. I get being a bridesmaid wasn’t the highlight of her life, but just be honest and tell me you’re pissed. I’m a big girl. lol

    • Kay_Sue

      May 2, 2014 at 2:59 pm

      That’s not firing though. That’s having a conversation with someone and making what turned out to be the best decision for both. I’m not saying there aren’t certain responsibilities that you need to take care of as a bridesmaid–there are, and if you can’t do them, you need to seriously reconsider accepting the role. But there are plenty of brides that are quite willing to put their wedding before pretty much anyone and everyone. That’s a whole different ball game.

    • JenH1986

      May 2, 2014 at 3:03 pm

      Oh for sure! When I was planning and going through wedding sites and the threads on there I was like HOLY FUCK ITS ONE DAMN DAY! I got fired once because I had red hair instead of blonde! People are nuts. Those brides made being a bridesmaid a job in time and energy expended so I guess “firing” would be a good word to use in those instances. But as far as it actually IRL being a job? no.

    • Kay_Sue

      May 2, 2014 at 3:09 pm

      Yeah, some of them can take it to an extreme that I think most rational folks like us just can’t grasp.

  2. SA

    May 2, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    How about just go tell the bridesmaid that you feel she has been avoiding you and ask if anything is wrong? She might have only accepted because she was on the spot and regrets it herself. I don’t know why you would ‘fire’ someone as a bridesmaid without first talking to the about what was going on – they are supposed to be your friends anyway, aren’t they?

    • Bethany Ramos

      May 2, 2014 at 1:13 pm

      RIGHT?

    • LiteBrite

      May 2, 2014 at 1:37 pm

      Why talk it out when it’s so much easier to just “fire” someone?

      In all seriousness, I agree with you. I find it really odd that the first thing that comes to mind is not “talk it out and see what’s going on” but instead “Oh, I’ll just get rid of her.”

    • Kay_Sue

      May 2, 2014 at 1:48 pm

      **Unrelated Side Note** I am really digging your avatar. It’s awesome.

    • LiteBrite

      May 2, 2014 at 2:51 pm

      Awww….thanks. 🙂

      It was time for a change.

  3. Ursi

    May 2, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Ehh I guess I just don’t see a lot of it as a big deal on either side.

    My attendants (male and female) were close friends and I did my best to make it easy for them. I think the bride and groom should keep in mind that while it’s an honor to be chosen it’s also a hassle to participate in a wedding. It’s not such an honor that they’re going to blindly throw money at it and cheer on your tantrums– I mean they shouldn’t, anyway. You can’t expect your attendants to invest as much of themselves in the wedding as you will.

    On the other hand I don’t feel like asking someone to step down should be a life-altering slap in the face. I watched a friend’s bridesmaid unravel up to the wedding in a downward spiral of flakiness. It was jealously and it was really embarrassing to watch. The bride did everything she could to cope and then had to deal with a bridesmaid who left the reception early because she just didn’t care anymore. She should have told her to take a hike well before it got to that point because that’s drama she’s bringing to someone’s wedding and that’s ridiculous. But it was all little things, no big declaration, so nothing she felt she could justify ousting her over.

    And honestly, I’ve declined to stand in a wedding before because I knew it would be too stressful for me to handle. No hard feelings. I don’t understand why someone would be offended that I didn’t want to stand in their wedding if it were a case of me not wanting to mess things up by committing to what I can’t follow through on.

    Furthermore I’d be relieved if I were struggling to keep up my end of the bargain and the bride said, “Hey, you don’t have to do this if it’s getting to be too much.”

    Weddings should be 85% less stressful overall.

  4. Kelly

    May 2, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Eh, if they don’t go to fittings and order a dress and won’t return your calls, it’s pretty obvious that they don’t want to be a bridesmaid. I don’t even see why you would need to “fire” them. Just move on. I wouldn’t hold someone’s hand through the entire process and/or nag them. I can take a hint.

    If they call you the day before the wedding and say, “Oh, hey was I supposed to get a dress or something?” just laugh hysterically and hang up. Problem solved.

    • Bethany Ramos

      May 2, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      This is a great idea – lol.

  5. Momma425

    May 2, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Nobody hate me, but I did kick a bridesmaid out of my wedding.

    1) I never officially asked her to be a bridesmaid in the first place- she kind of assumed and I felt too awkward to say no.

    2) She trash talked about my sister (maid of honor).

    3) She got irritated with me because I was having my daughter be my flower girl and I said no, her cousin’s kid couldn’t be a flower girl as well (I met her cousin’s kid like
    twice, and her family members were not even invited to my wedding).

    4) She insisted that she could pay for her dress, and then at the last minute said I had to pay for it because she ran out of money. I didn’t mind paying, but I had asked people to let me know in advance so I could save up for it if they needed help.
    Additionally- she used the excuse that she was going through “hard times
    financially” which as a friend I definitely understand and can relate to. If it were true. This girl purchased a new car (fancy new car, not a beater or used car or anything either), and took herself on a vacation and then had the nerve to tell me she couldn’t afford a hundred dollar dress she had known about for months.

    5) She was living with the friend of mine I had as the photographer. She trash talked me.

    6) She told me she had to work during my bridal shower. NBD,
    she wasn’t the only BM who couldn’t make it. Until later, when I found out that by “work” she meant “I’m busy going to the beach with another friend.”

    7) She told me she was too busy to come to my bachelorette party.

    8) She was impossible to get ahold of.

    9) I told her when the rehearsal was (along with every single other BM), and she responded saying that she had the day off and it shouldn’t be as problem. Then, 1 month before the wedding, she insisted I’d never told her when the rehearsal was and that she had to work that day and couldn’t come.

    10) The final straw was when she decided to on her own contact my bridesmaids and request that they not bring dates because she didn’t have one and didn’t want to feel left out. Um, no.

    I finally had enough of her attitude and kicked her out of the wedding. We weren’t that good of friends anyway, and I didn’t even want her in the wedding in the first place. Of course she was angry, and we haven’t spoken since…and I am really okay with that.
    I think I put up with a lot before finally losing patience and I don’t think I was a bridezilla at all.

    • SA

      May 2, 2014 at 2:21 pm

      Bridesmaid-zilla! Makes you wonder why she tried so hard to be in your wedding in the first place?!

    • Kelly

      May 2, 2014 at 2:40 pm

      I would have checked her the moment she made herself a bridesmaid so you’re way nicer than I.

    • LiteBrite

      May 2, 2014 at 3:48 pm

      Since you never asked her to begin with, I don’t consider this a “firing.” 🙂

      In regards to #4, I stood up in a wedding several years ago where another bridesmaid whined to the bride that she couldn’t afford the bridesmaid dress, shoes, or her share of the shower or bachelorette party, So the bride picked up the shoes and dress, and the rest of us bridesmaids picked up her share of the shower and party. Everyone has hard times, and we knew her and husband didn’t make a lot of money, so no big deal, right?

      We found out later she could, however, afford an $800 pure bred dog during this time. Needless to say, we were all a little pissed off.

    • Momma425

      May 2, 2014 at 4:04 pm

      Yeah, that was kind of my issue with her “financial hardship” excuse as well. I had another BM who let me know right away that she had no money. She has colitis, and gets blood transfusions regularly and her medical bills are outrageous. I bought her dress, her shoes, and paid for her to get her make-up done. If I could have afforded it, I could have gotten her a new house too.
      But yeah- saying you have no money for a dress you’ve known about for months, and then buying a brand new car and going on a vacation? Nope.

  6. AP

    May 2, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    My bridesmaids had two jobs: 1) Buy a dress ($99) and get it tailored if needed 2) Show up dressed and on time.

    Nice and easy!

  7. Guets

    May 2, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    More reasons not to have a wedding party.

    • G.S.

      May 2, 2014 at 8:14 pm

      Destination Elopement ALL the way!

  8. keelhaulrose

    May 2, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    I lost the best man a week before our wedding, but it was because he was an active-duty Marine and the time off he was supposed to have around our wedding got moved so he could be home for the birth of his child. TOTALLY understandable. We moved up one of the groomsmen into the ‘best-ish’ man when he volunteered to say a few words about my husband during the ceremony, but we officially left the best man spot empty because the Marine was my husband’s best friend since he could remember, and they count each other as non-biological brothers. We heard a few dissents about the open spot until we got the explanation out.
    Honestly I had no expectations of my wedding party but showing up and supporting us day of. My bridesmaids actually talked me out of black dresses (because everyone has a black dress and I didn’t want anyone to have to buy another dress they probably wouldn’t wear) and we agreed on a color. Of course, I am totally socially awkward, and hate clothes shopping with a passion, so I didn’t ask anyone I didn’t want to spend a day looking for a dress with anyways.

  9. Williwaw

    May 2, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    Maybe there would be fewer bridesmaidzillas if people didn’t think they needed to have gargantuan wedding parties. I was at a wedding where there were five bridesmaids (and five groomsmen, two flower girls, and a ring-bearer). Who the hell has five best friends? Bridesmaid should be a position for your closest friend, someone you know well enough that they aren’t going to flake out on you.

    • Iwill Findu

      May 2, 2014 at 8:49 pm

      I had 4 bridesmaids my 3 sisters and my best-friend. So I wouldn’t say that 5 was excessive, it be like if I had picked 2 friends instead of just the 1 and that was a hard call to make since I have some really wonderful friends.

    • practicallyperfectineveryway

      May 4, 2014 at 11:31 am

      I think it should be proportionate to the wedding. I’m only gonna have 50-60 people, hence only 2 bridesmaids. But I could see having more if you were inviting like, 200.

    • NatS

      May 4, 2014 at 11:47 pm

      I agree, I just had my sister and that was it. She had been really ill for a good 3 months leading up to the wedding but she was so helpful and did what she could. I did want to have one of my best friends who I met my husband through but then my oldest friend would have been upset that I didn’t have her. Drama follows her where ever she goes and I wanted my wedding day to be about marrying my husband not her latest problem.

    • NatS

      May 4, 2014 at 11:47 pm

      I agree, I just had my sister and that was it. She had been really ill for a good 3 months leading up to the wedding but she was so helpful and did what she could. I did want to have one of my best friends who I met my husband through but then my oldest friend would have been upset that I didn’t have her. Drama follows her where ever she goes and I wanted my wedding day to be about marrying my husband not her latest problem.

  10. the_ether

    May 3, 2014 at 12:53 am

    Quick question: Is a bride who insists on me coming to her bachelorette party and getting drunk even though it’s only two weeks after the due date of my first kid veering into bridezilla territory?

    • Ursi

      May 3, 2014 at 7:44 am

      Well if she’s insistent that you drink then I’d find a new friend because honestly, that’s a bit controlling.

      But if she’s just insisting you come to the bachelorette party and be in the spirit I would say she is simply naive. I’d be frank with her about how unrealistic that expectation is with a very new baby.

      Now if you explain to her and she gets angry, then she’s a bridezilla.

    • the_ether

      May 3, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      I told her I wasn’t sure I’d be able to drink, or stay very long, and she (and the head bridesmaid when I tried to explain it to her later) looked me in the eye and said “Oh no, you will come, and you will drink.”

    • Bethany Ramos

      May 3, 2014 at 9:10 am

      I would vote yes. I think 2 weeks after popping out a baby is a little soon to expect you to do very much!

    • the_ether

      May 3, 2014 at 4:13 pm

      All my friends without kids just look at me funny and tell me the baby will be fine with my husband and a bottle, but all my friends with kids laugh and tell me I won’t give a shit what she wants when I have a newborn and am trying to figure out breastfeeding and functioning on no sleep and am physically wrecked. I know who I believe.

    • Justme

      May 4, 2014 at 10:33 am

      I’m not one to discount the life experiences of the childless/childfree, but in this instance, I’m going to bet that the bride just doesn’t get it because she hasn’t had a child. Those first two weeks can be super intense – physically, emotionally and mentally. I would let her know that the whole evening probably isn’t possible, but perhaps you could just attend dinner and then go home afterwards?

    • practicallyperfectineveryway

      May 4, 2014 at 11:30 am

      Insists on you getting drunk? Having high school prom flashbacks…either she’s my douchebag ex boyfriend, or a bridezilla.

    • JAN

      May 4, 2014 at 5:31 pm

      Plus, due dates are estimations and LOTS of people have babies past their due date. So you could conceivable just be having this baby. I do think it’s likely naïveté. I’d tell her you’ll do your best but no guarantees.

  11. MommyK

    May 3, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Almost 10 years ago, when I was in college and super broke, I got a random call from a girl I went to church with and worked at the same restaurant with back home. We hadn’t spoken in 3 years or more, and had never hung out together. I would barely even call her an acquaintance. She called me up and asked me to be a bridesmaid at her wedding (I didnt’t even know she was with anyone!). I felt really bad for her because she has never had many friends, so I thought she just didn’t have anyone else to ask, so I said yes.

    I let her know I was moving in a couple weeks and didn’t have a new number yet, so to email me. She sent me a quick message that I was going to have to find someone in my city to handmake a dress, so I had to have the material and pattern shipped to me (wtf!! That’s what dress stores are for) then didn’t hear from her again. 3 months later, I got a nasty email saying she was mad I wasn’t returning her calls (at my old number), and that I should consider myself “dropped” from the wedding party. I was thrilled and we haven’t spoken since. Weirdest/most awkward situation ever…

  12. Justme

    May 3, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    I was in a wedding where the bride was a Bridezilla and because of her antics both surrounding her wedding and in real life, we are no longer friends. I should have seen the writing on the wall when she kicked her maid-of-honor out of her wedding and then complained about the Bachelorette party we threw her.

  13. Emily A.

    May 3, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    No, it’s not OK to tell a friend that you would like them to stand by you on one of the most important milestones in life, and then tell them that, nope, they’re not good enough, toobadsosad.

  14. VanessaRows

    May 3, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    I’ve been demoted TWICE from MOH to mere bridesmaid 😉 Both times the brides let me throw showers, attend showers and chauffeur them to various fittings and then had ‘out of town frozen’ stand up for them the day of. You’d think I would have learned the first time…

  15. VanessaRows

    May 3, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Sorry that was ‘out of town friends’!

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