Planning a wedding can be stressful, and that stress can occasionally bubble over into tensions or disputes between loved ones. This can be especially true about your wedding party. There’s a lot of responsibility that comes with being in a wedding party—and, oftentimes, a lot of money. So, whether it’s disagreements about price points, schedules, or general dispositions, issues can arise in groups of all sizes. Here, we’ve outlined five common wedding party disagreements and how to solve them.
It’s about money...
Money is a hard topic to discuss in any capacity—weddings are no different. In the midst of planning expenses with your wedding party, slight tensions may pop up and the topic can get heated quickly. It’s important to address the issues upfront and as soon as possible. Here are three common wedding party money issues that can crop up:
You're expecting too much.
From an engagement party, bridal showers, bachelor/bachelorette party, and day-of wedding activities, the cost can add up. If a member of your wedding party starts to feel uncomfortable about the number of financial obligations associated with your wedding, try having an open dialogue.
Make it known that you want them involved in every step of the way, but you understand that you can’t expect too much from them financially. Pick an event or two you prioritize over the others and let them know there are no hard feelings if they can’t make the others—and mean it.
Everyone spends differently.
Not every member of your wedding party acquires or spends money the same way (or at the same capacity). When one member of the party is suggesting penthouse suites, the other may be recommending the cheapest house-share. Oftentimes these arguments can happen away from the couple’s attention.
To avoid or resolve these issues, make it known to the wedding party that your main goal is to have fun and make everyone comfortable. Before the wedding details unfold, create an online survey to see how comfortable everyone would be spending for certain events (let them know it’s anonymous). This is easy to do in a Google form. From there, set financial caps that, hopefully, work for everyone (and their wallets).
Someone is having income issues.
The job market is tricky. If you have a bridesmaid who’s in between roles or coming up short on freelancing work, for example, be sympathetic. Let them know you’re OK with them skipping certain events. You may also opt to split the cost on certain things like their wedding attire.
Photo Credit // Michelle Lawson Photography
It’s about the maid of honor or best man...
This could go a few ways. The issues could be between you and your MOH or BM or they could be about those people. There are a few ways to ease the discomfort with or between those closest to you:
You can't choose.
The age-old dilemma, who do you ask to be your best man/maid of honor—your best friend, your sibling, no one? If there are a few people in the running for that top position, be considerate. Once you make your decision, don’t let it sit in the air if someone was potentially hurt by your choice. Have an honest conversation with them and explain (nicely!) why you came to that decision. If it seems too hard, don’t forget: It’s totally OK to have two people in that position.
You have multiple MOHs or Best Men.
OK, yes, it’s a good solution for the first issue, but we need to acknowledge that having two maids of honor or best men raises issues, too. Complications can arise if the two feel like their competing in the role—or one person is consistently dropping the ball. To avoid or mend any of these situations, set a clear plan of responsibilities and expectations between each. For example, one person should plan the engagement party. The other is responsible for the bachelor/bachelorette party.
Your MOH/BM isn't involved.
Whoever you choose as a MOH or BM probably knows that the role comes with a lot of responsibility. Still, it’s important to set precedents on both ends from the beginning. If it helps, you can even outline the expectations in writing. If you feel like your right-hand person isn’t holding up their end of the deal, be upfront and nip the issue in the bud right away. You never know, they may have something personal going on that’s distracting them from the role.
It’s about wedding attire...
From mismatched bridesmaids dresses to unique pocket squares, wedding party attire can be a source of excitement—or contention.
The dresses/suits are expensive.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: It can be expensive to be in a wedding party. If you agree to be in a wedding party, you also usually agree to front the cost to look the part—whether that be in a dress or suit.
Sometimes this can cause tension as not all party members make or spend money the same way. To help alleviate this, ask your bridesmaids and groomsmen what they can afford. Present them with an anonymous digital survey and try to offer attire options at affordable price points.
Your party doesn't like the attire.
When you don’t get to pick the clothes you have to wear, sometimes you don’t love the clothes. This is especially true of bridesmaids dresses. If your bridal party pushes back against your attire choice, hear them out. Is the concern about the color? Well, truthfully, that’s not up to them. However, if it’s an issue of fit or they feel bad wearing the dress, that’s a little different.
Before you shop for bridesmaids dresses, poll your party. Ask them what styles or shapes they prefer. You probably won’t be able to find something that checks every box on every list, but at least this way you’re setting yourself up for more success by listening to what your bridal party would like to wear.
Photo Credit // Victoria Heer Photography
It’s about inappropriate behavior...
Sometimes the people we love don’t do things we love. It happens—none of us are perfect, old habits die hard, etc. However, if those behaviors impact your wedding planning or wedding party at large, it’s time to talk about it.
You're worried about too much drinking.
Weddings are meant to be fun and receptions are meant to be parties. However, sometimes alcohol can cause things to get out of hand. To avoid drinking in excess (on purpose or by accident), supply your wedding party with food throughout the day, tons of water, and limited sources of alcohol.
For example, provide a hearty breakfast while you get ready. Ask your party to only have one drink before the ceremony (or none!). Be sure to be upfront with your wedding party, too. Remind them that you’ll have family—of all ages—in attendance. Tell them they’re welcome to party but to keep the antics clean and be responsible for themselves. These small steps can make a big difference in avoiding a scene of any kind later in the night.
There's lingering drama.
Your wedding party is usually made up of a group of friends and family that know, well, a lot of about you and, likely, each other. If there are past issues or current problems that you don’t want to be discussed, be sure to make that clear immediately.
If two of your wedding party members don’t get along perfectly, for example, pull them aside (together or separately) and make it clear that they need to be able to keep their issues far away from your wedding planning process. No, the world doesn’t stop just because you’re planning a wedding, but there are a time and a place for unrelated disputes—and the events leading up to your wedding aren’t either.
Wedding party disagreements happen—it's really only natural. However, be upfront and honest with your bridesmaids or groomsmen about your expectations and your feelings. They're there to support you—and they will.