Dear Wedding Maven,
I was reading your advice about firing bridesmaids, well in my case I need help with my Maid of Honor. She has been my best friend for 12 years!!! She also happens to be my fiancée's sister. Ever since I asked her to be my Maid of Honor she has given her brother and me nothing but problems. It started by her giving demands about what we need to do for the wedding. It then moved on to that she didn't like, and refused to wear, any of the dresses that were picked out. This then escalated into her saying that she couldn't afford to be in our wedding. Mind you the dresses were all $100 and under, and
we've given everyone involved in the wedding a full year’s notice so that they could save up for their dresses.
It got to the point where we asked if she wanted to step down, she said that maybe that was the best thing. Now as our plans move on, she wonders why we haven't updated her on what’s going on with "her" dress. Apparently, when she said it may be best to step down she didn't mean it.
You can fire a bridesmaid, you can fire a Maid of Honor, you can even fire a friend, but you can NOT fire a sister-in-law. Whatever happens with this wedding, this woman is your sister-in-law for life, and trying to kick her out of your wedding is only going to cause you problems.
My guess is that your MOH is your fiancé’s older sister, and as such she likes to think that she’s in charge. Big sisters are like that (Hi Sis). Somewhere early in the engagement, she probably felt like you weren’t listening closely enough to her suggestions or taking her advice seriously and she got her nose out of joint. There may be other things going on. Perhaps she’s worried that she’s losing her best friend to her brother, that her brother is getting married before her, or that she isn’t getting properly acknowledged as the person responsible for this match. Whatever is going on with her emotionally, she’s not willing to admit it (or you aren’t listening) so instead you’re both focusing on the dress.
If you’ve been best friends for 12 years, and she’s close enough to her baby brother to introduce him to the girl he’s going to marry, then both of you probably already know that she likes to run things. Is it annoying? Yes. Do you have to let her tell you what to do? No. But you did choose her as your best friend, so there must be a part of this that you actually find helpful, or she must have other qualities that you love.
The dress is the easy part of the equation to fix. Find out what it is she doesn’t like about it. If it’s the color, tell her to pick the same dress in a different color. If it’s the dress, tell her to pick a different dress in the same color. She’s the Maid of Honor, so it won’t look strange at all if she doesn’t match the other girls. Even if she picks a color you hate, just go with it. Seriously, your Maid of Honor does NOT have to match your napkins. If letting her have her own choice of color will save you years of family drama, it’s a small price to pay. Since the dress is under $100, perhaps you could offer to pay for it as your gift to thank her for introducing you to the love of your life?
As to the larger problem, whatever her emotional issue is, you have two options. You can face it head on and ask her what the problem is, or you can ignore it, respond to her complaints as they come up, and hope that when this is all over you can all go back to the nice relationship you had before.
Just for the record, I am not a big fan of the idea of "firing" bridesmaids, even those who aren't related. I think most wedding-induced friendship problems are temporary and the smarter thing to do is to adjust your expectations of the troublesome bridesmaid, and let the normal friendship resume after the wedding. If you fire a bridesmaid, you've pretty much lost a friend.
Do you need wedding advice or help with wedding traditions, etiquette or relationships? Write the Wedding Maven at firstname.lastname@example.org