You just don’t know what happened to your best friend. This time last year, she was excitedly showing you her engagement ring and chatting about all the fun you’d both have at her wedding. As you approach the ceremony site, however, you’re not sure who you’ll be getting today: the laid-back friend you love, or the bridezilla you’ve come to dread.
Even though you can’t control all of the details of your friend’s wedding experience, you can at least make sure that you’re not the one who sets her off. There are a few ways that friends often (inadvertently) step afoul of the stressed-out brides in their lives. Avoid these and you’ll be well on your way to preventing a bridezilla outbreak.
Don’t Barge In
Just because you used to get dressed together before ballerina class in fifth grade, you shouldn’t expect the same welcome on your friend’s wedding day. If she is in her dressing room with the door shut (or even with the door slightly ajar), respect her privacy.
Even just poking your head in briefly to say hi can be an unwelcome distraction if she is trying to process the jumbled emotions and stress of putting together a wedding ceremony. If you’re not in the bridal party, wait until she emerges to greet her along with the rest of her guests.
Don’t Play Reporter
It may seem amusing after you’ve tossed back a few signature cocktails, but live-tweeting your friend’s wedding is a quick way to get on her bad side. Whether you’re tapping out one-liners to all the uninvited folks back home, or you’re staring at the bride’s whole trip down the aisle through the back of your phone, you’re not fully present at the actual event. Put down the electronic devices and concentrate on adding to the atmosphere around you–not just recording it.
Don’t Take Too Much
Yes, your friend and her new husband are excellent hosts. They have thoughtfully provided a free meal, entertainment, nicely-wrapped favors, and even an open bar so you can fully enjoy yourself on their special day. However, just because the generosity is offered, you should never take advantage of your hosts.
Limit yourself to a reasonable number of drinks if your friends are picking up the tab. Don’t go back for seconds and thirds at the lobster station. Don’t cram your pockets with more than one wedding favor. Even if your friend is fabulously wealthy, she’ll look favorably upon you if you don’t take too much. A sincere thank-you also goes a long way.
Imitation is the highest form of flattery, but the bride might not see it that way if you arrive at her wedding looking to steal her spotlight. Most guests know that showing up wearing a white dress is a no-no, but it’s important to avoid more subtle ways of hogging wedding-day attention, too.
If your own wedding is on the horizon, don’t monopolize conversations by comparing the current occasion to your upcoming celebration. Don’t badger the bride with questions about what vendor supplied what item (or worse–requests to borrow her dress and decorations). Those kinds of conversations are best saved for a more relaxed day.
Likewise, if you’re looking for a dramatic moment to pop the question to your own sweetheart, staging a proposal right when your newlywed friends are enjoying their own day in the spotlight can come across as very disruptive.
Put Aside Hard Feelings
Even if you play the part of the perfect guest, your friend may still become the dreaded bridezilla. If this happens, try to remember that she is under a torrent of unfamiliar stress. Between planning special event details and balancing delicate family relationships (not to mention committing herself to a momentous life transition), your friend may simply not have the mental and emotional bandwidth to deal with disappointments gracefully.
If she seems easily annoyed or more brusque than usual, try to remember that her reaction is not personal. Be as supportive and loving as possible and put aside hard feelings on your friend’s wedding day. There’s always time after the honeymoon to discuss your grievances and restore the normal cadence of your friendship.
Lisa is a special needs teacher and a hugger. She always makes time for everyone and lightens up everybody’s lives with her presence. When she is not chasing her students around the yard, she finds time to write about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.