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What Can A Bride So About An Out-of-Control Maid of Honor?

Published: March 15, 2010 | Last Updated: April 6, 2021 By | 10 Replies Continue Reading

A bride-to-be asks how to control an out-of-control maid of honor.

QUESTION

Hello Irene,

Your site is extremely helpful, and I was wondering if you could help me with advice on my maid of honor. I know that all of my bridesmaids have demanding lives, my maid of honor especially, and I do not expect a whole lot out of them. However, I’ve noticed that lately, whenever I asked my maid of honor to help me with something, she either has an excuse, or does not get around to it.

For example, I asked her to simply call around and get price estimates for the wedding cake that I really want. Three weeks later, I asked her what progress she had made, and she told me that stopped by one bakery that was closed, and she didn’t do anything else.

Not only that, but she has a tendency to draw attention to herself, and I’m afraid she won’t be nearly as caring because my wedding day is not centered around her. I know it sounds silly. She’s a friend, but I’m afraid she might try to outshine me or at my own wedding. Am I being silly? Should I do anything or talk to her? Thank you so much for your help!

Signed, Worried Bride

ANSWER

When I received this note from the Worried Bride, I immediately turned to my friend and colleague, Sharon Naylor, who is the author of over 35 wedding books, including The Bride’s Survival Guide and Your Wedding, Your Way. You can read more about Sharon and her books here. I knew Sharon, who is uniquely qualified, could draw upon her experience to give the bride the confidence and advice she needs to handle her out-of-control maid of honor.

This is Sharon’s response:

I see that you have two major concerns with your maid of honor. First, you’ve asked her to help you with a task and she’s not delivering as you wish, and second, you’re concerned that she’s the type to be hungry for attention, and you fear that she’ll try to outshine you at the wedding. Both are very legitimate concerns, and I can help you feel much better about both.

First, no one can ever outshine the bride at her own wedding! Yes, some people may try to draw attention to themselves on the big day, but it always, always backfires. Everyone at the wedding – the people who love you and your groom – can see right through this kind of behavior, and the offender just comes off looking foolish, immature and desperate. No one oohs and aahs at an obviously attention-hungry wedding guest, and their efforts only frustrate them when they do not get the spotlight they want so badly.

I’ve counseled tons of brides to let this worry go, don’t let it steal your excitement or fill you with dread. Focus instead on every fabulous detail of your day, and the fact that 99.9% of your guests would never let anything outshine the bride on her big day. A grown woman acting out like an attention-hungry child is quickly ignored by guests, and all you have to do is just look away, not give this worry any power over you, and spend time with all of the wonderful guests who will be there on your big day. And of course there’s always the way your groom looks at you to make you feel like the only woman in the room. :]

I, too, had attention-hungry guests at my wedding. I just ignored them and had a blissful, perfect day. And let me share with you a little story about a maid of honor whose toast was an All About Me spotlight she grabbed for herself instead of a toast to the happy couple….guests hated it, the videographer edited it down in the video to just her opener and closer, and all she accomplished was making a fool of herself. It may be hard to understand, but sometimes people don’t realize they’re being too self-centered. So don’t waste any of your energy worrying about her or what she’ll do on the wedding day.

Another thing to keep in mind is that very often your most attention-hungry friends tone it down on the wedding day, because they are wise enough to realize there are lots of people in the room who are loyal to the bride. It’s not a small circle that she normally dominates with her all-about-me stories. So these self-centered folks behave quite well when they know they’re not likely to get the praise and attention they want. All said, put your fears aside, and if it would make you feel better, tell her that the maid of honor speech can be no longer than one minute, and you wouldn’t want her to be ‘played off’ by the band like they do on the Oscars 😉 That’s a perfectly acceptable guidance point to give her and will keep her spotlight moment very limited.

As for her non-delivery of cake estimates, I highly advise you to take that task back. Not in a sense of firing her. Good diplomacy is needed here. Just call her up and tell her that your schedule has opened up a bit, and you and your groom have decided that you’d like to enjoy the process of looking into bakery pricing and booking tastings as a task you’ll do together. Thank her for the time she’s spent, avoid any temptation to zing her with ‘not that you did very much’ as some less savvy brides might come out with, and she’ll very likely be relieved to have that job off of her plate. If she was enthusiastic about helping you with such a big task, she probably would have done more already. Sometimes people don’t have the words, or they’re nervous about letting you down, to say, “I can’t do this one.” So give her the benefit of the doubt on this one, and reduce your stress level by reclaiming the cake research job.

I can tell that you care about this friend, even as you accept that she has her own way of doing things, and as the leader of your wedding planning process, the best course of action is always looking for the solution and approaching your friend with thanks and diplomacy. And your part in this is not giving into anxieties about what she might do. Because you can’t control what other people do. You can just laugh it off if they show their insecurities to a roomful of your people, and continue onward with grace and comfort and the ability to keep your mind on the bigger picture: you just married your best friend, and the two of you are having the time of your lives.


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Category: KEEPING FRIENDS

Comments (10)

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  1. Judy says:

    It sounds more like an out of control bride than an out of control maid of honor. Since when is getting cake estimates the maid of honor’s job? Planning the wedding is the bride’s job and the maid of honor is not your personal servant. She is going to have a lot of expenses and time commitments associated with YOUR special day. Heaping more responsibilities on her, especially things that you should be doing yourself is unfair. Being a bride is not a Carte Blanche to be selfish and inconsiderate.

  2. Irene says:

    Hi,

    You sound like a wonderful and caring friend—and a patient maid-of-honor. I would wait until after the wedding to see if appreciation is forthcoming from the newlywed. She is probably overwhelmed with emotions and logistics right now—and probably isn’t functioning at her finest.

    Because she feels so close to you that she asked you be be MOH and you felt close enough to accept, try to talk yourself down from feel overlooked and unappreciated. Cut her some slack because she’s a bride. If the monetary demands are more than you can afford, you need to delicately remind her about that.

    Is this helpful?

    My best,

    Irene

     

     

     

     

  3. Anonymous says:

    Sorry needed to add – My husband did not hit back as he works for the Police and would lose his job. Afterwards they were full of apolgies which my husband graciously accepted. However I have found out that my friend blames me for the fight saying I provoked it. Since that day we have not spoken to or acknowledged each other despite seeing each other at school events. I find it hard to handle and can’t help but miss her and wish it would all go away. However I can’t approach them as they do not seem to want to resolve it.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I recently fell out with my BFF. She distanced herself from my and when I asked why she said it was because I’d put her under too much pressure. She kept saying though she missed me and hoped we could work it out. So I left it a while approached her and asked if we could be civil, she kept saying yes we’ll try and then a couple of days later I’d see her in the street and she would blank me. I approached her two or three times under the same circumstances and always got the same result. Yet still she kept saying I miss you. It all turned nasty when her husband blanked me during a soccer tournament and offered drinks to everyone apart from me. We all had a huge row and her husbandf struck my husband.

  5. troubled MOH says:

    The is the first wedding party I have been in where it seemed easy for the bride to become so obsessed with the event and lost sight of showing appreciation and consideration for those closest to her that are helping. I am a Matron of honour who has helped but not been thanked, in fact it seems that my friend has disappeared and been taken over with histrionic personality disorder. Seriously though, I had to do some limit setting around the number of wedding related activities tha she assumed/expected that I would be available to her for in order to maintain a healthy balance. She’s been able to accept that and spread her needs around to other good friends and her mom. I am spending quite a bit of money in addition to time, which I would feel good about if I felt appreciated. That’s something we teach our kids, not to take others for granted. The resentment is now the elephant in the room and I am wondering if I need to forget about it, or address it. Any advice. I like the etiquette advice above, it helped me to see that I am fullfilling the appropriate expectations. Thank you

  6. Cynthea Kinnaman says:

    From Sharon: “As for her non-delivery of cake estimates, I highly advise you to take that task back. Not in a sense of firing her. Good diplomacy is needed here. Just call her up and tell her that your schedule has opened up a bit, and you and your groom have decided that you’d like to enjoy the process of looking into bakery pricing and booking tastings as a task you’ll do together.”

    I love Sharon’s advice, but for another reason: I’m not a proponent of expecting the MOH to assist w/ wedding planning.

    Etiquette-wise (based on Peggy Post’s “Wedding Etiquette,” I would never advise a bride or MOH that wedding planning is in their job description.

    Here’s what I understand is to be the role of the maid of honor before the wedding:

    1. Helps the bride select bridesmaids’ attire.

    2. Helps address invitations and place cards.

    3. Attends as many prenup events as possible.

    4. Organizes bridesmaids’ gift to the bride.

    5. At the rehearsal dinner and/or the wedding reception, the maid of honor gives a toast to the bride and groom.

    6. Traditionally, before the wedding, the MOH is in charge of organizing a shower and the bridesmaids’ dinner or bachelorette party, which can be a Dutch Treat affair or hosted by one of the attendants.

    7. Helps with the bride’s gown on wedding day. Arranges bride’s veil and train before processional and recessional.

    8. Holds bride’s bouquet during ceremony.

    9. Witnesses signing of the marriage certificate.

    10. Attends to bride during wedding day.

    Am I forgetting something? Do others feel that wedding planning is part of the job description/role of the Maid of Honor?

    • mouse says:

      The usual duties of dresses, showers, bachelorette, toasts, are already such a stretch in terms of time and money. Asking a MOH to become responsible for cake pricing is way way over the line, to me. If you need help with wedding planning activities, hire someone or recruit family members or see if there is someone organized and interested among your guests. And, this person should be paid for their time, energy and work.

      Even though a bride can be overwhelmed with coordinating wedding plans as well as merging lives and families, it behooves her to pay attention to how she treats those people she presumably wants to stay in relationship with.

      One of my 4 MOH experiences had me overloaded with assignments and responsibilities, but didn’t include me at any of the festivities that all the other bridesmades were invited to. The bride explained this to me by saying that the other bridesmaids and friends were from out of town, so the brunches, dinners, outings and shows that she hosted for them and their husbands didn’t need to include me. On the other hand since they were from out of town it was left to me to do 100% of the shower (for 50 people)hosting at my house, planning, shopping, cooking, cleaning, furniture moving and cleanup as well as the hen night party reservations, etc. None of them could be reached to assist me at all as their schedules were filled with bride hosted events. They asked me after the fact to show the recepits so they could split up what money I spent, but no one or nothing compensated me or acknowledged me for being left alone with all the days and hours of pressure and work and none of the fun.

      It changed the way I feel about the bride and taught me that it can be better to be a bridesmaid and to make clear what my limits are from the beginning. I felt like a slave. this was years ago—I had no idea there was still all this emotion. I have used this experience to build better skills at setting and holding my boundaries.

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