When you throw together group of ladies whose only real common denominator is that they all have the same close friend, charge them with the task of planning multiple events for said friend — which means they’ll need to work together to set a budget and make something epic happen — well, you’re basically begging for some sort of drama. From passive aggressive behavior to know-it-all personalities and expensive tastes, there is so much that can go wrong. To make being part of a pal’s bridal party easy, breezy, and fun, heed these tips that will help keep everyone’s emotions in check.
Communicate in person rather than via email. As many of us know all too well, it’s easy to misunderstand someone’s tone when you’re emailing back and forth — and it’s just as easy to be misunderstood by others as well. So, when you start chatting as a group to figure out bridal party logistics, try to meet in person to put faces to names, and voices to opinions and ideas. Not possible? Schedule a Skype, Facetime or Google Hangout date so everyone can say hello! At the very least, everyone will be compelled to be more polite and willing to work together if they’re actually talking face to face.

Don’t be jelly. Come on, fess up. The reason you’re not so stoked on your pal’s college roommate is because you’re her childhood best friend. And that means you’re the most important pal in her life, and knowing that they had four years together as university besties kinda annoys you. It’s only natural to feel feelings of jealousy about your BFF’s other close friends, but your interactions with other bridal party peeps shouldn’t be a contest of who knows your bride-to-be BFF better. Make it more about how you can work together to truly honor this person, who’s super important to ALL of you. Put your negative feelings aside!

Voice opinions early. If you have budget or time constraints, or even think you might, speak up ASAP. Don’t want until the shower is basically planned to chime in that you can’t contribute your part or that you won’t be able to make the mandatory dress fitting the day before it’s scheduled. Even if you’re crazy busy, make time to be an active part of the bridal party — you chose to be in it, after all! Otherwise, you’ll be a burden on everyone else and create drama where there shouldn’t be any.

Don’t make assumptions. It’s easy to form preconceived opinions about people when you don’t know them that well, or if what you’ve heard about them in the past is negative. (Like, if your bride vented to you about one of the other ladies a couple months ago, for example.) Try to give every gal the benefit of the doubt and get to know her for yourself.

Be mindful of everyone’s budgets. Money is a major drama-creator when it comes to bridal parties, especially these days when simply attending a wedding can be a commitment of hundreds of dollars (hello dresses, presents, flights, and hotel rooms!). If you’re the Maid of Honor, be mindful of the other attendants’ budgets — even if you think everyone can afford bottle service at a nice club for the bachelorette or renting out an entire restaurant for the shower, that doesn’t mean that’s how they actually want to spend their money.

Focus on the positive — and on the bride. As the planning of pre-wedding events begins to ramp up, you may have some ideas or concerns about the concepts that are taking shape. Even if you hate someone’s suggestion for the shower — and feel the urge to shut that ‘ish down — try to gently express your opinion and offer an alternative. By honoring other people’s input, you’ll earn respect from the group and curtail back-and-forth arguments about how things should go. And, if all else fails? Focus on your friend who’s getting married and encourage the group to do the same. That way, you’re all on the same page.

-By Natasha Burton