bridesmaids with bouquets covering faces
Olli Studio

Your bridesmaids and groomsmen have a lot of important responsibilities and some wedding parties are better at handling all the tasks than others. So what do you know if you feel like your crew is being a little delinquent? For starters, you have to be polite and no, you can’t threaten to fire your entire wedding party. Our advice? Err on the side of being polite and understanding, for starters.

Here, our tips for gently telling your bridesmaids and groomsmen to get their act together (and maintain your friendships in the process!).

Ask yourself: Are you being reasonable?

Before you go on the offensive, it’s important to ask yourself if your expectations of your wedding party are reasonable—keeping in mind that your wedding party members have their own lives and budgets. For example, if your wedding is nine months away and a few bridesmaids haven’t ordered their dresses yet, that’s probably okay. If it’s two months from your wedding and are having the same issue? That’s a bigger problem. And remember, just because your bridesmaids and groomsmen don’t plan everything exactly the way you wanted (they’re planning the bachelor party for Vegas when you wanted Miami), doesn’t give you a reason to freak out on them. If you think you’re being pretty fair with your needs and requests, read on.

Make sure you’ve properly introduced everyone.

Sometimes, bridesmaids and groomsmen might feel uncomfortable tackling wedding-related projects because they feel like they don’t know the other wedding party members well, and don’t want to make the “first move,” so to speak. If your bridesmaids and groomsmen don’t already know each other, it’s on you, the couple, to make sure everyone is properly introduced. If it’s possible to get everyone together in person, it’s a great idea to plan a group activity so the whole crew can mix and mingle. If your wedding party is spread out all over the country (or world!) start an email chain or group text to introduce everyone and ensure that things start off on the right foot.

Empower them to make decisions.

While it’s not necessarily a great idea to give your wedding party members a strict list of responsibilities (they may take that the wrong way and think you’re being a bride- or groomzilla), it’s important that they have a general idea of your expectations. Once the crew has been assembled and introduced, perhaps set up a time when all or most of you can meet up and talk through logistics—discussing potential dates for pre-wedding events like the bachelor/bachelorette party, shower, etc., when you’ll go shopping for attire, travel and accommodations for the wedding, and more. Having a “kick-off” chat will help start things off on the right foot and give your wedding party a general outline of their tasks.

bride and groom kissing with cheering wedding party in background
Matthew Lim Photography

Talk to the leaders of the pack.

Your maid of honor and best man are supposed to be the leaders of your wedding party­. If you’re concerned that your crew is being irresponsible, express your concern honestly (but politely!) to the wedding party VIPs—and offer to provide assistance if you can. For example: “I’m a little worried that it’s just two months until the wedding and I haven’t heard anything about the bachelor party—is there anything I can do to help out?” or “None of the bridesmaids have ordered their dress yet—would you be able to give them a little push?” It’s part of your maid of honor and best man’s responsibilities to keep the wedding party in check, so this conversation will likely give them the nudge they need.

Enlist an older relative to help.  

While older relatives (like your mom or favorite aunt) aren’t traditionally part of the wedding party, they may be eager to help out with pre-wedding tasks. If you have a relative who’s been begging to help with the wedding, tell said relative to reach out to the maid of honor or best man to offer assistance. Especially if your wedding party has been struggling with certain tasks, they may really appreciate the extra pair of hands.

Don’t be passive-aggressive.

If you’re feeling some pre-wedding stress already, less-than-responsible bridesmaids and groomsmen may make you totally lose it. Stay calm and take a deep breath before sending that nasty, passive-aggressive text. Remember that your wedding party members have jobs and lives and families of their own and while you’re certainly important to them, you may not be top priority right now. You want to enter the newlywed phase with your friendships still intact (and strong!), so be careful of how you respond to any pre-wedding drama. Think about how you can be productive rather than argumentative. Offer to help out (making dinner reservations for the bachelorette party, providing supplies for the emergency kit) instead of griping.  

Remember—they may surprise you.  

If your bridesmaids and groomsmen being super-sketchy about plans for a specific event, it may mean that they have a surprise in store. You might check in with your maid of honor or best man to make sure that things are generally under control for said event, but don’t push for details. For example, you might ask your MOH: “Just want to make sure you’re all set for the bridal shower. Can I help with anything?” If she says, “Nope, all under control” and leaves it at that, believe her and move on. You probably enlisted your team of bridesmaids and groomsmen because you love and trust them, so try not to hover (too much).