As regular readers now know, from time to time, we turn to one of the less-crazy bridal sites, OneWed, for “her perspective.”
From OneWed’s Marta Segal Block:
Trading in stereotypes is the sign of a lazy thinker, but I haven’t had any coffee yet today, so here it comes: Women’s friendships are more complicated than men’s. Nowhere is this difference more apparent then in wedding planning.
Currently, about 60% of the questions I get to my advice column on OneWed.com are about bridesmaid troubles. Either bridesmaids not performing the way they’re supposed to, or brides expecting too much from their bridesmaids, or some other less definable problem. Rarely are the problems one-sided. I have never gotten a letter from a groom who was upset that his groomsmen did not seem to care about his wedding. I’m not saying that it doesn’t happen, just that I’ve never gotten the letter.
Why do women seem to have so much trouble with these relationships? Well, for starters, there’s a lot more expected of a bridesmaid than a groomsman. Groomsmen are basically supposed to buy or rent a suit and stand there looking nice. There’s a bachelor party to plan, but really how hard is that? Bridesmaids are expected to help with most aspects of wedding planning. They’re supposed to help make decisions, without taking over, and provide a sounding board for everything from napkin colors to mother in law troubles.
Plus, there’s all the other baggage that comes along with close relationships. For women, our friendships tend to be every bit as important and close as our romantic relationships, so they ‘re also just as complicated.
By getting married, the bride is changing her status with her friends. Maybe she’s the first in the group to get married and the others are wondering if they too should be considering a walk down the aisle. Maybe she’s the last and her friends are realizing that she’s won’t be quite as available. Your fiancée may have helped plan her best friend’s wedding down to the last detail, only now that best friend is 9 months pregnant and unable to help. Issues of who has more or less money in a relationship also become apparent when one girl is planning a four-course dinner and the other is planning a punch and cake reception.
So, what’s your role in all of this? Sit tight, listen, offer sympathy, ask questions and practice this phrase “Wow, that sucks.” If you can say it like you mean it, you can follow it up with something a little more helpful like “Wow, that sucks, but do you really need Karen to go with you to look at flowers?” Whatever you do, don’t bad mouth her friends, and don’t encourage her to dump them. One day the wedding planning will be over, and she’ll need someone to hear her complaints about you.