How to Flatter your Bridesmaids

While the wedding is invariably about the bride there's a fine line between having a few demands and being out-and-out demanding. Horror stories abound about "bridezilla"- the out of control, self-centered bride whose unreasonable expectations ruin the happiness and fun of planning a wedding. Unfortunately in the bride's need to have everything "her way" the bridesmaids are usually the ones to suffer. That said, here are some tips on how to avoid becoming "bridezilla" and remain the wonderful, sweet woman your bridesmaids were honored to stand up for.

Bridesmaid dresses: while the bride has the final say in the bridesmaid dresses put yourself in their shoes. Would you want to wear a bright orange ruffled dress that's all wrong for your figure? Neither do your bridesmaids. Be considerate of their different shapes and sizes. If most of your bridesmaids are a size 8, but one is a size 18 base the dress style on what would flatter the larger size. Chances are if the dress is flattering on the plus-sized bridesmaid it will also look great on the others!

Focus on their needs: it's easy to become so absorbed in the wedding details that you forget to devote time to who matters most in your life - your bridesmaids. Instead of talking constantly about your wedding take the time to ask about their lives - how's their job? Have they started any new hobbies? Are they seeing anyone new?

Worthwhile, not worthless duties: the bridesmaid duties and the maid of honor duties are meant to genuinely help and support the bride - not give her the opportunity to assign "dirty work." Before delegating a menial task to your bridesmaid ask yourself if you can do it. Better yet, consider asking a young cousin or niece that would love the opportunity to help with your wedding. Your bridesmaids have busy, important lives of their own - they may not have the time to act on your every whim.

Financial concerns: money is often the source of tension between the bride and her bridal party. On average it costs $400 to be a bridesmaid and even more if the wedding is formal or the bridesmaid needs to travel. Consider the financial state of each bridesmaid and what her budget allows before deciding on expected purchases and the cost for each.

Don't play favorites: who you select for your bridesmaids and maid of honor is ultimately your choice. If it means being diplomatic or "keeping the peace" you may have to include a cousin you don't necessarily get along with or a future sister-in-law you don't really know. In which case never let your true feelings show - treat all your bridesmaids with equal respect and diligence. Be kindhearted and pleasant to them all.

Be gracious: you may have had your heart set on a formal afternoon tea bridal shower and instead it was a backyard barbeque. Instead of complaining (or worse, throwing a tantrum) graciously thank your bridesmaids for the effort, time and money they invested in hosting your bridal shower. As always it's the thought that counts.

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