Weddings can be a very stressful time for everyone involved. The mere act of planning a wedding can put undue strain on the newlyweds-to-be, even if they have the full support of their wedding party.
So, no bride or groom should be made to deal with any unnecessary difficulties or upset leading up to their big day – especially not from someone in the wedding party.
You’ve probably heard of a “bridezilla” – a narcissistic bride that causes drama unless she has everything her way – but what you may not know is that it’s not always the bride causing the fuss. Sometimes, it’s a bridesmaid that can ruin a wedding with her self-centredness. This can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety for everyone involved.
Here are the 7 top warning signs to look out for if you suspect one of your bridesmaids may be a narcissist.
She’s Entitled or Makes Unreasonable Demands
This trait is a dead give-away your bridesmaid is a narcissist. It reveals that she thinks she’s the centre of the universe and the wedding planning process.
Does your bridesmaid expect others to do favours for her or take on her duties, or demand extra gifts and special treatment?
For example, a narcissistic bridesmaid may try to dictate what kind of dress she wants (when it’s traditionally the bride’s choice) – even demanding an expensive gown that is out of your budget.
She may also expect you to pay for her hair and makeup to be professionally styled (even if you’d be quite happy with the natural look), or for you to pay for her accommodation on the wedding night.
Narcissists put their needs first. They may manipulate you with flattery or belittling. Their lack of empathy may shine through especially brightly when planning dates. Initially, they may want to please you to win you over, but once they’ve convinced you they’re on your side, they’ll just want to please themselves.
Planning a wedding with this person will be painfully one-sided, not a two-way street. She will only ever be interested in getting what she wants and making the wedding work for her.
She Doesn’t Take “No” for an Answer
Following on from the previous point, a narcissistic bridesmaid will never accept “no” for an answer when she makes a request or demand of you.
If you try to gently but firmly deny her request for the more expensive bridesmaid dress, for example, she won’t accept this gracefully. She’ll put up a fight. She’ll pout, complain, and try to “twist your arm” into doing exactly what she wants. Simply put, she doesn’t respect other people’s boundaries.
If you till refuse to budge, she may even start an argument or give you the silent treatment until you give in. Narcissists do not enjoy being told “no”, and many brides will feel pressured to simply give them what they want in order to keep the peace.
She’s the Star of the Show
For narcissists, the world revolves around them. Other people are only two-dimensional, meaning that narcissists can’t empathize. They view others only as a means to achieve what they want and need. Yes, even the bride – on her special day – comes second to a narcissistic bridesmaid.
When you talk with your bridesmaid, is she interested in your vision of your big day, or talking only about herself? Is she acting as if the listener (you) doesn’t exist? This is a tell-tale sign that your bridesmaid is a narcissist.
Some narcissists are skilled communicators and will appear fascinated by your choices and supportive of your ideas. They may be good short-term and make you feel special; but eventually they will show their true colours. You’ll discover that their motive is to get what they want.
Be aware of other examples of lack of consideration. These can include making you chase them for a return phone call, arriving late or not turning up to meetings, or interrupting conversations to bring the conversation back around to herself. These people will always use your day to get what they want.
She’s Arrogant, Rude or Unpleasant to Others
Narcissists often feel that they’re better or more important than other people, and can be rude or even abusive to others as a result of this. They may hint at this in how they talk about themselves and others.
Is your bridesmaid a fault-finder who criticizes other members of the wedding party? Does she listen to others’ suggestions, or push her own agenda no matter what? Does she act superior to others, or treat other people as though she doesn’t respect them?
She may want to force herself to be important by taking on extra duties or taking over some aspects completely, such as planning the Hen Party. She may act condescendingly towards you or other bridesmaids, if you disagree with something she’s suggested or even try to offer a different perspective. And when things go wrong that are her fault, she’ll be quick to blame others.
She Tries to Control Everything
Narcissists would like to be associated with high-status things. They think they’re the best and want to surround themselves with the best. This is usually due to insecurity.
Does your bridesmaid insist that her dress choice is the best, no matter what anyone else says? Does she require the best hair and makeup, the finest wine choice, and want you to spend more money on your wedding (particularly on your bridesmaids) than you’d prefer to? Is your bridesmaid trying to convince you to book a grander venue than you’re looking for, or plump for a more expensive caterer?
A narcissistic bridesmaid may want to pressure you into making the decisions that she perceives as “the best”, even though it’s your day, not hers. If you allow this to happen, you’ll regret letting others take the lead when it comes to the big day (especially with regards to your budget).
She’s Constantly Looking for Admiration and Approval
Although narcissistic people act like they’re superior to others, this is often because they’re insecure in themselves. To back this up, they need constant validation, appreciation, and recognition from others.
A bridesmaid may seek this elevation by bragging about herself and her accomplishments and ideals. She will assert that she knows what’s best, but still beg for confirmation when she makes a suggestion.
A narcissistic bridesmaid’s need for admiration and validation can show through in topics such as:
1) Her hair and makeup
2) What she’ll be wearing (her dress, shoes and jewellery)
3) Who she is sitting with
4) Who she’s bringing as a plus one
5) Her relationship with you
6) How much money she’s contributed towards the wedding
She may even lie or exaggerate about her planning and input, or her loyalty to the bride. People who brag are trying to convince themselves and you of their greatness, and this will often get in the way of more important things.
She Puts Down Other Bridesmaids
If your troublesome bridesmaid constantly puts down other bridesmaids or members of your wedding party, this can also be a sign that she’s narcissistic. She may want to compare herself to others and brag that she is better than them. By making other people look worse, she’s hoping she’ll look better in your eyes – and therefore you’ll be in her good books, and give in to her demands.
She may comment on other bridesmaids’ appearances, such as their hair or weight. She may say that a chosen dress doesn’t suit them, and try to disguise this unnecessary criticism as “advice”. More generally, she may act like the other bridesmaids do not deserve the same special treatment as her. She may even drop hints that you should make her the Maid of Honour, even if you’ve already chosen someone else.
Arguments within the wedding party can cause enormous upset and run the risk of putting you under stress on your big day.
What Should I Do About a Narcissistic Bridesmaid?
If one of your friends or family members isn’t acting like the bridesmaid you thought she’d be, making unreasonable demands or attempting to make your special day all about herself, you may wonder what to do.
Obviously, you can’t go ahead with someone like that in your wedding party. But talking to a narcissist and trying to explain that they aren’t the centre of the universe rarely goes well. Unfortunately, you’re likely to only trigger drama when she refuses to accept that she’s done anything wrong.
If you want to “grey rock” (i.e. ignore) her, and put up with her for the sake of keeping the peace, that’s your choice. But if you don’t think you can cope, your only real option is to kick her out of the wedding party.
Remember: you don’t have to give a reason. You can simply say something like “this isn’t working out and I’m going to need you to step down as a bridesmaid.” If possible, have this conversation with at least one or two trusted people present, so that she can’t twist your words and paint you in a bad light after the fact.
When you’re ready to move on with your wedding planning, head over to Bride and Groom Direct for fantastic professionally-printed wedding stationery and accessories. You can even pick out some bridesmaid gifts for everyone who hasn’t made your wedding planning journey all about the