NEW: ‘Ask Charlotte’, A Bridal Agony Aunt Column by Charlotte Argyrou

Love My Dress Agony Aunt Charlotte Argyrou

We are so absolutely thrilled to welcome the gorgeous Charlotte Argyrou on to team Love My Dress and through this article, introduce her as host of our brand new Agony Aunt column.

Charlotte is an incredibly talented botanical artist and member of the Love My Dress directory. She is also, it turns out, rather nifty at writing and will be penning her honest, witty and genuinely considered replies to your wedding planning dilemmas over the next few months.

We want this feature to be a light hearted antidote to issues that are putting a spanner in the works of your wedding planning and we’re kicking off our column with this inaugural feature today that considers an issue we’re pretty sure many of you will be able to relate to; when to stop inviting people to be your bridesmaid.

Annabel x

(Founder & Editor, Love My Dress)

Reader Dilemma

I can’t stop inviting people to be my bridesmaids.

Dear Charlotte,

I think there’s something wrong with me. I can’t stop inviting people to be my bridesmaids. I’ve gone too far, and even though it’s definitely not what I want, I’m genetically wired to please everyone all of the time. This wedding has caused a real flare-up and it’s only going to get worse.

It started with my friend from primary school, because we made a pact when we were six years old that we would be each other’s bridesmaids. I don’t want to jinx my marriage by going back on my word.

Then my parents made me ask my sister. She and I are not that close, but Mum once had a vision back in the nineties that this day would come and I don’t want to be the one to mess up the universal order. Plus, Mum’s paying for the wedding flowers so I owe her this one, don’t I?

I asked my uni friend, because she’s asked me to be hers and I would die at the awkwardness of not reciprocating. Her fiancé is pondlife, btw, but that’s another story.

Meanwhile, my fiancé’s sister should probably be in the line-up, to even things out familywise. She hates having her photo taken (and between you and I with good reason. Bad things happen to her face when she sees a camera. Not helped by someone telling her to “relax”, I’ve noted…) She hasn’t worn a dress since she was eleven, and she’s guaranteed to abhor the tiered chiffon I have in mind. I know that doesn’t sound good, but there’s an inescapable inevitability I will ask her anyway when we next bump into each other at spin class.

Now, this is where it gets way worse. I drank too much on a work night out at Lucky Voice, and following a screechy burst of “We Are Family”, I acquired one more bridesmaid. The invite tumbled out of my mouth and I had an out of body experience watching myself ask her, each of us in disbelief. She’s not even really a best friend, we just get on as colleagues and chit-chat about my wedding planning most days. Incidentally, I regret many things about that night, including explaining my conspiracy theory about the Derry Girls’ mums’ storyline as an allegory for menopause to two 50-year-olds in HR. Nobody asked, I don’t know what I’m talking about and it doesn’t even make sense. It’s like my mouth has a life of its own, when all I’m ever trying to do is connect with people.

I’m looking at our budget and freaking out, but if I ask them all to buy their own shoes, can I also invite my cousin?!

I just want everyone to be friends and for no-one to feel left out.

Yours, Persistent People Pleaser from Putney

Charlotte Says…

Dear PPP,

I get it, you want everyone to feel special so they remember your wedding as one of the most legendary days of their life. And if they are entrusted with a job title, everyone will step up and deliver extra magic. With all that fairy dust energy being flung down the aisle, bliss levels will be off the chart for all the congregation to bathe in. Then everyone will like you.

This is a conversation about control, and you my friend, need to let it go.

You can bring together six or more women from different areas in your life and put them in matching dresses, but it doesn’t mean they will form a sisterhood for life. They don’t need to. Your desire to please everyone may actually just create more pressure, especially to those who don’t even know what they are doing on the payroll in the first place.

It is not your place to try and guarantee everyone’s happiness on the Big Day by securing their commitment to Wedding Fun; Saturday shopping afternoons and nine months of enthusiastic bants in the What’s App group chat is not everyone’s cup of tea anyway.

There is a joy to being simply a wedding guest, unencumbered by job title and responsibility.

People love to come and go as they please, wear what they want, not be a slave to formal photos and a schedule. Sounds like your sister in-law may be relieved to be left out; she might genuinely appreciate a less high-profile way to contribute to her brother’s special day.

When you leave white space in the planning process, you allow your special people to come good for you, plan surprises, organise games and gifts and be free to celebrate you. Squeeze too tight in your effort to keep everyone on side, and you can quickly suffocate that high energy by the time the wedding comes around. You may see it as a genuine effort to make everyone happy, but others will interpret it as unwelcome micro-managing.

Celebrating your wedding with your besties by your side is a true coming of age moment for many brides, especially where those relationships are long-lived and sacred. But recruiting a netball team out of misguided necessity and the need to please is a costly error, unlikely to lead to the good times you are seeking.

So now, when you feel compelled to recruit another squad member, remove yourself from their company immediately. Invent an emergency if you have to and go quarantine you and your big mouth in a toilet cubicle. Safely detained, ask yourself, “will this addition really enhance the wedding day, for her and for me?” If the answer is yes, you may return to the room. If not, it’s out through the window you go. No more contact with humans until you reread my cautionary words and are braced to try again.

These people already love you, just as you are, with or without coordinating dresses.

Just leave them be.

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Charlotte Argyrou

Charlotte ArgyrouView all Charlotte's articles

Charlotte Argyrou is a national award-winning botanical artist, seasonal living advocate and a creative business mentor. Her eye for trends and was honed through her previous career as a fashion publicist, while her disobedient writerly voice is a constant work in progress. She lives in London with husband and two daughters.