My bridesmaids haven't come to my gown appointments or made any effort to help me look for bridesmaids dresses. How can I get them to contribute more?

You were probably looking forward to sharing these experiences with your closest friends. Yet a bride-to-be can easily forget that other people have demands on their time and budgets, too. Be respectful of the fact that your bridesmaids might be busier with work and family right now than they’d expected to be. And remember, it’s not technically required that bridesmaids attend fittings or even throw you a shower.

Have a face-to-face conversation with each bridesmaid rather than sending an email, in which you may come off more tersely than you intend. Avoid expressing disappointment, and instead tell each bridesmaid how much her help, advice, and camaraderie mean to you. Play to their strengths: Figure out exactly what you need from each attendant, and then be as specific as possible. For instance, tell your fashion-forward friend that you really want her counsel when it comes to dresses, and ask your most organized friend to arrange your bachelorette party.