I am not a jealous person. OK, OK … maybe a little bit, sometimes. But when I learned I have to share part of my bridal party with another bride, I have to admit that my thoughts were far from pleasant. My maid of honor is my cousin, but she lives out of town, so most of the planning and brainstorming is happening with one of my closest friends –– sort of like my second maid of honor (without the title).

When I found out she’d been asked to be in another wedding, I hoped her friends would choose to have their wedding after mine. I’ve been engaged longer, for crying out loud, and I’m going to need her help in the months leading up to our wedding.

No such luck. The other couple will be having their wedding within a one-year time frame, right around my four-month mark. The green-eyed monster is coming out in me, and I’m doing everything I can to push those feelings back.

For all of you who are married already, I’m sure you understand what I mean. You’re working to plan your wedding with your little team of “advisers,” and one of those helpers becomes preoccupied with another task. I am happy for the other bride, much like I am happy for any couple getting married. But I feel as though it is an honor for my bridesmaids to be in my wedding, and they should treat the experience as such.

I AM SUCH A BRAT.

Let this be a lesson for future and current brides. Your wedding is not the end-all and be-all of the universe. In fact, for most people, it is another blip on the radar of life. You can make it as spectacular as you want, but there will always be distractions, conflicts and all-around-bratty behavior going on. So I’ve put together some rules to help myself in this process.

Rule No.1: Be happy for other brides, even if you like what they choose better than what you’ve already purchased and even if your happiness is partially fake. I wish I could fit my curvy body into a mermaid-style dress. My dress is beautiful and looks great on me, but I can’t help but feel a little stab of envy for those who can wear the mermaid-style. But I will be happy for them … sort of.

Rule No. 2: Don’t make the wedding the center of your universe. If so, you will miss out on the little things that matter. My fiancé is so thoughtful, but he is really good at the little things that are easy to miss. I vow not to miss all of the cute little things he does because the wedding gets in the way.

Rule No. 3: My bridesmaids are not getting paid. In high school, we had to do volunteer projects. We could pick from a number of projects, but in the end, it all boiled down to the fact that we were being forced to do volunteer work. Once we got there, we enjoyed the experience, but the process of being forced to prepare and plan for something that we weren’t passionate about was a little annoying. THIS IS HOW YOUR BRIDESMAIDS FEEL. They are happy to do this for me and are honored that they were chosen. But in the end, this is simply mandatory volunteer work. I will remember this when I start to boss them around. (I will not become a bridezilla … I will not become a bridezilla …)

And finally, Rule No. 4: Expect nothing, and get everything. If I have no expectations for how beautiful or perfect everything will be, then I can’t be disappointed. Disappointment on my wedding day will totally set me up for disappointment in my married life. My fiancé and I must keep focused on the fact that this is about the actual union of our lives and not the color scheme, favors and food.

Rule No. 4 is probably the most important rule of them all. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a bride flip out because the groomsmen’s jackets aren’t buttoned or the centerpieces aren’t this way or that. It’s not worth it! And if you’re the type of person who would be bothered by that sort of thing, hire a wedding planner and make her a list of things to look for.

At least that’s my plan. What’s yours?