Can you ever say no to being a bridesmaid?

Being asked to be a part of someone’s bridal party is a huge honour. It shows that they regard you as one of their closest friends. But what happens if you don’t want to be a bridesmaid, or maybe you just can’t. Can you ever say no without it impacting on your friendship?

The truth is yes, you can decline the title ‘bridesmaid’ without torching a friendship but it needs to be done properly. 

It’s about her

If you don’t think that you can be the best possible bridesmaid for your friend, you should be honest and tell her. The role is so much more than just popping on a pretty dress and standing up front on the big day. There is a lot of planning involved. It’s likely that you’ll be asked to attend various appointments and events. You will probably need a few get togethers with the other bridesmaids to plan surprises and it’s sure to put a dampener on things if you are not able to be at a lot of them.

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Tell her up front that you won’t be able to commit properly to the role and that you wouldn’t feel right accepting such an honour knowing in advance that you wouldn’t be able to give it 100 per cent due to prior commitments like work schedules, family issues, travel plans or whatever else it is taking up your time. It’s best to be honest rather than have a friendship suffer because she felt that her wedding was never a priority for you. 

Don’t drag it out

If you know from the get go that you can’t (or don’t want to be) a bridesmaid it’s important to tell her as early as possible. Delaying the awkward conversation won’t make it go away. In fact it will probably make things worse. Like most brides she will likely proceed with planning and details with the assumption that you’ll be involved until you tell her otherwise. The longer you leave things, the more of an impact your absence will have.

Blame it on the finances

Accepting the role of being someones bridesmaid also means that you accept there might be a few things that you’ll need to pay. Depending on the bride and the kind of wedding she is planning, this could be a dress, hair and make up, shoes, not to mention the costs associated with hens parties and kitchen teas.

Image: iStock

Declining the role based on finances is perfectly reasonable and you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable to do so. Just explain to the bride that as much as you would like to be involved in her day, your current financial situation would not allow you to commit.

Respect the friendship

The bride to be has obviously asked you to be a part of her big day because she feels close to you. Acknowledge how you feel about her when having 'the talk' and make sure she knows that your stance is not a reflection of your friendship. Give her valid reasons for your not wanting to be involved in the bridal party rather than letter her assume there is something deeper going on. 

Offer to help out in other ways

Tell the bride that while you’re not able to accept the title of bridesmaid in the wedding, you would like to be involved in other ways. Offer to assist with making invitations or bonbonniere, MC at the reception or do a reading during the ceremony.

Offer to assist in other ways on the big day. (istock)

You could even offer to get to the venue on the big day early while the bridal party is getting ready to make sure that everything is set up as she wishes.