So, your old college roommate or your work wife is finally getting married and she wants you to be in the bridal party. Congrats to her and all, but you don’t want to be a part of it. You’re super happy that she’s saying “I do” and you’d love to attend the ceremony, but that’s about where it ends. So, how can you say no to being a bridesmaid without feeling guilty or seeming like a total bitch? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back.
Can you say no to being a bridesmaid?
Of course you can! While you might feel pressured to accept an offer that’s intended to be an honor, that doesn’t mean you have to. This is her wedding, not yours. You never asked to be included in the bridal party and you’re under no obligation to do so, especially if it’s inconvenient or unfeasible for you to do so. If you want to say no, do it. You’re bound to feel a bit guilty about it, but you really shouldn’t.
Why might you might want or need to decline
You never need to offer an explanation for why you can’t or don’t want to be a bridesmaid in your friend’s wedding. This happens for a variety of reasons. Maybe you don’t have the money to pay all the costs that come along with it. Perhaps you’re very limited on time and don’t feel like you can commit in the way you would need to. It could be that you’re uncomfortable with the idea of being such a prominent part of her big day. Whatever the reason, it’s valid (and you don’t have to share it with the bride-to-be).
How to turn down the bride-to-be’s offer to join the wedding party
- Thank them for the generous offer. It’s certainly flattering to be considered. Asking someone to be your bridesmaid is a big deal, and it’s nice to know your friend thinks so highly of you. Show your appreciation for their gesture, letting them know how much it means and that you understand what a huge gesture it is.
- Make it clear you’ve considered it (and do consider it). You might know the minute the words come out of her mouth that you have no interest in being a bridesmaid. However, don’t make it out to your friend that it was a knee-jerk reaction. Tell your friend that you’ve thought about it at length before turning down her offer. At least then she might be less offended.
- Don’t wait until the last minute. While you don’t want to say no five minutes after she asks, don’t drag out the process of letting her know you’re not feeling it. Weddings are very stressful to plan, and the bride-to-be needs to know where she stands with her wedding party. As soon as you know 100% that you’re going to say no to being a bridesmaid, communicate that. It’s the considerate thing to do.
- Be upfront and honest but kind. There’s no sense in being wishy-washy about it. You’re not going to change your mind, and you don’t need more time to think about it. Pretending like there’s some wiggle room here is a bit heartless. Let her know your decision is final and that it’s not something you’re open to at the moment. However, try not to bite if she’s angry or upset. She’s likely just disappointed.
- Open up about why you’re saying no. You don’t have to tell her why you’re declining her offer, but if you feel comfortable enough with your friend, you can share your reasons for not wanting to be her bridesmaid. If your friendship is as strong as you hope it is, she should be understanding.
- Let her know how much you value her friendship. Just because you’re saying no to her invitation to join her wedding party doesn’t mean you don’t love her. Make it clear that your decision isn’t an indication of how much you care about her. You still value her friendship very much and hope that she can see that.
- Offer to do other things to help out. Just because you’re not going to serve as a bridesmaid doesn’t mean you can’t help your friend in other ways. What are some other things she might need an extra set of hands to take care of? Ask her, then offer to do it. It’s another gesture that shows her you care while still being less of a commitment than you would have had otherwise.