Declining the Bridesmaid Invite
Declining the Bridesmaid Invite
It happened as these things often do; your oldest best friend met her new best friend for life. Now, one of your closest friends is showing off a stunning ring and planning the wedding of her dreams. And you couldn’t possibly be happier for her. Except…
She’s asked you to be a bridesmaid, and you just aren’t sure you can make it work.
Maybe she’s planning a destination wedding, and the cost of attending is just way outside your budget. Or perhaps even just the travel to your hometown, where she is planning on saying her “I Do’s,” would involve vacation time from work you don’t have to draw from. Maybe you just found out you’re pregnant, and her impending nuptials are going to be right around your due date. Or it could be that you have a million other things going on, and committing to all the events involved in being a bridesmaid is simply more than you can take on right now.
Whatever the case may be, she asked you to stand by her on her big day. And maybe you even initially said yes, thinking in the excitement of the moment that of course you would find a way to make it work. But now that you’ve had a chance to really think through the logistics, you’ve come to realize—you in a bridesmaid dress, standing next to her on her big day, simply isn’t going to happen.
So, how do you let her down easy?
Well, first and foremost, you need to let her know as soon as this realization occurs to you. We’re talking within the week. Don’t let this news draw out any longer than it has to, and don’t let her spend too much time planning the details for you to be there if you can’t be.
Whenever possible, this is one of those conversations you want to have in person. That’s because you want to make sure you convey your sincere affection for your friend, and your happiness over her happiness. Invite her to dinner and take the time to explain that while your friendship means the world to you, being her bridesmaid just isn’t something you can commit to. Usually, honesty is the best policy with these things, so if funds are tight or a baby is on the way, letting her know that might help to ease the blow. But whatever the reason, make sure you talk to her with a genuine respect for your friendship.
If you can’t have that conversation in person, at least set aside a time to talk to her on the phone when you won’t be distracted by a million other things. And consider following up on that conversation with a bouquet of flowers and a nice note, apologizing once more and sending your love.
Because the thing is, while it is perfectly acceptable to acknowledge there are things going on in your life right now that will prevent you from being a big part of her big day, she’s still someone you care about. And she obviously cherishes your friendship enough to have asked you to fulfill this important role. So honoring that as you decline the invite is important, even if there truly is no other way.
In most cases your friend will, of course, be sad. But if your friendship really is as strong as it must be for you to have earned this invite, she will also hopefully understand. Of course, planning a wedding can be stressful, so give her the benefit of the doubt if her initial reaction is less warm than you might have hoped. And then, remember whatever it was that held you back when it comes to planning your own wedding; and try to keep those drawbacks to being a bridesmaid in mind when you are inviting your own posse to stand beside you.