It's certainly a bit awkward and requires some major tact, but you actually can say no to a friend's request for you to be her bridesmaid. In fact, if you really don't feel like you'll be a positive participant either because of time constraints or personal demands, declining her request might just be the best thing you can do. Though coming right out with "no thanks" may not be the best strategy, there are ways of refusing gracefully. To check out my tips,
- Don't leave the bride hanging. If you're not going to do it, let her know as soon as possible. If you put it off, you'll just feel unnecessarily guilty, and not allotting her enough time to find a replacement could lead to a bigger headache then just being direct.
- Regardless of what some bridezillas might say, financial concern is a legitimate reason for turning down the bridesmaid request. Making your friend's wedding a special day is incredibly important but not at the expense of your own livelihood. Let her know that, budgetwise, you just don't have the room for this kind of expenditure.
- The same rule applies if you're overwhelmingly busy. Sometimes there are just not enough days in the month, and overbooking yourself will only lead to disaster.
- A great way to smooth over your refusal is by offering to take a different role in the wedding. You can offer to be in charge of the guestbook or manage her thank you notes for the bridal shower and bachelorette party.
- Above all else, be as respectful as possible. Go out of your way to acknowledge the importance of her day and your desire to be a part of it.
In most cases, even if your friend is disappointed, she'll understand. And if she doesn't at first, give her some time. Often the stress of planning a wedding can make emotions run high, so you might find her far more understanding once the vows have been spoken.