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Can You Decline Being A Bridesmaid?

Dear Sugar
Yesterday I was asked to be in a bridesmaid in a co-workers wedding. We met at work about a year and a half go, and I consider us to be relatively new friends. I must say that I was completely caught quite off guard when she asked me to do her this honor. I don't know anyone else in her bridal party and I am not currently dating anyone that I would be able to bring as my date.

While I really like her and I am very flattered, I am not interested in saying yes. Being a bridesmaid is an added expense that I can not afford right now, not to mention a large time commitment. Do I have to say yes or is there a polite way to decline without ruining our new friendship? I said yes yesterday, but I am hoping it's not too late to change my decision. Declining Davita

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Declining Davita
This is always a delicate topic. Being asked to be in a friend's wedding is an honor, but it can certainly feel like a chore; especially if you aren't very close with her. You technically do not have to say yes, but by saying no, you run the risk of hurting her feelings.

Being in the wedding party is definitely expensive so this could be your easy way out. Let her know how much you appreciate the invitation but that you are unfortunately on too tight of budget to take this on. A nice gesture would be asking her if you could still be a part of her special day by passing out programs, participating in a reading or offering to help chip in for her bachelorette party or shower.

Hopefully your friend will understand your financial commitments and will take you up on your offer to be a part of her wedding in another capacity. Reiterate to the bride that your decision is strictly financial and has nothing to do with how you feel about her, or her upcoming nuptials. I am sure your emotional support will be greatly appreciated by the bride and your friendship will be spared.


Join The Conversation
ethiopian_princess ethiopian_princess 10 years
You can and you should
SWEET-C9363 SWEET-C9363 10 years
i grew up about an hour sourht of scranton
Lindsb Lindsb 10 years
Yes, I am. I went from living next to a few cornfields and a creek (having bear and deer run through my backyard) to city life. Haha.. and right back to the country. It was odd adjusting to the men and bare chicken wings that would show up on my doorstep in the middle of the night (only when I lived in North Philly by Temple).. haha..
WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 10 years
No, just for about five years. I lived in Jersey before that, but right over the bridge, near Collingswood. I do love living here. It's such a great and underrated city. So you're from near Scranton originally then?
Lindsb Lindsb 10 years
I got a job offer out here.. plus my family lives close to here. I miss the city though. I LOVE the Italian Market area. I still have close friends that live in Bella Vista and in Fishtown. Do you love the city; have you always lived there?
WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 10 years
I'm in Northern Liberties. There are a lot of Temple students in my neighborhood because it's kind of close by. Before that, I was in Bella Vista (near the Italian Market) and before that, the heart of Center City. Why did you leave the city?
Lindsb Lindsb 10 years
Scranton is not so hot. I miss Philly shopping (oh, H&M, how I miss thee). I lived in North Philly for awhile while I went to Temple and then I lived in Manayunk.. How about you?
purplesugar purplesugar 10 years
ha, ha Scranton reminds me of The that show
WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 10 years
Oh, really? I've never been to Scranton, actually. Where in Philly did you live?
Lindsb Lindsb 10 years
Whiplash - about 2 hrs NE of Philly. I see you live there! I actually lived there for the past 4 years or so.. I just moved out to the boonies last year. (scranton area)
purplesugar purplesugar 10 years
"I don't know anyone else in her bridal party and I am not currently dating anyone that I would be able to bring as my date." = Bad excuses "Being a bridesmaid is an added expense that I can not afford right now" = Acceptable excuse
cubadog cubadog 10 years
For the most part I am with lindsb. I do think you need to have a full grasp of what the financial expectation on your end is. The last couple of weddings I have been in the bride paid for everything the only exception were some ugly shoes that I put tape on the bottom of and returned after the wedding. As for not having a date that is a silly reason to not consider attending the wedding or being in the wedding party. I go by myself all the time and have a fabulous time you get to dance with whoever you want! As for Sugar's adivice to chip in for the shower or bachlorette party it is dumb to offer to chip in for something like that and then tell her you can't afford to be in the wedding party.
SaRaH-22 SaRaH-22 10 years
cubadog cubadog 10 years
The maid of honor will usually throw the bridal shower. I would just offer to help with that and maybe help plan a girls weekend or bachlorette party since she is a close friend.
SaRaH-22 SaRaH-22 10 years
A quick question for anyone...I was asked to be a bridesmaid and i said yes (we are very close) but this is my first time being part of the bridal party, what all is MY responsibility to do?? sorry if it seems like a silly ?
merricat merricat 10 years
It seems odd she'd ask someone she's known for such a relatively short time. Tell her you're honored, you wish you could make the commitment to it, but...(your excuse here). Better that than being a resentful bridesmaid!
lickety-split lickety-split 10 years
if you don't know her that well, and don't know anyone else in the wedding it might just be that she needs another attendant to match up with a groomsman. i think it would be fine to say you aren't able to participate. maybe tell her that you want to take her to lunch to celebrate and hear all about her wedding plans at the same time.
WhatTheFrockBlog WhatTheFrockBlog 10 years
Where in PA are you from, Lindsb?
Lindsb Lindsb 10 years
I agree with DS. I ran into the same dilemma a number of months ago. I agreed to be a bridesmaid in a good friend's wedding (who wouldn't - it's an exciting proposition and I felt honored..). Well, after I said yes.. she explained it would be a destination wedding in the Florida keys.. (I live in Pennsylvania). Also, there is only one hotel there and it's $350 a night and it's a two night minimum.. Needless to say, things started adding up. I, too, am on a budget. I expressed my concerns to her early and I assured her that I would sincerely try to swing it.. She was extremely understanding and just asked that I let her know for sure by a certain date. As that date arrived, I still was very unsure I could afford the wedding so I had to decline the offer to be a bridesmaid. I felt, and still feel, AWFUL. I think she is upset about it.. but she has been pretty understanding. I really did try. I think as long as you are 100% honest about your situation.. she can't help but at least try to understand or compromise. My friend even offered to pay for my dress, but unfortunately it was still too much money. I hope everything works out!!
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