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How to Say No to Being a Bridesmaid

Saying No to Being a Bridesmaid? Here's Exactly How to Do It

Whether it's because you're suffering from always-the-bridesmaid syndrome, you're having money troubles, or you simply don't support the wedding, turning down a bridesmaid offer is a terrifying task. But it's better to say no up front than to have your resentment reveal itself later. Use these tips to tell the bride no gracefully and keep your friendship intact.

  • Do it now! Waiting will only make it harder for you to say and harder for her to hear.
  • Be honest: Whether it's because you can't afford it or you have another wedding that weekend, state the reason why you can't do it as succinctly as possible. Details, rationales, and excessive apologies may only make it worse!
  • But not too honest: If you're saying no because you don't like the groom, then keep your lips sealed. Lie (I'd go with money) as convincingly as possible!
  • Be prepared to repeat yourself: A few brides won't take your first "no" for an answer. It may be as friendly as offering to help with expenses or as vengeful as a personal attack, but you'll regret it later if you don't stand your ground. Remain composed now, and she'll have a hard time holding it against you later.
  • Offer to help: If you offer to do some grunt work without the glory of being a bridesmaid, she will know you care. But I wouldn't suggest another role in the ceremony for yourself; if she has one, she'll ask.

Is it you getting married? Learn how to manage the bridal party with our ultimate wedding guide.

Image Source: Etsy user PamelaLoops
Join The Conversation
skigurl skigurl 7 years
i think it all depends on the situation...sometimes people just don't WANT to spend their money on a certain thing, and so if a bride knows you HAVE money but you just choose not to support her on her big day because you would rather spend your money on something else, that could be percieved as selfish if a friend is unemployed, tries hard to get a job, and is in a rough place and you know it, well then that's another story, but i think it's pretty easy to figure out someone's financial situation if you're that close and i just don't think money is a good reason not to stand up for a friend on their wedding day, if you're close
jazzytummy jazzytummy 7 years
If someone is going to dump you as a friend because you say no to being a bridesmaid, then it is not much of a friendship to begin with. And BTW, I have been a bridesmaid/MOH 7 times, the majority when I had absolutely no money, and it is not easy financially. I wish brides would think about this when they are planning their big blow outs.
zanessc zanessc 7 years
I've said no to a couple of friends for different reasons ($ and growing apart over a 5 yr engagement). One I'm still friends with. The other not so much. Being a wedding attendant is a huge financial commitment. If a bride can't understand that, then the friendship should be questioned anyway. I'm not going broke anymore. At the very least, I'll make this very clear up front so the bride can decide if she wants to help. There are so many other ways to love and support a friend through their big day without having a title and losing the bank..
skigurl skigurl 7 years
i also agree you can't say no under most circumstances...if the wedding requires air travel or is super short notice and you have a legit other commitment, or if it's the same day as a wedding for someone *closer* to you - ie: family, and you've already committed to it...then maybe, but i agree, your friendship is on borrowed time when you say no i know a girl who dropped out of a wedding i was in a few months before, after saying yes like 8 months before that - for "financial reasons" (it was a destination wedding)...they are barely friends much so that the bride wasn't even asked to be in the girls upcoming wedding and they used to be very close
lemuse20 lemuse20 7 years
Wish I could've said no to my brother's wife. Ugh. Sometimes you just gotta be self-less and do what you gotta do.
boredgourdless boredgourdless 7 years
I asked a friend to be a bridesmaid, and she said no for financial/travel reasons. Was I disappointed? Yes. Was I offended? No. If a friend cannot attend the wedding--much less as a member of the wedding part--odds are they feel bad about it, too. Planning a wedding is stressful enough! It's not constructive for anyone to get overly upset about conditions that cannot be helped.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
Yeah, I don't think you can really say no to this. I was recently in a wedding that was a big financial strain on me (far away, expensive (for me) dress, hotel stay, etc.), but I did it anyway because our friendship was important to me.
tarabara1229 tarabara1229 7 years
I've said no to being a bridesmaid, and I'm still on great terms with that person. I think there are definitely legitimate reasons for saying no (in my case, she told me 3 months before the wedding, she lives an ocean away, and I was working a film festival). So, even though generally I wouldn't say no, these tips are still very helpful.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
I agree, too, I just didn't want to be the first to say it. Unless the person had the wedding of a family member the same day or some other really good excuse. I'm not even someone who's "in" to weddings, but I would be really hurt if someone who I asked to be my bridesmaid said no! And I've been a bridesmaid in 3 weddings and loved it each time.
partysugar partysugar 7 years
I agree with Alexis!
AlexisSF AlexisSF 7 years
i happen to think that if you say no to bring a bridesmaid, your friendship is on borrowed time. it's just something you can't really say no to — sorry!
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