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You Asked: Can I Say No to Being Her Bridesmaid?

Dear Sugar
I was asked to be a bridesmaid in a new friend's wedding. We are not all that close and I was completely taken aback when she asked me to do her this honor. I don't know many of her friends and don't know anyone else in the wedding party. While I am incredibly flattered and truly enjoy my new friendship with this girl, I am not interested in saying yes. Is there a polite way to decline such an offer? --Refraining Reenie

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Refraining Reenie--

This is always a touchy subject and everyone has different views on saying no to being a bridesmaid. Being in someone's wedding is a great honor, but can also feel like quite a chore. Technically, you don't have to say yes, but it is extremely important how you say no. Many people believe that declining such an offer is a sure fire way to end a friendship, but I don't always feel that is the case.

Being in a wedding is definitely expensive, so this could be your easy way out. Let the bride know how much you appreciate the invitation, but that you are unfortunately on too tight of a budget to commit to such a role. Since your desire to say no is no reflection on her marriage or her friendship, reiterate how happy you are for her and how much you appreciate the honor she extended to you.

One thing to remember is the sooner you decline her offer, the better. Dragging out the inevitable will not only make you feel guilty, but it will cut down on the amount of time the bride has to ask someone else. A nice gesture would be to ask if you could still participate on her special day by passing out programs, reciting a poem or offering to help plan her bachelorette party or bridal shower.

Hopefully your friend will understand and will take you up on your offer of participating in her wedding in another capacity. I am sure your emotional support will be greatly appreciated and you can use this time to get to know each other better.


Join The Conversation
loveydovey4 loveydovey4 7 years
I had a girl who I was friends with probably 4 years ago (with minimal contact throughout the last 3 years) who asked me to be in her wedding out of the blue a few months ago. Since I have been a bridesmaid before I understood the financial obligation that comes with being a bridesmaid. I had to politely decline. She was a little bummed but it didn't turn out to be as dramatic as I was expecting (especially since she is a bit of a drama queen). Our friendship has remained the same and I really truly don't regret the decision to opt out.
Jinx Jinx 10 years
Gosh, I can't imagine thinking enough of someone to include them in my wedding party, and then having them turn me down. ------------------------------------------------------ "If men could only know each other, they would neither idolize nor hate" Elbert Hubbard
Candy212 Candy212 10 years
I was a bridesmaid for a friends wedding in October of last year. I'm currently a maid of honor for my friends' wedding in July and a bridesmaid for a wedding in November. Both of these girls are my best friends. The one from October was a new friend and I'm really glad I did it becaue since then we have become very close. I didn't know anyone in her wedding party either. Now I have another friend who asked me to be a bridesmaid for her wedding in May 2008. I'm really not that close to her. Her fiance is friends with my husband so I guess this is why she asked me. My husband said yes. I'm in a sticky situation. Being a bridesmaid is allot of work. The bachelorette party, the bridal shower, the dress and alteration, the shoes, the hair can all add up to tons of money. And it's also very time consuming. If you are in the wedding party you should be helping the bride to be with all of her preparations. It's not just about the money it's about the time. I don't know what to say to this girl. I think my situation is a little different since my husband is in the wedding party. I'm all bridesmaid out!! Any advice?
phatE phatE 10 years
see the thing with the money excuse is you have to carry that out when with her (act like your on a budget) etc.. because you don't want to say, no i am on to tight of a budget then walk in with a new bag & outfit the next time you see her.. if you want to use an excuse, maybe i have something that weekend for my family (cousin's wedding) or an other committment that you've already made.. however, just suck it up and do it. if it's because you don't know anyone, that's just insecure, meet new people, you really never know what could happen.
grl-in-the-world grl-in-the-world 10 years
Go with the money excuse, it worked for me! She understood and there are no hard feelings. Just tell her how much you are looking forward to witnessing her marriage and being there on her special day.
lickety-split lickety-split 10 years
they probably just need one more attendent to match up with the groomsmen. if you say financial responsibilities prevent you from participating or that your mother has announced that there is a mandatory famnily get together that day, i'm sure she will be fine. but i agree with the above suggestion of jumping in with both feet and having some exposure to a new group of potential friends. sounds like fun :)
a-gentle-rain a-gentle-rain 10 years
I agree with all previously said. Be totally sure that you def. want to refuse her offer. It is very sweet of her, and even if unexpected, it could be a grea tway to get to know her better. If you do decide to go on and refuse, be very nice, and wish her well. Please do understand that she may be upset. Best of luck.
vmruby vmruby 10 years
Good call Dear!!!I agree with all of it.....
Marci Marci 10 years
If you don't want to do it because it's a new friend and the expense is too much for someone you don't know that well, then that's your perfect excuse. But be prepared that she may offer to pay for your dress because some brides will do that. I agree that you should decline sooner than later so she can make other plans.
cubadog cubadog 10 years
I go back and forth about bowing out. I think it can be done gracefully however what a great time to get to know new people. I also think you absolutely cannot use the financial excuse unless it is the truth. Throwing a shower can be very expensive too so that offer really doesn't make sense to me at all. You can't afford the wedding but you can afford to throw a party? The weddings I have been in the bride paid for everything so the expense never came into play.
happygirlhehe happygirlhehe 10 years
Weddings are huge and if you dont want to be involved it is best to be honest about it. A bride to be needs honest, supportive people around her during wedding time, and some of the best help is from people who are not a part of the wedding party.
andaman andaman 10 years
If I were you I would actually embrace the chance to be her maid! I would look at it as a challenge. I have to open myself to strangers (her friends and other people). I could end up making a lot of nice friends by doing this! I think she must really like you. I think anything that scares me might actually be good for me. But i understand if you feel differently.. If I don't have a lot of money to spare, I would be totally up front about it with her though.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 10 years
I agree with Dear Sugar that you need to find a way to say no as politely as possible. Being a bridesmaid is almost like a sacrifice you make for a good friend, where, because you love them, you let them dress you up in ugly clothes and kinda boss you around a little bit. Obviously it's not always that bad... but it's expensive and time consuming enough that I would only do it for my closest friends. I would make it like the state of the union with the good news/bad news approach. Up front talk about how excited you are for her, how much you've enjoyed being her friend etc. Then throw in the part about how you are so honored to be asked but you don't feel like you'd be comfortable since you don't know anyone or something. If you are tight on money, then use that as an excuse. If not, I wouldn't recommend it. You will hurt her feelings. But if you really don't want to do it, that is the risk you are going to have to take.
flutterpie flutterpie 10 years
i think saying something along the lines of "im sorry but i just cannot dedicate the kind of time that i feel your wedding deserves" i try not include money and finances into things just because it can create friction (i.e you guys shopping and you grab a $400 pair of shoes) i would also suggest maybe hosting a bridal shower for close mutual friends. lastly, seriously consider your decision, you may be missing an opportuity to create a new and everlasting circle of friends. Tanning is not a skin color, Brian, its a lifestyle.
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