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Written by Leanne Smith Last updated: May 15, 2016
It’s a big tradition (and a big deal!) for the bride to select her chosen ones to help her plan her wedding. But there’s no rule saying you have to have bridesmaids. So what if you decide you don’t need or want them? And what if you realise that after you’ve already chosen? Here’s how to tell your friend she’s not your bridesmaid.
Good bridesmaids lend help and support throughout the wedding planning process, and they often stop the bride driving herself crazy with stress. But some brides don’t want or need the extra help. In this case, let your friends know—they may be expecting to be part of your bridal party.
“Come straight out with your decision,” said Sarah. “I knew a girl who plastered all over social media that she was going to be a bridesmaid…only to find out the bride didn’t want bridesmaids and hadn’t told her friends.”
Other brides find themselves with so many close friends that they have to turn someone down.
“My advice would be to think before you open your mouth,” said Yasmin. “And don’t rush into things in the joy of being engaged. Don’t feel you have to ask all your friends to be attendants—choose people who have a calm, reassuring presence and will help you through the day.”
But you don’t want to leave anybody out, do you? You don’t want to offend anybody, and you don’t want your friends to think you’re picking favourites.
“Deciding who to drop was agonising,” says Rachel. “In the end, I simply decided on the basis of height. I said I wanted the two friends who were of similar height to each other, and shorter than me, as bridesmaids. The others were disappointed, but that way it wasn’t such a personal rejection. They agreed that it was as good a way as any to choose.”
“I asked five special friends to be my ‘personal attendants’ for the day,” says Liz. “They each wore a big sunflower to mark them out and each gave a reading. That way, no one was offended or left out.”
Other brides find their bridesmaids becoming a bit too much of a burden to bear through the wedding planning—unfortunately, not every bridesmaid is a good bridesmaid.
“After the terrible rehearsal, we decided to lose the four youngest attendants,” said Lucy. “I dreaded having to break the news, but luckily their parents were very understanding—perhaps they were also having nightmares about their little darlings ruining the ceremony!”
“One of my old school friends became a real shrew during my wedding planning,” said Emily. “Slowly my wedding morphed more and more into her dream wedding. In the end I had to let her go.”
You need to be honest with everyone involved in your wedding planning; check out some ideas for phrases you can use.
Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to tell your friends that you’ve changed your mind. But once you’ve realised you’ve made a mistake you should let them know as soon as possible. Leaving it to the last minute, or just avoiding the subject and hoping the situation will go away, will only make things worse. The best thing to do is be completely honest about your situation and trust that your friends will understand. Try and involve them in another way, as Rachel did.
“I felt so bad about dropping three bridesmaids that I gave each of them a role to play on the wedding day, so they all still felt a part of it. One gave a reading, another spoke after dinner, and I made sure the third caught my bouquet!”
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