How Do I Tell a Friend She Won’t Be a Bridesmaid?

how to tell a friend she won't be a bridesmaid
Photo by Inner Song Photography

Q: I have a college friend who I am close with that I would love to include in my bridal party, but my bridal party is just getting too big. The problem is I was a bridesmaid in her wedding, so I feel like I SHOULD reciprocate. I’m not sure if I should just expand my bridal party to include her, or break the news to her somehow instead? – Emily

A: Deciding who is and who isn’t in your wedding party is always a touchy subject, because unlike other wedding planning issues, this actually involves somebody’s feelings, and of course you don’t want to hurt a friend OR family member.

This may not make you feel better, but let’s get this out of the way, first: Just because somebody had you in their wedding party does not mean that you are automatically required to have them in yours. If you have the space, great! But if that is what is making you decide between one friend or another, let your relationship make that decision for you instead of that.

So, let’s talk about how many bridesmaids you currently have, and why having one more is an issue. If you’re worried that by adding her it will make you have an uneven wedding party compared with your groom, I would not let that affect your decision. You do not need to have an even number of bridesmaids and groomsmen. (Click the link to find out why).

If you are limited in space or simply don’t want to add another bridesmaid for whatever reason (which is totally your right) here is how I would handle this with your friend. If you live in the same city I would go out for drinks or dinner, and have the conversation go something like this:

” [FH] and I are in the process of choosing the wedding party, and we’ve had to make some tough choices as to the number of bridesmaids and groomsmen we’re each having. We decided on having [X Number] each, and what stinks is that we’ve had to limit it or else it would just keep growing. You are such a good friend to me and even though I can’t have the honor of you standing alongside me as a bridesmaid, it would mean the world to me if you were involved in another significant way instead.”

At this point you could talk to her about giving a special wedding toast at the rehearsal dinner or even at the wedding, or a wedding ceremony reading.

My advice? If she is the only friend you are struggling about whether or not to include, I say just do it. One more bridesmaid is not going to cause any major changes to your wedding party, but it could very well make her day. If on the other hand asking her to be a bridesmaid would mean you would have to include several more friends, then you might have to make the tough decision to exclude her after all. Just remember to make your friend feel like she’s a part of your wedding party, whether she technically is or not. 🙂

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