Each Wednesday, we tackle wedding etiquette. At times, it’s a reader question or one from a colleague, friend or family member and other times we’ll cover a popular issue. (Note: Questions may be edited for clarity and brevity.)
Question: At the end of last year, a friend asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. It is a destination wedding in a tropical locale and the cost of the dress, hair and makeup, flight and accommodations is going to cost thousands of dollars. At first, I was excited and planned to make it my vacation, but since saying yes, it has been difficult to communicate with the bride on any level, both personal and wedding related. While I certainly want to remain friends, I think maybe the timing is bad, both personally and financially, and I regret not thinking more seriously about being in the wedding before saying, “yes.” First and foremost, the cost is exceeding my budget. The wedding is still five months away. Can I “quit” my role as bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding?
Answer: It’s never easy to tell someone you don’t want to be in their wedding, even if you haven’t already agreed to it. So needless to say, this is even trickier. The good news is, you are giving her enough notice to make alternate arrangements. Give some thought to a good place and time to break the news. Do it in person. Be honest about the budget issue, so that she knows the “why” behind your decision. It’s not really necessary to go into your feelings about lack of communication. If you have to get that off of your chest, wait until after the wedding and, begin the process of recommitting to your friendship when she’s no longer amid the throes of wedding planning and transitioning into married life. Soften the blow by offering to help out with some other aspect of the planning, even if it’s something as simple as helping her stamp invitations one afternoon, and be sure to end the conversation with a big hug, if she’s receptive. If she is upset, which is possible, let her know you understand and give her some time and space to work through it.
Do you have a solution to share or a wedding etiquette question? Respond in the comments or email Melanie@MyNewOrleans.com.