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: A friend asked me pre-pandemic to be in her wedding and I said yes. I’ve been really excited about the wedding, but am starting to get anxious, because while she trimmed the guest list down a lot, there are still going to be about 100 people present at the event. I live with an immunocompromised person and — even if I didn’t — don’t feel comfortable attending larger gatherings where social-distancing will be a challenge. I love my friend, but don’t want to put myself or my loved ones at risk. How do I resign as a bridesmaid due to COVID-related health concerns?
Answer: I’m sorry you’ve been put in a tricky situation. Be honest with your friend. If possible, arrange for a socially distant visit, video conference or phone call, rather than breaking it to her via email or text. A potential script is, “I’ve really been looking forward to the wedding, but with [name of partner or family member] being immunocompromised, it’s too risky for me to participate in the wedding. I feel terrible and as though I’m letting you down, but hope you can understand.” Personalize it to whatever makes sense and is honest. Be truthful, but gentle. Offer to help with things that can be done remotely if that’s something you are able to do. Give her time to digest the information. Emotions can run high during wedding planning even without a pandemic, so if she is upset, she may need some space. Give it freely and check in to let her know that you are ready to talk when she is, but that no matter what you hope she has a lovely Big Day. Send a gift, just like you normally would, along with a card wishing the couple well. As always, proceed with kindness at the heart of all of your exchanges. That’s the best we can do at times like this.
Do you have a solution to share or a wedding etiquette question? Respond in the comments or email Melanie@MyNewOrleans.com.