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: My fiancé and I decided to proceed with our upcoming wedding, but due to COVID have scaled it down to only us, our parents and one witness each (our siblings — we each have one, so it worked out!), plus the officiant and photographer (all socially distanced, of course). The original plan was 200 guests and eight attendants for each of us. Now I have to break the news to all of my best girlfriends who have been with me through every relationship up and down, plus now a pandemic. They were even willing to still do the wedding if we could find a safe way to manage it. (We couldn’t, at least not in good conscience.) We are having it outdoors and will livestream the ceremony, but again, we will have no in-person guests, apart from the aforementioned six immediate family members. How do I tell my bridesmaids they are no longer in the wedding because it was scaled way down due to COVID?
Answer: First, it must have been so difficult to make this decision. Going from a 200 to a six person wedding is a tectonic shift from what you envisioned and likely involved a lot of emotional energy. Second, I applaud the measures you’ve taken to keep friends and family safe. The best thing you can do is fill your bridesmaids in with the new plan and do it as soon as possible. Feel free to call or video conference each one individually or together. Just don’t do it via email or text, unless you are unable to get them on the phone or video conference in a timely fashion. At this point, they may have already purchased the dresses you picked out. If so, be sure to acknowledge this fact and apologize for any inconvenience caused by the situation. If it’s in your budget, you may even want to offer to reimburse them, but it is not by any means necessary or expected to do so. Consider asking the group if they might want to perhaps donate the dresses to an organization that provides gently used party and prom dresses to young people. Another option, after the pandemic subsides or everyone is vaccinated, maybe you could have a party or night on the town in which everyone wears the dresses. Friends like the ones you’ve described are very likely going to understand the situation and will want to continue to support you in any way they can.
Do you have a solution to share or a wedding etiquette question? Respond in the comments or email Melanie@MyNewOrleans.com.