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: What’s the correct way to kick someone out of a wedding? One of my bridesmaids seems completely uninterested in the wedding activities. She’s constantly flaking out on meetings with the other bridesmaids, including the dress fitting. In fact, she still hasn’t even bought her dress and keeps saying “next week,” but next week never comes. I know her budget is tight and have a lot of sympathy for her situation, but if she can’t participate, I want to move on to someone who can at least fulfill the basic duties. We are very good friends. I don’t know what to do.
Answer: This is a very tricky situation indeed. It’s good that you are looking at it from her point of view of having a tight budget. It’s possible that out of excitement, your friend agreed to be in the wedding without really considering the time and financial commitment. Or perhaps since agreeing to it, her finances have changed due to unemployment, giving birth or a household or health emergency. If you really want her in the wedding and are OK with her bowing out of certain activities that cost money, (for example, contributing to the myriad brunches and showers), and if it’s in your wedding budget, consider buying her dress. Otherwise, it’s time for a heart-to-heart.
Approach this conversation with as much kindness and gentle grace as possible. A sample script is:
“I love you and you are one of my best friends, so naturally I want you to be a part of this wedding. But, I understand you have a lot going on personally and financially. There are so many commitments for the wedding and I know it’s hard for you to be present and available or to work it into your budget. That’s 100 percent reasonable. That said, I need a right-hand gal in the planning process, and someone who is able to be more involved in general, so if you need to bow out, I completely understand. But at this point, I really need to know, so I can draft someone else. What do you think?”
Listen with an open heart and mind to what she has to say and be gentle, but direct with your responses. If she decides to proceed as a bridesmaid, be clear about the upcoming duties, including the time and financial obligations. If she takes the opportunity to bow out, consider inviting her to do a reading or something with less of a time or financial commitment, so that she can still be part of your big day. Most of all, be considerate and maybe also bring an offering of chocolate. It heals all wounds.