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Feeling Hurt after being left out of the wedding party

Published: November 12, 2014 | Last Updated: May 12, 2024 By | 33 Replies Continue Reading
Wedding expert Sharon Naylor

Wedding expert Sharon Naylor

A young woman feels left out when her husband was asked to be part of the wedding party and she wasn’t

When I received this letter about someone feeling left out when her friend didn’t ask her to be a bridesmaid, I turned to my friend and colleague, wedding expert Sharon Naylor, for her sage advice.



My husband and I had a couple in our wedding in 2013. The couple is now getting married. They have asked my husband to be in their wedding party but not me.

This hurts me a lot and I’m not sure how to handle this situation. Please help me because I feel like I’m going to lose my mind.

Signed, Blair


Dear Blair,

It’s never fun to feel ‘left out’ or that there’s a ranking in your couples’ friendship, but I urge you not to over-analyze the reasons why your husband was asked to be in the bridal party and you weren’t.

You never know what the bride was facing when it came to choosing her attendants — maybe she had a large collection of good friends (with you among them!) but to limit her bridesmaid lineup to a reasonable size, she had to stick with sisters and future sisters-in-law only.

Brides, as you know, face monumental pressures on so many of their wedding decisions, and it’s likely this wasn’t meant as a personal slight to you. So, take the high road and just let this one roll off your back, stepping forward from this point to being a happy and excited wedding guest, and remain good friends with the couple who will appreciate after their day that you didn’t give them any grief about their decision.

You’ll all move into the future enjoying a life- and marriage-enhancing circle of good friends, and you may also find that you’re at a big advantage in NOT being a bridesmaid. You’ll get to wear whatever dress you’d like to the wedding, save a lot of money by not having to co-host a bridal shower and bachelorette party, and more. Bridesmaids pay an average of $1.000 to be in a bridal party, so make a mental list of the positives in this situation and just rise above your initial feelings of being hurt. You can control turning this into a harmless situation, and you still get to enjoy the wedding, the rehearsal dinner (you’ll be invited as your husband’s spouse) and the friendship afterward.

Signed, Sharon Naylor

Sharon Naylor is the author of The Bridesmaid Handbook and other books for brides, bridesmaids and moms. She has over 1 million wedding books in print.

Some prior posts on The Friendship Blog about weddings and friendship:  

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Category: Bridezillas and other monsters

Comments (33)

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  1. al carter says:

    It’s not nice or acceptable to seperate a Husband and Wife, married for 10 seconds or 10 years, totally rude and ignorant, make room for ones partner next to them always! would you seperate Parents or Grandparents, or the new couple? it’s about LOVE, respect others who are in love and married as well, thats what a wedding is about, NOT being torn apart.

  2. Franco says:

    Please help. My sister is getting married. She called me one night and said my wife ” does not”in her wedding party but asked me if she could do a reading. I said if you want to do that its your decision but you can’t tell my wife she ” dosent fit”
    Well two days later she did it anyway hurting my wife and myself.
    Two months later they announced their bridal party at their engagement party. My other sisters boyfriend was included in the wedding party.
    This made us extremely mad.
    When confronting them we were met with hurtful reasons as why my wife wouldemt even have been asked.( she’s dosemt like make up, dosent like getting her hair done etc)
    This has not came to a conclusion 6 months later and it has torn my family apart.

  3. becca says:

    I’m not saying that to be mean Blair. But I’m imaging picking one of my friend’s who I am less close to as bridesmaid, and then stating “it was hard” because of my relationship with them..

    This doesn’t strike as the two of you having a strong friendship. Maybe friendly but not intimate/bosom like friendship…

    And if you don’t have that type of relationship you really cannot be upset if they don’t choose you.

    Also how many people is she having. Its possible she is having less than you, and considering she was only a favor. She may not have room for a favor in her party.

  4. becca says:

    Everyone is entitled to their feelings but I have to defend the bride a bit here. It seems to me that her and Blair are really not that good of friends. Blair even said having her in her wedding party was hard. I cannot imagine saying its hard to have a friend in your wedding. Its possible the bride only said yes to being a bridesmaid for Blair maybe to keep peace as well. Perhaps since the wedding, she has enough realization of where matters really stand that she decided to go with her friends on her wedding day.

    It seems to me that its really the two husbands that are the friends and her and the bride are “friends” for the sake of their husbands.

    Probably the bride looked at the situation her relationship with Blair and then her relationship with some other girls and went with her heart.

    I don’t think an explanation on the “friend’s” party is really necessary considering how Blair described what it was like to have the girl in her party.

    FYI if I were to get married one of the hard things for me would be to decide who to be in my wedding party. I have a number of close friends. Given the way Blair has described the relationship, I don’t see why the bride was wrong to pick others.

  5. Judy says:

    I know this is probably being written well after this wedding took place but I wanted to make a few points. Blair, I hope the day turned out better than you expected. I was wondering if the bride gave you any plantation whatsoever about deciding not to have you as a bridesmaid. I know a couple of the hard hearted commenters on here would chime in and say she doesn’t owe you one, but I think any decent person would offer one, specially if she had been in your wedding party, but not having you in hers. I think you would have been far less hurt if she had leveled with you and said something like ” this was a hard decision for me, but I have a couple of girl cousins that I wanted to include in the wedding party. I hope you understand”. When my closest friend from high school got married, she decided to have only one attendant. She had no sisters and had three very close friends including me. She didn’t choose me, but the fact that she cared enough to talk to me and give me an explanation meant a lot to me, and there were no hurt feelings. We are still good friends all these years later.
    Yes, it is the wedding couple’s big day, and things should be as they want them to be, but I draw the line at brides that become selfish and disregard other people’s feelings. This bride could have prevented some of this by being a little less selfish and offering some kind of explanation, even if she doesn’t ” owe” Blair one. I suspect the bride is on the immature, ” all about me” side.
    As far as the bridal table goes, I am glad that these days many bride and grooms are opting for the table for two at the head of the room, and the attendants get to sit with their spouses/ significant others. The big bridal table seems to be a thing of the past now. About two months before I got married, my fiancé was in a bridal party and was seated at a bridal table. I didn’t know a soul there except for him, and the bridal couple. They seated me far away from him and placed me ( a 22 year old) at a table with all 50 and 60 year olds. There were several tables of young people and I think it would have been much more considerate to place me at one of them. I was definitely an afterthought! Needless to say, I couldn’t wait for that reception to be over! But the bride in general turned out to be a thoughtless bossy inconsiderate person and we did not stay friendly with them much past the wedding.
    At my wedding a couple of months later, we did our own thing. We had a bridal table, but we included spouses/ significant others at our table. It may not have made for the ” pretty pretty” pictures with a bride and groom and all matching attendants at the table, but it made for a very happy table and everyone had a good time.
    In Blair’s situation, I think the bride could have showed a little kindness and atleast given her an explanation for not choosing her, like my friend did for me. Forget whether or not she ” owed” her one. Decent people do the right thing whether or not they have to or not. This could have gone a long way in sparing feelings, and would have been healthy for the friendship.

  6. Lira says:

    I know exactly where you are coming from as I am going through the same situation. My husband’s brother is getting married and they were our best man and maid of honour. They played such a big part of our day and my hubby is a groomsman and I am completely left in the dark. What hurts me deeply is that I didn’t get a explanation why I didn’t get selected and that I am not included in any way, she’s not even talking to me about the day, details, nothing. I considered my future SIL to be close but this is a reality check for me. My way of dealing with it is by not thinking about it at all.. well trying not to. I have hidden the invite and any other ways that could remind me about it. My hubby knows how I feel so he won’t be bringing it up much. I hope you cope OK on the day. I plan to smile and be happy for them on the day and kick my feelings to the kerb.

    • Judy says:

      I suspect the ” no explanation” is the biggest hurt for Blair. As I mentioned in another comment, when my best friend got married she decided to have just one attendant, who wasn’t a relative, but a good friend like I was. But my friend did go out to lunch with me and talk to me about her decision, and this avoided any hurt feelings. Our friendship is intact to this day, many years later. I appreciated her kindness in wanting to explain things to me, even if she didn’t owe me an explanation. One of the things about offering an explanation is that there is usually a very logical reason for choosing certain people as attendants. Maybe there are sisters and cousins that the bride wants to give priority to. But by not saying anything, the left out person sometimes gets caught up in feeling that they don’t matter to the person. Just that simple act of caring by explaining can work wonders. I’m wondering if your sister in law has sisters, a cousin or some very close friend that she felt she wanted as her attendant. If she explained that to you Im sure you would understand and feel less slighted. I hope you and she will be able to talk this over, so it doesn’t affect your relationship going forward.

  7. Islandgirl says:

    I’d be hurt if I were in your shoes as well, Blair. I’m glad you posted here to us. While it’s true you may not know the full story, I would think that she could have at least explained her reasoning as to why they only invited your husband and not you to be part of the wedding party, and I think in this case, an apology from her to you would have gone a long way.

    I think part of the problem is that this now makes things awkward between you and them from now on. I’d be concerned about the future when you are going to be around them.

    I hope you can enjoy yourself at the wedding anyway. Let us know how it goes.

  8. Lily says:

    You go girl! Tell us how it works out. Take care

  9. mouse says:

    Hi Blair,

    I am so so sorry if I said anything that made you feel reprimanded for your feelings. You not only have every right to feel any way you feel, but I would feel awkward about that too. If I were in your position I wouldn’t like it and would look forward to the day after it, to just let it sink into the past.

    I think you are doing the best you can do to manage your hurt feelings. Its so wise of you to bring it to us and to other safe places rather than create drama with the couple.

    And you can ask your husband to look for the soonest opportunity to join you. Every reception is different and once folks start dancing, sometimes early, you have your opportunity then to pair up and hang out.

    I can hear that you are usually one to take the high road, and that’s good. And you don’t always have to. Sometimes its ok to put yourself first. I think you have the wisdom to choose right for yourself.

    I am sorry that you have had to endure this situation. And my heart is sending out apologies right now to anyone I may have hurt unknowingly or in the service of something that felt important to me. And sometimes not everyone can be pleased. In those cases, we have to choose wisely.

  10. Bizzy says:

    She has a right to her hurt feelings. I would probably feel hurt about it too.

  11. lottie says:

    Hi Blair,
    I am with you on this. My husband would want us to sit together.On saying that you likely will be seated with some really lovely people. Be charming and the most scintillating of company. Treat yourself to a fabulous new outfit, and give yourself the full works. Go for it girl. Enjoy.Lottie

  12. Amy F says:

    Holy crap. Bridesmaids pay an average of $1000? I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all my friends and family for not asking me to be a bridesmaid.

    I’d feel hurt if I was in your situation. You were considerate asking her to be in your wedding party. After the big day is over, you might be relived to have been snubbed. Dealing with a bridezilla is hard enough when you like the bride, if you barely tolerate her, that would be a nightmare and cause you undue stress.

    I hope you’ll know other people who aren’t in the wedding party so you can hang out with them. Find out ahead of time which of your friends are going. Let them know the situation (that you’re worried about being alone since your husband will be at the bridal table is enough info) and say you look forward to spending time them or say that you’d like to sit with them during he ceremony. Then you’ll have a plan for keeping awkward feelings at bay and hopefully you’ll be able to enjoy yourself.

  13. cyndi says:

    I agree, yes the Bridal party usually has to sit at the same table. I am also going to add that for the married women who are not part of the bridal party, this can cause a great deal of insecurity. After all, you have to watch your husband walk down and isle arm in arm with the bridesmaids who are usually single young women, there will be dances with the bridesmaids and there will be complications if any of the groomsmen are married or in relationships, I made sure all of my people were single when I got married as to not have the drama involved.

    • cyndi says:

      This may not be a popular response but I am just putting it out there as a woman, someone has to keep it real and insecurity plays a huge part when the groomsmen are married and the wives sit off to the side, sometimes you have to think about who you want to participate in your big day and talk to the wives if possible, some women are more secure about themselves and do not mind.

  14. mouse says:


    I can hear that you’re feelings got hurt because you are interpreting this to mean that he is more important to them than you are.

    I officiate at weddings and observe how complicated this can become. Sometimes the couple getting married feels pressures that aren’t even there and maybe these two felt they needed an additional man to balance the number of bridesmaids or some other thing. I have seen this be about height, about who can afford to participate, about looks, about race. I have heard folks afterwards wonder at their own choices in wedding party, wedding guests, ceremony components, etc, saying things like, “I thought it had to be a certain way”, ‘why didn’t we just do it the way we wanted”.

    Additionally, while you may have been a bride who kept her head about her, most brides and grooms are internally very challenged by the combination of emotions, two families to please and their own worries about making a mistake, falling, dancing in the spotlight, how one family will be with the service, etc. And often the couple is more overwhelmed than they appear. Even participating with my own friends and families and my own wedding, there are lots of comments taken the wrong way, disappointments, slights or blow outs.

    Please put it down to nerves and assume they are either not thinking straight or forgot to explain a benign choice. Please assume it is next to nothing. Enjoy yourself, be proud of your guy, be happy with your friends. And celebrate getting to choose your own dress.

    • Leeanne says:

      @Mouse. You gave the perfect answer and the worse part is the bride probably feels terrible that she had to make that decision. I wouldn’t address it with the couple.
      When I got married I had to choose between my sister and my best friend to be my Maid of Honour. I chose my best friend whom I am still best friends with today. It was a very difficult choice and my sister didn’t come to the wedding. I made the choice based on the one I felt closer to and the one who would cater to all my whims and who would take charge. It went well but the cost was high.
      Try to understand that the decision was probably very difficult for them and allow your husband to participate.

  15. Lily says:

    Blair, quick question. If your husband is part of the wedding party, does he also have to be at the same table with the bridal party? Will he have to sit away from you for the evening and have dinner with the bridal party at their table? I’m not sure how that works, but if that’s the case then why doesn’t he decline the invite and just be a guest with you at the wedding? He could be honest to the groom and say that he doesn’t want to be apart from his wife during the night. Thank the groom for choosing him, but kindly decline. I don’t see the harm in it. Either way you’ll both be at their celebratory event and have a nice time. Good luck.

    • Tracey says:

      Yes he does have sit at a different table. I should
      have had my sister inlaw in my wedding and not this otther girl,but I felt sorry for her anndd. didn’t want her to be away from her boyfriend.Man I pput myself through hell to have her bee apart of are wedding ..It was so bad I had. to talk to a counselor about it.Also in the Thank you cards I wrote ( I hopee I can do this for u someday soon. I wont ask my husband to decline being in there wedding because I don’t want to. be that person. But that doesn’t “mean I don’t want to say it.lol sorry if I don’t laugh ill cry again. Thank u

    • Blair says:

      Yes my husband has to sit at a different table.I just feel so left out.I could have chosen other people tto bee in aree wedding, I just. didn’t want her to fel left out or to be without her partner all day and night. it was very hard for me to have this person in are wedding. just things from the past. I would never ask him to not bbe in there wedding. I’m just feeling left out amd like I don’t even want to be there. Butt I will and at some point ill have to suck it up but right now I’m lost with noone. to talk to about any of this. sorry for spelling I’m. using my phone so its hard to see what I’m typing. I would appreciate anyone’s input. Thank u Signed. Blair

    • Louise says:

      Why should her husband have to decline this honor? Blair is a grown up woman and quite capable of spending one day by herself. She is not a 5 year old.

      • Lily says:

        She shouldn’t have to tell him, but if he sees that it bothers her, then I believe that he should consider respecting her feelings. It has nothing to do with age. I believe that all women are independent in their own way. Blair would rather spend an evening with her other half, especially at a time like this. Let’s face it, it’s not the greatest feeling.

        • Louise says:

          At a time like this? This is not HER wedding. This is the Wedding of her husbands close friend and so called friend. From what she wrote above her choice to have this lady as her bridesmaid was her own choice,under duress, she didn’t even want her as a bridesmaid.
          “I could have chosen other people tto bee in aree wedding, I just. didn’t want her to fel left out or to be without her partner all day and night. it was very hard for me to have this person in are wedding. just things from the past.”
          This is the most important day of this lady and her future husbands life. Her husband should be entitled to have the people he cares for the most standing next to him. Blairs boyfriend should be able to do this for his friend without feeling guilty.
          This isn’t an I did that for you so you must do the same for me deal its someones wedding and not about her.

          • Lily says:


          • Blair says:

            Yes I am a grown women and no I wouldn’t ask my husband to be in the wedding.and no it’s not about insecurity of seeing him with another women.. And yes it was a favor to my husband and her future husband amd her to have her in my wedding. I love reading your response’s,but I didn’t like the one where Lily got shut down for hers.And yes I have a right to be hurt,upset,pissed of. and that’s why I’m on here as an adult talking it through with other adults, not in everyone’s face saying why not me. yes at some point I will have to get over this, but for right now I’m going to feel my feelings and be hurt.Iam only human and I believe I do have the. right to be upset. I also said I could have chosen others to be I’m my wedding meaning there was no shortage of people for me to chosen from not that I didn’t do it for others feelings and making sure they were not un happy so there was no drama.

            • Blair says:

              I ment I wouldnt ask him not to be in there wedding. also where did it say my husband and him where great friends. because as far as I know there just friends doing a friend a solid.

              • Louise says:

                Cant you just be happy for her? You did what you did. She isn’t YOU. You have no right to be pissed off unless you truly believe that she owes you one. In actual fact she did you a massive favor being your bridesmaid, she owes you nothing. This isn’t some dept to be repaid in kind, its her wedding day.

                • Blair says:

                  Iam very happy for her. And I was the one who went out of my comfort zone to do the favor. I am human I’m aloud too have feeling and yes be hurt. u come off as its u I’m talking about or that u somehow have a investment in this situation. As I said many times ill get over it,As a women and a human you can tell me u would be jumping up and down shouting with happiness if you where in my situation. If you where I would question you why wouldn’t it bug you?

                  • Sarah says:

                    I don’t understand this “You don’t have a right to feel xyz.” You have the right to feel what you want when you want. I am getting the sense that you made your friend a bridesmaid out of a sense of obligation:

                    “I just didn’t want her to feel left out or to be without her partner all day and night. It was very hard for me to have this person in our wedding.”

                    And now, you are regretting your decision (which might be part of the reason you feel slighted). I get it. We have all regretted decisions but have to learn from them. You can’t expect people to make decisions based upon your expectations of them or out of paying back some kind of favor.

                    Yes, it is weird to not have your husband next to you at a wedding. You and your husband can figure out a way to enjoy the evening together while he is in the bridal party. It is not as if he is chained to the table as a groomsmen. Support your husbands relationship with his friend. It is one night and I am confident you can make it through unscathed. Also, like others here, I bet your friend had to make many hard choices about who does what, where, and how.

                    My 2 pennies…

                    Btw, I am planning my wedding and this kind of stuff is the exact reason I refuse to have any bridal party. Just an great party for me thank you very much 😉

                    • Blair says:

                      Thank you Sarah and everyone else. I told my husband that I’m getting the works done,new dress,shoes and getting my hair done.I’m going to pamper myself. yes it’s her day but I need to take care of me and make me. feel good. I’m going to try and make the best of my situation. I’m only human, and yes I’m still hurt but I’m going to make me happy,and give my husband one hell of a hot,sexy wife on his arm (arm candy)..I’m so thankful for all of ur
                      ne without one of the comments someone made. not naming. names

          • Blair says:

            Not feeling as confident today as I was the other day. I guess I have to realize, I’m going to have good days and bad. And this is definitely a bad one. Back to feeling pissed off and lost. Any suggestions on getting through this in one piece. And for the record I’m very happy for them. I’m just feeling left out and alone.

            • Mariela says:

              Hi Blair,

              I am going to the same situation you are going through. I picked my friend which I considered my best friend to be my bridesmaids and now that it is time for her wedding, she did not chose me. I feel like someone just punched me in my stomach. I have good days and have sad days where I cry most of the time. Does it get better? I am really happy for her and of course wish her all the happiness in the world. We have been friends since high school. I just feel so hurt right now..

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