• Keeping Friends

In the Media – Turning Down Being a Bridesmaid (WomensHealth)

Published: April 25, 2015 | By | 17 Replies Continue Reading


April 24, 2015

When a friend asks you to be her bridesmaid, it’s a tremendous honor but also a responsibility. And there can be a variety of legitimate reasons why you may have to turn her down. Writing for WomensHealthMag.com, journalist Whitney C. Harris interviewed The Friendship Doctor and other experts on the etiquette of How to Turn Down Being a Bridesmaid…without killing your friendship in the process.

She writes about the dilemma of not being able to afford participate:

If you can’t stomach shelling out so much cash, you should be upfront about it. But rather than focusing on what you can’t afford, focus on what you can, says psychologist and friendship expert Irene S. Levine, Ph.D. If it’s a destination wedding, say that you can be there as a guest rather than a member of the bridal party. If you can’t fly out of town to the wedding, you might be able to make the local bachelorette party and bridal shower on a shoestring…

Read about these and other reasons why you ultimately may have to turn down being a bridesmaid on WomensHealthMag.com/

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Comments (17)

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  1. Tina says:

    I’m so glad for this post. When I got married in 1988, though I had about a dozen close friends, sisters and cousins who would have fit the bill, I decided not to have bridesmaids at all. Why? Because when I had been bridesmaid at my sister’s wedding, during my senior year in college, I realized the job would be too much work, money and inconvenience for friends who were working, were far away, were trying to save for, or had just bought their first homes, who had just had babies or were pregnant.

    A childhood friend’s mother, who had ample means, threw a shower, but I was having a hard time bringing a wedding in under 7K (complete) and I knew my friends were in no position to shell out anything more than a wedding gift.

    Another topic: Distance weddings. In the old days, the bride got married from home. When I got married I picked a place where our NY, CT and Rhode Island guests could make it as a day trip.

    Several years later I spent about 5K on a sister’s distance wedding, in which I was a bridesmaid. When I voiced my objections, my sister cut me off for a time, and I relented. That marriage quickly dissolved. A few years ago, she had another distance wedding, in the same undesirable location. I politely declined, as did many of her other friends who’d shelled out for the first one.

    I think people who need so much “support” don’t have a sense of what marriage is about.

  2. LaTrice says:

    I was the Maid of Honor for my best friend’s wedding three weeks ago. It was a lovely ceremony, but honestly, it was torture for me. I watched my best friend’s parents walk her down the aisle, her father giving her away, and doing the father and daughter dance. My dad passed away three years ago from a cardiac arrest. I remember my dad’s death to this day, remembering every single detail.

    My dad will NEVER be there to walk me down the aisle on my big day. He will NEVER give me away to my future husband. Worse of all, I will NEVER dance with him. It hurts!! Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for my best friend, but it was a challenge.

    • Maddie says:

      I’m so sorry.

    • lottie says:

      I bet it was LaTrice. When you walk down the isle think of your dad and all the good memories of him knowing how pleased ,proud and happy he would be for you.At the end of the walk your new husband will there waiting for you feeling pleased proud and happy that he is chosen by you to be your husband. He will not replace dad but he will love and cherish you.Your dad would be happy and your wedding day will be just as lovely without the torture. Even have a quiet talk to dad beforehand,as if he were just through a doorway in another room.
      You take care all will be well.I hope this helps. Lottie

    • Kathy says:

      I have a friend who’s dad passed two months before her wedding. She had photos of him scattered around the venue. If someday you choose to get married , you could carry a small frame of him in your Bouquet or around your neck. Maybe incorporate a cherished piece of jewelry or clothing into your wedding ensemble or reception dress . My grandmother passed before I married. I was her only granddaughter. She always said she wanted to be at my wedding. My grandfather had her wedding diamond set in a cross for me with a message on the back. I wore it on my wedding day.

  3. lottie says:

    The whole thing drives me crazy. We have an invite to an evening do. At first we said yes,and then the card came with the money request to help pay for their honeymoom. When I got married the first time we had several pyrex dishes tea towels and that was it.
    The second time I married we went to New York and got married in Central Park on that hump back bridge you see in films.It was great just four of us.After we got a horse and carriage and put my flowers on John Lennons memorial.When we came back we had a reception for twenty and that was it. Only today I have bought a card to send saying we are unable to attend. I will concoct some tale and I will not be putting any money in the envelope.Small and simple like you say is best. Lottie

    • Maddie says:

      Agree Lottie!

    • IBikeNYC says:

      They ASKED you for money to pay for their honeymoon?

      • lottie says:

        Yes in the form of a rhyme in the invitation. Everybody will have had the same invitation. I have never heard of this before. It is so cheap,so I have sent a reply in a wedding card to say we are unable to go after all due to family problems.By the way it is only the evening party not the actual wedding.

        The rhyme ends:

        Then when we are relaxing on the beach or by the pool so blue,we’ll sit back and know it is truly thanks to you.

        Call me old fashioned maybe I am. Thanks for asking. Lottie

        • Maddie says:

          So very tacky.

          • lottie says:

            Yes Maddie it is. It makes me laugh the cheek of it. They have added up who will give the most money when sending out the invites,but I smelt a rat months ago when it was first mentioned. Since sending my apology card I have had a text wishing to meet up.The awful thing is tomorrow I go to the baby shower and I feel she might be there and I am supposed to be soooooo busy. Take care. Maddie

    • IBikeNYC says:

      PS: I know that bridge, and what a GREAT idea for a wedding! Congratulations and best wishes!

      • Lottie says:

        Thank you ,it was a great day even though 11 years ago this year.I love NY. The first time I went on my own after 9/11 and then the following year with two friends in the February.It was freezing with snow flakes the size of golf balls!!Take care. Lottie

  4. Maddie says:

    The Wedding Industrial Complex has completely gone out of control. Destination weddings, multiple showers, engagement parties, hen and stag weekends, fittings, cake tastings, it never ends. Expecting friends to dish out thousands of dollars for a personal event is outrageous.

    • IBikeNYC says:

      “The Wedding Industrial Complex;” LOLOLOL!

      That’s exactly the sort of name I would have come up with for it, and I couldn’t agree with you more.

      The rite-of-passage parties are getting more elaborate and “formal” younger and younger. Just look at some of those Proms and Sweet Sixteens!

      Inviting people to destination weddings, unless and sometimes even IF, the bridal couple are HOSTING all their guests is, IMO, extremely presumptuous.

  5. Laura says:

    This must be a more common problem than back in the 80s when I got married. Back in the day, we had 3 or 4 bridesmaids. Today’s bridal parties are ridiculously large, like “My 12 closest friends.” I really don’t get that at all. I hope my kids don’t have crazy big bridal parties. It just seems so cumbersome.

    Another new thing is the “destination wedding.” Very expensive for not just bridal parties but guests too.

    I liked things simpler and smaller.

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