It's a tricky one, that's to be sure.
Your BFF, sister, cousin or another close friend is getting married and the atmosphere is infectious. It's so easy to get caught up in the excitement yourself and say 'yes' when she asks you to be a bridesmaid, without thinking it through.
(And you may be surprised to have been asked anyway.)
Are you ready to be a bridesmaid?
It's actually quite a commitment in many ways, particularly if the bride has asked you to be her chief maid of honor.
So here's a few things that you need to be thinking about before you agree.
- Can you afford it? This may (or actually it may) not be first thing you think about when you say yes, but you should take into consideration whether you can afford to be a bridesmaid. Depending on your role in the bridal party, you will be paying for a portion of the bachelorette party, bridal shower gift, a bridesmaid dress, shoes, hair and makeup, gifts for the bride and groom. And any other incidentals that may come up.
- Do you have the time? We all have our own lives even, when someone close to us like a friend and family member is getting married, so you have to stop and think whether you really have the time to devote to the bride and the tasks at hand. Will you need to take time off work or away from home for the necessary appointments and the wedding? While it's hard to predict what happens down the road, if you know you cannot devote the time to being a bridesmaid, you may have to politely say no.
- How close are you to the bride? Before you say “yes” to being a bridesmaid, you may want to consider how close you actually are to the bride. This is important because you will be spending a lot of devoted time and money on her, so it is important to weigh this out before stepping forward as a bridesmaid.
- Do you have the patience to be a bridesmaid? If the answer is “no” then you may want to consider not saying “yes” to the bride. You will need to be prepared to provide an ear and emotional support when the bride is stressed out. Are you prepared to wear a dress that may be less than flattering for your body type? Because unless the bride is really thoughtful, she may have already decided what you will wear, without taking into account what her maids would prefer.
What to say if you'd rather not
It's much better to be upfront early on and politely decline the offer, rather than feel frustrated and put upon by the demands being made on you. Your friendship is much more likely to survive if you keep a little distance and your boundaries intact.
If the bride asks why, you could say that you want to be 100% there for her but work/family/financial/location commitments will make it difficult and you don't want to let her down.
Explain that while you are thrilled to be asked, you think the bride would be better off asking somebody else. Instead you could ask to be given a particular task that you can manage - for example scouring eBay for vintage brooches for a vintage-styled wedding day. Ask the bride what she needs help with in the wedding planning and take over responsibility for a role you can manage.
That way you won't fall out and you'll still be a help to the bride and there when she needs you.