You’ve already agreed to be her bridesmaid, but the bride’s antics are just way over the top. The friend you once knew has been taken over by a demanding, diva version of her former self. As much as you want to stand by her side on her big day, you just cannot handle all the unnecessary drama. So what can you do? Here are seven helpful tips on how to regretfully decline a bridesmaid invitation… that you already RSVP’d to.
Breaking Up with the Bride: Being asked to be someone’s bridesmaid is a distinct honor, so you must decline gracefully. “This is one of the most important days in your friend’s life, so taking the time to think about exactly how your going to say this is paramount,” said relationship expert Jodyne L. Speyer. “Start with a compliment to ease into the conversation. Then let her know you have given this a lot of thought and that you have made the difficult decision to decline being a bridesmaid.
“Give her the main reason, not a bullet list of reasons, why you are declining. Make sure your tone is comforting and not defensive or attacking. If she starts to cry, or get upset, allow room for her feelings to come out, just be sure not to respond to those feelings with anger. The best thing you can do in that moment is listen.”
Timing is Everything: It would be in extremely poor taste to quit the bridal party too close to the wedding. Make sure you allow for plenty of time for the bride to find your replacement and order a new bridesmaid dress. Even go far as to suggest a replacement. If you do not give your bride ample notice you can be sure to say adios to your friendship with her and the other bridesmaids.
Keep it Short, Sweet… and Be Honest: Although you may want to rattle off a million reasons why she is the worst bridezilla in the history of bridezillas, it is best to keep your thoughts concise and truthful. “Try and give her one solid reason and make sure to pepper it with as much kindness as possible,” recommends Speyer, author Dump ‘Em: How to Break Up with Anyone From Your Best Friend to Your Hairdresser. “If this is really someone you wish to have in your life, don’t lie or come up with an excuse. It will only come back and bite you one day. But above all, don’t be guilted into something you don’t want to be part of – especially if it’s because of a time commitment or money issues.”
Friends Forever?: Politely declining a bridesmaid invitation without ruining a friendship is tricky. You may want to remain friends after the wedding, however, after you decline the ball is in her court. You will have to accept whatever her decision is. “Give her space and time,” said Speyer. “She has so much on her plate right now between the shower, the wedding, the honeymoon. Allow her time to adjust to her new life, which hopefully will include you. There is a saying that time heals all wounds, so give for that time.”
Don’t Alert the Press: You may want to call for reinforcements but you should think twice about starring in your own gossipy melodrama. Do not tell the other bridesmaids your sour sentiments regarding the bride. “It’s less about silence is golden, and more about this issue is between you and her, so it should be kept that way,” said Speyer. “When the info reaches the other bridesmaids, then let those women know that the issue is between you and her and that right now the most important thing is to make sure she has the most amazing wedding ever, and for a reason that doesn’t involve them that means excusing yourself from being a bridesmaid. This is not the time to give create more drama than needs to be.”
Guest Only: You may no longer be a bridesmaid, but if your bridal break-up did not have disastrous results there is no harm in asking the bride if she would like you to come to the wedding as a guest. The bride will have final say. Speyer advises, “If after having the conversation you still wish to be a part of the wedding, let her now that. Don’t wait for her to ask you, let her now that you would love to be there for her as a guest. She will tell you what she wants. The most important thing here is that you don’t assume anything. Meaning don’t assume that you are still invited if you demote yourself, and don’t assume that you are not invited. Your job here is to let her know what you would like to do and be prepared to do what she wants.”
Give a Gift: Whether you attend the wedding or not, you must give a gift regardless of the terms you and the bride are on. Remember, you are breaking up with her. If you want keep your friendship in tact, it does not hurt be more generous than usual. “If you wish to keep her as a friend, spends the extra time to come up with a gift that is a little more personal, and be sure to write a nice note saying that you are looking forward to moving past this and building a strong friendship,” said Speyer.
Diana Falzone is a talk show host, relationship expert and writer. Diana is the relationship expert for Military.com where she writes a daily advice column on My Wingman Diana. She is the spokesperson for Paltalk.com and she is the co-creator and writer for the comic book, “Hot Mess.”