My Friend (Wrongly!) Assumes She'll Be a Bridesmaid! What Should I Do?

Etiquette
bridesmaids etiquette

Photo: Lane Dittoe

Now that the time has actually come for you to choose your bridesmaids, what do you do if you have a friend who wrongly assumes you'll ask her to be in your bridal party? Our wedding etiquette experts are here to answer your bridesmaids questions in our daily post.

A friend of mine said something to me recently which made me realize that she's assuming she will be one of my bridesmaids. I've already decided on my attendants and don't want to add any more—how do I let her know without hurting our friendship?

Your friend's assumptions have put you in an awkward position. Maybe you were a bridesmaid at her wedding, and now she's assuming you'll ask her to be in yours, too. But regardless of the reason, she's wrong to make that assumption. The number of attendants in the wedding party is entirely up to you and your groom, and since you've already decided on your attendants, there's no reason to change anything. You could consider involving this friend in the wedding in another way—perhaps she would be great at reading a special poem or religious passage during the ceremony. Or, you may be content just to have her as a guest. Whatever you decide to do, tread lightly. While there's no guarantee that there may not be hurt feelings, here are some ways to soften your message. Speak to her privately—either in person or over the phone (not in an email or text). Express how happy you are about her excitement but explain that you're only having a certain number of attendants. You could go on to mention who your selected attendants are, but only if it would help to soften the blow. For example, it's definitely easier to hear, "Marcus and I could only ask four people, so we chose our siblings and childhood friends" than "We decided to pick four friends" with the implication that she didn't make the cut. Otherwise, simply say, "We're having a very small wedding party." If you'd like her to be a reader at the ceremony, this is the time to ask: "It would mean a lot to us if you would do a reading at the ceremony." Or, to be a guest: "Having such a supportive friend at our wedding means so much to both of us." Ask long as you're gentle with your words, she will understand.

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