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You don't have to say "I do" to every bridesmaid invitation you're extended. Here are seven times you can turn down the duty guilt-free.
You don't actually like bride.
"I know this seems harsh," says Victoria Canada, owner of Victoria Canada Weddings and Events, "but sometimes there are friends out there that we didn't know thought of us as their best friends."
You fear the bride will become a bridezilla.
"If you know the bride is Type A and demanding in real life, those behaviors will likely be on steroids when she becomes a bride," Canada warns.
You don't have the time.
Being a bridesmaid is a part-time job, in which "time to go look at dresses, throw a bridal shower and go to the bachelorette party" have to work their way into your schedule. "If you simply don't have the time, it's OK to say 'no,'" Canada says.
You're strapped for cash.
"Whether it's a geographic or economic factor, being a bridesmaid is a huge financial commitment," Canada says. "If you're OK eating ramen noodles for a long period of time for your dear friend, then go ahead and say yes!" Otherwise, consider where else you might need those dress, party and travel funds.
If you're planning for a family — or already pregnant!
"If you are trying to have a baby or may be in the future, you have a right to say 'no,'" Canada says. "No one wants to be a bridesmaid after giving birth — you are already exhausted, and being a bridesmaid may push you off the sleep-deprived edge."
You can't stand the groom.
"You don't have to give your opinion on her man, but you can bow out gracefully by giving another reason," says Canada.
You're committed to other weddings.
"This is not a popularity contest — this is about you standing up with someone on the best day of their lives, and no one wants an absentee bridesmaid," Canada says. "If you can't commit to the time, don't do the crime — or bridesmaid's duty, in this case!"