How to Gracefully Back Out of Bridesmaid Duties

Bridesmaids, Etiquette
Bridesmaids Backing Out

Photo: Getty Images

You signed on to be a bridesmaid with the best of intentions: Standing by your BFF's side as she walks down the aisle. But then, well... something comes up. Whether it's your work schedule, finances, or a personal problem that's keeping you from fulfilling your bridesmaid duties, it might get to the point where it's easier to back out of the bridal party than to stress yourself out trying to keep up with showers, wedding and bridesmaid dress fittings, and your new role as wedding planning sounding board. So what's the most graceful way to do this? Our experts weigh in.

This is a conversation best had in person if you can swing it. Plan a one-on-one coffee date or weekend lunch when you've both got a little free time. Do you live too far away to meet up in person? Schedule a Skype or FaceTime call so you're almost together.

Begin by thanking the bride-to-be for asking you to be a part of her big day. Let her know how much it means to you that she considers you part of her close group of friends, and how excited you are to be celebrating with her.

Then, get right to it instead of beating around the bush. Explain whatever it is that's keeping you from committing 100% to being a bridesmaid, and let your pal know that, while you would love to be a part of her bridal party, you just don't think you can swing it. If you can still definitely attend the wedding, let her know that you'll be the one cheering the loudest after the first kiss. Is whatever's preventing you from being a bridesmaid also going to prevent you from being at the wedding? Tell her that you'll be there in spirit, and that you can't wait to hear about every detail.

See More: A Bridesmaid List of FAQs

The most important thing to do is be honest and straightforward, and to emphasize that backing out of bridesmaid duties won't have any affect on your friendship. And if she cares about you enough to ask you to be a bridesmaid, we can almost guarantee she'll understand.

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