I was a bridesmaid for a friend's wedding this past summer. At the time I was not engaged, but we joked (I thought) that she would be a bridesmaid at my wedding. I am now engaged and she automatically assumed that she was a bridesmaid even though I never asked her to be one. There is no room for her in the wedding party because I have three sisters and I asked my best friend to be my maid of honour. I would ask her if she would like to do something else in the wedding, but it is a Catholic ceremony and she is not Catholic. I value her friendship, but my fiance and I want to keep the wedding party small and I already have four bridesmaids. What should I tell her?
You have a few options:
1. tell her exactly what you wrote here, stressing that you value her friendship but can''t fit her in the bridal party because you have 3 sisters;
2. add one more person to your bridal party --- consider exactly what concequences an additional bridesmaid causes (it might be less than you had imagined);
3. ask your friend to do a special job during the reception if she can't be included in the ceremony for religious issues.
I'm sure Emily Post has more to say on the issue... you might want to consult her etiquette guide.
Hope this gives you some ideas....
I think the pp has it right. You basically have a couple choices, and she worded them well. Which one you choose here solely depends upon how important this friend/relationship is to you. If you do decide to include her, a couple options might be having her do a reading or give a toast at the reception, be the guestbook attendant, an usher helping handing out programs and/or seating people, things like that. With the BM situation, just be as honest with her as you can and hope it doesnt hurt her feelings too much. "Listen - Im really sorry, honestly I am, but I was under the impression that we were kidding around about you being a bm in my wedding. As you know, I have three sisters and I really have to include them and want to - they are my family. Youre really important to me and I truly hope you can make it to celebrate with us." You dont need to say all this if youre giving her another role in the wedding - just go ahead and ask her to do that role,and then if/when she is shocked or surprised, then you can say something like the above.
If you want her in the WP, just add another BM. Five isn't THAT much of a difference from four.
If you want her to help in some other way, I don't see any reason why she can't do a reading or something during the ceremony. We had a Catholic wedding and NONE of our three readers were Catholic. Perhaps it's a big deal for your priest, but ours didn't even ask. I think they understand that you want to involve the most important people to you, who may not happen to be the same religion.