Every bride hopes her wedding will be the stuff of fairy tales, with exquisitely executed details, a loving spouse at the end of the aisle, and a gaggle of happy bridesmaids there to support her and help her celebrate. But weddings aren’t perfect, and sometimes the hiccups you face have less to do with your to-do list and more to do with your bride squad. Removing someone from your bridal party is a task no one would envy, but in some cases, it has to be done. Whatever the reason, there are a few steps you should follow to do it right. We’ve asked our experts to help us figure out how to fire a bridesmaid.
Meet in Person
Do not—we repeat, do not—fire a bridesmaid via text, e-mail, or Instagram DM. This is a conversation that needs to happen live, whether it’s face-to-face or (in the case of a long-distance bridesmaid) over the phone. She’ll be able to hear your emotions in your voice and see them on your face, whereas a written message just doesn’t get feelings across in the same way. Choose somewhere comfortable and neutral, like a local coffee shop instead of your living room, so you both can make an easy exit if needed.
Be Polite But Direct
You’d be surprised how far this can go. Instead of laying into your friend about whatever she did that made you change your mind about having her as a bridesmaid (or beating around the bush!), cut to the chase. Try something like, “I am so sorry, but I need to ask you to step down as bridesmaid.” Avoid words like “I think I need to” or “I think maybe you should”—if you’ve made your decision, be clear and firm about it.
There’s a good chance she’ll want to know why you’ve changed your mind, and you should be prepared to discuss it. If the two of you have had some sort of falling out, acknowledge recent events that have put a strain on your relationship. If she hasn’t been helpful or has made the process about her, let her know. Again, be polite, but she deserves to know what has caused your change of heart.
Recognize that you aren’t an innocent victim. After all, you’re the one firing her! If your expectations or needs were unclear, say so. If you had underestimated how much time or money you would need your ‘maids to commit, make sure she knows the role you played in that.
Let Her Speak
Of course, she’ll probably have a thing or two to say. Maybe she knows that she took on too much, and was looking for an out (and therefore would be happy to attend your wedding as a regular guest). Maybe she disagrees with everything you said or blames you for setting her up for failure. Or she may have an explanation that you didn’t know about, like a sudden change in her workload or a family illness she’s kept quiet. Don’t get into a fistfight over it, but let her say her piece. Hopefully the two of you can talk it out and maintain your friendship when it’s all over.
Know There Will Be Consequences
Of course, removing a friend from your bridal party doesn’t always go well. Before you even start the conversation, know that there’s a chance this could have a major impact on your friendship. She might decide not to come to your wedding, or may even decide that she can’t be one of your friends anymore. If you are prepared to face these consequences, start the conversation. But if the risk of losing her as a friend entirely outweighs any frustrations you might be having with her performance as bridesmaid, delegate her tasks to other ’maids or ask a family member to step in and help, keeping her on as a VIP.