“A bad bridesmaid can waste time the bride doesn’t have, and is likely to upset other members of the wedding party,” explains Irene S. Levine, Ph.D., friendship expert and founder of The Friendship Blog. “Responsibilities you were counting on her to fulfill will need to be delegated to someone else, perhaps even at the last minute. And no one wants to have to walk on tiptoes out of fear that they’ll set someone off.”
Those are just a few of the reasons you might have to give the boot to a bridesmaid who’s shown a consistent pattern of behaving badly.
“It's certainly is understandable that your bridesmaid may be busy with her career, relationships and hobbies,” allows Aviva Samuels, owner of Kiss the Planner in Palm Beach, Florida. “After all, she's entitled to a life of her own. But if a bridesmaid shows little-to-no interest and has nothing but negative things to say about her role in the wedding, then perhaps it's a good idea to relieve her of her duties.”
Here’s how to do just that.
Don’t make a rash decision.
Giving your bridesmaid the boot has the potential to end your friendship, Levine warns. “Think through the reasons you’ve come to this conclusion, bounce it off someone else you trust, and figure out the best way to handle it to avoid further backlash and to allow the other person to save face, to the extent that it is possible,” she suggests. If you feel it’s your best and only option, then should you move forward with caution.
Be respectful and empathetic when letting your bridesmaid go.
We’ve all faced some kind of rejection in our lives, so we know it isn’t easy. “If you consider yourself friends — and you must if you invited her to be your bridesmaid — then be kind and gentle when you let her go,” says Samuels. You may never understand why she behaved badly, but no matter what, “as your friend, she deserves the benefit of the doubt,” Samuels says.
Clearly give your reasons.
While you don’t want to be cruel, you do want to give the real reasons you’re letting her go. “Be concrete in offering concise examples of the problems she has caused or the responsibilities she hasn't fulfilled,” says Levine. “Explain to her that you thought about this decision long and hard before you took action. Be firm and unwavering in your decision.” And, to the best of your ability, avoid having a lengthy conversation that could lead to an argument.
Be prepared for the worst.
Your friend may become upset and angry. (As we said above, rejection isn’t fun.) “She's going to feel publicly humiliated and may have little insight into the burdens she's created for you,” says Levine. “For this reason, it might be best to ‘break up’ in a public place that allows both parties an escape route.” And choose a spot with few wandering eyes — think: a large park, rather than an intimate restaurant or coffee shop.
Consider creating a new role for her.
Because you love your friend, you might want to consider working her into the wedding in another way. “Broach the idea of other taking on other tasks and see how she feels about it,” says Samuels. “If she still shows signs of negativity, or you see that she looks uncomfortable with those suggestions, let her know that it is completely up to her to consider or reject.” And of course, you can always ask her to attend the wedding as a guest. But beware: “If you feel you would have to worry about her embarrassing you on your special day, you may have to tell her that you don’t want the conflict you’ve had to spoil your wedding and would rather reconnect with her afterwards,” says Levine.