How to Quit Being a Bridesmaid

You don't need to be part of the bridal party to enjoy the wedding

Updated 01/06/18

Photo by Betsy Newman

After saying "I do" to taking on the role of being a bridesmaid, you may have started to realize that being part of the bride’s wedding squad is just something you are not comfortable doing.

Whether that’s because you don’t have the time, money, or energy to commit to a role so big and important, it’s OK to let the bride know you’d like to step away from being a bridesmaid and just be a wedding guest instead.

Wondering how to do that? Use these six tips to help you out.

1. Make the Decision ASAP

If being a bridesmaid isn’t something your entire heart is in and you want to just be a wedding guest instead, be sure to make that decision ASAP. The longer you wait, the longer the bride will assume you’re happy about being part of her bridal squad and the more money you will find yourself spending on items and things you don’t want to do.

Once you’ve fully made the decision, it’s best to have a plan in place. How are you going to break the news? Where are you going to do it? And most importantly, what are you going to say?

You should try to do it one-on-one and also do it in-person if you can. As for what to say, be sure to let the bride know exactly why you no longer want to be a bridesmaid, so that she can understand the decision that you have made.

2. Let the Bride Know Why

It’s okay to be honest and let the bride know why you’re just not feeling being a bridesmaid. Perhaps it is because you don’t have the time to commit to all of her pre-wedding activities and needs or maybe it’s because you live out of state and you can’t afford to fly back and forth for the bridal shower and the bachelorette party. Maybe it’s because you are stressed out at work and don’t want to take the stress out on her. Or maybe it’s because you are already a bridesmaid in three other weddings and you just don’t have it in you to join another bridal party.

Either way, confess your reasoning so that the bride feels as though you are being as transparent as possible with the decision that you made.

3. Give the Bride a List

There’s a chance the bride will be upset with you—have a response ready for how you are going to help out during the wedding planning process. Offer up two or three things you can still take on and help out with, even though you won’t be a bridesmaid anymore. This will show that you have made an effort to still be engaged in the wedding adventure, without taking on the bridesmaid title.

4. Return Your Bridesmaid Dress

If you have already purchased the bridesmaid dress, see if you can get your money back. See if you can sell it back to the store you ordered it from or sell it to another bridesmaid who hasn’t ordered her dress yet. You can also look for places online that resell bridesmaid dresses and get some of the money you paid back.

5. Offer Extra Help When You Can

In addition to the different things you offered to help out with along the way, be in touch with the bride, whenever you can, to see how she is or what she needs. Try not to fall out of contact with her just because you are no longer a bridesmaid. Remember, you are still her friend.

6. Save the Drama for Afer the Wedding

If the reason you don’t want to be a bridesmaid anymore is because there’s a riff in the friendship, try to save that drama for after the wedding. Don’t worry about rebuilding the friendship now, just worry about making the wedding process as smooth as possible for the bride-to-be.

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