Owner of Weddings in Vieques, a destination-wedding planning company off the coast of Puerto Rico, Sandy Malone has helped countless couples plan their big day since 2007. Here, she explains how to break some bad bridal-party news to a close friend.
Many brides face the same maid of honor dilemma that I did when I got married—I had two best friends. I couldn't choose between them, so I asked them both to be maids of honor. It worked out alright because the one I really wanted to ask, but didn't entirely trust to be responsible, turned out to be just as flakey as expected. And the one who really wanted to be MOH and would have been devastated not to be asked took control of everything I needed her to help with and was amazing. Moral of the story: It's okay to have more than one MOH. In fact, it's quite popular to have a maid of honor and a matron of honor. This can come in quite handy, in fact.
Unfortunately, no matter how far you stretch it, not everybody can be elevated above regular bridesmaid status, and sometimes that causes hurt feelings. Before you pick your MOH, give serious thought as to who it is and why you are choosing her. If there is a friend who won't be getting the title but is likely to do all the heavy-lifting and be your wing-woman through the planning process, think twice about whether you might need to have two MOHs.
If one is enough, let the other girls down gently. Sometimes it's easy—it's your sister and you were her MOH. Or your best friend, and you've already been hers. But when you're the first in your crew to get married, it can be a sticky position to be in. Be sure to have a one-on-one conversation, face-to-face, if you think your friend is going to be very upset. Explain calmly and rationally why you've made the pick you have, and tell her that you're so honored she's agreed to be a bridesmaid, and you'd be heartbroken if you thought that she was being hurt by your choices. Tell her you had so many friends to choose from and you chose her to be a bridesmaid. Elevate that status and make her feel important for standing upfront with you on your big day. Focus on the fact you asked her to be in your wedding, not the fact that's she not the MOH.
The fact of the matter is that you know why you didn't choose her—but she never needs to know why. Maybe she's irresponsible or maybe you don't feel as close to her as she does to you—whatever it is, never tell her that. Tell her positive, happy things about how much your friendship means and make her feel special to be included as a bridesmaid. Do it sooner, rather than later to let her get over it before your wedding festivities begin. A pouting bridesmaid looks terrible in pictures.