*Jen Glantz is a "Professional Bridesmaid" and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. She's the author of *All My Friends Are Engaged and frequently wears old bridesmaid dresses to the grocery store and on first dates. For her latest BRIDES column, she advises bridesmaids on whether or not they can say no to the role... After they've already said yes.
The question of "Will you be my bridesmaid?" has already been asked by your close friend and bride-to-be, and tears of joy and feelings of happiness have already been unleashed But ever since pouring out your "yes of course" answer, and giving the bride a hug that will go down in the history books as the greatest embrace ever, you have started to think more and more about being a bridesmaid. You may even find yourself asking the tough, albeit important, questions: Can you afford it? Do you actually have the time to devote to it?
After answering those questions as well as checking your schedule and your budget, if you feel as though you want to run for the hills, far away from your bridesmaid duties, it's important to first take a deep breath and a step back. There is a grace period after accepting your bridesmaid duties when you can go back and decline — but that window is only a couple of days. Either way, it's important to decide exactly what the reason is behind not wanting to be a bridesmaid anymore. If it's finances, speak with the maid of honor or bride and let them know your concerns. Perhaps there are ways you can contribute to the events without putting money down. If it's time that you're concerned about, be open and honest, letting them know your previous commitments and what you'll be able to do and when.
Either way, before declining, have a conversation. In the end, it's an honor to be a bridesmaid, even for the 16th time!