You carefully considered every option, finally settled upon your Dream Team (you know, your bridal party!), and sent out those “Be My Bridesmaid?” gifts. Of course you hoped everyone will be on board, but one friend, for whatever reason, wasn’t able to join your #bridesquad. It’s a bummer, but hopefully she’ll still make it as a guest! Fast forward a few months, and that same friend now wants in. So what’s a bride, in the midst of planning her wedding, to do? We’ve got a little expert advice to help you out.
Of course it’s exciting to have a friend really want to be a part of your wedding party, but it’s not as easy as adding her to the lineup. If you want to find a way to squeeze her in, here are the things to think about:
Is there time to order a bridesmaid’s dress?
Bridesmaids’ dresses don’t take quiet as long to order as a wedding gown, but it’s still wise to allow a few months for the dresses to be made, shipped, and tailored. Yes, you can always pay a rush fee, but that can add up quickly. It’s also important to think about dye lots. If your dresses are from the same designer and made of the same fabric, you may have ordered them all at once to ensure the fabric is cut from the same lot (meaning a perfect color match from dress to dress). A late order will come from a different dye lot, so while the difference may be minuscule, it could still be there.
Did you fill her spot?
Many couples still love the idea of an even wedding party, so you might have asked another friend to serve as bridesmaid when the original friend turned down the offer. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t add her back in—you just will end up with an uneven wedding party. Mismatched bridesmaids and groomsmen are totally normal these days, so don’t stress about it! (Oh, and while we probably don’t need to say this, you should definitely not fire the replacement bridesmaid!)
Where are you in the planning process?
Yes, adding a friend into your bridal party will put a smile on your face, but consider any stress and deadlines you’re dealing with. Are you in a good place to have the details shaken up a little bit? Or can you ask your MOH to take the lead on getting your friend filled in on the plans? If you can handle it, by all means add her back in!
So what if you don’t actually want to add one more bridesmaid to the squad?
If it’s super last-minute:
If you’ve got a month or less before your wedding, saying “no” to the request is easy. There’s not enough time to get all of the specifics in order (or get her a dress!). She should understand that time isn’t on your side, and you can always invite her to any other pre-wedding events and even include her in hair and makeup before the ceremony.
If you think it’s just FOMO:
It can be hard to be the one friend who isn’t a bridesmaid, even if you made the choice yourself. For the friend who turned down the role but still wants to be a part of the fun, include her! Invite her to your bridal shower and bachelorette party, and let her know that she’s still special to you even if she isn’t in a matching dress. Have an honest talk with her, and make sure she knows she doesn’t have to stretch herself too thin on your behalf. Be inclusive and support her in making decisions that work well for her, regardless of who is listed on your ceremony program.
If your relationship has changed:
Most friends turn down the bridesmaid role due to finances and scheduling, but sometimes it’s because they don’t feel the friendship is strong enough for such a big commitment. If that was the case, there’s no guarantee you and the friend are any closer now—and their declining your invitation may have even hurt your friendship. If she has still said “yes” on her RSVP to your wedding, politely let her know that, while you’re thrilled she’ll be at the wedding, you don’t think there’s enough time to formalize her role (see above). Be courteous and kind, but don’t feel like you have to change all of your plans.