Weddings never go 110 percent as planned. One of the more rocky change-ups to pending nuptials, though, is when a bridesmaid backs out of her attendant duties. There's a number of reasons why this might happen, from a more scandalous fight between she and the bride to a tragic family emergency, but no matter what the case, it can cause a definite bump in the road. Here, our etiquette experts weigh in on how to tactfully handle this situation and move forward with your wedding one bridesmaid short.
Dealing with a bridesmaid relinquishing her bridal party duties fully depends on the situation at hand. For example, someone may not have realized the financial commitment being a part of your wedding party entails. In this case, you should try to work with her to ease the financial strain like offer to pay for her dress or hotel stay (if you can afford to, of course!).
But if someone backs out last-minute because of a family emergency — a death or major illness — it's best to honor them by not asking someone to replace their post. However, if someone very early on finds out about a work commitment she cannot get out of, then you're more than welcome to ask another close friend who would be happy to fill-in.
Remember: Timing is everything. Life isn't perfect, and last-minute emergencies will arise. In those cases it'd be rude to ask someone else to be a bridesmaid at the eleventh hour. If someone finds out a conflict earlier on, then there's more leeway with choosing someone else (after all they may not even realize they weren't chosen in the first place).