What Do I Say to a Friend Who Said No to Being a Bridesmaid, But Wants to Be One Now?

Such a frustrating situation!
by Rachel Torgerson
Bridesmaid handkerchief
photo by Braedon Photography

So, she said no back when you asked, but now that the wedding is getting closer she wants to be a part of everything. This isn't a new phenomenon. It's called FOMO -- Fear of Missing Out -- and your friend who declined and is now regretting that decision definitely has it.

One bride on our community boards lamented the situation with a bridesmaid who realized the error of her ways with only two months left until the wedding. Two months is certainly not enough time for bridesmaid dress alterations, provided you're going the matching dress route. Check out what she had to say on the topic: "I asked a friend of mine to be a bridesmaid and after consideration, she said no due to financial reasons. She lives out of state and the trip would have been expensive for her. I understood and didn't pressure her in any way. Fast forward to this past weekend. She asked if she could still be a bridesmaid because she now had airline miles she could use. The wedding is in two months and it's too late to get the dress, since the shipping time is long. I know it will kill her to tell her no, but I really have no choice. I don't want to hurt her, but the answer is no. Advice?"

If You'd Like to Tell Her "Yes"

Depending on the amount of time left until your wedding date, you may want to consider having this friend in your wedding party, despite her original no. For the most part, people say no because of finances and not out of any maliciousness to the bride. If, after a few months, they've managed to get back on track financially, and you feel like there is enough time to account for buying dresses and attending all the necessary parties, then by all means, you should try to squeeze her back in. Don't worry about numbers if you've added another girl to effectively replace her -- after all, we know mismatched numbers of bridesmaids and groomsmen aren't really that big a deal. What's one more bridesmaid at the end of the day?

If You'd Like to Tell Her "No"

But, if your relationship has changed since you asked her to be your bridesmaid and she declined, or if there simply isn't enough time left for her to reasonably purchase the dress she needs or do any of the other things associated with being a bridesmaid, you can politely tell her that you are so excited to celebrate with her, and wished she could stand up with you, but there simply isn't enough time for her to be prepared. If this is the case, you can make sure to include her in all the events (we're talking bachelorette, showers and getting ready the morning-of) leading up to the wedding, and make her feel special by inviting her to get ready with you and the other bridesmaids on the day-of. Just because she isn't a bridesmaid doesn't mean she has to be separated from the group on your wedding day.

This is just one of those situations that may feel awkward, but no one will hold against you on your actual wedding day. Whichever route you choose, just make sure to be respectful of her feelings and as inclusive of her as you can be.

Have something to add? Say it on our community boards!

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