What to Do if a Friend Says No to Being a Bridesmaid, Then Changes Her Mind

It's not that common, but it happens—here's how to handle it in a way that's best for you.
by Rachel Torgerson
bridesmaids in blush dresses with ruffles
photo by LAUREN FAIR PHOTOGRAPHY

So, your friend said no back when you asked her to be in your wedding party, but now that the wedding is getting closer she wants to be a part of everything. Your friend most likely has a classic case of FOMO and regretting her decision to remove herself from your wedding festivities.

If You Want 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's enough time to account for buying bridesmaid dresses and attending all the necessary parties, then by all means, try to squeeze her back in. Don't worry about numbers if you've added someone else in your friend's place since she declined—having a mismatched number of bridesmaids and groomsmen is no big deal.

If You Want to Tell Her "No"

If your relationship has changed since she turned down your bridal party proposal, 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 you're so excited to celebrate with her, and wish 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 include her in all the events (we're talking bachelorette, showers and getting ready the morning of) leading up to the wedding if you want to to make her feel special. Just because she isn't a bridesmaid doesn't mean she has to be separated from the group on your wedding day. She may feel uncomfortable and choose not to tag along, but at least make the ask to show her she's more than welcome to join you.

This is one of those situations that may feel awkward, but no one will hold it 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.

Now it's your turn to weigh in.

For more bridesmaid etiquette, advice and gift ideas, click here.

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