How to Say “No thanks” to Being a Bridesmaid


I’m not sure what being a bridesmaid was like in ye olden days, but these days it can be tough. There’s the time commitment one must make, plus the costs involved, which can add up to over $1600. It’s perfectly reasonable to not be able to say “I do” to a bridesmaid request, but as reasonable as it may be, it’s not easy to decline a friend. Especially if she’s just given you an adorable will-you-be-my-bridesmaid box of goodies.

Yes, being asked to be a bridesmaid is an honor, but it should never feel like an obligation. It’s okay to say thanks, but no thanks, and here are some tips on how to do it in a respectful and graceful way.

1. Be Upfront

The best thing you can do for the bride-to-be is be upfront about your decision. No beating around the bush or giving her a vague answer. If you have a twinge of doubt about committing to the title, don’t say yes and then let her down by not being available. Instead, ask the bride if you can take a day to think it over because you have a lot going right now/need to look at the budget/whatever. Then get back to her as soon as possible about your firm decision. No “maybe” allowed, as it will only put more stress on the bride-to-be.

2. Be Honest

If you just don’t think you’ll be able to commit to the bridesmaid duties, say so. Or if you honestly can’t afford it, let the bride-to-be know. She might offer to pay for some of the expenses, in which case you’ll be more obligated to take on the bridesmaid title. So make sure you’d actually be a bridesmaid before you give the financial excuse. Just like being upfront with the bride, being honest is respectful and just down right easier.

3. Be a Non-bridesmaid

According to Brides, “Non-bridesmaids are people you honor in the wedding and who help you plan it but do not march down the aisle.” Being a non-bridesmaid allows you to commit in specific ways – ways that work for you and the bride-to-be. For example, if you don’t want to be an official bridesmaid, but would still like to support your friend, come up with a few ways you can contribute, like being with her at the dress salon or passing out booklets during the wedding. You should be clear on what you’re able to commit to, otherwise the bride-to-be might give you duties you’re not able or willing to do.

4. Be Grateful

Let the bride-to-be know you are honored and grateful that she asked you to stand by her side, but that you don’t want to let her down by not being able to give 100%. Showing your gratitude and being honest is the best way to decline the invitation and one that the bride-to-be will respect.


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