How To Say No To Being A Bridesmaid Without Making Things Awkward

What exactly should you say?
PHOTO: istockphoto

Now that I'm almost 30, I've been reevaluating my life, specifically the people I choose to keep around and at times, confide in. What I'm realizing is that the friends I feel closest to and more comfortable with are the ones I can talk to about one of the most difficult topics to discuss: money. 

Money is hard to bring up, even when you've known someone for years. But it's also a factor we deal with on a daily basis, so even if you don't want to talk about it, it's going to come up eventually. And one of the times it's front and center is when a friend is about to get married—and SURPRISE! She wants you to be a bridesmaid. 

People think that when someone asks you to be a bridesmaid, there's only one correct answer: YES.

But the truth is, you can absolutely say no. 

Especially because being a bridesmaid is expensive AF. Rarely will you have a bride who can pay for everything. Even if she covers your dress, you'll still have to think about the cost and the responsibility of planning her parties (yes, plural). Of course, some just choose to suck it up and power through, but if you're not in the position to spend that much dough on your friend's wedding...how exactly do you bring it up? 

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Talk to your friend about what her expectations are from her bridesmaids. If she's the chillest bride who doesn't need anything from you apart from showing up and supporting her on her wedding day, then that's a huge relief on your bank account. But if she needs a team who'll basically plan everything up until the big day, it's reasonable to say no to that kind of commitment. Say something like, "I'm so touched you chose me to be one of your bridesmaids, but to be honest, I feel like I won't be able to commit to what it takes to be a good one. I don't want to half-ass anything on your big day because that might just be a source of additional stress for you. But I will still be here for you no matter what."

If money is the issue, which is often the case, honesty is the best policy. Tell your friend that with everything you have to cover or pay for right now, it's just not feasible for you to shell out that kind of money for her wedding. Plus, things might be more uncomfortable if the other bridesmaids are forced to "chip in" to make up the difference of your contribution. You don't want to be the one holding everyone back from having the best experience planning the wedding. 

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Remember: It's always better to be honest right away than to agree and then have to take it back later on. Just be upfront about your feelings. If she's a good friend, even if it stings initially, she'll understand that you don't have to be standing next to her to be cheering for her happiness. 

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