How do I remove a bridesmaid from my wedding party?
I see this question asked, all the time, all over the internet. And the answers vary wildly, but I need to weigh in. Instead of giving advice about how to do this, or to minimize hurt feelings – I want to talk a little bit about bridesmaids.
The whole tradition of bridesmaids had something to do with having lots of similarly dressed women standing together so that the devil won’t strike down the bride. Or something like that. Of course, it’s evolved a bit since then, but in my opinion – the whole concept can be just as sinister.
The Bridesmaid’s Role
If you go down that route and choose to have bridesmaids, please remember who these women (and sometimes men!) are, or should be. These are the people that got you to the place you are today. They’ve laughed with you over bad dates, and listened to you cry when your heart was broken. They probably remember your first date with your betrothed, and they should be just as happy for you on your wedding day as you are for them. These are your friends. Sometimes they are also your family, but in theory – it’s the people you love, surrounding you as you celebrate love.
Things bridesmaids should not be: Color-coordinated props for pictures, unpaid labor for “DIY” party favors, pincushions for 11 dress fittings or gift-dispensers. Sure, they may do all those things for you, but that’s not their function or goal. That’s not showing them any respect or love. That’s not the way you honor your friendships.
The Implicit Bridesmaid Agreement
When you ask someone to be your bridesmaid, assuming they know anything about you, they probably know what they are getting in for. They know if this is going to be a big affair with designer bridesmaids dresses and destination bachelorette parties, or if this is going to be a small, backyard-style affair. So, in theory – they can just say “no” if they don’t have the time, money or inclination to be in your wedding. Except, how often does it really ever work out like that? The social pressure to say “yes” is just overwhelming. And often, they do want to be there with you, and are honored you asked. And sometimes they have to say yes, to keep family peace. And sometimes people say yes, and have no idea what they are getting into.
Think About Why You Want Them Out
So, for some reason, your bridesmaid isn’t living up to your expectations. They didn’t hold up their end of the agreement. Why? Did you not tell them that you expected four dress fittings, two bridal expos, two nights putting Jordan almonds in tiny bags and some mock-up designs for save the date cards. What about the bridal shower and bachelorette party expenses? And the shoes, hair, makeup and dress they had to purchase.
Let’s say you did tell her all that, and she just … fizzled out. Didn’t show a certain level of enthusiasm, or didn’t show up for the group events. So what? Why are you kicking her out? Didn’t you ask her to stand with you, because she is one of your best friends? Is it really that big of a deal that she didn’t meet your expectations on this? Is there a chance you are treating her like a prop or a tool instead of a cherished best friends? Have you become an insufferable Bridezilla? And what do you expect will happen once she is “out?”
Almost all of the time, kicking out a bridesmaid means the friendship is over. Think about that seriously before you make that decision. Is this something you want to end the friendship over? Because that can be a whole other ballgame.
An exception? Your bridesmaid cannot meet the financial obligations of your wedding, and you are not willing or able to cover her costs. You should be gracious about this. You may be able to do this with some class and dignity for both of you, and remain great friends. Consider another role within your wedding that would make your great friend feel cherished.
In short – there really aren’t too many nice, polite ways to tell someone you no longer consider them special, and don’t want them to have an important role in your wedding. So, think about it carefully, and consider the ramifications. Also consider your role in the relationship. If you think that your situation has extenuating circumstances, or you want more specific help, please email me!