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To not want to be a bridesmaid

(27 Posts)
Cake0rdeath Sat 14-Nov-15 22:22:44

My best friend is getting married the year after next. It'll be an international thing and will be a hundred or so folk in attendance.

We've been friends for 28 years. She now lives and works abroad but we've maintained a very close relationship. We have each other's backs.

It didn't come as a huge surprise when she asked me to be a part of the wedding. She was my "best man" at my wedding. There were no other bridesmaids or any of the other traditions; we didn't have a photographer and just had a friend take candid snaps. This was because of how uncomfortable I am when getting my picture taken.

I loathe it. I hate the forced merriment and the time it takes. I'm also not the most photogenic (not a monster but definitely better in person than in a photo) as I have a misaligned jaw meaning that I can't smile with my teeth without looking like a creep or looking like I'm in excruciating pain. As such, my go-to pose is mouth closed, wry smile. I am forever told to "smile" but that's the best I can do. It's not something i usually concern myself with-it is what it is-but forced photos send me diving for the back row (or offering to take the picture).

I know it's my insecurity but it's made all the more acute knowing who the other bridesmaid will be; 6ft tall model friend. Like I said, I'm on the wrong side of quirky looking and I feel woefully inadequate/fat/ugly when next to the size 6 model at the best of times. I don't need it immortalised in print.

I'm more than happy to help with organising and can take control of hen night, should she want me to, but do I have to be bridesmaid? Ive already done a jokey "please don't feel obligated" text but she's obviously taken it as a joke- Who wouldn't want to be in a wedding? She knows it's my idea of hell but she couldn't not offer and I can't not accept. I know we'd both be happier with me not doing it but she can't rescind the invite and I can't reject it without looking like a total cow.

Do I just need to suck it up or is there a way to get out of this with friendship still in tact? If it's the choice between doing it and ending the friendship then I'd just get on with it.

HackerFucker22 Sat 14-Nov-15 22:27:52

If she knows it's your idea of he'll why can you both not discuss it and come to an agreement you are both happy with.

I'm 20 years into a friendship with an amazing lady and if she were to ask me to be bridesmaid we'd be having the "thanks but no thanks" talk. Although she'd probably not ask me to begin with as she would know I would hate it.

Talk it over OP.

TestingTestingWonTooFree Sat 14-Nov-15 22:35:32

Can you have a conversation where you thank her for asking, tell her how much you value her and then move on to explain which bridesmaid jobs you'd love to be in and which ones you really can't face? If you're a close friend, you're going to end up in photos anyway. Would you consider maybe looking into CBT to help you feel more confident/comfortable?

emsyj Sat 14-Nov-15 22:35:56

I have a close friend whom I've known for 25 years. When I got engaged she said 'please don't ask me to be bridesmaid, I will say no'. She had been through a tough personal period in her life and just wasn't up for it. No offence taken by me, I asked her to be a witness instead and I was delighted to be bridesmaid at her wedding a few years later.
If she's a genuine friend, just tell her you want to be part of her celebrations but you don't want to be bridesmaid. Do a reading at the ceremony, be an 'usher' - whatever. Just tell her!

mom2twoteens Sun 15-Nov-15 04:15:20

You said your self she felt she couldn't not offer (even though she knows it's your idea of hell) and you couldn't not accept.

Boy do you two need to talk.

She probably felt she should offer 'cos it's what you do, ask your closest friends to be your bridesmaids. If you've known each other for such a long time and she knows it will be hell for you I'm sure she'd understand. Being an Usher might be a solution if that's when you want or just generally helping he sort things for the day but not dressing and being just outside the centre of attention.

I was a bridesmaid to my sister, I had the same issue with my jaw as you have, so I know what you mean about the smile. (Your description made me laugh though.) I looked awful on my sister's wedding photos.

icklekid Sun 15-Nov-15 05:31:16

Would you be happy to be a bridesmaid if it wasn't for the photos? It might be she wants your support the morning of the wedding and during the day etc but actually she doesn't mind if your not in 'formal' photos if shes having any? Seems a shame to not be a bridesmaid just because of photos...

Tootsiepops Sun 15-Nov-15 05:52:07

There are next to no photos of me as an adult in existence. I hate having my picture taken and loathe seeing myself in photos. I have fairly severe body ishoos

However, my best friend of 20+ years asked me to be her bridesmaid and I put my stuff aside to support her. The day is about so much more than photographs and I have lovely memories of helping her get ready and spending quality time with her and her lovely family before the ceremony.

Ten years later and I've never even seen the photographs from the wedding.

MrsGentlyBenevolent Sun 15-Nov-15 06:14:59

I also hate having my photo taken. Recently had a baby, and unfortunately my partner and his family are acting like they are related to Lord Lichfield hmm. I adore my baby, but it is impossible to get a genuine photo of happy emotions when you're being told 'look at him and smile like you just did, no not like that, OK - look at the camera instead, look up, chin up, smile properly....'. Tends to ruin any emotion in the moment (especially when said partner and in-laws 'forget' to ever turn thr damn flash off!).

Being a bridesmaid is a pain in terms of photos - however, it's the one time I could/can put up with the whole 'fakeness' of it. After putting on a lovely dress and nicely done make-up, you usually feel 'better than usual' about yourself, so having a professional picture taken isn't so bad. There aren't that many to do - it's usually the big group photo that's the faff, but you don't have to pull 'special smiles' in a crowd.

If you genuinly don't want to do it though, best be honest now. Just explain that you are excited to see her getting married, but being a BM is not for you, any decent friend would understand.

Narp Sun 15-Nov-15 06:25:18

If I were your friend, I'd definitely understand and try and reach a compromise where you are part of it (which is all I'd want), without making you uncomfortable.

That's me, and it is probably relevant that I didn't have formal photos

On the other hand, as Tootsie said, there's no reason you have to look at the photo's of yourself, if it comes to that.

Emmmder2015 Sun 15-Nov-15 09:22:26

If I were your friend I'd have asked you not out of obligation, but because you're my friend and I genuinely like you and want you to be part of it with me.

I like the idea about being involved as a bridesmaid but not necessary being in the formal (or any) photos. Would it be possible to ask her either not to be in many (and I guess this depends on how she's got the wedding party organised), or perhaps just one of the two of you as a compromise? Or like the above poster said, you just don't look at them? She MUST want you there if she asked you and didn't take the option when you joked about not doing it.

Another option could be to tell the photographer yourself that you've got a physical problem that makes smiling impossible and so there's no point picking on you if you're in any. I imagine that must be incredibly stressful when it happens!!

GloGirl Sun 15-Nov-15 09:32:30

I was bridesmaid recently and I seriously hate having my photo taken and am very unphotogenic.

I loved being there to support my friend, and I never have to look at the photos!!

The photos are not the main part of the day they are there to document you doing your 'job' as best friend.

I feel a little bit soppy about it, being a part of the family she wanted to stand with her whilst she made a lifetime commitment. I was recognisable for her family if they needed any help on the day, to help out with suppliers and staff etc.

I looked through her official photos and I am in very few of them.

AuntieStella Sun 15-Nov-15 09:36:41

If you're that close, then yes you can have that conversation.

I'm ready to bet that you're appearance is nowhere as near as bad as you describe it. But even if it was, she's showing that she values you way above the superficiality of appearance, and that she's more concerned about the people in her life than quality of the photo album. You matter.

Moonax Sun 15-Nov-15 10:32:35

Talk to her. If she knows you that well, she'll understand.

That said, I hate being photographed (to the point that we nearly ended up with no wedding pictures when I was the bride). Even so, I'm glad to have those pictures 25 years on. It's the memory of the day she's preserving after all.

How do you think she'd respond if you offered to take on some other role at the wedding what involves fewer dresses and formal pictures?

specialsubject Sun 15-Nov-15 11:01:56

talk to her. This may be one of those situations where she is thinking 'I know cake will hate being bridesmaid, but she'll expect to be asked and I really don't want her to feel she is not wanted'. A five minute conversation will solve the problem!

Holsobsessed Sun 15-Nov-15 12:04:52

I understand your worries and issues. But it is not about you. It is a happy occasion for someone you care about. Being a friend means putting someone else first at times.

Cake0rdeath Sun 15-Nov-15 12:07:32

Thanks-I'll have the "talk"

It'll be fine. I can suck it up for a day and it's not as if I have to look at the photos anyway. ill be organising a fair bit anyway (she's hopeless) so I can probably get away with compromising in the number of photos I'm in.

Good advice regarding the photographer: I am always picked on and it'll grate if it's a full day of "come on, smile!" nonsense.

Failing that, I'll just get smashed before the photos are taken. Won't care if I'm pissed!

ICantSpellNoffink Sun 15-Nov-15 12:09:34

I agree with pps, just phone her up and tell that you've given it some thought and that you would enjoy the wedding a lot more if you weren't a bridesmaid.

MatildaTheCat Sun 15-Nov-15 12:15:12

I declined being a bridesmaid to my SIl to be. She is from a different ethnicity and her other bridesmaids were all similar in colouring and size very petite. She was planning to choose the dresses and just bring me one to wear on the day... My idea of an absolute nightmare.

I politely declined and it never seemed to cause any problems between us.

When I saw the dresses on the day I have never in my entire life been so relieved. Think 1950s little girl party dresses with tight bodice, sashes and huge frilly skirts. I would have died. They looked sweet btw because it suited them.

Tell her it's making you feel terribly anxious and please can you do something else instead. smile

IABVU Sun 15-Nov-15 14:08:06


That makes her sound selfish. Makes it sound like she'd rather go on the piss and have a good time than support her mate.

Just be honest. Mention your insecurities and issues. I suppose the other option is to ask to be left out of most/all photos which would be a challenge.

cailindana Sun 15-Nov-15 14:14:06

I find it really sad that you would forego a very special duty for a close friend because you mightn't look like anyone except yourself in the photos. Surely this could be the point in your life where you finally accept yourself and say 'actually no one really cares what I look like, I'm loved and this is an honour that I can't give up?'

I think refusing to be in photos is quite selfish really - it denies the people you love a chance to record their happy moments with you.

cailindana Sun 15-Nov-15 14:18:53

It's also quite self-absorbed to think that anyone but you is the least bit bothered about how you look. You look like you, everyone can see your face, who cares if your face is in a photo? What difference does it make?

Kr1stina Sun 15-Nov-15 14:25:48

I agree with those who say talk to her and ask how you can help with the wedding in another way . One of my friends didn't want to be a bridesmaid as she didn't like the whole dress thing, so she was an usher . And my sister was a witness and not a BM.

Please don't feel you have to be a BM if you wouldn't enjoy it . I don't think it's being self absorbed at all , you know you have issues about photos , that's fine . It's not like you are blaming anyone else or imposing on them .

Defnotsupergirl Sun 15-Nov-15 14:26:46

I'm a wedding photographer. I have come across similar scenarios. Talk to your friend and explain the problem. Then if she's willing to work around it please have a chat with the photographer about your concerns - a wedding photographer, if they value word of mouth recommendations, will do their best to not make you uncomfortable, will only take perhaps one formal with you in (for your friends memory of the day) and do everything to show you in your best light if the issue is made known to them in advance so they can pay attention to your wishes. It's no good trying to photograph people who are upset by it so any photographer would want to assist in any way they can.

scarlets Sun 15-Nov-15 14:32:57

She must know how you feel about your jaw. Offer instead to be an usher, or to give a reading. Then, between now and the day, be super involved and interested in the wedding preps.

A pp with wedding experience advised chatting to the photographer in advance - great idea!

MyNewBearTotoro Sun 15-Nov-15 15:22:39

If she's your best friend, talk to her.

One of my best friends recently got engaged. I told her that as much as I love her and am thrilled she's engaged the idea of having to wear a bridesmaids dress and be part of a wedding party would be my worst nightmare. She understood. She's actually since said she'd still like me to be a part of her special day and suggested she finds a role for me which won't involve being in a dress or in lots of photos etc but will still be important.

I don't know exactly what she has in mind yet (wedding isn't until 2017) but I am excited to get to be involved without having to be a bridesmaid.

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