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How can I get out of being a bridesmaid?

(83 Posts)
Gah81 Wed 31-May-17 13:34:28

I've been a bridesmaid 7 times (many sisters, cousins, close female friends etc. plus I'm fairly organised, which I think helps). One of my close female friends has just got engaged and wants to "ask me an important question" when I see her in Milan (she lives there) in a few weeks' time. I'm a little nervous that it may mean she's going to ask me to be her bridesmaid.

I may be jumping the gun but I don't want to be a bridesmaid again, in case that is what she is planning to ask... I've done it so many times and seen awful, controlling, hysterical Bridezilla sides to the friends I've done it for. I also end up getting put in horrible dresses (think tangerine harem pants, or baby blue neck to mid-calf ruffles (ruffled ALL the way down) and dislike having to essentially be a slave/handmaiden for the whole day, let alone organising a hen party (these seem to get bigger, with more bells-and-whistles on as the years go on) and herding cats.

I am aware that it is a privilege and an honour and my friends ask me because they want me to be part of their special day. However, I am old enough to know myself and know that I do not enjoy doing it at all (not that anyone would ever know hence, I think, why I keep getting asked!) as I smile and am chatty and happy and do everything possible to ensure the entire process goes as smoothly as possible for the bride.)

As my friend lives in Italy, do you think that I can use that as an excuse to get out of this if she asks? Or is it possible that I can explain that I don't like being a bridesmaid and not have my friend hate me... or do I need to just suck it up and hope that my friend does not become a monster over the next year?

[As an aside, I am engaged and will not be having bridesmaids as I don't want to inflict it on anyone else. Though my best friend is doing a speech, as am I].

MyheartbelongstoG Wed 31-May-17 13:37:04

Just say no. And be honest with the reasons why.

ScarlettFreestone Wed 31-May-17 13:38:43

Why not say that while you are honoured and touched to have been asked having done it before you know what a responsibility it is and as you are currently planning your own wedding don't feel that you'd be able to do a good job.

Aquamarine1029 Wed 31-May-17 13:42:40

I would make up an excuse such as work commitment, financial concerns, whatever. Do you plan on going to the wedding anyway or is that still unknown? I don't advocate lying but I wouldn't want to hurt her feelings, either. Or, I guess you could just say that while you're so touched that she would ask, would it be ok if you could just be a guest. This sure is tricky!

EssentialHummus Wed 31-May-17 13:48:47

What scarlett said. And grin at "tangerine harem pants".

Gah81 Wed 31-May-17 13:53:02

I definitely want to go to the wedding and celebrate with her. I just don't want to celebrate as her bridesmaid.

I love that idea, scarlett - why did I not think of using my own wedding as an excuse? (though it's going to be very low key and about 18 months away... due to my spending several months flitting between London and Paris in a short while)... I like the formula of "honoured and touched" + "it's a big responsibility though" + "I don't think I'll be able to devote the necessary time because of X".

Thank you all. I'm aware I may be sounding grumpy, charmless and self-absorbed for not wanting to do this... I've just had a mixed bag of experiences doing it (and the tangerine harem pants were matched with specially-mixed tangerine eyeshadow... (!)).

ScarlettFreestone Wed 31-May-17 14:00:30

Gah you don't sound self absorbed at all.

The fact that your wedding will be low key doesn't mean necessarily less to do (often simple and elegant takes a lot of hard work) but regardless she won't know how much you are doing behind the scenes.

If you are travelling a lot for work then that's another log on the fire.

I would make sure to express lots and lots of enthusiasm for her day and ask all about her plans to make it clear that you aren't declining due to disinterest it's just a bit much this year.

ScarlettFreestone Wed 31-May-17 14:01:37

No one who willing wears tangerine harem pants and tangerine eyeshadow for the love of their friend can be described as self absorbed. grin

Adora10 Wed 31-May-17 14:07:42

Sorry but it is an honour and she won't care about your past bridesmaid disasters, she only cares about her own wedding, I'd be extremely insulted if you turned down me asking you and I'd not forget; is it worth it, can you not tell her you want to be in agreement re the dress, esp if you actually want to go?

specialsubject Wed 31-May-17 14:13:20

Anyone who would be insulted when an invite is turned down needs to look up ' invite' and ' summons'.

Adora10 Wed 31-May-17 14:17:40

Anyone who would be insulted when an invite is turned down needs to look up ' invite' and ' summons'.

Why? My wedding, I decide who I want as bridesmaid, of course I'd be insulted to be told no thanks, it's not a command, it's an honour and your friend should be happy to be chosen, but each to their own.

ScarlettFreestone Wed 31-May-17 14:23:32

Oh come Adora if your friend said "I'm so touched that you asked but with the amount of travelling I'm doing and organising my own wedding I just don't think I can support you in the way you deserve."

You'd be offended? Really?

Because if so, that is pretty self absorbed.

MissBax Wed 31-May-17 14:23:56

She may not actually want you to do much? I've been bridesmaid twice and maid of honour once and was not expected to do anything responsible. Simply went with the brides to dress fittings / food tastings and to see the venues.

category12 Wed 31-May-17 14:33:39

Disappointed maybe, but insulted seems extreme.

OP, the distance/your work/your own wedding are all excellent excuses. The atmosphere might be a bit chilly, but hopefully she'll see it's too much.

Loyly Wed 31-May-17 14:35:01

Adora, all that stands out from your comment is this bit: 'My wedding, I decide'.

I don't think anyone can say that someone else 'should be happy'.

Fathersyros Wed 31-May-17 14:35:05

If one of my best man/ushers told me 'thanks but no thanks' I'd have been annoyed, perhaps not visibly, but hurt none the less. I didn't want to be best man for someone I was asked to be - pressure, hassle etc. I got over myself and we all had a great day.

To suggest it wouldn't affect a friendship is ludicrous - some things you simply suck up for friendship. I am staggered that so many people seem ok with turning something down for purely selfish reasons.

Gah81 Wed 31-May-17 14:37:22

MissBax - that sounds ideal. But I'm not sure there's any way for me to scope out how much legwork it would require in advance... I think I'm probably better off going 100% or 0%.

I've been thinking about how I would feel if my friend said no to me as a bridesmaid in the way outlined above - I actually think it sounds super-sensible like that and I wouldn't feel insulted.

I am just old enough to like wearing what I like... and it's not just the dress, it's also the handmaiden-y side of it and bride repeating "my decision, my day, everyone has to do what I say" for a year in advance of the wedding.

Especially now that I'm getting engaged myself - it might be a special day for me and my fiance (at least I should bloody well hope so grin) but it's really not that special for anyone else and I am doing my best to remain aware of that!

Gah81 Wed 31-May-17 14:40:04

But thanks to everyone who's taken the time to respond - whether you've come up with a great way to express myself or taken an opposing view, it's appreciated smile

Adora10 Wed 31-May-17 14:41:20

I honestly don't care what anyone else thinks; if my best friend turned me down as a bridesmaid I'd be insulted and mega disappointed, fact.

Doesn't make me selfish or evil; and yes, it's my wedding day so I decide, nothing wrong with that.

OP, up to you, if you feel she can take it the go ahead but honestly, she wont care about you being fed up being a bridesmaid previously, that has nothing to do with her.

MissBax Wed 31-May-17 14:41:36

Maybe if you're just honest and say how busy you are with other things etc ad you're worried you won't be able to commit to any big responsibilities she might say "oh I wasn't expecting A, B & C" and you might feel up to it. OR she might have expected all that and more, in which case she'll probably be grateful that you were honest about it from the start!

ScarlettFreestone Wed 31-May-17 14:44:07

Father "selfish reasons"? confused

This isn't her mate that lives down the road. She not saying "I don't like you enough to do this".

Gah is working between two countries while planning her own wedding. The bride is in a third country. So even if it is just getting fittings for a dress that additional international trips, probably on weekends when she's already exhausted from all the travelling she's doing.

She's been a bridesmaid seven times so she's over the whole "ooh pretty dress" thing.

It's not selfish to prioritise your own wedding and responsibilities above someone else's.

I'm "staggered" that there is anyone on this thread that would really expect their own friends just to "suck it up". Clearly I'm a better friend that I thought I was.

myusernameisgeneric Wed 31-May-17 14:54:28

I had a bridesmaid turn me down. I asked someone else. I didn't hate her for it and Her reason didn't matter to me. She's my friend and I love her so I wasn't going to guilt her into doing something she didn't want to.

I would do as pp suggested say you are honoured but simply don't have the time to do it. Distance would also make it an incredibly difficult job. You can't just fly out to do this stuff.

If she really wants you to do it you may be able to compromise and have another bridesmaid take on the big things like the hen, ideally a local bridesmaid, and you just take on what you feel able to and stick to it.

myusernameisgeneric Wed 31-May-17 14:59:17

To suggest it wouldn't affect a friendship is ludicrous - some things you simply suck up for friendship.

Why should the person being asked be the one Who sucks it up? Why can't the bride suck it up and ask someone else? If the bride or groom guilt someone into being bridesmaid or best man when they really don't want to be then imo they are a shitty friend. I wouldn't want a bridesmaid who was uncomfortable or resentful. That's not fun. Not everyone wants to be a bridesmaid or a best man. It's lovely to be asked but no one should be made to feel shit for saying no.

Fathersyros Wed 31-May-17 15:05:38

Oh bullshit! Been a bridesmaid seven times so can't be arsed again... in what planet is that not selfish - the OP is bored of it and can't be bothered with the faff.

Sometimes in life we do things for other people. If we exercise our absolute free will to say 'no' then that's entirely allowed - but selfish.

category12 Wed 31-May-17 15:19:34

And asking someone to be a bridesmaid and expend lots of effort & money on your behalf isn't selfish, fathersyros? The whole big wedding thing is a an exercise in indulgence at base, so asking someone to buy into all that is as selfish as being 'over' being a bridesmaid really.

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