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What to do about a friend who isn't a bridesmaid

I recently reconnected with a good friend from college.  We talk all the time, visit one another for weekends and she's given me some great wedding planning advice (since she's already had a wedding and can help with some of the pitfalls).  Early on she brought up the topic of being a bridesmaid.  She said she wasn't sure if I would ask or not but she wanted to put it out there that she wasn't able to handle the financial responsibility or the time commitment, especially since we are both going to be in a mutual friends wedding in a few months.  She offered to help with the set-up of small things like centerpieces the morning of, as her in-laws live very close to the reception hall and she felt that would probably be more useful to me than a gift anyway.  I thanked her for letting me know and said that I might take her up on her offer to help, as I feel bad asking anyone to do those things, but can't really be setting up vases and flowers in my wedding dress...I figured that it would be nice to include her in the rehearsal dinner, get her a gift like those I'm giving to the bridesmaids and including a note of "special thanks" for her in the program.  

I've told her some things about the wedding and any time I talk about the wedding party, I've stressed how I don't want this to be a burden for them.  FIs mom has graciously offered to pay for hotel rooms for our wedding party - I've expressed that if any showers or bachelorette parties I'd prefer them to be small, casual and as inexpensive as possible for the hosts - I've respected everyone's choices and budget in dress choices, giving them certain parameters but not telling them to buy a specific dress - I'm going to take the women from the bridal party (including this friend) out for manicures the day before and to get hair and make-up done the morning of.  She also asked if I was getting bridesmaids gifts and I said that I planned on it.

I think she now feels like she's missing out on something by not being part of the bridal party and she has hinted that she might prefer to be a bridesmaid.  Is it appropriate to ask her or should I just go along with our original arrangement.  I kind of feel she might be asking just for the gifts and pampering - but I had planned on her including in all the fun stuff anyway.  Should I just let her know that even though she isn't standing up as a bridesmaid, she will be recognized as being awesome and receive a gift?

Re: What to do about a friend who isn't a bridesmaid

  • It sounds a little fishy to me......why would she be asking if you are getting the bridesmaids gifts after telling you (though you did not ask her) that she does not have the time nor the finances to be a part of your wedding party? Then after hearing what you are doing for them she expresses to you that she might prefer to be a bridesmaid after all? You have not mentioned whether or not you would otherwise have asked her in the first place had she not come out and said she couldn't. If you originally had planned on including her because she is a dear friend and you imagine her standing up for you when you picture your wedding day, then of course, ask her. However I do find it a bit odd that she offered to place your centerpieces in lieu of a gift, while secretly eyeing the gifts and pampering/accommodations that will be provided to your bridal party. Not one of my bridesmaids has insinuated that helping setup would be their gift to us, and while gifts are not necessary, that statement definitely rubs me the wrong way.
  • JCbride2015JCbride2015 Dirty Jerz member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary First Answer
    Yeah, this sounds a little strange.

    I think it comes down to-- would you have asked her to be a BM had she not preemptively declined?  If the answer is yes and you still feel the same, ask her.  If not, don't ask her.

    I'm not sure what she means when she says she can't handle the financial responsibilities.  The only expense a BM has is buying a new dress usually, and the bride should ask for each BM's budget before choosing a dress.  Bach and showers are nice, but the BMs have no obligation to take part if they can't afford it.
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    "I'm not a rude bitch.  I'm ten rude bitches in a large coat."

  • Yeah, this sounds a little strange.

    I think it comes down to-- would you have asked her to be a BM had she not preemptively declined?  If the answer is yes and you still feel the same, ask her.  If not, don't ask her.

    I'm not sure what she means when she says she can't handle the financial responsibilities.  The only expense a BM has is buying a new dress usually, and the bride should ask for each BM's budget before choosing a dress.  Bach and showers are nice, but the BMs have no obligation to take part if they can't afford it.
    I agree with this. If you want to, ask. If not, don't. You can still invite her to come along, if she declines, then that's okay too. It just really depends on if you want to throw those offers out to her, which you said you do, but want to go further as to asking her to be a BM when she had already prematurely declined. Best of luck to you!
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  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Of course, the only duties bridesmaids have is to acquire the designated dress, show up in it on time and in good spirits, and go down the aisle with you.  But since she told you even without you asking her that she doesn't have the time or money to commit to being a bridesmaid, I'd step very carefully about deciding whether I'd want her in the wedding party.  If this is something you really are okay with, by all means do it, but you won't be able to kick her out later.
  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I think you may be reading into this situation a bit. If I were in your shoes, I would just let sleeping dogs lie. She said she couldn't afford it, so just let it go. I would make sure she was invited to all the events so she felt included. 
  • Thanks for the advice - this sort of confirmed what I thought I should do - but it's nice to have positive feedback.  I plan on inviting her to all the events but not asking her to be a bridesmaid.  My plan from day one was to have just two bridesmaids - my sister and best friend and I'm going to stick to that.
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    fungrl97 said:
    I recently reconnected with a good friend from college.  We talk all the time, visit one another for weekends and she's given me some great wedding planning advice (since she's already had a wedding and can help with some of the pitfalls).  Early on she brought up the topic of being a bridesmaid.  She said she wasn't sure if I would ask or not but she wanted to put it out there that she wasn't able to handle the financial responsibility or the time commitment, especially since we are both going to be in a mutual friends wedding in a few months.  She offered to help with the set-up of small things like centerpieces the morning of, as her in-laws live very close to the reception hall and she felt that would probably be more useful to me than a gift anyway.  I thanked her for letting me know and said that I might take her up on her offer to help, as I feel bad asking anyone to do those things, but can't really be setting up vases and flowers in my wedding dress...I figured that it would be nice to include her in the rehearsal dinner, get her a gift like those I'm giving to the bridesmaids and including a note of "special thanks" for her in the program.  

    I've told her some things about the wedding and any time I talk about the wedding party, I've stressed how I don't want this to be a burden for them.  FIs mom has graciously offered to pay for hotel rooms for our wedding party - I've expressed that if any showers or bachelorette parties I'd prefer them to be small, casual and as inexpensive as possible for the hosts - I've respected everyone's choices and budget in dress choices, giving them certain parameters but not telling them to buy a specific dress - I'm going to take the women from the bridal party (including this friend) out for manicures the day before and to get hair and make-up done the morning of.  She also asked if I was getting bridesmaids gifts and I said that I planned on it.

    I think she now feels like she's missing out on something by not being part of the bridal party and she has hinted that she might prefer to be a bridesmaid.  Is it appropriate to ask her or should I just go along with our original arrangement.  I kind of feel she might be asking just for the gifts and pampering - but I had planned on her including in all the fun stuff anyway.  Should I just let her know that even though she isn't standing up as a bridesmaid, she will be recognized as being awesome and receive a gift?
    I think you might be oversharing a bit with her, and I wouldn't be surprised if she felt left out.  However, she is the one that originally mentioned to you that she couldn't afford to be a BM.

    You don't need to ask her to be a BM.  Just don't talk to her too much about all the cool stuff your are doing for the BM's, but include her in anything and everything that you had originally intended to.

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


  • I see why people would think I was over sharing, and maybe I am.  However that's just what works in the context of our friendship.  She tells me all the things about her daughter that no one else wants to hear, and I tell her all the things about my life (which includes my wedding) that no one else wants to hear.  I didn't think it was a problem to share these things with her because I am going to include her in almost all of it.  I'd probably even be covering her hotel room too if her in-laws didn't live less than a mile away from the venue.  

    I know that when it comes to weddings we're supposed to basically pretend they don't exist or that planning doesn't take up a huge amount of our time (and with most of my friends/family I successfully do that) .  It's just tough to ignore it when it is one of the important things going on in my life right now...
  • yes, a little oversharing. if she's only a guest, then save all that you are sharing and planning with you wedding party.

    also, if/when she asks, you can always answer politely, yet non-specifically. usually, people figure out that they are overstepping boundaries when they aren't getting a straight answer. 

    for example, the gift. i had a lot of nosey guests during my engagement - i replied with, "oh, something small" ... when i was pressed a second time ... "a personal gift" ... and somehow, there were a few people who didn't get the message. third time, you're out. my response was, "my wedding party gifts are private".
    PrettyGirlLost
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    missax said:
    fungrl97 said:
    I see why people would think I was over sharing, and maybe I am.  However that's just what works in the context of our friendship.  She tells me all the things about her daughter that no one else wants to hear, and I tell her all the things about my life (which includes my wedding) that no one else wants to hear.  I didn't think it was a problem to share these things with her because I am going to include her in almost all of it.  I'd probably even be covering her hotel room too if her in-laws didn't live less than a mile away from the venue.  

    I know that when it comes to weddings we're supposed to basically pretend they don't exist or that planning doesn't take up a huge amount of our time (and with most of my friends/family I successfully do that) .  It's just tough to ignore it when it is one of the important things going on in my life right now...
    There isn't anything wrong with wanting to talk about your wedding with somebody who is interested. Talking about flowers you like or potential wedding colors is one thing but it becomes oversharing when you start telling her the gifts and special things you'll be doing for your BMs.
    This.  You are oversharing and it is making her feel left out.  Stop it!

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


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