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Etiquette

Firing a bridesmaid

First off, apologies for the spammy-looking username, I can't figure out how to change it!

I'm a month out from my wedding, and I'm seriously considering firing a bridesmaid - should I do it? Here's the details:

She has flaked out on a ton of wedding-related things, which wouldn't be an issue except she said she would be there for them. The Thursday night before the bridal shower (in a city 5 hours away; I was driving her up with me and my fiance Friday early afternoon) she asked if we could leave a few hours later than planned, as she couldn't get out of work to leave early (this after telling me weeks earlier that she was taking the day off). When I told her we couldn't, she looked at bus/train tickets but ultimately decided not to come late Friday night - her husband then texted me to say she has anxieties about traveling alone. This will become important soon.

For my bachelorette party (in the city we live in), we went for trapeze lessons. This bridesmaid decided that she would simply watch rather than participate, which is totally fine! The morning of, she texts to say she's not coming, but will meet us out for dinner later that evening as planned. So, while we weren't planning on her actually participating in the lessons, she had said that she would come to be there and enjoy hanging out with us while we tried something new and fun. 

Last night (exactly 1 month before the wedding), she texted me to say that she's going to be rooming at the hotel with another friend, as she had a lot going on and just didn't book anything sooner. Also, she hasn't bought tickets to travel yet, and the flights are very expensive now. She also mentioned that her husband is coming up separately, as they don't have a cat sitter (?!) so he will be traveling up the morning of the wedding and returning home that evening. I'm concerned about this because, as mentioned with the shower, she has anxiety about traveling alone, and I'm afraid since she hasn't even purchased tickets yet.

Finally, she has not yet paid me back for the bridesmaid dress, which she promised she would, and I even had to take her measurements and order it for her because she consistently did not even attempt to look into ordering the dress. She (again, 30 days from the wedding) has yet to even try the dress on, despite my reminders that she needs to do so.

Am I in the right for asking her to step aside as a bridesmaid? How should I go about this?

Re: Firing a bridesmaid

  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    First off, apologies for the spammy-looking username, I can't figure out how to change it!

    I'm a month out from my wedding, and I'm seriously considering firing a bridesmaid - should I do it? Here's the details:

    She has flaked out on a ton of wedding-related things, which wouldn't be an issue except she said she would be there for them. The Thursday night before the bridal shower (in a city 5 hours away; I was driving her up with me and my fiance Friday early afternoon) she asked if we could leave a few hours later than planned, as she couldn't get out of work to leave early (this after telling me weeks earlier that she was taking the day off). When I told her we couldn't, she looked at bus/train tickets but ultimately decided not to come late Friday night - her husband then texted me to say she has anxieties about traveling alone. This will become important soon.

    For my bachelorette party (in the city we live in), we went for trapeze lessons. This bridesmaid decided that she would simply watch rather than participate, which is totally fine! The morning of, she texts to say she's not coming, but will meet us out for dinner later that evening as planned. So, while we weren't planning on her actually participating in the lessons, she had said that she would come to be there and enjoy hanging out with us while we tried something new and fun. 

    Last night (exactly 1 month before the wedding), she texted me to say that she's going to be rooming at the hotel with another friend, as she had a lot going on and just didn't book anything sooner. Also, she hasn't bought tickets to travel yet, and the flights are very expensive now. She also mentioned that her husband is coming up separately, as they don't have a cat sitter (?!) so he will be traveling up the morning of the wedding and returning home that evening. I'm concerned about this because, as mentioned with the shower, she has anxiety about traveling alone, and I'm afraid since she hasn't even purchased tickets yet.

    Finally, she has not yet paid me back for the bridesmaid dress, which she promised she would, and I even had to take her measurements and order it for her because she consistently did not even attempt to look into ordering the dress. She (again, 30 days from the wedding) has yet to even try the dress on, despite my reminders that she needs to do so.

    Am I in the right for asking her to step aside as a bridesmaid? How should I go about this?
    "Firing" a bridesmaid is a friendship ending move. Are you prepared for the friendship to be over? 

    Has she always been flaky? Typically flaky people are flaky around all types of events. If she's behaved like this before, you shouldn't have expected that to change for your wedding. 

    It sucks she bailed on your shower, especially after the committed to going. But maybe she wasn't able to get off of work. If this person is one of your best friends, cut her some slack. 

    Not sure what your gripe is about the bachelorette party - watching other people take trapeze lessons sounds boring as hell. 

    You offered to pay for her bridesmaid dress - is this because she couldn't afford it? Did you ask her budget before you picked a dress? 

    I really don't understand your reasoning for removing her from your bridal party. She seems a bit flaky, sure. But your reaction to remove her seems extreme. If you're worried she won't show up for the wedding, then she's effectively removed herself the day of. Not a big deal. Your wedding will still go on. 

    Just let it be. Chill out. 

    charlotte989875levioosaCasadenashort+sassy
  • First off, apologies for the spammy-looking username, I can't figure out how to change it!

    I'm a month out from my wedding, and I'm seriously considering firing a bridesmaid - should I do it? Here's the details:

    She has flaked out on a ton of wedding-related things, which wouldn't be an issue except she said she would be there for them. The Thursday night before the bridal shower (in a city 5 hours away; I was driving her up with me and my fiance Friday early afternoon) she asked if we could leave a few hours later than planned, as she couldn't get out of work to leave early (this after telling me weeks earlier that she was taking the day off). When I told her we couldn't, she looked at bus/train tickets but ultimately decided not to come late Friday night - her husband then texted me to say she has anxieties about traveling alone. This will become important soon.

    For my bachelorette party (in the city we live in), we went for trapeze lessons. This bridesmaid decided that she would simply watch rather than participate, which is totally fine! The morning of, she texts to say she's not coming, but will meet us out for dinner later that evening as planned. So, while we weren't planning on her actually participating in the lessons, she had said that she would come to be there and enjoy hanging out with us while we tried something new and fun. 

    Last night (exactly 1 month before the wedding), she texted me to say that she's going to be rooming at the hotel with another friend, as she had a lot going on and just didn't book anything sooner. Also, she hasn't bought tickets to travel yet, and the flights are very expensive now. She also mentioned that her husband is coming up separately, as they don't have a cat sitter (?!) so he will be traveling up the morning of the wedding and returning home that evening. I'm concerned about this because, as mentioned with the shower, she has anxiety about traveling alone, and I'm afraid since she hasn't even purchased tickets yet.

    Finally, she has not yet paid me back for the bridesmaid dress, which she promised she would, and I even had to take her measurements and order it for her because she consistently did not even attempt to look into ordering the dress. She (again, 30 days from the wedding) has yet to even try the dress on, despite my reminders that she needs to do so.

    Am I in the right for asking her to step aside as a bridesmaid? How should I go about this?
    No, to the bolded - you aren't in the right to ask her to step down as a bridesmaid.  This isn't a job and you aren't terminating her from her self-financed position.

    Has she always flaked out on you before?   Is this new behavior for her?  One important thing to remember is that being involved in your wedding isn't going to change the character of anyone.   Those who are flaky will continue to be flaky even though this is a big deal to you.

    What I would do is treat her like a grown up and believe that she's going to be there, on her own and on time.   

    It sounds like you're down to the wedding weekend that she needs to be there for and she needs to be in the dress.   I'd leave travel arrangements out of it.   If she has the where, and when for wedding weekend activities then she needs to figure out how to get herself there and that can include asking others. 

    As far as the balance goes though I'd have a conversation with her.   Ask her how she's doing.   Ask her if everything is OK because you MISSED her (note: not because she flaked but because you wanted her there and her presence was a void).  Then clarify the dress.  I am going to assume that you asked her for a budget and that the dress was within the budget she gave vs. telling her that she needed to buy a dress in an amount you picked.   If she was on board with agreeing to pay you back for all of this then I think you need to have the discussion that you do need to be paid by X date.  

    The way this is written makes it sound like she's either going through something or is just not reliable but that would not make it OK for you to do something that is friendship ending. 
    short+sassy
  • It's unfortunate that your bridesmaid didn't come to your shower when she said she would and that she's been flaky about some things. However, you have to remember that that when you ask someone to step down from your bridal party, you're essentially telling them you don't want them in your life anymore. It is, as we always say around here, a friendship ending move. I can understand why you're annoyed, but do you think any of this is really worth losing a friendship over?
    image
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    First off, apologies for the spammy-looking username, I can't figure out how to change it!

    I'm a month out from my wedding, and I'm seriously considering firing a bridesmaid - should I do it? Here's the details:

    She has flaked out on a ton of wedding-related things, which wouldn't be an issue except she said she would be there for them. The Thursday night before the bridal shower (in a city 5 hours away; I was driving her up with me and my fiance Friday early afternoon) she asked if we could leave a few hours later than planned, as she couldn't get out of work to leave early (this after telling me weeks earlier that she was taking the day off). When I told her we couldn't, she looked at bus/train tickets but ultimately decided not to come late Friday night - her husband then texted me to say she has anxieties about traveling alone. This will become important soon.

    As nice as it was to offer to drive your friend, a ten hour round trip is a LOT to ask of a friend.  Unless you are all very close in terms of your relationship, that is a lot of hours making small talk.  I am guessing this also involved an overnight stay?  Was she footing the bill for that?  As unfortunate as it was that she canceled last minute, expecting someone to devote their weekend for a wedding shower is a lot to ask.

    For my bachelorette party (in the city we live in), we went for trapeze lessons. This bridesmaid decided that she would simply watch rather than participate, which is totally fine! The morning of, she texts to say she's not coming, but will meet us out for dinner later that evening as planned. So, while we weren't planning on her actually participating in the lessons, she had said that she would come to be there and enjoy hanging out with us while we tried something new and fun. 

    Last night (exactly 1 month before the wedding), she texted me to say that she's going to be rooming at the hotel with another friend, as she had a lot going on and just didn't book anything sooner. Also, she hasn't bought tickets to travel yet, and the flights are very expensive now. She also mentioned that her husband is coming up separately, as they don't have a cat sitter (?!) so he will be traveling up the morning of the wedding and returning home that evening. I'm concerned about this because, as mentioned with the shower, she has anxiety about traveling alone, and I'm afraid since she hasn't even purchased tickets yet.

    Finally, she has not yet paid me back for the bridesmaid dress, which she promised she would, and I even had to take her measurements and order it for her because she consistently did not even attempt to look into ordering the dress. She (again, 30 days from the wedding) has yet to even try the dress on, despite my reminders that she needs to do so.

    Am I in the right for asking her to step aside as a bridesmaid? How should I go about this?
    Have you noticed you never refer to this person as your FRIEND?  She is always "a bridesmaid".
    How do you know this person?  Just based on what you offer, it sounds as if she does not know anyone else and is perhaps uncomfortable? It sounds as if being in your wedding is the last thing she wants to do, so I just have to wonder how/why she was asked initially.   If you kick her out, you waive the right to be paid back for the dress. 
    Set a time to drop off the dress.  Hopefully she pays you when you deliver it.  The rest if really out of your hands.  My daughter had a groomsman miss the wedding as a result of a last minute travel glitch. . A 3 minute adjustment and all was well with the world and the wedding.
    NBSquared2017short+sassy
  • I would ask her if she really wants to be a bridesmaid. She may be trying to find a way out. If she says she has changed her mind, let her go with no hard feelings. If she really does want to do it, then let things be. It won't matter on your big day if she is a no show.

    And for all future brides: Please, please, please do not plan a zillion outings around your wedding that you expect your WP to participate in. A bachelorette party is not required to get married. Neither is an engagement party or a bridal shower. These are all fun things, but don't make it hard for your friends to walk down the aisle with you. And if you do have any of these things, don't get bent out of shape if your bridesmaids can't afford them/can't get off of work/just don't want to do them. Really, all they need is to show up in a dress on your big day.
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    maine7mob said:
    I would ask her if she really wants to be a bridesmaid. She may be trying to find a way out. If she says she has changed her mind, let her go with no hard feelings. If she really does want to do it, then let things be. It won't matter on your big day if she is a no show.

    And for all future brides: Please, please, please do not plan a zillion outings around your wedding that you expect your WP to participate in. A bachelorette party is not required to get married. Neither is an engagement party or a bridal shower. These are all fun things, but don't make it hard for your friends to walk down the aisle with you. And if you do have any of these things, don't get bent out of shape if your bridesmaids can't afford them/can't get off of work/just don't want to do them. Really, all they need is to show up in a dress on your big day.
    No, this is not good advice. Confronting her like this is immediately going to put her on the defensive. It's hurtful and rude. She's already been asked to be in the wedding party, and has done nothing to warrant being removed from it. 

  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    I'm not seeing what she's doing that's so wrong. She didn't come to a shower 5 hours away. Ok. Her schedule changed, you weren't able to be flexible, and she didn't want to travel alone. Why would you be upset about that? I'd honestly be really shocked that anyone would travel that far for a shower in the first place.

    It sounds like she's not falling all over herself for your wedding, and you're upset about it. The problem here is you, not her. 
    MobKaz
  • maine7mob said:
    I would ask her if she really wants to be a bridesmaid. She may be trying to find a way out. If she says she has changed her mind, let her go with no hard feelings. If she really does want to do it, then let things be. It won't matter on your big day if she is a no show.

    And for all future brides: Please, please, please do not plan a zillion outings around your wedding that you expect your WP to participate in. A bachelorette party is not required to get married. Neither is an engagement party or a bridal shower. These are all fun things, but don't make it hard for your friends to walk down the aisle with you. And if you do have any of these things, don't get bent out of shape if your bridesmaids can't afford them/can't get off of work/just don't want to do them. Really, all they need is to show up in a dress on your big day.
    I don't agree with this advice and question if it's really for the best.

    Having these events does not seem to be the issue.   It's valuing the friendship and its worth on the attendance at these events.   Engagement parties, bachelorettes and showers are common.   But 

    1) The bride does not plan these.   The comment above assumes that the bride is taking an active role.   If the OP is doing so then I agree she needs to let the good times roll as others plan them. 

    2) The bottom portion is really where the truth lies.   You don't have to go to all of these to still be a good friend.   They just need to attend. 

    3) I would never ask someone if they still want to be a bridesmaid.   It makes it sound like you're questioning them.   Instead what about approaching the friend about how it seems like she's overwhelmed and you are looking forward to seeing her at the wedding.   Asking if she's still going to be there is another way of assuming some kind of authority role and begs the question if you can trust her level of commitment. 
    Knottie1445978370charlotte989875MyNameIsNot
  • I think it's fine to question a bridesmaid politely and gently. "Hey, you don't seem that interested in standing up there with me. Is everything okay? Are you still interested in this role? If not, I completely understand." This isn't that hard. If you're intimate enough to ask someone to be in your wedding, you should be able to ask them if they're interested in the role when they seem like they might not be. It doesn't have to be a confrontation, but a conversation.
  • climbingwifeclimbingwife NYC 'burbs member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    maine7mob said:
    I think it's fine to question a bridesmaid politely and gently. "Hey, you don't seem that interested in standing up there with me. Is everything okay? Are you still interested in this role? If not, I completely understand." This isn't that hard. If you're intimate enough to ask someone to be in your wedding, you should be able to ask them if they're interested in the role when they seem like they might not be. It doesn't have to be a confrontation, but a conversation.
    Nope. It's not fine to question her "politely" in this instance. This woman hasn't done anything wrong, aside from being flaky which I'm assuming is her normal MO. 

    MyNameIsNot
  • Like the others have said, asking her to step down from the WP is a serious, usually friendship-ending move.  I understand why you've been disappointed with some of her decisions; however, none of them sound like that big of a deal either.

    It might be that she's a bit flaky and/or bit of a procrastinator.  Or it also might be she's not good at saying "no" to things she doesn't want to do.  Like the bridal shower that was 5 hours away.  It's not the right thing to do, but maybe she always planned to go even though it wasn't convenient and then decided the day before that she just couldn't.  Maybe she couldn't get the day or even afternoon off at work.  Maybe she is having money troubles and couldn't afford to take any time off, but didn't want to tell you that and didn't want to drive that far by herself.

    Maybe the trapeze lessons didn't interest her.  Or maybe they weren't in her budget.  Or both.  True, it would have been better to say from the get-go that she was only going out to dinner.  But I also don't see the harm in texting that morning that she'd changed her mind and would meet you all for dinner.  Trapeze lessons do sound like a unique and fun idea for those participating!  But, like @climbingwife said, I also think it would be really torturous to just watch a group of people taking lessons for anything and I can understand why she'd have second thoughts about it.

    It sounds like the bottom line is, you're not sure if she is going to go show up for the wedding or if her dress will fit and if she'll pay you back for it.  These still aren't reasons for you to ask her to step down.  That will make you look like the "bad guy".  Let it go.  She's a grown adult and responsible for her own actions.  I assume she'll show up for the wedding.  Maybe she doesn't, but then she's taken herself out of the WP.  Disappointing for you, yes.  But logistics-wise, a slight tweak to how/what/who members of the WP are walking up to the aisle.  That's about it.  Or maybe the dress will be ill-fitting because she didn't try it on ahead of time.  That is also her problem.

    As for paying you for the dress, hopefully she does because it is a jerk move, otherwise.  But people can be jerks when it comes to money and, unfortunately, you might end up eating the cost of it.  How you handle that is up to you.  
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    NBSquared2017
  • You really think it's not okay to ask a friend if she's still okay being in your wedding? That it's better to assume she's a flake? That seems really rude and unkind  to me. I know that if I were the BM, I'd be somewhat hurt if the bride didn't touch bases to ask if I was still on board, and instead, just assumed I was irresponsible. Maybe this girl is looking for an out, or maybe she has something wrong going on in her life. 

    True etiquette is kind, not heartless. Why on earth would you forge ahead with something that could be very hard on a friend?
  • maine7mob said:
    You really think it's not okay to ask a friend if she's still okay being in your wedding? That it's better to assume she's a flake? That seems really rude and unkind  to me. I know that if I were the BM, I'd be somewhat hurt if the bride didn't touch bases to ask if I was still on board, and instead, just assumed I was irresponsible. Maybe this girl is looking for an out, or maybe she has something wrong going on in her life. 

    True etiquette is kind, not heartless. Why on earth would you forge ahead with something that could be very hard on a friend?
    But also why on earth would you assume the friend doesn’t want to be a BM anymore after she has said she does? 

    If she has something going on in her life the OP should ask her friend about her life, not about the wedding. 
    banana468climbingwifeMyNameIsNot
  • I agree, @charlotte989875, but she does need to  make it clear.
  • maine7mob said:
    I agree, @charlotte989875, but she does need to  make it clear.
    But then she can clarify regarding the event itself and not whether or not she's making the commitment - even if the answer is the same.

    "Hey, let's set up a time so you can come pick up and pay for your dress.   Is Friday good?"  

    If she doesn't answer or then doesn't want to commit you can ask what's going on and if there's something wrong.    She's going to need to answer you at some point because obviously she's going to need the dress.   So rather than use the wedding as the end point use the dress as a lead in and then she can start to answer about what's happening. 
    charlotte989875ILoveBeachMusic
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