How to Tell Someone They’re Not In Your Bridal Party

by Kealia Reynolds

If you thought picking a wedding venue was difficult, just wait until you’re deciding who to include in your bridal party. Before I got engaged, I thought I was going to have the hardest time just finding friends and family to include. I was in a variety of friend groups in college, so I never really had a core of super knit friends that most people seem to have. However, once my fiancé popped the question, I felt myself struggling to narrow down my party to eight. Unfortunately, I had to have hard conversations with a few people and tell them they weren’t going to be able to be in my bridal party. Here are a few tips to help you if you need to have a similar conversation.

Photo by Brooke Cagle

1. Be honest

If you’re having a small bridal party, or no bridesmaids at all, the fact of the matter is that you just won’t be able to have everyone you love as a bridesmaid. When communicating this to your friend or family member, be honest. If you’re only having four bridesmaids, and all of your sisters are going to fill that role, your friend won’t be able to make the cut. I would avoid saying, “Hey, we’re not that close, so I don’t want you to be a bridesmaid.” Even if that may be true, simply being honest about having a set number of bridesmaids works a lot better.

2. Deliver the message in their preferred form of communication

If your friend or family member matters to you, try to have this conversation in person. I thought one of the friends I was telling preferred to communicate over text, but as we were having the conversation, I could tell she would’ve preferred if I had talked to her about everything in person. Even though the conversation may be uncomfortable, your friend deserves that respect.

Bride with a bridesmaid

Photo by Samantha Gades

Listen to the episode 347 of Bridechilla- How to be a Maidchilla

3. Invite her to other bridal events

If you truly wanted your friend to be in your bridal party but didn’t have the room to fit her in, ask her if she’d want to participate in another role at your wedding. For example, you could ask her to read scripture, pass out programs, help seat people, or even play music during the ceremony. You could also invite her to other important bridal events, like the shower and bachelorette party. Whatever you do, don’t extend a pity invite and make them a third-wheel at all of your events—this could just drive a wedge between you two and lead to extremely hurt feelings.

4. Listen to your friend

It’s no surprise that your friend might be incredibly hurt by the situation. That’s OK and totally expected. Instead of engaging in a heated discussion, bite your tongue and listen to her express her frustrations or hurt. If things do start to get heated, give yourselves a time-out and try to revisit the conversation at a later time.

Couple getting married wedding ceremony

Photo by Kendra Allen

5. Tell them early

The second you get engaged, your friend may automatically think she’s a bridesmaid. The longer you put it off, the more hurt and confusion it could cause in the future. Talk to your friend as early as possible to prevent them from having to find out from social media or another medium that they aren’t actually going to be in the wedding.

Hopefully, you won’t have this problem when trying to narrow down your wedding party, but if you do, stick to these tips and you’ll be able to gracefully let your friend down easy.

Kealia Reynolds is a Bridechilla and a house writer at House Method

Show image by Daiga Ellaby 

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