Help! How Do I Tell My Friend She’s Not A Bridesmaid In My Wedding Without Ruining The Friendship?

By Jenna Cullman
·  5 min read
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Are you getting married and having a hard time deciding which friends to select as your bridesmaids? How do you tell a friend she isn’t in the wedding without hurting her feelings? This decision can create a lot of stress, but thankfully, there is a solution to free you of your bridesmaid troubles!

Getting married is one of the most exciting yet nerve-wracking events in your life. There are so many decisions to make and events to plan. It can easily get overwhelming. Choosing which friends to have as your bridesmaids can be one of the most difficult decisions you must make. Your choices can result in displays of anger and/or bitter feelings from not being picked. How do you break the news to them that they won’t be one of your bridesmaids without hurting their feelings? How do you explain your reasons without making it directly about them, even if it is?

Speak the Truth Softly

Lying should never be the answer, but unapologetically pointing fingers and criticizing them will only make the situation worse. Maybe this friend is known for causing drama and you would much prefer it if she weren’t in the wedding to prevent unnecessary stress. Maybe your budget only allows for a very small group of bridesmaids and you have non-negotiables like your sister(s) or SIL, or your fiancé isn't her biggest fan and would prefer if she weren't a part of the big day or in photos that will last a lifetime. While the reasoning can differ depending on your relationship, if she is a real friend, telling her the truth shouldn’t hurt the friendship in the long run. Be honest but do it with love and respect for her feelings. If she gets offended and hurt by you gently laying out the truth, maybe she wasn’t a good friend to begin with. 

Acknowledge Her Feelings

Being a bridesmaid is a considerable honor, so when you’re told you won’t be in your friend’s wedding, it can definitely hurt. Put yourself in her shoes to gain some perspective. When you speak with her, convey a deep understanding of her feelings and disappointment at not being included. Explain that it has nothing to do with her (if it honestly doesn't) and everything to do with family and/or your limited bridesmaid positions. Express that your intentions aren’t to hurt her and that you aren’t picking favorites among your friends. Maybe you have just known your other female friends longer and are naturally closer to them. If being open, honest, and kind about the situation doesn’t resolve the issue, then that’s a reflection of her character, not yours.

Involving her in the events and preparations can help smooth over any hard feelings.

Get Her Involved in Something Else

Just because she isn’t in the wedding party doesn’t mean she can’t participate in the wedding preparation. Invite her to your bachelorette party. This way she can still be part of the festivities. If you feel comfortable with it, ask her to get ready with you in the bridal suite alongside your bridesmaids. This way she still feels included, which can turn out to be a great bonding moment for you both.

Maybe she has excellent decorating skills or is an accomplished pianist? Ask her to play a song during the ceremony or request if she would help decorate the dining tables and put together flower arrangements. If she’s a pro-organizer, have her help you with wedding planning. A great deal goes into the wedding planning process and help is always appreciated. This will help ease any hard feelings your friend may possess.

Set Clear Boundaries 

Creating boundaries is a crucial part of any relationship. This includes setting boundaries with your friends and the role they play in your life. Women often don’t want to come across as controlling, so they choose to be agreeable instead of sticking to what they want, even when it comes to their wedding. It’s not uncommon for the other women in the bride’s life (friends, sisters, mothers, etc.) to start making decisions without even asking for her opinion beforehand. This is an infringement on your role as the “bride to be.” 

This is your wedding, and while you appreciate their opinions, you don’t need them to speak for you.

Respectfully but firmly state this is in fact your wedding and while you appreciate their opinions, you don’t need them to speak for you. This includes “friends” pressuring you to add them to your wedding party. Include them because you genuinely enjoy their friendship, not because you'll feel awkward or uncomfortable with telling them the truth.  

Appreciate Her Friendship

Misunderstandings happen quite often, but they shouldn’t end a whole friendship, particularly a close one. Showing her appreciation should help smooth over any ill feelings. Tell her how much you love having her as your friend and bring up some fond memories you’ve shared together. Express how much those memories mean to you. Maybe make plans to spend time together after the wedding and honeymoon. This way she knows you haven’t forgotten about her. Friends often feel as if they will lose your friendship once you get married. Making plans to spend time together will prevent this from happening by consistently including them in your life.

Closing Thoughts

Between figuring out where to host your wedding, when to hold the ceremony, who to send invites to, and who to include in your wedding party, being a bride can be stressful. Just remember, you have a whole army of people who love and support you through this exciting time in your life.

A real friend will be by your side through thick and thin. If some hurt feelings are what breaks apart your relationship, it was never a strong friendship to begin with. A small yet close group of friends is better than a group of chaotic friends who only spew drama. True friends will show you understanding and support. They should understand this isn’t about them, it’s about you and your husband's wedding. A true friend will be happy for you, bridesmaid or not.

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