Engagement season is upon us, friends. Have you been asked to be a bridesmaid? Declining to be in a wedding party or worse, backing out after you've already committed, can be a delicate maneuver. But sometimes it has to be done for logistical reasons or just for your own self-care. Bridesmaid duties (and money commitment!) can vary widely depending on the bride's needs and temperament. Hell, we've even seen it from the bride's perspective here.
Sometimes it's financial, sometimes it's too much of a time commitment, and sometimes there are just personal or emotional reasons that you can't commit. Only you can know whether it's right for you to stick it out.
Here are four ways to get out of being a bridesmaid if you've found that it's not in the cards for you. TIP: Don't wait around after you've decided to make the break official. The sooner you let her (or him or them) know, the sooner they can round up a replacement or move your duties over to someone else.
Explain your financial woes
The financial burden is often a really legit reason to decline being in a wedding party. Between the dress/outfit, gifts, multiple party hosting, travel, etc. it can run upwards of $1000-$1500 for the average U.S. bridesmaid. This is a non-personal way to un-commit if you need to.
Have a backup plan in case she offers to help pay your way, though. Continue to decline (thanking profusely) and offer to celebrate in other ways after the wedding when you're feeling more financially stable.
Scapegoat the time commitment
This one is especially harrowing if you're traveling a longer distance for the festivities. Being in a wedding party often means committing to lots of time crafting, hosting parties, shopping for wedding outfits and supplies, and generally being available for long periods of time at any time. If you're heading into a more busy time in your life, let her know what you've got going on. If it's school, work, personal obligations, all of these can serve to soften the blow.
Blame your crappy planning skills
If you're not great at organization or planning, you can use this as your way out of the wedding party. This won't work if the bride or groom already knows you're good at it, but if you're actually not, you can say you'd be more of a hindrance than a help. Maybe offer to help in a smaller way that better caters to your skills and leave the heavier lifting to other wedding party members.
Explain that you're not emotionally ready for it
Life happens, even around weddings and if you've recently gone through a divorce or break-up, are grieving, aren't in a great place being single, have a physical or mental issue with which to deal, etc., these are all real reasons that it might be hard to be very invested in a wedding or not get everyone bummed out. This one might be the hardest to explain, but if you make sure it's not about that person, but about your ability to cope well during the planning, it will be more understandable.
Are you trying to find a way out of a wedding party? What are your tips?