Singaporebrides | Weddings 101

January 2023

It’s Okay To Say No To Being a Bridesmaid

Great honour or no, not everyone wants to be a bridesmaid.

One of your best friends has just gotten engaged, and you couldn’t be happier for them. But you can’t help a feeling of dread that they will pop the question, “Will you be my bridesmaid?” And if they do ask, are you allowed to say no?

While being asked to be a friend’s bridesmaid or maid of honour is undoubtedly a great honour, the role isn’t a dream job for everyone. Being part of a wedding party comes with a lot of responsibilities, and some people simply don’t have the time or finances to commit to the party planning, event organising, spreadsheets, and WhatsApp groups. A maid of honour is an even bigger role that some people just don’t feel up to. You’re so happy for your best friend, but at the same time, you’re guiltily debating how to politely decline the invitation to be her bridesmaid.

It’s important for couples to understand why their friends might not want to accept the responsibilities of being part of their wedding party. If you’re a newly engaged couple and you’re wondering why your close friends don’t seem excited about the great honour you’ve bestowed upon them, we look at some of the reasons some people find the roles stressful. They’re still incredibly happy for you, though!

Patricia and Martijn’s Island Luxe Wedding in Khayangan Estate, Bali by Terralogical

Can You Even Say No?

When your best friend presents you with a bridesmaid box and asks, “Will you be my bridesmaid?” it can feel impossible to say no. But it’s absolutely your prerogative to decline the role if you don’t have the time or mental or financial resources to fulfil it well. Your friend might be a little taken aback or hurt at your refusal, so do word your response tactfully. First, tell them how happy and excited you are for them, and then explain why you can’t accept the job. Let them know other ways you can support them instead.

What If I Change My Mind?

If you’ve already said yes to the job, but have second thoughts down the road, it’s okay to change your mind. However, the longer you’ve been part of the wedding party, the more disappointed your friend will be once you drop out. If it’s quite close to the wedding day and most of the preparations have already been made (i.e., you’ve gotten the dress, practised walking down the aisle, been assigned a lot of responsibilities), then changing your mind could make things rather difficult for your bride-to-be. Dropping out at the last minute could have a very negative effect on your relationship, so if you do want to change your mind, do it early!

Cindy and Tuan Hung’s Wildflower Garden Wedding at 1-Atico by Pixioo

Why You Might Not Want to Be a Bridesmaid

There are many legitimate reasons why someone might not want to be a bridesmaid or maid of honour. If you’re a newly engaged bride-to-be, know that your friend isn’t any less happy for you; she just might have a lot going on right now. Here are some top reasons why someone might say no to being a bridesmaid.

You’re planning your own wedding

If you’re newly engaged yourself and planning your own wedding, you might not have the time to commit to organising the hen party and bridal shower, attend dress rehearsals, or help with the DIY crafts. Planning one wedding is stressful enough! Let your friend know how happy you are for her, and be each other’s emotional support and attack those wedding spreadsheets together!

You’re expecting a baby around the time of the wedding

You would have loved to be part of the wedding party, but you’re due to pop around the time of the wedding. Expecting a baby around the wedding date is a legitimate reason to turn down the role of bridesmaid, and your friend will definitely understand.

You’re too busy renovating your home

Dealing with home renovations can be very stressful and time-consuming, and you don’t have the mental capacity or time to take on bridesmaid responsibilities. Help your friend to understand why you’re not able to be a part of her wedding party, and be honest about the fact that you won’t be able to dedicate as much time as needed to her wedding. Let her down gently by saying that she’s deserves the best on her wedding day and you’re sorry but you can’t give 100% right now.

Maheen and Daniel’s Beachside Wedding at Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa by Thomas Tan Photography

You Get Too Stressed over Planning Things

If you’re a bad planner and you’ve been asked to be a maid of honour, you may have doubts about your ability to handle the task. The maid of honour role requires a lot of organisation—from planning the hen’s night to being in control of the bridesmaids’ group chat, to coordinating the rest of the wedding party and being on top of their duties—so if you’re simply not a Monica, you might want to suggest an alternative person for the job. Instead, offer to take on another, more low-key, role to show that you’re excited for and want to be a part of your friend’s big day.

You Just Don’t Want to

Maybe you don’t like the attention or you get anxious when asked to deal with people during the reception. If you’re uncomfortable with being a bridesmaid, it’s fine to say no. Let your friend know that your declination of her offer isn’t about your friendship by making sure that you express your excitement and joy about the wedding, or offer to celebrate one-on-one with her in another way.

Saying no to being a bridesmaid or maid of honour can feel very awkward, or make you feel guilty about disappointing your friend. After all, they asked you because you mean a lot to them. To keep your friendship intact and avoid hurt feelings, it’s important to show your friend how much you value her friendship and how happy you are for her, even though you can’t take on the role. Be clear about your reasons, so that your friend doesn’t feel like you’re brushing her off or making an excuse. Let her know that it’s not her, it’s you. To avoid it feeling like a complete rejection for your friend, considering volunteering for another role or way to help out. There are many ways for you to celebrate and be involved in your dear friend’s wedding without taking on the role of a bridesmaid.

Feature image from Grace and David’s Dreamy Wedding at The Clifford Pier by Antelope Studios

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It’s Okay To Say No To Being a Bridesmaid