How To Handle This Awkward Wedding Problem

Photographed by Maria Del Rio.
Welcome to Bridal Guide's "Ask the Experts," where a team of wedding planners solves readers' most pressing wedding-planning dilemmas! This week, Jen Bergmark of First Pick Planning and JoAnna Bayliss of JoAnna Dee Weddings consult on a bridesmaid crisis.

Q: "I asked a groomsman's girlfriend to be in my bridal party because my fiancé and I wanted an even number of attendants, but I'm regretting it now! She is a lovely person, but in hindsight, I don't know her well enough. I don't want to look back at my wedding photos and think, 'What the heck did I have her in there for?' Is there any way of un-asking her, and if not, do you have any other suggestions on what I should do? I'm so uneasy about the situation that I feel like eloping just so that I don't have to hurt anyone." — BG reader Brianna

Jen answered: “Dear Brianna, I understand that you may not be as close as you would like to be with your groomsman’s girlfriend (and now bridesmaid). It’s important to keep in mind that the wedding is not about the bridal party; it's about you and your fiancé's love story, and your decision to get married and become a family. Choosing your bridal party attendants can be a tricky and often emotional experience, particularly when relationships change. However, above all else (including the dresses, the speeches, the pictures, etc.) they are there to support you and your fiancé's marriage. I think in the future, you will look back at your wedding and reminisce on all the fond memories you had with your husband, which is the most important thing.

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That being said, ultimately, it is your wedding and you can do whatever you think is best. Inviting someone to be your bridesmaid and then rescinding that invitation does go against general wedding etiquette. My advice is that if you don't want to hurt anyone and avoid an awkward situation, keep things as is. Whatever you decide, keep in mind the wedding is about the marriage between you and your fiancé — the rest is just a bonus! Relax and enjoy those who love you and will be joining you to celebrate. Besides, there is always Photoshop.”

JoAnna answers: “Hi, Brianna! Even though it might be an awkward conversation to have, if you are uncomfortable having her as part of your wedding, the feeling is probably mutual. Thank her for being accommodating and so willing to be a part of your special day. Communicate that you wanted to keep your bridal party intimate — only your closest family and friends. Instead of uninviting her altogether, ask her if they would be willing to either be a reader or help hand out programs at the beginning of your wedding. It will allow her to remain involved in your wedding in a different way — without the emotional and financial responsibility of being a bridesmaid!

Future brides-to-be, when you are deciding who you would like to be in your bridal party, take a step back and ask yourself, Is this someone who has played an essential part in my life? Would I feel empty without them standing beside me at the altar? Take a few weeks — or even a couple of months — to make your final decision. In the end, the bridal party should be a group that makes both the bride and groom happy!"

Tell us: What would YOU do in this situation?

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