Did Your Bridesmaid Back Out? Here’s What To Do

reluctant_bridesmaid_slide1 (1)Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Alimay Events an NYC-based event production company founded by two former glossy vets, Ali Schajer and and Maya Katz — specializes in organizing pure chaos. So, who better to call upon with our most challenging wedding etiquette queries? This week, the ladies help us navigate rocky bridesmaid relationships.
Dear Alimay, It seems that I’ve recruited a reluctant bridesmaid. What do you do when a bridesmaid — or worse, a maid of honor — isn’t so excited to fulfill her duties? Do you cut her loose, if it seems like she might really prefer it that way? Help!
— Bridesmaid Wrangler
Dear Bridesmaid Wrangler, Picking out the right bridesmaids is important. Not only does your bridal party stand next to you as you take your vows, but they also deal with a lot of handholding throughout your engagement. They were there for you in your “how many minutes do I need to wait before I text him back?” phase, as well as your, “is it too soon to move in together?” period. Your ladies (and sometimes gents, too!) have been there every step of the way. Designating your friends as bridesmaids is by no means a necessity, but keep in mind that it can be nice to have formally appointed pals nearby for bouncing ideas around and complaining about in-laws.
These days, the bridesmaid’s role seems entirely dependent on that which the bride has in mind for herself. For every bride that dreams of a fully planned bachelorette weekend in Puerto Rico, there also exists the bride that would prefer a big bagel brunch with some of her friends on a lazy Sunday morning. With this in mind, we place a heavy emphasis on communication!
It’s imperative to keep the lines of communication open from get-go. When asking your bridesmaids to be a part your big day, emphasize that you understand that this is both a financial and time commitment. Let them know that you want what’s best for them, and are happy to be flexible. Perhaps this means helping them pay for their dress or not putting any pressure on them to attend a bachelorette getaway. These are your friends for life, so do your best not to drive them into debt.
That said, look at your party as whole — what is each bridesmaid’s strong suit? Is your M.O.H. bogged down with twin toddlers? Perhaps ask her if she’d prefer for your type-A, planning-obsessed college roommate to take on some of the duties. More likely than not, your friend isn’t dreading the act of “being a bridesmaid.” She’s just simply overwhelmed. Regardless of who is doing what, make sure your crew has a ringleader — someone who is reliable and happy to delegate some of the work. Weddings are meant to bring people together, not to drive friends apart.
Yours Always,
Ali & Maya
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