There is a common misconception that being a bridesmaid is an easy job. You get to spend the morning of the wedding with the bride, you get to wear a pretty dress and walk down the aisle, and there is that awesome bachelorette that you get to be a part of. Sounds fun, right? Well, yes it is a lot of fun, but it is also a lot of work. Being a bridesmaid is a commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
I got married in May 2015 and I had 9 lovely bridesmaids. I had a great support system and lots of help leading up to the wedding. A lot of the girls were in constant contact with me, asking how the wedding plans were going, and actively showing their support and love as often as they could.
During my engagement, a friend of mine asked me if I would be her bridesmaid. Well, she didn’t really ask. She just sort of mentioned it in passing. “You know you’re my Maid of Honour, right?” was thrown into the air, like it wasn’t really a big deal. I remember feeling a bit weird about it, but saying “OK, sure”.
Once my wedding had come to an end and I was back into “normal” life, I started thinking about how great my bridesmaids were. I really appreciated them and the effort they made to love me and help me during my engagement and on my wedding day. It struck me – once again – that being a bridesmaid is quite a task. My bridesmaids bought their own dresses, did their own hair and makeup on my wedding day, they planned my kitchen tea and bachelorette, contributed money and gifts at each, they bought wedding gifts, they made sacrifices to be at my wedding rehearsal, to help put together my wedding invitations and to help with a “DIY decor” day we had just before the wedding. That’s a lot of stuff to be involved in.
I like to think I was a pretty chilled bride and I was pretty easy to get along with during my engagement. At least my husband thinks so. So, even though my girls had a relaxed bride, there was still a lot to do and I’m sure there were many things that went on behind the scenes that I wasn’t even aware of.
So, when my friend just kind of expected me to be her Maid of Honour, I was a little surprised that I wasn’t actually asked, and that it was such a seemingly unimportant task that was required of me.
There were many external circumstances that led me to the decision not to pursue a friendship with this person. So, I was forced to make a decision:
Option 1: Be her bridesmaid and then never speak to her again afterwards.
Option 2: Be her friend and force myself to stay in her life afterwards.
Option 3: End the friendship now.
After giving it a lot of thought, I realised that the only fair thing to do was to go with option 3. I sat her down and told her why I had to end the friendship and that as a result, I would not be able to attend her wedding and be her Maid of Honour. Can you imagine looking back on your wedding and thinking “I wish she wasn’t in all my photos. She isn’t even my friend anymore”? I wanted to spare her of that experience. I wanted to give her the chance to ask someone else. Someone who wanted to stick with her through thick and thin and support her marriage in a way that I couldn’t.
I’m sharing this very personal experience to show girls that being a bridesmaid is a choice. When your bestie pops the question, you don’t have to say yes. You can – and should – give it some thought and ask yourself whether or not you are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices to make her wedding day and buildup as special as possible. This may require not being able to buy yourself special things, so you can save money and put that towards your bridesmaids dress and wedding gifts. It might mean sacrificing a couple of social events here and there, so that you can be at the pre-wedding functions at the bride’s side. It might also mean that during a time of stress, you put yourself aside and show support to the bride without making the situation about you.
Whatever you choose to do, please know that the bride loves you. If you tell her in all honesty that you don’t think you have the time to commit to being the best bridesmaid you can be, she will still love you.