Are You A Bridesmaid? (It’s Okay to Say No to the Bride)
3 mins read

Are You A Bridesmaid? (It’s Okay to Say No to the Bride)

Visions of sugar plums still dancing in your head? The holidays are definitely the season of giving, but what you might not have realized that one of the things most given at this time of the year is proposals. One in four grooms proposes to his future wife over the holidays so if you’re not getting engaged yourself, you’re likely to get a phone call from one of your best pals with big news. After all of the congratulations and questions -how did he do it, what’s the ring look like, etc.- inevitably comes the most-loaded question – the “will you be my bridesmaid?” Of course it’s an honor and it’s exciting, but it’s also expensive and time-consuming. Is it ever ok to say no to some or all of the duties? What’s a maid to do? 

Here are Three Things to Remember Before Saying Yes:

1. Look at Your Finances. What could be better than a wedding? You get to dress up, twirl around the dance floor, and toast the happy couple. But get ready to put a little Zantac in that Martini because after you tally up the costs, you’re going to feel slightly nauseated. Weddings are expensive. Throwing showers, buying gifts, getting a dress, having your hair done – it’s all going to cost you a pretty penny. If you’re on a tight budget and are worried about affording it, be open with the bride. If she picked you as a bridesmaid, you should feel comfortable enough talking to her. If not, then maybe it’s not worth your hard-earned money anyway. Explain that you’d like to participate, but can’t spend more than a certain amount or aren’t sure you can buy a dress and travel to the wedding. Work it out ahead of time and you won’t find yourself sinking deep into wedding debt.

2. Take A Realistic Look at Your Calendar. If you are stretched for time between work and family, adding bridesmaid’s duties to your schedule will be an additional strain. Be honest with yourself about whether you can participate. Then, like the finances, talk about it with your friend. Everybody has been part of a wedding where the other bridesmaids think that one isn’t carrying her fair share. If you know you’ll be that person ahead of time, politely decline. After all, you want people focusing on her on her big day – not what you did or didn’t do prior to the wedding.

3. Find Out What She Expects. Is she expecting three showers or is she a low-maintenance bride? Unless you both have been planning your dream weddings since middle school and you already know her ideas, it’s always good to sit down and find out what she wants and how you fit into the picture. There’s nothing worse than being the one who ordered the stripper at the bachelorette party when all she wanted was a movie marathon sleepover.

We are the co-founders of Buttoned Up, inc (@getbuttonedup)., a company dedicated to helping stretched and stressed women get themselves organized and co-authors of Pretty Neat: The Buttoned Up Way to Get Organized and Let Go of Perfection. We welcome your thoughts! Please send ideas and questions to us at: or visit us at

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