Wedding Tips & Advice

No One Wants to be Asked to Be a Bridesmaid Last Minute

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We’ve heard a lot of bridezilla stories over the years, but the one that popped up on our radar this week is just absolutely ridiculous. Like, cringe-worthy and then some.

Here’s how it went… and thank you Reddit for allowing us to peep all this crazy (it makes us all feel a bit better about ourselves haha).

  • Just a few days ago, a Reddit user started a thread about a cousin who she barely knows/speaks to reaching out to her - two weeks before her wedding - and asking if she’d be up for “filling in” in her bridal party since one of her bridesmaids needed to drop out.

  • That’s putting it nicely, too, she really didn’t even ask it was more like ‘listen, I’m screwed right now, I have an opening in my bridal party and I need it filled; you could work, please just do me this solid.'

  • The cousin very calmly and courteously responded back to the bride’s text, basically saying that she was flattered over the offer, but that it probably would be best if ‘she sat this one out.’

  • Once she declined, the bride started bullying, saying that if her hesitations had to do with money, the former bridesmaid would probably sell her the dress for cheap. But that’s obviously not what the cousin worried about (it had more to do with the fact that the two weren’t close, she was ‘uncomfortable’ in these social situations, and well, the obvious, no one gets particularly pumped over being asked to be a bridesmaid when it’s a last resort).

  • It only got more out of bounds after that… so you’ll want to take a look at the text exchange in greater detail… but we’ll just say, the bride got batsh*t crazy, not only disinviting her cousin from the wedding entirely, but signing off with one of the nastiest quips we’ve ever seen - it read: “F*** off fatty.”

  • If that’s not evidence of fierce love between these two, we don’t know what is…

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There is a ton wrong with this whole scenario, of course, but starting with the impetus of it all - this idea that you can or should ask someone to be a bridesmaid in the last minute - needs to be discussed.

Don’t do it. Nothing good can come of being asked in the 11th hour to serve as someone’s bridesmaid.

When you ask, do it deliberately and at the same time.

Granted, we get it if you can’t ask everyone to be part of your crew at the same time - everyone has different schedules, you might have guys or girls who live far away and can’t fly in ‘for it all,’ or you might want to ask everyone separately, in one-off situations - but you should try to do it early on and relatively synchronized. Even IF you’re not asking someone to be an ‘alternate,’ it’s still important to give advance notice (not like 2 weeks before the wedding…). Yes, they’re your friends and family, and yes, they’re doing this for you, but you have to be considerate of their lives, too. And giving them enough time to both consider and accept the offer can only better improve your relationship and show that nothing is an afterthought.

If someone bails, they bail, you don’t have to have a substitute.

For reals, my husband and I had one of our groomsmen decide he no longer wanted to do it about 4 months before our wedding. At first, we were surprised and didn’t exactly love the idea of having an unbalanced bridal party, but then we were like “oh well, NBD!” Having equal amounts of bridesmaids to groomsmen isn’t a prereq to anything, and ultimately, if you’re making adds really late in the game, you (AND the person you’re asking) pretty much know the score: that they weren’t one of your first choices, you’re just asking to keep up appearances. You can have a B and C list for guests, but there should be no “second or third string” squad mentality. Nope.

Pressure when it’s unplanned can make for a miserable time.

We totally and completely agree with the cousin in this situation. Being a bridesmaid is a big responsibility, it really isn’t just a ‘show up’ and you’re good occasion. You have to wear a dress, you have to contribute in some way to all the pre-I Do events, and when it comes time for the wedding itself, you have a lot to do that day, too, you can’t really just “do you.” When your friends, family members, even colleagues have planned on being a guest at your wedding for as long as they can remember, switching gears and cajoling them into accepting a whole new slew of things to do doesn’t really seem appealing, in fact, it’s downright scary. Oh! And if they were bringing a date, who thought he or she would have the whole day with them - to dance with, eat and drink with, converse with when conversations at the dinner table turned awkward or stagnant - they’ll probably have to rethink that.

Also, would you want to be forced into wearing a dress you’ve never seen or tried on before? Or have to get hair and makeup done when you planned to do it yourself? These are things that bridesmaids have the heads up about, and can deal with, but not everyone wants to commit to when they haven’t been planning on it from the beginning. 

We also want to cover off on another big thing with this case, the whole premise of a bride getting angry or offended by someone who doesn’t want to say “YES” to being a bridesmaid.

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  1. You can’t take it personally. If this person is truly a friend or one of your family members, chances are they would LOVE to be your bridesmaid - and it’s just an extenuating circumstance that has them questioning whether it’s a smart decision to say yes (maybe they’ve just accepted a new job and can make it to the wedding, but can’t take time off for all the other ‘extras;’ maybe they’re pregnant or just had a new baby and can’t handle another human being depending on them when they already have one!). Try as best you can to give them the benefit of the doubt and not just assume - from jump - that they’re disrespecting you or not considering how big of a deal your ‘proposal’ is.

  2. You’ll probably appreciate a smaller party anyway. This is huge. There are pros and cons of a larger bridal party, but we’ll tell you straight-up, a smaller party is usually sooo much less drama to deal with - and what bride needs more drama? If you ask your girls, and one or two have to gracefully bow out for totally understandable reasons, then be sad - for a sec - and then move on. One day soon you’ll realize what a blessing a smaller bride tribe is. Remember, you’re not casting a movie and under the gun to fill EVERY role, this is your wedding, it’s your day to curate, so back ups or understudies don’t have to be a thing.

  3. You getting angry can only make the one who said no feel badly or obliged. Like we said, having a close friend or family member get to the point where she feels comfortable saying “I’m sorry, but I don’t think I can accept” is big. It takes courage and it’s very upsetting. So, if she does it, and then you get mad, start acting defensively, or even spout off unforgivable things, you could really end up making her feel awful. Either to the point that she reconsiders and then puts herself in a compromising position (i.e. she might not feel financially able to handle it, but then rush back in only to appease you and find herself in debt) or to the extent that she wants nothing to do with you or doesn’t even want to come to your wedding. Being a bridesmaid or not being a bridesmaid does not make or break a friendship. Or at least, it shouldn’t.