How to Tell Someone They’re Not in Your Wedding Party

Two women sitting outside.

If you thought selecting the perfect wedding band was the hardest part of your wedding, think again. Selecting who will be in your wedding party is probably one of the most stressful aspects of wedding planning. You probably have a number of friends and family who are confident that you’ll ask them to be a part of your special day. So, what happens when you finally decide on your wedding party members, and one of your closest friends didn’t make the cut? It’s a cringe-worthy experience and a tough talk that you might not want to have—but definitely should. While feelings are bound to be hurt, here are some tips on how to tell someone they’re not in your wedding party, in the best way possible.

Be honest—but kind

Don’t fib to your friend and tell her that your mother forced you to ask your little sister to be a bridesmaid or that you couldn’t get out of asking your childhood BFF because she asked you to be her maid of honor. But while you want to be honest with your friend as to why you didn’t choose her, you don’t want to be completely blunt, either. Out of respect for your friendship, you want to be as honest and kind as possible. Even if you don’t consider her a close friend, you might want to refrain from actually saying that to her because she might think differently of your connection. So, keep it simple, truthful, and heartfelt. Say something as straightforward as, “It was a tough decision because I treasure our friendship, but I had to leave some people off the list as much as I didn’t want to.”

Communicate in-person (or close to it)

Two women hugging at a cafe.

Whatever you do, don’t send a text or social media message to break the news to them. Communicate what you need to in-person, on the phone, or via a video call. By communicating the news as personally as possible, you’re letting your friend know how much she means to you. Even if you don’t consider your relationship super close anymore, making the effort to call someone on the phone or meeting them in-person reiterates to them that you value and respect their feelings.

Take time to listen

Your friend might have questions, which is totally valid. Take the time to listen to her feelings and concerns. She’ll probably be disappointed and hurt, and that’s okay. Let her talk. Don’t jump to the defense or try to justify your actions. Allow your conversation to be a dialogue where you can share your true feelings with each other in a balanced, kind, and respectful manner. If things do get heated, take a time-out and ask to continue the conversation when feelings cool down.

Invite them to be a part of other wedding events

A bride and her friend shopping for wedding dresses.

Just because she’s not a bridesmaid doesn’t mean she can’t be a part of your wedding in another way. Whether it’s asking her to recite a meaningful poem at the ceremony or showing guests to their seats—or maybe inviting her to pre-wedding activities—your friend can still be included. Ask her if that’s what she would like! She might be relieved that she doesn’t have to endure the stress of being a bridesmaid, anyway.

Emphasize how much she means to you

When you close off your conversation, don’t forget to mention how much her friendship and support means to you. Your friend will probably feel disappointed at the news, and you don’t want to drive a wedge between you. Even if she’s a bit distant during your discussion, follow up with her later and make sure she’s okay. Even sending a funny GIF or joke might ease the tension and get you back to being on good terms again.

Breaking the news to someone that they’re not in your wedding party is never easy. However, the bottom line is to always remain honest and kind, and approach the topic in the sincerest and clearest way possible.

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