What to Do When a Bridesmaid Backs Out

A bride and three bridesmaids holding red and pink bouquets.

Choosing your bridesmaids and planning your wedding with them is one of the most special experiences of wedding planning. However, unfortunately things may happen along the way that cause one of your maids to choose not to stand up in your wedding after all. Whether this occurs because of personal differences, scheduling conflicts, health or finance reasons, or any other explanation, it can be hard to deal with as a bride. Here’s what to do to make it a seamless process that minimizes drama.

Don’t Let it Get You too Down

While you should definitely allow yourself to go through the emotions that a big change to your wedding day demands, don’t let the drop out of a bridesmaid get you too down! Keep in mind that in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t that big of a deal and your wedding will still be one of the best days of your life. Getting too stuck on the emotions of this unexpected change will do nothing but take away your happiness surrounding this special time, so do your best to not let that happen.

Don’t Let it Ruin a Friendship

Two young women driving in a car.

Especially if your friend is dropping out due to health or financial reasons, you want to be as understanding as possible when they give you the news that they can’t play this role in your big day. Keep in mind that as hard as it is for you to hear it, it’s probably also very hard for them to deliver this news. Be sensitive to their feelings and don’t let it ruin a friendship. Remember that being a bridesmaid is a personal thing, not just a job or obligation, and it should be treated as such. If you’re feeling really emotional, angry, or upset about it, try to take some time to compose yourself before you respond to them to avoid saying something you could end up regretting down the line.

Avoid Choosing a Back-Up Bridesmaid

While it could be tempting to choose a back-up bridesmaid to backfill the spot of the woman who dropped out of the event, this probably isn’t the best idea. There’s a few reasons to avoid doing this. First, you asked the people you did originally for a reason, and along the same vein you didn’t extend the ask to certain people for a reason, too. Stick with your gut instinct rather than asking someone who wasn’t on your initial list. Also, if you ask someone as a back-up and they find out that was the case, it could lead to seriously hurt feelings. That is drama you definitely want to avoid.

Even if this change makes your wedding party uneven with your future spouse’s crew, it’s OK. No one will really notice, so it’s definitely nothing to sweat. Don’t let this change make you feel pressured into asking someone else just to even out the wedding party on each side.

Lean on the Rest of Your Wedding Party

A group of young adults standing on a rooftop at a party with champagne.

Even if one person can’t be in your wedding party anymore, you surely still have others who can. These people love you and are excited to be a part of your big day and to celebrate with you! Lean on them for support if this change has you feeling down. As a distraction, plan a fun get-together with your wedding party, even if it’s just a virtual Zoom hangout or a game night. This will not only be a fun pick-me-up for you, but it will make them feel appreciated, too!

Let Your Vendors Know

Let your wedding planner and other vendors (like photographer and videographer) know that there have been changes to your wedding party so that they can stay in the loop and plan effectively.

While the loss of a bridesmaid is definitely something that you don’t want to experience, it can be easily dealt with as long as you maintain a positive attitude and don’t let it ruin your big day, which, after all, is about marrying the love of your life!

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