The Bad Bridesmaid - Should She Stay or Should She Go?
When it comes to searching for wedding advice, the internet has no shortage of design inspiration, gift ideas, and how to guides. But when it comes to the very real, very human, issue of a rift in your bridal party, the help is few and far between.
Which is understandable. After all, nobody wants to have the difficult conversation of asking a bridesmaid to step down. But it does happen, and there are a few tactful ways to approach this sticky situation to make it easier on everyone involved.
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Make an Effort to Fix the Problem First
Is your friend going through a rough time at work or in her personal life? Checking in at the first sign of trouble is the best way to avoid unnecessary conflict, offer support, and fix the problem before it gets out of hand. When you're planning a wedding it can be easy to put on your bride blinders and forget to check in and ask how your friends are doing outside of wedding planning. But life goes on!
If her actions are out of character and you're genuinely worried, take her out to coffee and listen to her concerns. Giving her a chance to clue you in and communicate is essential if you are hoping to remain friends through this process. And you may find that this simple conversation is all it takes to break the tension and work through your problems.
Consider Your Own Actions
Take a moment to yourself to really think about why you want to ask her to step down. Is she unreliable, demanding and rude? Or is she just too busy to talk wedding 24/7? If her actions are just mildly annoying but not actually affecting the wedding planning take a step back. It's important to remember that your bridesmaids have their own lives too, and if you're asking too much of them it's natural for some things to fall through the cracks.
Seek Outside Advice
Are you the only one who feels this way about your bad bridesmaid? Or is the entire bridal party uneasy because of having to deal with her? Reach out to your most trusted members and ask them to be honest and tell you if your feelings are valid or unreasonable. Try to keep things kind and considerate and refrain from gossip. And listen to their concerns or advice. They may have a better understanding of what she's going through and can offer her support that you aren't able to.
Have the Conversation in Person
If at all possible, have the conversation privately and in person. So much can be lost in translation over email or the phone and your friend deserves to hear the news directly from you. Even if you've realized that your friendship isn't what you thought it was and that your lives are no longer going to intertwine, it's so important to treat this with the utmost respect and integrity.
Nobody likes to have difficult conversations. And chances are if things really are that bad, your bridesmaid might see this coming. So be clear, but kind. This doesn't need to be a huge dramatic moment or a friendship ending fight. So practice what you want to say to her and take responsibility for your own actions as well. Sometimes things just don't work out, and that's totally okay. Approach the situation with grace and compassion and you can leave feeling good about doing your very best to make things right.
Offer an Alternative
If you are hoping to salvage your friendship (or you need to fire your bridesmaid because she's just unable to fulfill her duties as a member of the bridal party) and you still want her at the wedding, offer an alternative. Letting her know how important she is to you and how much you value your friendship is key. And make it clear that you would still really like her to attend your wedding as a guest if she's up for it. Then go a step further and make future plans together. Whether it's a wedding talk free cocktail hour or a girl's trip away, showing her that you still want to spend time with her and maintain normalcy can go a long way in easing the blow.
Expect Negative Feedback
Prepare for her to be upset. Especially if you haven't had multiple discussions about her lack of participation leading up to this moment. Do your very best to remain neutral and try not to play the blame game. Allow her to vent her own frustrations and to defend herself but if you are confident in your decision, hold firm. It is still your wedding and you do get to make the deciding call. But you can't predict or decide how she will react to the news. So take everything in stride and be as empathetic as possible.
Notify the Rest of the Bridal Party
Let the other members of your bridal party know of the change as soon as possible. Avoid talking negatively about the "fired" member and just let them know it wasn't a good fit and that everything else is going to move forward as planned.
Once the decision has been made, stick to it and move on. You've got a wedding to plan and your friend has her own life to get back to. Time is a wonderful healer and if you keep things polite and respectful there's no reason why you can't try to come back together once the dust settles.