Can I Remove a Bridesmaid from the Wedding Party?

Can I Remove a Bridesmaid from the Wedding Party?
Q: I asked a friend to be in my wedding party and now I regret it. I asked my bridesmaids too soon and I am left with one that I am not comfortable with anymore. We aren’t very good friends, in fact we are closer to just being acquaintances. I had asked her as just an off-handed comment, but when she later asked me to be in hers bridal party, which I know was to return the favor, I then felt I had to keep her in mine – even though my offer was completely non-committal. So am I in essence “stuck” with her or can I ask a closer friend to be in her place? This woman lives three hours away and we very rarely have contact. ~Rachel N.

A:  There is no question that you are in a very tough, un-enviable spot – and you are certainly not alone. This is a common problem encountered by brides-to-be. It is the very reason that I always urge couples to think very carefully before asking anyone to be a member of the wedding party, rather than spontaneously rushing into decisions. I generally suggest that people wait until the point that they have begun the actual wedding planning process before asking attendants, as so much can change with the passage of a little bit of time.

There’s no question that it’s best to avoid getting into these situations in the first place – because once they arise there is no easy way out, and it does become a sticky mess. Unfortunately, however, as in this case, sometimes that advice comes too late and suddenly you find yourself in the very position you are in now.

Without a doubt, your wedding will probably be the single most important day in your life, and it is so important to surround yourself on that day of all days with people who really matter; the type you know will likely be around for a long time to come. When you look back at your wedding pictures ten years from now, will the people you see in your photos still be a meaningful part of your life?

Will you even know where to find them? If you can’t answer yes to these questions, you may be choosing the wrong people.

However, the problem is that you did ask this girl, and unfortunately you may now have to live with that decision. To remove her or ask her to step down could be a very hurtful thing to do and therefore is absolutely not advisable. It is so important to project good manners, graciousness, and kindness of heart at all times surrounding an event like one’s wedding. To behave any other way is unbecoming of a bride.

The only time it is justifiable to remove someone from a wedding party is when there has been a serious falling out with that individual, when the individual has shown a blatant disregard for their role in the wedding, or has behaved extremely offensively or hurtful to you or other members of the wedding party. Since you’ve mentioned nothing of the sort, I’m assuming this is not the case in your situation. From what you’ve said, it sounds much more like a spontaneous, spur of the moment thing, where unfortunately you spoke before you had the chance to clearly think the matter through. It was an innocent mistake, but one which you may have no choice now but to live with – if you are going to do the right thing. And, it appears obvious to me that you do have great concern for doing the right thing, as evidenced by the fact that you took the time to submit this question.

However, it is not game over yet. As I said earlier, it is very important to have people in the wedding party who have great meaning to you, and so, with regards to the other young lady you now feel you would have preferred to ask, there is no reason why she cannot still be added. If you are worried about having an unequal number of bridesmaids to groomsmen, this need not be a concern. Today, this is being done frequently in wedding parties. All it may mean, in this case, is that one lucky groomsmen will have the privilege of escorting two ladies – a lady on each arm – instead of just one! (The guy will love this!). It can, in fact, be quite charming and delightfully refreshing in the eyes of your guests! Perhaps the very thing to make your wedding stand out in their minds as being a little more memorable! At the same time it can provide a very workable solution to your dilemma whereby everyone is happy, everyone gets what they want, and no one gets hurt.

So, you can still work with the situation, you see? The main thing is to ensure that you do nothing to make the young lady feel uncomfortable, unwanted, or unwelcome – even if it means applying extra special effort and going out of your way to ensure this. It is not her fault that you may have spoken too soon, and therefore she cannot, and should not, be punished.

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