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How to say no when she pops the question

 

I . . . don’t?

So your best girlfriend in all of the world is getting married to the man of her dreams. They’ve set the date, locked down the venue and she’s found the perfect dress - and now she’s taken you for lunch to ask if you, her best friend, will be bridesmaid. It’s a slam dunk, right? As it happens - brace yourselves - not everyone dreams of being bridesmaid. Financial concerns (more on which later) aside, for some gals it just doesn’t appeal. Maybe they’re shy and don’t like the idea of being (almost) centre of attention for the day; perhaps they’re self-conscious about their body and can’t stand the thought of having a dress chosen by someone else; what if they’ve just started a new, high-pressure job and don’t think they’ll be able to deliver the required amount of commitment and enthusiasm? So what do you do when you just can’t face being ‘maid for a day - and how do you break it to the bride?

Think about your rationale

You may have a totally valid, 100 per cent above-board reason for saying no to what is, for most, an honor - but only you can say whether that is true. For some, a jam-packed work schedule is enough to warrant a refusal; for others, they couldn’t imagine a scenario less than life-or-death that would make them miss out on the opportunity. Weigh up the pros (your friendship, a place in the history books of their relationship) against the cons (you’ll miss out on a valuable promotion opportunity, you risk offending your friend and her future husband).

Consider the financials

Being bridesmaid can run up a hefty invoice (our lucky European cousins can count on the bride footing the bill!). If you’re not in the position to invest in a gown and all of the paraphernalia that come along with it (shoes, jewelry), make that clear to your friend. Don’t expect her to be ecstatic at your revelation, but you can expect her to be understanding and compassionate.

Come up with alternatives

So, being bridesmaid just isn’t for you - but you took a floristry course in college and just love putting blooms together. Why not offer to do the flowers on the day? Make it clear to the bride that you want to be involved in her big day but that you don’t feel comfortable playing bridesmaid (see above for reasonable excuses). If flowers aren’t your thing, maybe you can help make the favors, decorate the table or help supply old-school sweets for the pick’n’mix table.

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