Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“How Can I Ask If I’m No Longer a Bridesmaid?”

wedding invitation

I (think) I have been un-asked to be a bridesmaid, and I do not know whether or how to acknowledge this without upsetting the bride. I appreciate that you have covered a vaguely similar situation, but I would be most grateful for your thoughts as I am stuck, and it’s a relationship that I want to handle well, and I want to not create any negative feelings for the bride on such an important day.

I was asked by the bride to-be, an old friend that I am most fond of but admittedly not close to, or see a lot of, to be bridesmaid. I was very touched and excited. She mentioned it again a few times at different meet-ups in the following months, and she even introduced me to her partner’s family as a bridesmaid.

Five months later now, and a month before the wedding, I have not heard a thing. I contacted her, admittedly just once, to offer help, as I would bridewmaid or not, but I haven’t heard anything and I have not managed to see her. I am assuming at this point that things have changed. The hen do (bachelorette party) has been organized, and I have not been contacted about the wedding, except for an invite (just for me and not my partner).

I was surprised to be asked to be a bridesmaid in the first place, and I entirely understand that there are more appropriate people/close friends to fulfill the role; however, it seems odd, if the invite to be bridesmaid has been rescinded, as it seems it has, for it not to be acknowledged in any way. I am wondering if I have done something wrong — if I should have tried to involve myself more. I am pretty shy, but improving, and this situation feels the sort of thing I would like to approach with more confidence than usual.

I wonder whether I should acknowledge this with her or friends? Ideally, I would like to remove the elephant in the room before the hen do and wedding, but have I imagined the elephant as she doesn’t seem to be seeing it?! Pretending it never happened feels spineless, as it has bothered me and I feel it is strange.

Friends and her siblings and the partner all know I was asked, so perhaps I am just embarrassed to be left in the dark and scared to cause a drama when I just want it to be perfect for her. Any advice on how to approach this and if I should bring it up (and, if so, how to do so in the most positive way), would be greatly appreciated. — Bridesmaid No More

Bring it up with her directly and not with mutual friends or her family. You say you want to assert yourself, practice being confident, and address the elephant in the room, without hindering your friendship or creating negativity on the bride’s big day. Send an email to the bride or call her to thank her for the invitation, express your excitement in attending the bachelorette party and wedding, and express regret that you have not been a more active participant in both her wedding planning and her life in general in recent years, but that that is not a reflection of your feelings for her. Reaffirm how much her friendship means to you (if that’s actually the case, though I question the validity of that since you don’t, to your admission, ever hang out), and that you hope, after all the wedding activities have passed and she’s had a chance to rest and enjoy life as a newlywed, that the two of you can reacquaint yourselves and rekindle a meaningful friendship. Tell her you understand if your absence in her life or, simply, the logistics and reality of wedding planning, prompted her to change plans regarding the wedding party, but that you hope the invitations you’ve received to her bachelorette party and wedding are indicative of a place for you in her life and that she knows your presence at those events affirms her place in yours as well.

You may not get an acknowledgement of your message, but you can feel assured that you asserted yourself and you did so in a kind and gracious way. Beyond that, I’d advise that in the future when you genuinely want to maintain friendships, you, you know, put in the effort of maintaining them (make time for your friends, call and check up on them, invite them to do things, ask them how wedding planning is going, particularly if you’re a bridesmaid in their weddings!), and that, if you don’t have genuine interest in maintaining a friendship beyond being acquaintances or social media contacts, don’t say yes to an invite to be in a wedding party, even if you’re flattered to be asked.

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at [email protected].

15 comments… add one
  • Miss MJ

    Miss MJ November 3, 2015, 9:37 am

    What is up with brides inviting and then sort of, not really uninviting people to be in their *wedding*? How does this even happen? I’d understand if it were an invite to the wedding, but to be in it? Bizarre.
    .
    Anyway, Wendy’s advice is good, LW. I might be a bit more direct and thank her for the invite and then just point blank (but politely) ask about the bridesmaid situation in a “I’m happy and excited either way, but I wanted to confirm that your plans changed and that you are not expecting me to be a bridesmaid” type exchange. Since this woman seems to have communication issues, for all you know, she thinks you are going to be a bridesmaid and the info you need somehow got to you. That’s bizarre, too, but no more so than repeatedly telling someone that you’re going to be a bridesmaid and then going no contact.

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph November 3, 2015, 9:47 am

      This is what I was thinking, too! You don’t want to show up to the wedding as a guest only to find out that all this time she thought you were going to be a bridesmaid and is just a sucky communicator.
      It’s worth checking up on, just to be sure. I can’t imagine it would be good for the relationship if you “flake” on her wedding, even if it isn’t actually your fault. Wedding day stress does not bring out the extremely reasonable in people.

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  • Miel

    Miel November 3, 2015, 9:37 am

    I was a bit in the same situation. I was asked by one of my best friends to be a bridesmaid in her wedding, pretty much a month after she got engaged and way before any wedding planning had started. And then we didn’t really talk about it for months and months… My relationship with this friend is that we normally don’t talk for many months in a row (we live in different countries) but when we do hang out, it’s like we hadn’t been apart one second.
    So after many months of not talking about the whole bridesmaid thing, I directly asked her “am I still one of your bridesmaid ? When is the wedding ? Where is it ? What do we do for the dresses ? What are my responsibilities ?” And she just answered all of those questions, and it was all nice and easy.

    Being very direct and honest made things very simple in the end.

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  • Lianne

    Lianne November 3, 2015, 9:43 am

    I mean, if it’s a month before the wedding and she doesn’t have any details about the wedding, including what she should be wearing as a bridesmaid, and wasn’t involved in planning the “hen do,” I have to imagine she’s no longer a bridesmaid. LW, since you were asked and you mention seeing her since then and she introduced you as a bridesmaid to friends and family, you have every right to ask what’s going on. I like Wendy’s approach to do it in a very caring, unassuming way. But you should definitely ask.

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  • bondbabe

    bondbabe November 3, 2015, 9:58 am

    Point blank, ask the bride-to-be, “You had asked me to be a bridesmaid six months ago but I haven’t heard much on the wedding events and details, are you still wanting me to be one?”

    I know society teaches women to be polite, not make waves, not hurt other people’s feelings, try to decipher what the other person REALLY means, etc. We need to quit that–ask for what you need. If the other person gets offended by you asking for what you need, you have no control over that, but you will get your answer and life can go on.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy November 3, 2015, 10:32 am

      I guess I would assume one month out with zero word about bridesmaid details and the bachelorette already planned that that the LW most definitely is not a bridesmaid anymore. Of course, she can be direct and flat- out ask, but to create minimal awkwardness and allow for some face saving and set things up so the friendship has the best chance to be rekindled, I say my wording accomplishes all of that while still getting the question answered.

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      • bondbabe

        bondbabe November 3, 2015, 11:31 am

        True, true, Wendy–your narrative for the face-saving and continuing of the friendship is, of course, great. Perhaps it’s my age and lessons learned along the way that I should not try to nuance things out of people, but to directly ask for what I want and need.

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    for_cutie November 3, 2015, 10:31 am

    I strongly feel like this conversation needs to take place over the phone or face to face. I think email can come across passive-aggressive, whether it is intended to or not. You have a question – a valid one that needs an answer now. Call her and ask her directly. You can use Wendy’s nice wording, but a real conversation allows for an exchange. An email they may or may not be acknowledged isn’t going to give you any peace of mind and surely is not going to help reestablish closeness with your once good friend.

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    • avatar

      Jane November 3, 2015, 1:42 pm

      I agree with you that it needs to be at least a phone conversation, and in person would be any better. Sincerity in wishing to continue a friendship can come across in voice tone, and it can allow for the niceties while still being able to push the question(s) needing answers if she doesn’t pick up on them through the initial niceties.

      P.S. Am I the only person who had to google “hen do”? I learned something new today.

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  • avatar

    cdobbs November 3, 2015, 11:21 am

    i would leave it up to the bride to be to acknowledge…..if she doesn’t say anything then just attend the wedding like a regular guest (assuming you want to attend)….maybe she realized after that there were people she is closer to that would be more appropriate choices….if anything it is a bullet dodged since you don’t have the added expense of buying a dress….that is how i would handle it anyway

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  • avatar

    dinoceros November 3, 2015, 12:07 pm

    Could go two ways. It’s pretty clear that you are not a bridesmaid. You clearly don’t have a dress and haven’t been given any instructions. This obviously would have happened by now. So, asking her about it is just to make a point — not to clarify. Unless you have no phone, email, mail box, or social media, then she could have gotten a hold of you.

    That’s not to say that I think you NEED to not say anything. Maybe I am a spiteful person, but it annoys me when people are rude and don’t get called out on it. Generally, she probably felt awkward and wanted to avoid the awkwardness of the conversation, which is fine. But we’re all adults and if you make a mistake (i.e., asking someone to be a bridesmaid before actually thinking it through), you have to deal with awkwardness in order to make it right. People who try to skirt that annoy me because I force myself to go through awkwardness to do the right thing. So, I’d probably say polite, but making it clear that you’re confused about what happened.

    I think either is fine. It’s up to you.

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  • chief10

    chief10 November 3, 2015, 12:31 pm

    As everyone else has said, there’s no way a month before the wedding you are still a bridesmaid. You would have been filled in on details long ago.

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones November 3, 2015, 6:52 pm

    If it were me I would send an email like “Hey, I’m just checking in. 6 months ago we discussed me being a bridesmaid at your upcoming wedding. I haven’t heard anything about dresses, etc. so can you please let me know if this is still the case? I completely understand (and no hard feelings) if your plans have changed, but I would hate to show up to your wedding in a regular dress if indeed I am supposed to be a bridesmaid. Thanks!”

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  • avatar

    Stillrunning November 3, 2015, 11:39 pm

    Cut and paste Sue Jones.

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  • Portia

    Portia November 4, 2015, 7:05 am

    Maybe it’s because I’ve known a couple of maids of honor who completely took over and made the bachelorette/dress shopping/other parts of bridesmaiding about them… But is it possible that the maid of honor just didn’t include you, for any number of reasons? In that case, definitely talk to the bride, she might just think you’ve been busy.

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