Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“I Don’t Want to be Her Bridesmaid!”

I’ve been in the position two times in the last few years where “friends” from high school ask me to be in their weddings and, after the weddings have taken place, I never hear from them again. The truth is, in the years before these marriages I didn’t hear much from these two girls either, so I wasn’t shocked when I didn’t hear from them post-wedding.

In the current case, I’m the only “friend” the bride has left having alienating every other female in her life. I see her maybe quarterly for coffee with no communication in between. She told me via text message she got engaged (a week after it happened). Committing to a wedding party takes a lot of time, energy, and money. When it comes to a destination wedding, this takes on an even greater commitment of time and money. It seems unfair to ask me to spend $1500+ and a week of my holiday time just to be a part of someone’s wedding whom I am no longer close with. I live on my own, work, pay my own bills, and get only three weeks of holiday time a year.

I’m currently in a long-term relationship where future planning discussions are taking place, so I hope I don’t come across as jealous. I’m very happy for all my friends who are settling down and more than happy to pitch in where needed when my real friends decide to get married. My female friendships are very important to me, and I work hard to balance my life accordingly. I don’t want to burn bridges, but I also don’t want to give in and be miserable (and broke) by agreeing to be a part of these events in the future. I’d appreciate any advice you can give me. I’m nearing 30, so I know I’m going to be facing this for many years to come. — Unwilling Bridesmaid

I’ll get to your main question in a minute, but first can we just talk about how you’re worried you’ll be “facing this [problem] for many years to come”? I assume by “this problem” you mean being asked to be in weddings of people you’re no longer friends with, which is sort of weird, right? I mean, how many former friends do you have who still feel that close to you even though you aren’t really in each other’s lives anymore? I could understand knowing one or two people like that, but to know so many that you’re worried about being harassed for years to come to be in weddings of people you no longer feel close to? That’s weird. I’m not saying you’re lying, but I wonder if you’re from a region where it’s normal to have “representatives,” so to speak, from different points of your live to stand up in your wedding. That might explain why you’ve been asked to represent the high school era for friends you no longer have relationships with.

Anyhow, I guess it doesn’t matter so much why you keep being asked to stand in these weddings; it’s more important how you can graciously say no. This is a question I get a lot this time of year, and let me say, definitively and for the record, to everyone who is reading this right now: there is nothing to feel guilty about in turning down an invitation to be a bridesmaid for someone whom you don’t like, whom don’t have a relationship with and/or who expects you to spend more than you can comfortably afford. If you are gracious in giving the message that you won’t be a bridesmaid and the bride is a bitch about it, that’s on her. If she doesn’t talk to you anymore or cuts you out of her life or whatever, then she wasn’t someone you’d want in your life anyway.

As for how to be gracious in delivering your message, the specific language depends on your reason — or the reason you want her to believe — that you won’t be in her wedding party, but generally this works well: “I’m so happy that you’ve found the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, and I’m flattered that you’d honor me with such a special role in the wedding. Unfortunately, because of a limited budget and vacation time I won’t be able to accept your offer. I hope you understand.” If you follow that up with a nice gift, you should be in the clear. Again, if you aren’t — if the bride really holds it against you that you wouldn’t use your limited vacation time or break your budget to stand in a wedding for someone you hardly know anymore, who cares? It’s not like you were looking forward to a life-long, intimate friendship with her anyway.

So, say, “Thanks, but no thanks,” and don’t waste another minute feeling bad about it.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at [email protected] and be sure to follow me on Twitter and ‘like’ me on Facebook.

105 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Amanda June 8, 2012, 9:05 am

    LW, take Wendy’s advice. Just say no. It’s really not a big deal.

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      GertietheDino June 8, 2012, 9:41 am

      Like D.A.R.E.!

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        ktfran June 8, 2012, 9:48 am

        Ha. I prefer to take a bite out of crime.

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        painted_lady June 8, 2012, 10:59 am

        Right? McGruff? Kind of awesome. The kids on the D.A.R.E. commercials? Kind of annoying.

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      • avatar

        ktfran June 8, 2012, 11:27 am

        I sort of ordered a McGruff t-shirt from 80stees.com, or something like that. I love it.

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      Amanda June 8, 2012, 9:52 am

      Exactly where I was going with that. Thanks for noticing!

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle June 8, 2012, 9:19 am

    Follow Wendy’s advice, LW. There’s nothing wrong with saying no, & I think the example “Thanks, but no thanks” message Wendy gave in the second-to-last paragraph is perfect.

    As for the notion that you’ll be “facing this for many years”– I think you’re magnifying the issue due to the negativity you feel. You’ve only dealt with this situation (if I’m reading correctly) once before? I get that it’s awkward, but if something like this HAPPENS to occur again, just re-read Wendy’s advice. There’s nothing wrong with not wanting to be involved (at the bridesmaid level) in someone’s wedding.

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  • avatar

    cporoski June 8, 2012, 9:23 am

    I will say that if you are really not liking this girl and dont see being friends in the future, you should totally listen to Wendy. She is right on target on how to handle this tactfully.

    However, I want to just say this. It is so important to keep old friends. It is so important to have people in your life that knew you before you were married or had kids or just got old. I know so many people that don’t keep in touch with anyone from high school then noone from college. Then all of the sudden, they only have friends that know them as “Johnny’s Mom” OR “Steve’s wife” OR “The girl from Accounting”. You can get lost and not be your own person. You don’t know how important it is to have people who knew you before all of that. And the friends you are closest to change with each passing year.

    Now, the bride in question might not be the person you want to stay connected with and that is fine. But don’t be too quick to blow off friends because you are geting older and growing apart. One other point, If you are almost thirty, I believe you are almost done with being a bridesmaid. I think you will find that as the brides get older, they are less likely to have large bridal parties.

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    • avatar

      Addie Pray June 8, 2012, 9:29 am

      What you’re trying to say, cporoski, is that at 33.5, I will never find true love and my ovaries are shriveled raisins? You didn’t have to be so blunt about it. I was already depressed today, now I’m depresseder.

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      • avatar

        bethany June 8, 2012, 9:33 am

        You might as well start a cat sanctuary when you move to Charlotte, since your destiny is a life alone with cats 🙂

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray June 8, 2012, 9:41 am

        God please no cats. I’d rather take up scrapbooking and spend my Saturday afternoons at a Joanne’s fabric store.

        (I just barfed in my mouth.)

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        ktfran June 8, 2012, 9:46 am

        What? You’re moving? Really?

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray June 8, 2012, 9:49 am

        Monday. I’m deciding Monday. Or maybe this afternoon.

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      • avatar

        anonymous June 8, 2012, 9:54 am

        If you’re moving to Charlotte, the world’s most amazing fabric store will be only about an hour away. It’s in Gastonia, and the name escapes me at the moment, but it’s right off the highway. Ask around when you get to Charlotte & someone will know it.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray June 8, 2012, 9:56 am

        Nooooooo, I can’t handle fabric stores. Fabric stores and Home Depot give me hives. I’m allergic to them. I can’t go in.

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      • avatar

        SweetPeaG June 8, 2012, 10:29 am

        I am with you. Those two stores make me sick as well. I once made the mistake of going out Christmas shopping with my friend, her Mom, and her Mom’s friend. I imagined going to normal stores. Instead, I found myself trapped in Joann’s Fabrics for about two hours. I think I *almost* cried. Right there. In the midst of all that God awful fabric.

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      • avatar

        ktfran June 8, 2012, 9:58 am

        Chicago is way cooler. But if I ever left here, it would be either of the Carolina’s or Colorado. Or maybe Savannah. Hmm . . . .

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      • dandywarhol

        dandywarhol June 8, 2012, 11:32 am

        What?? Moving from Chicago? Thats sacreligious!

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray June 8, 2012, 12:26 pm

        Well, I organized 3 chicago meet ups and you came to a total of 0 of them, so I am MOA. …

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      • dandywarhol

        dandywarhol June 8, 2012, 3:21 pm

        Hahaha ouch! I fail

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      • Budj

        Budj June 8, 2012, 11:11 am

        Been there done that…my mother used to drag my little brother and I around to Joanne fabrics on a weekly basis when I was a child….I swear to God that store has a massive singularity that distorts/slows time because what I thought was 4 hours apparently was only 30 minutes…according to my Mom….who has a terrible memory.

        So moral of the story is if you want to slow down time….go to Joanne Fabriques.

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      • katie

        katie June 8, 2012, 1:15 pm

        do NOT start hating on scrapbooking. i love scrapbooking and if you did it with me you’d like it too!!

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray June 8, 2012, 9:54 am

        Speaking of true love and ovaries, I’m kidding, I’m not actually worried about that. Did everybody see in yesterday’s threads where Budj commented over and over again that he is in love with me and wants to make babies with me? It was a little over the top but super sweet. It’s too bad the threads were deleted so you can’t see his posts of love anymore.

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      • Budj

        Budj June 8, 2012, 11:16 am

        shhhhhhhhhhh

        I think it was something like “I would be honored if you would bare a litter of my children.” It’s a waste of time for me unless you can pop 8 out at a time…

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray June 8, 2012, 11:21 am

        Well, twins runs rampant in my family. It’s like a contagious disease. So, I could realistically pop out 2 at a time, a couple times in a row, if that’ll do.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest June 8, 2012, 12:32 pm

        2 Budaddies! What what

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        cporoski June 8, 2012, 10:18 am

        Ha 🙂 Let me ask you. When you do get married, do you think you will have one bridesmaid or are all of the DW commenters going to be in your wedding?

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray June 8, 2012, 12:16 pm

        I still have to run it by Wendy (and Budj), but we’ll likely have a live wedding on Dear Wendy and Wendy is going to officiate it.

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      • katie

        katie June 8, 2012, 1:17 pm

        wedding of the freaking year right there!

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        cporoski June 8, 2012, 1:29 pm

        amazing 🙂

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      • bagge72

        bagge72 June 8, 2012, 2:00 pm

        I can’t wait, I want to throw the Bachelor Party!

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray June 8, 2012, 4:00 pm

        I get to pick the stripper. I pick Addie Pray.

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        SpyGlassez June 10, 2012, 4:42 am

        No, definitely go with RR.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray June 10, 2012, 7:28 am

        No, she’s going to be the stripper at MY bachelorette party!

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  • avatar

    bethany June 8, 2012, 9:23 am

    Wendy is sooo right. This is worth repeating again:

    “there is nothing to feel guilty about in turning down an invitation to be a bridesmaid for someone whom you don’t like, whom don’t have a relationship with and/or who expects you to spend more than you can comfortably afford. If you are gracious in giving the message that you won’t be a bridesmaid and the bride is a bitch about it, that’s on her. If she doesn’t talk to you anymore or cuts you out of her life or whatever, then she wasn’t someone you’d want in your life anyway”

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  • avatar

    Addie Pray June 8, 2012, 9:35 am

    I would never ask a good friend to be in my bridal party – I couldn’t do that to someone I care about. Sounds like these brides are the same, and maybe that’s why the LW keeps getting asked by people she’s no longer friends with.

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      lets_be_honest June 8, 2012, 9:59 am

      I know someone who had a person from all stages of her life in her bridal party. She’d kept close with all of them though. Anyway, me and my SO both are not interested in a big wedding at all (if we were to have a wedding, that is). I’ve even thought how nice that I won’t be making people do things for me. But then I know they will probably complain we’re not having a big wedding. Catch 22 I guess.

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        bethany June 8, 2012, 11:23 am

        Someone will always be dissatisfied with something you do with yoru wedding. You can’t escape it. That’s why you just do what makes you happy.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest June 8, 2012, 12:33 pm

        Ok, ok, confession time. My cousin eloped a couple years ago. Like mentioned it over dinner 3 weeks later. The WHOLE family still dislikes her for it. I judged the crap out of her for it, felt bad for her parents. Now I am terrified of eloping, although I love the idea.

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      • JK

        JK June 8, 2012, 12:37 pm

        I´ve mentioned before that people that aren´t even close to us complained to me about how we got married (small civil ceremony, we only told a few people about it). Why the hell they thought they had a say in the matter I don´t know.

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      • avatar

        Addie Pray June 8, 2012, 12:51 pm

        That is weird. People like to be all up in everyone’s wedding/marriage, I don’t get it. I did think it was shitty that you didn’t invite me to your wedding though. If lbh doesn’t at least make me a flower girl, I’ll be pissed.

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        lets_be_honest June 8, 2012, 12:55 pm

        Ha, you sound like my daughter. She has, despite my having several lengthy discussions about not doing it, nominated herself as flower girl for weddings. Guess its worked out for her though, she’s been one 5 times, this August, 6.
        And yes, I apologized profusely to the brides and told them they of course didn’t have to pick her. She is really freakin cute though, so I’m sure that’s why they ended up picking her. 🙂

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      • JK

        JK June 8, 2012, 1:09 pm

        Flower girls (and ring bearers) are the only thing I wish weddings here had. And of course my girls are so gorgeous they´d be flower girls in all the weddings 😀

        lbh, we really should be fb friends. make a special DW fb if you don´t want us in your real life.

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      • JK

        JK June 8, 2012, 1:07 pm

        I would have if we´d known each other back then, of course (well, I guess we don´t actually know each other now, either, but you understand what I mean)

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        lets_be_honest June 8, 2012, 12:51 pm

        People are crazy self-centered. A coworker just yesterday got my ear to complain about how her sister scheduled the unveiling of her dead husband’s grave marker for 11:00 a.m. on Saturday and how dare her sister do that because now she has to wake up early to go. I couldn’t think of anything to say other than, imagine how your sister must feel about having to go at all, it being her husband who dropped dead, ya know. Ughhh

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      • JK

        JK June 8, 2012, 1:10 pm

        I guess at least she complained to you,and not her sister? But yeah,people are crazy.

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      • avatar

        bethany June 8, 2012, 2:36 pm

        omg, that’s awful.

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh June 8, 2012, 1:18 pm

        we had an elopement/family only small wedding thing and surprisingly the people who were the most upset were coworkers. my friends understood but my old coworkers acted like i was evil for not inviting them/letting them know it was happening

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      • JK

        JK June 8, 2012, 2:37 pm

        Yeah, some of our closet friends just said ” you should have invited us anyway”, and some of my coworkers that I didn´t even like got majorly offended.

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      • Emily

        Emily June 10, 2012, 10:34 am

        I love the idea of eloping because it’s just the two of you and maybe a few of your closest family members and friends there. I would not however wait three weeks to break the news of my marriage to my new husband. I consider marriage to be the joining of two people but also a joining of two families.

        Lets_be_honest, what if you told your family you were going to elope and arranged to have a wedding reception a few weeks after eloping? I personally hate big, long ceremonies but I know that I would enjoy hosting a party to celebrate the marriage of my husband and I. To me that seems like a compromise that allows my husband and I to have an intimate, small ceremony with a party where we can enjoy the company of all the friends and family we want. Ultimately a wedding is what you and your fiance choose to make it.

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  • avatar

    jlyfsh June 8, 2012, 9:37 am

    like wendy said, don’t feel guilty about saying no. i had to say no this past year to being a bridesmaid for a destination wedding because of the price. this was someone who i was and still am very close to. you can still remain friends even if you decline being her bridesmaid.

    i too am a little confused as to why you think this is going to keep happening for years to come. only you know how many friends/acquaintances you have but more than likely this is something that probably will start to dwindle in the years to come. and just remember that you can say no. honestly no bride wants someone to agree to be their bridesmaid who doesn’t want to be up there!

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  • avatar

    Elle Marie June 8, 2012, 9:38 am

    Emphasis on the “gracious” piece of saying no – whatever you do, for the love of all nice things, PLEASE don’t agree to be in a wedding and then get resentful and act poorly toward the bride. If your heart isn’t in it, for whatever reason, just say that you unfortunately can’t be in the wedding party but are honored to have been asked and hope that the planning, etc. goes swimmingly.

    I had someone I considered to be a good friend agree to be a bridesmaid and then act incredibly shitty, instead of just telling me that she had scheduled her time poorly and couldn’t devote energy to being in the wedding party. It’s OK to say that you can’t be in a wedding party. It’s not OK to commit to it and then later give the bride shit about it.

    Not that I’m, like, bitter or anything. *cough*

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  • avatar

    evanscr05 June 8, 2012, 9:39 am

    I’ve had to bow out of a friend’s wedding due to my finances, I’ve been asked to bow out of another friend’s wedding due to a lot of uncertainanty with whether I’d even be able to be there or not, and I’ve had a friend call me with a lot of guilt about not being sure her finances would permit her to be a part of mine. You know what? I’m still good friends with all three of those people.

    In the first instance, I was a broke college kid, and even though she was considerate with an inexpensive gown and allowing the bridesmaids to crash at her parent’s home to save us some money (it was an out of state wedding for everyone), I still could not afford it and had to tell her. I’d never been a bridesmaid so I didn’t realize all that was involved, so in hindsight, I should have said no at the beginning, but oh well. I felt SO bad about it, but she completely understood and has never held it against me. The second instance was my best friend from high school, and I knew she was under a lot of stress, as was I, and I didn’t want to add to it, so I completely understood. And in the third instance, one of my best friends from college moved 4000 miles away to Hawaii with her Navy husband and had recently quit her job and was in a serious state of limbo with her finances. Her voice was shakey on the phone and she kept apologizing and emphasizing that she wanted to give me time to fill her shoes. I told her that I absolutely understood and I did not want her to stress out about it or feel guilty, and that I had no intentions of “replacing” her just to have even sides.

    Shit happens, people’s finances are different, and you have to be respectful of both parties. Follow Wendy’s advice and woman-up and just be honest that you are flattered she included you, but your financial and job situations are such that you are not able to commit. Wish her the best. Send a nice gift (IF she’s respectful of your response, otherwise, why bother?). Continue on your merry way. No big deal. This is just one of life’s unpleasant conversations. If she was a good friend, I could understand the anxiety, but since she’s not someone you are particularly close to, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal to say no.

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  • avatar

    oldie June 8, 2012, 10:16 am

    LW should follow Wendy’s advice and learn how to say no graciously. Since she already has been in two wedding parties of former friends whom she hadn’t heard from since high school and hasn’t heard from since, I understand why she fears than being asked to join the wedding parties of mere acquaintances won’t stop.

    This seems more than a little sad for the bride. Perhaps LW senses the desperation and that’s why she finds it so hard to say no. To want the big destination wedding of your dreams and find that you have no friends or relatives closer to you than a former HS buddy you get in touch with four times a year seems really, really sad. If you want the big wedding, you might consider planning on being on better terms with your relations and having at least a few current close friends, no?

    Getting in contact four times a year isn’t bad at all for staying in touch with former HS buddies, who aren’t real close geographically. I confess I don’t do any better than that. But if her relationshp with LW is the closest thing the bride has to a good friend/close female relative, that says a lot about the bride. Scrap the big destination wedding, have a small wedding of just family and no attendants, and go off to the destination for honeymoon? This just reeks of bride trying to create a mirage that has little to nothing to do with her actual life — at least if we can cound on LW having been strictly factual. It’s quite possible. In our mobile society, old ties strain quickly, especially if bride is a difficult personality.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary June 8, 2012, 10:38 am

      “This just reeks of bride trying to create a mirage that has little to nothing to do with her actual life”-I think that this is a very interesting concept and you are right that a wedding should reflect the couple’s actual life. Like people who don’t enjoy being the center of attention or standing in front of large crowds probably shouldn’t invite 350 people to their wedding. And brides who are only close with a few people shouldn’t have 7 bridesmaids just for the sake of it. Hm…something to think about.

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        SpaceySteph June 8, 2012, 12:08 pm

        Great point. Some people have 10 bridesmaids to feel important, not because they are actually that close to people. But it gives the illusion that they are loved.

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        lets_be_honest June 8, 2012, 1:00 pm

        Do you really think that? I imagine the fact that are getting married is enough of an “illusion that they are loved.” I kinda always felt bad for the women who had a ton of bridesmaids because I always assumed they are those guilty types that didn’t want anyone to feel left out.
        I have 3 sisters, my SO has 1, I’ve got a daughter and 2 very, very close girlfriends and a guy friend who I promised would be a “bridesmaid” once (I’d be his best “man”). Eek, 8 people! So if I ever did have a “real” wedding, I’d be one of those with way too many people. And I don’t like big crowds, or people looking at me. But I would feel terrible if I cut any of those people out.

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        ktfran June 8, 2012, 1:47 pm

        I honestly think there is a mixture of both. You’ll get people who want the “perfect” wedding and think they need lots of bridesmaids to show they have lots of friends. Then you have people in your situation that actually have lots of close people in their lives and doesn’t want to hurt feelings.

        I was in the same boat as you. I had two sisters and my ex-fiance had one. I also wanted my bff in my wedding, but if I asked her, I was afraid I would upset others. So, I decided on family only. Although in the end, it didn’t matter because the wedding didn’t happen.

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      • dandywarhol

        dandywarhol June 8, 2012, 3:24 pm

        That’s kind of how I feel. Like “ooh look at me I have this many people who will stand up here with me!” or maybe I’m just jealous..

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    • katie

      katie June 8, 2012, 1:26 pm

      preach!!

      i have been seeing my friends here in chicago in weddings now a couple times, and there are always at LEAST 8 bridemaids… and it does seem odd to me. and i totally get the concept of not wanting to leave anyone out, and i dont automatically assume that the bride is some crazy who is trying to have a “perfect” wedding, atleast i try not too.. lol

      but, not leaving anyone out is exactly why i am not going to have a bridal party at all. there are too many people, some that im not very close with anymore, who i would have to invite to stand up with me. and it would literally get to the point that more people would be standing up then sitting down (i dont have a family to fill the chairs). a lady commented on an article on offbeatbride once about bridal parties, and said that everyone that she loves is invited to her wedding and she refuses to further rank the people in her life, and i liked that line of thinking, so thats what im adopting. everyone i love is going to be there already, so there is no need for a bridal party in my eyes.

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        evanscr05 June 8, 2012, 2:22 pm

        Well, I will say, though, that bridesmaid do actually serve other functions aside from standing next to you in your ceremony. Especially if they are particularly close to you. I had 5 – my two sister-in-laws, and my three best friends. My friends, especially, were incredibly helpful to me. They rallied around me at my rehearsal when my mom started having a fit about my stepmom which resulted in me being in tears. They made sure I ate on the day of when I was feeling stressed and not thinking about food. They helped me get dressed, which was so awesome because my dressed tied up the back and I needed like 4 people to get me in the thing. When I started having incredibly anxiety while getting ready (not cold feet, just anxious) I was sooooo hot and felt like I was going to throw up and they were there helping calm me down, fanning me with anything they could find, getting me some water, giving me some tums, and whatever I needed to help calm my nerves. They held my flowers and his ring during the ceremony when I needed two hands and fluffed my dress so it would look good for pictures. They even helped me out once during my reception when I really had to pee but there was no way I could hold up that dress and all the layers underneath, so all three of them stood in the stall with me laughing and holding up my gown. That’s friendship! Bridemaids really are helpful. I think more than 5 would have been waaaaay too many, but I could not have gotten through a lot of things without them there.

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      • JK

        JK June 8, 2012, 2:26 pm

        Reading things like this make me so glad I had such a tiny, casual ceremony. This seriously sounds like my worst nightmare.

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      • katie

        katie June 8, 2012, 2:31 pm

        haha..

        yea, evan, you had a huge all out wedding, right? i think you’ve talked about it before. i know that my wedding will be more on the side of small and casual as well (i have no family to invite), so that will probably help with not having bridesmaids. it might not seem so weird either, so hopefully that will also work out in my favor lol

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        evanscr05 June 8, 2012, 2:33 pm

        Not huge, but definitely large. I loved it. I’d do it all over again. We have so much family and friends that we coudln’t have done a small wedding. The best part of the day was having everyone all together.

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      • katie

        katie June 8, 2012, 2:36 pm

        im so jealous! haha.

        i always wanted to marry an italian guy or a greek guy and then id have a huge awesome family and it would be great…. lol.

        i do wish i knew my family, because i do actually have a pretty large family. but i guess i was just meant to have good friends instead. one time, me and my boyfriend actually counted who we would like to invite, like a mock guest list, and literally half of “my” guests were my friends hypothetical boyfriends…. lol.. sad? good? i dont know.

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      • katie

        katie June 8, 2012, 3:13 pm

        how fitting is this- im watching my first episode ever of say yes to the dress bridesmaids edition.

        lol i never want to have to go through that.

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      • avatar

        evanscr05 June 8, 2012, 2:49 pm

        Ohm one of my coworkers is from India, so when she married her husband, their families had invited upwards of 500+ people there. Most of whom she didn’t know. Now THAT’S a crazy big wedding! Makes my 95 or so person wedding seem crazy small 🙂

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      • katie

        katie June 8, 2012, 3:03 pm

        oh man- ok when i worked at a country club, we did a wedding for an indian couple.. and it was huge. huge big party, a whole production, loud music, tons of food, parting into the night- the whole thing.

        and then we find out that ITS NOT EVEN THE WEDDING. it was an indian pre-wedding ceremony that is similar to american bachelor parties, but the whole family is involved and everything. the actual wedding was the next day with even more people….

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        evanscr05 June 8, 2012, 4:59 pm

        Yeah, their weddings are multiple day affairs with, I think, different events on each day. I’ve never been to one, but I’m told they are pretty fun.

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      • katie

        katie June 8, 2012, 5:19 pm

        oh yea the tiny bit of it i saw they were partying hard! lol

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      • katie

        katie June 8, 2012, 3:04 pm

        oh, and i definitely thought you had like 200 people at your wedding. lol 95 doesnt seem so bad.

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        evanscr05 June 8, 2012, 4:58 pm

        Well, we did *invite* 200, but definitely not everyone came 🙂

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      • katie

        katie June 8, 2012, 2:27 pm

        your ladies sound awesome!

        i definitely dont plan on being alone during the day, i absolutely dont think anyone can really pull of that day alone, you know? i just would feel incredibly bad picking and choosing who gets to be a bridesmaid, and definitely a maid of honor, so im just going to forget the whole thing. i know that my friends, my mom and sister, and definitely my boyfriends family will be ready and willing to do all the odd jobs lol

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        evanscr05 June 8, 2012, 2:38 pm

        They are such awesome friends. I love them to pieces! I’d seriously do anything for them, so it meant so much to me how much they did for me. I think it really helped that two of them were already married so they knew exactly what to do to help out.

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      • avatar

        bethany June 8, 2012, 2:40 pm

        I had 2 Bridesmaids. My friend from high school who I am still very close with, and my husband’s little sister. It was perfect for me and my husband (he had 2 also). We’re more low key kind of peope…

        Some people are super social and it would be weird/out of character for them to have a small bridal party, like my cousin, who’s getting married this fall. He and his fiance are “life of the party” kind of people, and they’re having a big bridal party, but it suits them and the kind of wedding they want to have.

        To each their own!

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  • theattack

    theattack June 8, 2012, 10:16 am

    Here’s the thing: She asked you to be a part of it because she clearly cares about you. You even said that you’re her only friend because she’s alienated everyone else, so I think you’re under-estimating how much your friendship means to her. In general, I think it’s good to respect that a friendship looks different to the people in it, and I sort of feel like if someone wants to call you their best friend, or make you their bridesmaid, you should feel honored that the little time they spend with you is so precious to them that you are who they think of. I disagree with the idea of backing out because you don’t feel as close to her as she does to you. It’s your duty as a good person and a friend (no matter how loose) to support the people who love you.

    But finances are a different story. $1500 is an absurd amount of money to spend on someone else’s wedding. I wouldn’t spend that much money on my very best friend’s wedding. If a bride is asking for something that extravagant (or the travel expenses add up to something outrageous like this), then I feel it’s her duty to pay for some of it. You could tell the bride just how much it’s costing for you and explain that you can only afford to pay $ X on the wedding. Tell her that you’ll have to back out unless she can help you cover some of the expenses.

    I don’t see why you have to take an entire week of your vacation time just to fly in for a rehearsal dinner and a wedding and then go back home. It’s okay to miss some of the other events.

    But I have a feeling that it’s not so much about the cost to you. It sounds like you think this friend isn’t really good enough for you, or worth your time. In which case, please don’t waste hers either.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest June 8, 2012, 3:54 pm

      I don’t think the LW came across as thinking the bride isn’t good enough for her, just that they are not close anymore. You say its her duty to do it as a good person, but then at the end say don’t waste her time.

      Plus, while I know its not the case here at all, but I would be offended if someone TOLD me I had to cover the costs for them to be in my wedding. If I asked someone to be a part of it, and didn’t volunteer helping them financially, I would be annoyed if they asked me to pay for it. And I consider myself an extremely generous person. I’ve spent small fortunes on weddings for friends when I didn’t have much money and while its not a competition, I would be hurt if they weren’t willing to do the same for me. (again, not applicable to these 2 bc it seems they aren’t really friends)

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      • theattack

        theattack June 8, 2012, 4:40 pm

        I admit I was fairly contradictory. I just really got the impression that the LW is almost brag-plaining here. She almost sounds offended that this girl asked her, and I think she’s coming off as snotty because the “friend” doesn’t have as many friends as she does, which she thinks makes her pathetic for valuing what they have together. Seeing each other four times a year certainly constitutes a friendship. I don’t get to see my two best friends that frequently, but we’re in it for life together. Lots of people have friendships like that, and it sounds like the LW is too caught up in superficial “I-have-to-see-you-every-day” kinds of friendships to appreciate older ones.

        As for the “duty as a good person” – I realize not everyone thinks this way, but I’ve always been the type to be friendly to people who don’t have friends. It makes a huge difference in their lives, and it’s easy.

        And I wasn’t suggesting that the LW TELL her to pay for it. But it’s fair to tell the LW why she can’t come, which would give the bride the ability to offer to pay. I mean, this bride is asking the LW to pay a sum that would cover 3 months of rent for me. Most people would have to save up that kind of dough for a good while. Personally, I don’t have a lot of money at all, but I’m setting aside some of my wedding budget for my bridesmaids so that it’s not so off-putting for them.

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        lets_be_honest June 8, 2012, 5:07 pm

        “duty as a good person” – I realize not everyone thinks this way, but I’ve always been the type to be friendly to people who don’t have friends. It makes a huge difference in their lives, and it’s easy.

        Yea, I agree. However being friendly and being a bridesmaid are not equally “easy”. Maybe I’m just in a decent mood today so didn’t see the snotty in her letter. I do like the idea of offering to help if you can, like buy the dresses or whatever.

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      • theattack

        theattack June 8, 2012, 5:25 pm

        Yeah, that definitely makes sense. Being friendly and being a bridesmaid might not be comparable, but that’s why I was suggesting that she shorten her trip and see if the bride can help with the expenses. I mean, I totally recognize that the LW is being put in a tough situation here, and it’s unreasonable for the bride to expect all of that from her. Maybe I’m being too tough on her, but to me it seemed like the actual money issues for her seem secondary to her snottiness.

        Glad you’re in a good mood today!

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  • avatar

    SweetPeaG June 8, 2012, 10:20 am

    I prefaced my requests for bridesmaids with this “Please, feel free to say no if you can’t do this for any reason. I won’t be offended”. And I really meant it. I think most brides realize it is a bit of an inconvenience. If you’re polite about it, I don’t see how she could be angry.

    I do feel a bit sorry for her that she has no other friends. That’s pretty horrible for her. But, it’s also not your fault. So, do what Wendy says and don’t look back!

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    • avatar

      Lindsay June 8, 2012, 10:50 am

      Yeah, I’d much rather have bridesmaids who wanted to be there than people who were going to sulk all day and talk behind my back about how annoyed they are to be in the wedding. Can’t blame a person for asking!

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      • avatar

        SweetPeaG June 8, 2012, 11:15 am

        I hear ya! I just want people to feel comfortable, have fun, and not put out if at all possible!

        Then again, I am the most low-key bride-to-be of all time. My fiance and I have this running joke when doing wedding planning stuff where we just emphatically state “IT’S MY DAY!!!!!!” because in all reality… that’s the opposite of how we are.

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  • avatar

    Lindsay June 8, 2012, 10:49 am

    Brides in general are much more concerned with getting married than if one specific person is there. Obviously, if you were best friends, it would be different, but you’re not. In fact, you’re implying that she (and the other one) only chose you as a space filler anyway, so why would she care so much?

    Wendy’s also right about your concern over this happening to you for years and years. Not sure why you have so many friends you don’t want to see anymore, but turning down invitations as a bridesmaid isn’t that difficult, so I think you can handle it a few more times if you have to.

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  • avatar

    Something More June 8, 2012, 11:18 am

    This is the part that stood out to me:

    ” I live on my own, work, pay my own bills, and get only three weeks of holiday time a year.

    Only? Now I’m the jealous one.

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    • dandywarhol

      dandywarhol June 8, 2012, 11:36 am

      Right?? 3 weeks is almost a damn month.

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        lets_be_honest June 8, 2012, 1:02 pm

        Well I feel lucky I guess. I assumed almost all salaried jobs give you at least that much. I get 5 weeks. Its like money though, no matter how much you have, you always spend too much. Between sick days, kid sick, a day here and there, 1 actual vacation, my time is used up rather quickly. I’ve never had roll over days.

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      • dandywarhol

        dandywarhol June 8, 2012, 3:27 pm

        Ahhhh 5!!! Thats heaven to me! I only have a sad 2 weeks 🙁 and I love to travel. Oh well thats why i’m looking for new jobs.

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    • avatar

      kerrycontrary June 8, 2012, 11:44 am

      Since the LW said “Holiday time” instead of “vacation” Or “PTO” I’m going to guess that she’s not american. Some europeans see 6 weeks as standard vacation time.

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    • avatar

      Amanda June 8, 2012, 12:03 pm

      Yeah, I would kill for three weeks of vacation a year. I’m lucky if I get one week of vacation.

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      • avatar

        Something More June 8, 2012, 1:27 pm

        Yeah, the company I work for doesn’t give you PTO until you’ve reached one year of full-time employment. I have to wait until December for mine and then I’m using it all for a vacation cruise in April. (That seemed a little White Whine, didn’t it?) But still, it does add up between picking up a sick kid or Dr. appointments. I would kill for three weeks.

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      • dandywarhol

        dandywarhol June 8, 2012, 3:28 pm

        Yup thats how my job is. The first year was a killer so I finally used some time for a real vacation after the year mark!

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster June 8, 2012, 2:30 pm

        I’m an independent contractor so I don’t get paid vacation. Or benefits. FML. I need a new job. But then again the publishing industry is so unstable that being an independent contractor is sometimes safer than having being a staff employee because the companies hardly hire anyone as staff anymore. And if they do, then they begin the Publishing House layoff cycle: you get thrown into the pool of editors going back and forth between being laid off from the big publishing houses, freelancing, and inner turmoil. It’s SUPER FUN.

        I’m just going to hold a cardboard sign up on 7th Ave that says:
        WILL SPELL CHECK, FACT CHECK, ETC.
        FOR FOOD/VACATION DAYS/BENEFITS.
        (I SPECIALIZE IN ESL AND HISTORY)

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  • dandywarhol

    dandywarhol June 8, 2012, 11:44 am

    Ugh. Weddings depress me for this very reason. I will probably go the route of no bridesmaids at my wedding. I am more like the bride in this scenario, in that I don’t have a lot of close friends. Some people aren’t good at it. Maybe you don’t feel like that’s good enough, and that’s understandable. But I guess I just feel for the other girl. Ah well Wendy has good advice. Being a bridesmaid is a big commitment and if you don’t feel comfortable, don’t do it!

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  • TaraMonster

    TaraMonster June 8, 2012, 10:57 am

    “I’m currently in a long-term relationship where future planning discussions are taking place, so I hope I don’t come across as jealous.”

    Did anyone else find this line odd? I didn’t think this issue had anything to do with jealousy while reading- so. wait. are you actually jealous then, LW? /confused

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    • Budj

      Budj June 8, 2012, 11:13 am

      I think LW’s might just be kind of quick to defend themselves because we the commenters seem “ready to pounce” and/or read into shit, haha….in the defense of the most vocal it is often on point.

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      • TaraMonster

        TaraMonster June 8, 2012, 2:21 pm

        I figured as much, but I thought I’d ask the group because it just jumped out at me when I wasn’t even remotely thinking she was jealous.

        We must be a pretty terrifying peanut gallery!

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    • avatar

      Something More June 8, 2012, 11:16 am

      It might just be she reads these comments and it wouldn’t be the first time someone jumped to that conclusion. She may have been just trying to head off that type of thinking.

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  • avatar

    mf June 8, 2012, 12:20 pm

    I agree with Wendy, and I think it’s totally fine to say “thanks but no thanks” as long as you do it in a kind way. I’d also like to add this: please don’t say yes and then try to back out months later (unless you absolutely have to). If you don’t think you can do it, then just say no up front. It will more stressful if you back out and she has re-adjust her wedding plans.

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  • katie

    katie June 8, 2012, 1:37 pm

    listen to wendy.

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  • mandalee

    mandalee June 8, 2012, 2:19 pm

    Yes to everything Wendy said. I had some major issues with my bridesmaids, and I would have really appreciated if they just said no from the beginning. It might have actually saved our friendships. Instead, they went crazy, and well now we’re not friends anymore. It’s really not that hard to say “I’m honored that you asked, but for a number of reasons I can’t be a bridesmaid. I really hope you have a beautiful day, and I can’t wait to hear about it/see the pictures after” (if you can’t attend either).

    I would have LOVED if someone said that to me before ruining multiple pre-wedding events and dropping out after I ordered programs and personalized gifts. Even though, I’m sure the homeless man in my neighbor loved his personalized “Stacey” and “Lisa” wine glasses. haha *not their real names*

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  • avatar

    SpaceySteph June 8, 2012, 1:23 pm

    Like Wendy, I found her emphasis that this would happen multiple times to be really odd. Is the LW in a habit of dropping friends? Maybe her friends wish they had a closer relationship with her and that’s why they ask her, but then she starts dropping the ball right after the wedding like before and they grow apart.
    LW if you don’t want to be friends with these girls, then don’t be in their weddings and don’t be their friends. But if you do want to be friends with these girls, maybe put a little more effort into those relationships and then you’ll have a reason to be in their weddings.

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    • avatar

      Something More June 8, 2012, 1:32 pm

      She prefaced that statement with “I’m nearing 30…” so maybe she (and all her friends) are around what she considers ‘marrying-age’ and anticipates more weddings in this time in her life.

      I totally agree with you on the not being someone’s friend if you don’t want to be their friend.

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  • avatar

    Diana June 9, 2012, 5:01 pm

    I have to add that I think Wendy’s advice becomes more complicated under certain circumstances. I was asked to be in my brother’s wedding, and I am not close to him or to his (now) wife. I don’t like either of them, but I agreed to do it because my parents warned me that declining would cause an irreparable rift and would make me the bad guy forever. It’s not always a simple matter. You don’t get to choose your family or your siblings’ partners.

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  • avatar

    Katie January 18, 2013, 8:26 am

    What happens if the bride is your future sister-in-law? Obviously, I can’t just say well, if you’re going to be a bitch, then you can get out of my life. Because we’re going to be “sisters” as she likes to say.

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