How To Fire A Bridesmaid

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If things have gotten tense in your bridal party and it’s getting complicated, you’re probably wondering what to do.

 You don’t want any of the prior sentence to apply to any aspect of your wedding planning, and especially not when it comes to your bridal party choices.  

But if you are lying awake worrying about how a bridesmaid is going to behave, then perhaps you should seriously consider asking her to step down.

Here’s an outline of the steps you can take to fire a bridesmaid, while having some chance at salvaging the relationship.

bridesmaids lined up holding bouquets at wedding ceremony.

Do I need to fire my bridesmaid?

First things first, grab a coffee and a quiet moment, and sit down for a think. Let’s not dwell on what has been happening just yet.  Here’s a few questions to get you thinking and might help you make a decision of which direction to go in:

  • First, consider why you originally wanted to have her as a bridesmaid in the first place?  What’s special about her that had you ask her in the first place?
  • Did you ask her out of a sense of obligation (you were a bridesmaid for her… you’ve been friends for ages… you pinky-promised when you were drunk…). If that’s the case, part of the issues may be caused by a feeling of resentment on your side.
  • What could you have done to improve the situation – or what did you do to contribute to it? Could there have been unclear communications or misunderstandings that contributed?
  • Is the bridesmaid letting you down, because you have a different expectation of what a bridesmaid should do? i.e:
    • Are they not able to cope with the financial commitment (that should’ve been discussed)?
    • Do they not have the time to help you as much as you’d like (is what you’re asking them to do actually outside of the scope of a bridesmaid. Perhaps your future spouse or a paid professional should be tasked with what you’ve been asking)
    • Are they struggling with other things at the moment, so they are not in the right headspace (maybe they’re studying for an important exam, lost their job, having relationship issues)
  • Finally – are you prepared to nuke the relationship?  It’s pretty difficult to come back from this (depending on the issues that caused this in the first place)

“The Talk” – Will your bridesmaid step down?

So once you’ve had a good think about what’s gone on, you can decide whether it’s an issue that you can ignore and rugsweep, or whether it’s something that needs addressed. Before making a final decision to boot your bridesmaid, it’s time to have A Talk.

This should be done in private and in person. I know that it’s incredibly awkward and mortifying, but it’s the best option for conveying tone, figuring out what really happened and avoiding any more misunderstandings! During the course of this conversation you might resolve the issues and I promise you’ll feel 10 x better!

Give her a summary of what seems to have happened, from your point of view, and then ask her for her perspective on what’s gone on. Perhaps she’s going through some issues at the moment and the wedding is just an added burden… no-one wants their wedding to be considered a burden! If you can both identify that being a bridesmaid is causing more stress than fun, then you might be able to mutually agree for her to step down.  This allows your friend to save face, and you can salvage the relationship going forward.

So, you need to fire a bridesmaid

If you decide things are not going to work – the bad outweighs the good – then you need to tell your bridesmaid the bad news.  As tempting as it is (speaking as a procrastination-queen here), don’t just ignore the problem and hope it’ll go away, never mentioning the wedding… inaction will make things worse.

The main thing is to emphasize that they are important to you, and that they still are. It’s fine to not feel like that’s the honest truth if this has been causing you a ton of stress! Once everything has settled down and you’ve both moved past this awkwardness, your feelings won’t be “ugh she’s so stressful” will move back towards why you asked her in the first place.

Explain that you really need more support than they’re able to give – this takes the blame off them and will allow you to have some semblance of a relationship going forward. You can certainly go into why things have ended up the way they have, but as to whether that’s a good idea is entirely up to the individual situation and both of your personalities.

Being a bridesmaid is a personal commitment, not a job. Your friend does not need constructive criticism or feedback on how they’ve “performed”. Chances are, they know what’s gone on.

Final thoughts

If you do want to salvage a relationship with them, plan something non-wedding related for the future, like a coffee date. This demonstrates that you still want to continue the friendship and having a fixed date to catch up again will help break any unspoken tension.

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