It’s an age-old myth that the minute you get engaged, your friends will be clamouring over each other to be your bridesmaid on your big day. Let me dispel that myth right now. Life isn’t some picture-perfect rom com and people are complicated. While it’s nice to assume that your friends will be happy for your choices, there are lots of reasons why someone might not want to commit to being your bridesmaid.
So I’ve written a post for potential maids – a quick quiz to help them decide whether or not they actually want the job. I’ve excluded the family factor (I’m not sure that matters all that much to the questions or reasons you might say no). So pick up a pen, keep track of your answers and find out…
1. How do you feel about the person who’s asked you?
a) She’s one of my best friends in the world and I couldn’t live without her.
b) We’re good friends but there’s some distance there. We’re not really involved in each other’s lives and we don’t see each other very often, but when we do we get on really well.
c) I like her a lot more than she likes me, I’m always chasing her.
d) She likes me a lot more than I like her and she won’t get the message.
2. Why do you think she asked you to be a bridesmaid?
a) We’re so close that I would wonder what was wrong if she didn’t ask me.
b) Because we get on really well and she doesn’t have many other people she’d like to ask.
c) She feels obligated to ask me.
d) We used to be a lot closer and she hasn’t yet realised we’ve grown apart.
3. How do you feel about marriage?
a) I am a fan of marriage. I am already married or would like to be one day.
b) I am undecided or not a big fan of marriage, I’m not sure it’s for me, but I’m happy for anyone who decides to get wed.
c) I really want to get married and can’t believe she’s walking down the aisle before me. Cow.
d) I think marriage is an antiquated and sexist institution and she’s making a huge mistake entering into it.
4. How do you feel about the groom?
a) I think he’s great, he’s already part of the family and he’s going to make a great husband.
b) I don’t know him all that well, but from what my friend has told me and what I know of him, he seems like a really nice guy.
c) I have a massive crush on him / we used to go out.
d) I can’t stand the guy.
5. How much time can you dedicate to the wedding?
a) I’m happy to fit in any wedding planning time she needs and be there for the bride when she needs me. I’m very reliable and won’t let her down in the run up or on the day. I want to be there for every dress fitting, cake tasting and wedding fair – I wouldn’t miss it!
b) I have a very demanding job / I live far away and I will only be able to help out every now and then, but I’m planning some time off just before the wedding so I can be there when she needs me the most.
c) I will show my face at the really important bits but I don’t want to be in charge of anything that could go wrong.
d) I’ll show up, put on a dress and smile on the day, maybe make out with a cute groomsman.
6. How do you feel about bridesmaids’ dresses?
a) It’s one day of my life – I’ll wear whatever she wants me to wear. I’m pretty sure everyone will know I didn’t pick the dress myself, so it doesn’t really matter.
b) I’ll wear what I’m given within reason, I’d like a bit of input so I feel included in the decision but ultimately it’s up to her.
c) I need a dress that hides all of the body parts I’m self conscious about – I need to like what I’m wearing to look and feel good.
d) I’m not being dressed up like Bridesmaid Barbie. I’ll wear whatever I feel like.
7. It’s the wedding morning, something goes wrong and you need to calm the bride down – what do you do?
a) I know the bride so well, I’m pretty sure I could talk her down from anything. What are friends for?
b) I’m quite a diplomatic person, so if there was nobody else to deal with it, I’m sure I could manage.
c) Mortified – was it something I did wrong?
d) Indifferent or irritated. Let her cry it out, she’s only ruining her own day.
8. Do you think you could plan the bride’s perfect hen party?
a) Of course, I’ve had it all planned in my head for ages – it’s a great mix of all of her favourite things with her closest friends.
b) With a bit of help, I would try to subtly find out what sort of thing she might like and give it a good shot.
c) I would think about what sort of thing I would want to do if it was my wedding.
d) Plan it? I’m not even sure I want to show up. I hate hen parties.
9. How did you feel when you were asked to be a bridesmaid?
a) Excited, honoured, ready to go!
b) Nervous and surprised, but really happy.
c) Surprised that she asked me and annoyed I wasn’t asked to be maid of honour.
d) Full of dread.
10. Would you / did you ask her to be your bridesmaid?
a) Absolutely, she would be / was my maid of honour.
b) I probably have closer friends that I’d have to consider first, but this whole experience has made us much tighter, so maybe.
c) Well I’d have to ask her now.
d) If I ever got married, she’s the last person I’d want to be my bridesmaid.
11. How do you get on with the other bridesmaids?
a) Really well, we’re all part of the same group of friends and have known each other a really long time. If there’s someone I don’t know as well, I’m sure if my friend has chosen them, then I’ll love them too.
b) I don’t know the other bridesmaids very well, but I can easily get on with anyone and there’s plenty of time to get to know them while we plan the wedding and hen party together.
c) I find them quite intimidating and I’m pretty sure they all hate me.
d) I don’t really like hanging out with girls.
Yes, yes, yes!
It sounds like you will be the perfect bridesmaid for your friend. You’re really tight and you know her well enough to see her at her best and her worst without being put off. Just make sure her wedding doesn’t take over your life completely and that she treats you as well as you treat her, I’m sure she does if she’s so special to you.
Yes, but manage expectations
Your heart is in the right place, and you’re really pleased for your friend. However, maybe you don’t feel you know her as well as the other bridesmaids, or as well as you could, or maybe you can’t dedicate the time to the wedding that you’d like. Be really honest with your friend about what you can and can’t do from the start and leave it up to her, it sounds like you will be there for her but perhaps shouldn’t be the maid of honour or take on too much.
Undecided, you need to talk
It sounds like you guys have some issues with each other, or that you have some issues with her. Maybe you resent her or have a complicated friendship, or perhaps you have some of your own confidence issues. Either way, you need to think about what exactly is holding you back from being completely happy for her and whether or not you can get past it. If the answer is no, then let someone else who’s totally sure take over your role.
Step away from the bouquet. Perhaps you’re trying to phase out this friend and she’s not getting the message, or maybe matrimony just isn’t your thing, either way it doesn’t sound like you will enjoy being a bridesmaid very much. Don’t make the mistake of saying yes to be polite but ruining your friendship when you can’t feel as enthusiastic as everyone else. Just politely say you can’t commit to it, make your excuses and say no from the start.
Being a bridesmaid isn’t mandatory – you don’t have to say yes just because you were asked. If you really do want to be a bridesmaid, but have reservations about some things, talk to your friend before you answer either way and make sure you both know what to expect from each other. If you don’t feel you can talk to her, then being her bridesmaid probably isn’t the best idea.