I know the title of this sounds super harsh but hear me out. There are reasons why I quit being a professional bridesmaid well before getting married. That’s obvious, since I’m not married, and I sent my resignation letter in about 2-3 years ago. It wasn’t them it was me. Haha. I had to work on myself (and my bank account). Quite frankly, I needed a side hustle to support the demand of being in my friends’ weddings and I wasn’t about that life any more.
I have the most amazing friends that have had the most loving hearts to want to include me in their special day. I 100% view this as an honor and a compliment to our friendship. I love my girls and am their biggest fan on their day.
However, the reality is that I have MANY friends and the cost to be in someone’s wedding is a lot when you have the ’27 Dresses’ girl beat. No lie.
I was caught in between the place of having limits to what I can spend to afford to be in the wedding party or being ‘Debbie Downer’ when I couldn’t participate in all the activities because of budget.
So one day, I can’t remember if I sent a mass text or if I just posted a PSA on social media, but I communicated that I had participated in my last wedding as a bridesmaid. I will continue to support my friends by attendance if possible and definitely through giftings, but my days of standing by your side were concluding, effective immediately. Haters would say it’s because I was bitter, but my response would be “nah boo, I’m broke”. It’s different!
The last wedding I was in was local to me and I told myself I was going to stay on budget and still wound up spending around $2,000 between dress, hotel, gas to all of the activities, bridal shower, bachelorette festivities, hair, shoes, waxing, nails, and usually I include a gift but this time I couldn’t. I would literally go into debt if I added a gift so I said, my ministry of being present, will have to be my gift. Whew.
THAT WAS A LOCAL WEDDING!
Let’s not even get into weddings where you need to travel out of town or where the bachelorette festivities are out of town. OF COURSE, we all want to go all out for weddings, but when it’s frequent weddings and frequent “balling out” festivities, a self-reliant single person needs to become a bit more sober-minded about the amount of money they’re spending. Honestly, looking back, I think the only reason I was able to be in some of these weddings is because I had a roommate to split rent with and didn’t have to help out family. Once I decided to live on my own and inherited the responsibility to help family out financially, all these extra expenditures came under strict scrutiny quicker than the bride could say yes to the proposal. You hear me?
When I tallied up the number of weddings I’ve been in and to, and the costs associated with them – I’ve literally spent enough money to have paid for my own wedding. Tick tock tick tock future hubby – while your future wifey can still contribute! Ha!
I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it can be awkward to decline an invitation to be in someone’s wedding because it is. I haven’t been able to successfully do it without feeling some sort of way but when I remember the costs that will be associated with it, it makes it easier. I love my girls dearly and if I’m really honest, I want to enjoy their day without the temptation to be annoyed because of how much it is costing me to be there. I realize that not everyone will understand but I’ve also made peace with that if we’re really friends – they will. Or at least respect the decision because
The disclaimer to all of this is that I’m never COMPLETELY out of the game. For example, when the time comes where my sister gets married, if she wants me to stand by her side, I will spend whatever I need to be there for her. However, balancing that discernment of when to be in a bridal party and when it’s okay to decline is what I really want to leave said in this post. And it IS okay, even if taboo, to decline.
Below are some helpful things that help me to determine if I should be part of a wedding party:
- Location: Do I have to travel? If so, am I expected to travel multiple times for wedding party festivities? Do I need to book accommodations and will the cost be split?
- Day of expenses: Do I have to pay for hair and makeup? Are the accessories being provided? Do I have to get my nails done? Waxing? Pre-wedding food? Shoes? Do I need to buy some spanx? Am I able to borrow any items from anyone I know?
- Wedding Party Pre-Wedding Festivities: Are we traveling somewhere? What’s the length of time these festivities will occur – a few hours or a few days? Are we splitting costs? What are the bride/groom requests versus the amount of people splitting the costs?
- Attitude: Is your heart in the right place? Will you remove any of the positive energy in this season for the bride/groom? Can you genuinely smile for your friend even when you may not want to?
Attitude is another thing that I think we don’t do a great job of paying attention to when accepting an invitation to be a bridesmaid. Now you may disagree with me but if you’re going to be stank through the whole process, do everyone a favor and please kindly decline and have a seat at the table number assigned to you. A lot of this post may sound as reasons why I, I, I can and cannot do XYZ but don’t be deceived into thinking that I’m not 100% clear that this day has NOTHING to do with me. I’m just a participant whether at the altar next to my friend or in my seat in the pew. My responsibility is to take an inventory of my life to see how best to participate.
I in no way want to encourage that people start flaking out on their friends during the most important time of their lives. If you are truly able to be a part of this special day in this special way, then by all means – DO IT! The memories of the festivities and the time leading up to the wedding are precious times that you may not get again. You get to witness up close the motions of moving from singlehood to covenant with God and a spouse. But for the single person, who has a lot on their plate and a single income that doesn’t stretch as far and wide as your friendships do, know that it’s okay to participate in this special moment in another way.
As long as your heart is in the right place when declining a bridal party request, it doesn’t mean you love your friend any less. It just means that you are prioritizing order and stewardship in your life. Go you!