How do you break the news to someone that they were going to be a part of the wedding, but it is not going to work out?
I strongly believe honesty is the best policy when it comes to communicating details about your wedding to your [potential] bridal party participants. Depending on the scenario in which you are informing this person about the change, the delivery may be different.
Let me start with this, if you have not asked this person to be a member of your bridal party, then there should not be an expectation on the other person’s part to be included in the wedding party. This goes back to my first blog about asking for the invite. You are not obligated to ask someone to be in your wedding because you were in his or hers and vice versa. As humans, we tend to believe there is this unwritten, unfounded rule you must adhere to about inviting someone to your wedding or asking someone to be in your wedding party, when there is not. It is whatever you and your fiancé(e) decide. This is not about them. Remember, it is your wedding day! With that said, I will run through a couple of scenarios that can help you through some situations.
Scenario 1, you and your fiancé(e) have four positions apiece and double the amount of friends you want included in your wedding party. I look at it as a draft pick. You have first round and so on. I recommend you ask your top four potential bridal party members and lay out the obligations and duties you expect from them. A real friend will tell you upfront, if they will not be able to meet the obligations and duties, you have expressed to them. If you are being asked and you cannot commit, do not feel bad. There may be some valid reasons you cannot commit to participating in the wedding. It is best to decline the offer and allow the bride or groom to be ask someone else to take your place.
Scenario 2, you have asked a person to participate in the bridal party and they are not living up to their obligations. I would first speak to the person before immediately removing them from the roster. At this point, your expectations should have been shared with them, so it should not be a shock to them when you ask what is going on. Maybe this is a temporary storm that will pass, in which case, you should be a friend and be patient with them. I know it is your day, but let’s be honest; the world does not revolve around you and this wedding. Show some compassion because they are still one of your homies. Fast forward, a few weeks or months and the situation has not improved. Then you need to be direct and forward. It is like ripping off a Band-Aid. You should have a heart-to-heart or a come to Jesus meeting with this person. Express there is not any love lost; however, you need to relieve them of their bridal party obligations. This is an opportunity where you can either assign them other duties, like a host, or just have them share in your momentous occasion as a guest. On the opposite side, if you were asked and cannot meet the obligations, rather than continue to slack, you should be the one to say to your friend that you cannot meet the obligation. It is ok to do so, as long as you mean well.
Through all of this, communication should work in both directions. Whether you are asking or being asked, you should be honest and truthful with one another. They are still someone you love and want to share in your momentous occasion. It should not matter if they are standing at the altar or watching from the pew, as long as they are there.
The “It Needed to Be Said” is a blog series which explores real experiences and provides etiquette advice in a raw tone. It is not intended to offend anyone, but it is another platform to express what we’ve learned along the way.