Weddings are supposed to be a celebration of the greatest love of our lives. The wedding party should be full of people who are there to share and celebrate that love with you. When you think of it that way, it's easy to see why people consider being asked to be in a wedding party a huge honor - but what happens when it's an honor they don't want or can't accept?
One Reddit user asked:
Have you ever been asked to be a bridesmaid and declined the offer? If so, why did you decline and how did you tell the bride?
The stories often revolve around a lack of funds, being a bridesmaid can be expensive. But there are a few here who said no for totally different reasons. Some hated the soon-to-be-spouse, one didn't feel like climbing a mountain, and one person got asked by someone they'd literally never even heard of before.
Here are some of our favorite answers.
She asked, and thus ended up being one of the first people I told I was pregnant. I couldn't even go to the wedding—I lived 500 miles away and on the wedding day I was 8 months pregnant on no-travel orders. Baby was born 2 weeks later.
Bride was excited, not angry.
Over a decade later I am still sad I missed that wedding though—so many of our friends and families have not all been together since.
Four Hundred Dollars
I was a broke college student that had my own bills to pay on a student worker part time wage. She expected me to buy my own dress, and the one she picked out was $400 and refused to change to a cheaper one. I literally made $400 per month so there was no way I could afford it. She got mad and has not talked to me since, which does not bother me because she was being extremely selfish.
Win, Win, Win
I've said no at least three times because I absolutely hate being a bridesmaid. But each time I've offered to play violin for the ceremony instead. All three times I was taken up on the offer.
Saved me the expense of being a bridesmaid, saved the bride $ on music for the ceremony (I always played these weddings for free), and I still got to be an important part of the event. Win, win, win.
Accessibility Is An Issue
I told her I wasn't even going to be able to attend the wedding because of health issues. She had selected an out-of-state rural location that was not accessible for my wheelchair. I wouldn't have been able to afford the trip to begin with anyway. She got upset and said I was just being cruel.
I guess she talked to someone else or had time to calm down and called me the next day apologizing for accusing me if trying to ruin her special day. I mean I had been dealing with the same health issues long before she got engaged or even started dating the man she was about to marry. Also, asking someone in a wheelchair to attend a wedding in the forest off a hiking trail with no easy access isn't well thought out is it?
I Don't Even Know You
Had a girl I had never met or heard of before call and ask me to be her bridesmaid.
She was a friend of a friend whom I had helped out years before by being a bridesmaid and doing all her flowers and such because that friend wasn't very well off. Apparently this girl thought I was some sort of volunteer paratrooper bridesmaid florist? It was very weird.
I told her that I couldn't because:
A) I didn't know her
B) I was going to have a three week old baby at the time if my due date was correct and didn't want to drive 8 hours with a newborn.
She seemed ok with this and hung up, only to call again a few minutes later to ask if I was refusing because he was so much older than her and I was being judgmental and I said no, because I literally knew none of this because I do not know you. I have never heard of either you or your fiance before. Which is - again- the major reason I would not be your bridesmaid...
I wished her every happiness and hung up.
My sister asked me to be her Maid of Honor and i declined. She was like "What the heck, why?!" I told her "Youre just asking me to be nice and because you think its the right thing to do. But I'm not your best friend. Jocelyn is your best friend, and she should be your maid of honor." My sister cried and said what a good sister i was. So i guess i demoted myself to bridesmaid.
Birth And Death
My sister had a destination wedding in the beginning of August of this year. I have three sisters, and the one getting married is the youngest one. All of the sisters would be bridesmaids (plus like 5 of her best friends). Problem was, I got pregnant and my baby was due in the middle of June. Fortunately, she was also pregnant and due in March, and she totally understood. The timing was so borderline. If he was born on his due date, he would only be 7 weeks old by the wedding. They recommend waiting until two weeks after the 6 weeks vaccinations to fly, but they could do the vaccinations as early as 4 weeks. If he was early, we might be able to make it. If he was late, maybe not. This was also my first child, so I had NO clue what to expect. Maybe it would be chaos and traveling was a horrible idea. I just had no way of knowing.
As it turned out, I had an induction 5 weeks early due to a medical emergency. I missed all of the wedding planning stuff due to being sick and then having a newborn. But baby was healthy, really easygoing, and it was looking like I was going to be able to go. Not only that, but my husband wanted to take two weeks of his parental leave so that we could take a family vacation just the three of us. We were going to island hop for two weeks, visit one of his friends, etc. We were so excited. I told my husband that I would book our travel and accommodations for Oahu first (where my sister was getting married) and the rest of the trip was up to him. I was down for whatever. I bought my bridesmaid dress and booked our travel. Everything was coming up Millhouse.
Then my husband passed away suddenly two and a half weeks before the wedding. Obviously I was a total f*cking wreck. But literally all of my family was going to Hawaii for the wedding. My in-laws live across the country from me. Nobody wanted me to be left alone so they insisted baby and I still come to Hawaii. One of my sisters helped me cancel my husband's flight, move mine so that I wouldn't have to travel alone, cancel my accommodations and crash in their room with the baby.
Now, I thought it was obvious I wasn't going to be in the wedding anymore. I thought I didn't have to have that conversation. It was already always up in the air whether I would be able to attend the wedding at all, let alone be a bridesmaid. I thought it would be clear that a wedding would be really f*cking hard for me as it is. I didn't want to ruin all the videos and pictures with my thousand yard stare, running mascara, and bags under my eyes.
Well, it just never occurred to my baby sister that I wasn't still one of her 8 bridesmaids. God love her, she is amazing and thoughtful and the most loving and sweet person I know. But she just had a lot going on and she probably hadn't thought about it.
The day of the rehearsal, I put the baby in a stroller and hoofed it from the resort. We walked around Waikiki and I tried to not be desperately miserable behind sunglasses. I took pictures of my son with the Duke Kahanamoku statue, bought and ate a rapidly melting pineapple soft serve cone, and window shopped. My parents called me and told me to come back to the hotel so we could "go shopping" so I sighed and went back. When I got there, they were like, OK we're going to the rehearsal. I said, uh you guys are, I'm not. They said, "[your sister] wants you there."
I thought it was weird, but I went. And I sat in the back with the baby while everyone chatted and got directed around. Then the wedding coordinator kept making references to where I'll be standing and sitting, etc. All the bridesmaids and groomsmen and my sister and brother in law were standing fanned out up front, when the wedding coordinator started talking about where in the order I will be standing during the wedding (mind you, at this point I'm sitting in the third row with my baby).
So I said flatly, "I don't know what you're talking about. I'm not a bridesmaid." And my sister, standing where the bride stands in front of everyone says, "yes you are."
And I said, "I thought you knew I wasn't going to be. I didn't have time to get my dress hemmed. I didn't even bring my dress."
I don't remember what happened after that except for they reset to do the whole march again and I picked up my baby and walked away to sob behind some bushes. Once I got all my sh!t together I went back and watched the rest of the rehearsal. Afterwards I immediately went back to the room, where one of my sister's friends was working on handwritten name cards.
That friend was the first people who had donated to a GoFundMe after my husband died, so as soon as I parked my stroller in the room I started crying and thanking her. She gave me a big hug and I told her about how I had a mega meltdown during the rehearsal, and she held me and told me it was OK, that it's understandable. My sister walked into the room while I was crying and she gave me a big hug. I told her that I was sorry, I messed up her rehearsal, and I should have told her I wasn't going to be her bridesmaid. She said it was OK, she wasn't mad.
SO yeah. That's how that went. The wedding was hard for me, but I was happy for my sister. She still included me as much as I was willing to be included. She still had my makeup and hair done, and I was in her video a little and in family photos. During the reception my sister and BIL gave a speech, and she gave a shout out to my husband and I ugly cried. Anyway, I'm still glad that I went. I love my sister, she was there for me when I had my baby and she was there for me when my husband died. I wish I could have been there for her during her wedding, but I did the best that I could. Super glad I wasn't a bridesmaid, though.
My then-boyfriend's brother's fiance asked me to be her maid of honor. It was a shotgun wedding due to her pregnancy but it was also about 6 weeks away. I barely knew her and thought it was really weird. I told her she should choose someone she's known longer and has a deeper connection with or perhaps a family member. I also pointed out that if my bf and I broke up, she would probably hate having me in their wedding photos. That's got a weird reaction from everyone involved.
Chubby Bride, Chubby Friends
I turned down an opportunity to be in a wedding party on the summit of Longs Peak in Colorado. Start hiking at 3 am so we could be off the summit before the afternoon lightening storms killed us. Sounds great! (actually sounds awful, let's be real.)
All of us were in sh!t shape, bride especially. WTF were they thinking? I heard later that it was absolutely miserable. I guess it turned out so badly that multiple people dropped out of the hike. We didn't get the full story for months. Lots of minor injuries and they didn't make it to the summit until noon.
No one could tell her it was a stupid idea.
This was long before social media. I shudder to think what she could have come up with in the age of social media. They would been dropping on to the summit with parachutes.
Yes, they divorced in a few years.
I have no idea why a chubby bride thought her chubby friends would all enjoy hiking up a 14K foot mountain for a sunrise wedding.
By The Neck
Yes....I declined because I saw the groom to be picking up the bride by her neck. We were young, we were out clubbing, I don't know why these two were even trying to get married, this was back in say, 1998. Anyway, groom-to-be picks up bride by the neck, I call cops, they come arrest him, she bails him out same night. It was about 3 or 4 months later that they were getting married and she asked me to be the maid of honor! No can do I told her, I told her the truth. And she was okay with it.
They were over within a year. I just remember she was crying and so embarrassed that she had just gotten all these gifts for the wedding, and that all those people who came to her wedding would find out that it was all for nothing. As far as I know she moved back in with her parents for a while, she was quite young.
Yes. Bride asked me to be a bridesmaid on a Wednesday. Wedding was on a Saturday. Across the country. She claimed she had 'asked my dad to tell me' (I don't even live with him anymore) and spent years without talking to me after I declined.
Not a big loss.
I had a friend from high school ask me to be her maid of honor. I said yes, but I was worried about the money. I bought the dress, started planning her shower and she was already hounding me about her bachelorette party, even though she was four months away from getting married. Bridal shower went well in my opinion, until the bride kept making side comments about how there weren't enough games, or prizes. (I was recently unemployed and didn't have money, but my parents were helping.) I had planned four games, and I thought that was fair. She also said the food wasn't good enough either, and spent the entire time talking to her other friends and ignoring me.
The next day she messages me saying we need to meet and plan her bachelorette party. She wanted all the bridesmaids to come over and have dinner. Well, night of the dinner I was really sick. I have a lot of health concerns and she was aware of them, but still got mad at me. Keep in mind I had been planning and trying to accommodate her requests for the bachelorette party while also making it feasible. She wanted an over night weekend get away in a air B&B and it would have been like $300 per person or something like that. I tried to convince her it wasn't feasible and wanted to plan something else. I found something else to do, but hadn't told her about it yet.
She messaged me later that night saying how disappointed she was that I wasn't being a good maid of honor, and that she shouldn't have to plan her own bachelorette party, and she basically yelled at me and said that I was a terrible friend because I did not do what she wanted exactly. Our entire friendship she always made it about herself, and I had distanced myself from her recently, and so I was surprised she asked me to be her MOH. After that message I was like fine, I'm done. And I quit her wedding.
We are no longer friends, and When we met in person to discuss it she blew up at me for not being there for her, that I was ruining her special day, and that she wasn't getting what she wanted. I knew I had done nothing wrong and she was being a bridezilla. Their wedding recently happened and I could care less. She was a toxic person and I don't need that negativity. Sure I feel bad about it, but I also know I needed to stand up for myself as our entire friendship she always walked over me.
My half sister asked me to be her bridesmaid at her extravagant, not small wedding. All good, until I was told she wasn't inviting my dad, because he 'wasn't her family' despite financially supporting her for 15 years while her dad refused to pay any parental contribution.
I wanted nothing to do with the wedding after that. I attended, and went to bed very swiftly after I had a free meal.
To this day, my sister is still very standoffish and rude to my dad. It's caused no end of drama in our house, but I love my dad to pieces and I will always stick up for him and all the amazing things he's helped us achieve and experience even as adults. He's a very wonderful man.
My ex husband's sister had asked me to be her bridesmaid. I declined because it was shortly after his affair and there was a lot of bad blood between his family and me. It was really heartbreaking to do; we had been best friends for years prior. Unfortunately, we no longer speak.
You're Not Missing This
Not the wedding, but the bachelor party. My brother was getting married and both bride and groom were having parties in Nashville. My wife and I have massive student loan debt and as a result had to file for bankruptcy as we had exhausted all possible solutions to paying other bills. Trust me we aren't proud of it and are working very hard to make sure we do better in the future. Anyway, my brother chose Nashville and all his friends are older and well established. As a result they had no problem paying, I on the other hand could not afford it since I have two young kids with fall/ winter birthdays, so we were trying to save as much as we could for birthdays/ Christmas. So I send a note to my brother and his buddy who are planning this whole thing. I politely word everything and make sure they know that we just cannot afford it at this time. I wished them well and to have fun.
Email sent, there done. Worst part, over. No sooner did I send the email then a reply came back from his buddy. "Hell no you aren't missing this, I will pay for both your hotel stays but you aren't missing out." On top of that my brother starts a fund and gives me $100 toward the weekend so that I can do. So now I feel like shit and totally obligated to go, thanks guys. Weekend in October comes, I go on trip, have a mixed time, some good some bad, but overall a decent weekend.
My brother and I are still really close and still confide in each other, but I will never let anyone pay for me like that again. Overall, I think it led to a weekend trip that I just couldn't enjoy because I knew I had't paid for the better part of it and it sat with me the whole time. Even to this day, two years later, I still feel guilty when I see my brothers friend.
Groomsman Or Nothing
A friend of a friend asked me to be a groomsman at his wedding. I thought it was odd because we only ever saw one another when we were hanging out with our mutual friend. I don't even remember if I ever met his fiance.
At the time my wife was pregnant and due to give birth right around the time of the wedding and also I had just gotten a job again after being unemployed and was trying to catch back up on finances so paying for a tux wasn't an exciting prospect. I declined and told him I didn't want to leave them in a lurch if my wife ended up going into labor because it was such an important day for them. I thanked him for inviting me and told him I would attend the wedding but this way at least they weren't depending on me.
He understood and was fine with it but called me a couple days later, clearly embarrassed and told me his fiance was furious and had disinvited me from the wedding.
They ended up getting divorced a few years later.
Yes, but I ended up being one anyway because A) she wouldn't take no for an answer, and B) I didn't have the courage to give a hard and fast NO.
I was actually surprised when she asked me because we hardly ever spoke or spent time together anymore. We met freshman year of college and were only kind of close then. But I suppose friendships can continue on through distance (both physical and emotional), and I also suppose my friendship with her meant more than I considered.
I was just moving home after a dramatic life event and was low on cash and felt somewhat depressed and also just did not feel close enough to her to accept that role. I explained that I wasn't sure if it would work and since it's such a big responsibility, maybe I should let her select someone else because I don't want to be a wishy washy flaky bridesmaid. She continued to call and ask me about it so I finally said ok, albeit reluctantly.
The wedding is long over and we are barely in touch. I probably should have had the courage to say "No, thank you," and mean it very firmly.
Back To Portugal
My childhood best friend never asked, just assumed I would be the MOH. She planned a destination wedding in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, which she tried to sell as a wedding in Portugal but was actually a small island without any real economy just because it was convenient for her family. She explained to me that tickets were "only 500 dollars out of Chicago" - which they aren't and oh yea, I don't live in Chicago. So... not really relevant or useful information, Bride. But thanks.
She graduated college with a degree she couldn't use, had no real work ethic and no money to her own name - but she spent a lot of time explaining to me how to spend my own money and PTO. Her mom paid for the whole thing in that location because it would be cheap and convenient and to make herself feel better about marrying her daughter off to a loser (they forced him into a proposal) so her mom could move back to Portugal.
Just Say Goodbye To Him
My best friend asked me to be her maid of honor and at the time I said yes, but later on down the road closer to the wedding, I had to back out. My grandfather was diagnosed with terminal cancer about 6 weeks out from the wedding. I called her to tell her that he was dying and that I wasn't going to make it to her wedding and her response was:
"My grandmother died and I'm still getting married. You already agreed to this, just say goodbye to him and be here."
He ended up dying the Monday after the wedding weekend. I will never regret backing out to spend time with him and I will also never regret writing her off completely.
She Thinks She Can Change Him
I said no to being MOH at my best friends second wedding.
My best friend is basically a part of my family. Her own is not that great, "absent" or "uninterested" would be nice ways to describe them. She calls my parents mum and dad, and she even comes to all our extended family gatherings. My grandparents always make sure they have extra presents at Christmas in case her family excludes her each year.
The first wedding was to a great guy who I loved just as much as I love her. Despite this I didn't think their marriage was a good idea but she was happy and I love her, so I went along with it. In the car on the way to the wedding venue, she turned to me and asked if she should go through with it. Me being an idiot was like "but we are already on our way". Even my dad, who was driving the car there, offered to take us to literally anywhere else but my stupid comment had made her decide to go through with it. Fast forward just over a year and they got a divorce. I still love them both, but I regret letting them get married because they spiralled into a toxic mess of adultery and depression. He came out of it really well, getting a new job and rising to a managers role and generally getting his shit sorted. My best friend however... things just never seemed to go right for her again.
Fast forward another year and she tells me her new boyfriend, who had left his wife and child for her, had proposed to her and she asked if I will be her MOH again.
Now this new guy is awful, regularly let's her down, quits any and every job he gets because it is a hassle, got both of them arrested at Christmas because he decided to assault someone and she got in the middle to try stop it, has a tendency to disappear for days on drug fueled road trips and has driven away most of her friends. So I told her in great length, how I couldn't support her in this. My family and I will always love her and remain one of her greatest supports, but I cannot stand him and will not support anything that ties her to him. She now goes through phases of not talking to me because she is stubborn and doesn't like to hear my opinions of him, and she also likes to think she is a good influence on him and he can change. But when my parents had to go rescue her from a deserted rural road in the middle of the night because he had decided he didn't love her that week, how the f*ck can I possibly approve of that union?