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Choosing the wedding party

ask jen by Kristin | posted on October 25, 2012 at 11:46am

I’m in the process of choosing my bridesmaids. There’s one girl who I feel I’m expected to ask because two years ago she asked me to be in her wedding — but I really don’t want to. What should I do?

Kristin, Amherst

TAGGED: ask jen, bridesmaid, bridesmaids, wedding party, wedding planning

Jen's Reply

Dear Kristin,

Weddings are not quid-pro-quo scenarios, so the expectation that a person should be asked to be a bridesmaid in your wedding — just because you were in hers — is silly. A bride should ask her closest friends and family members – those women she wants to be surrounded by during her engagement and wedding day – to be bridesmaids. No more, no less.

Of course, we all know the reality of these situations, however, which speaks to a larger problem: that the bridesmaid process has become part popularity contest, part payback, and at times even an opportunity to slight someone or make a misdirected point (ie: “I’ll show her for not inviting me to her weekend cottage.”) This is not what your wedding should be about, of course.

So back to your scenario. If you don’t want her to be a bridesmaid, you are under no obligation to ask her. The underlying question I sense here, though, is how to deal with it.  You can do so two ways: ignore it completely — after all, you don’t owe every single person who you haven’t asked to be a bridesmaid a detailed explanation of why they weren’t asked. Or you can take the direct route and talk to her, explaining that you’d love to have her — but you’re having a small wedding party, but that you still hope she can be part of your wedding celebration.

One more option: ask her to take part in some other honored capacity, like doing a ceremony reading or lighting a candle. But the same rules apply – you are under no obligation to “return the favor,” so to speak.

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