Want to say 'no' to being a maid-of-honour? Here’s how!

bride and bridesmaids in swimsuits on hen do with hen accessories

Being a maid-of-honour or even a bridesmaid can be hugely exciting and a big honour, however, it takes responsibility, a lot of time, money and energy, all dedicated to making someone else happy. So if you really don't want to be a bridesmaid, plucking up the courage to turn down an invite might seem like a nightmare.

A new survey from Ginger Ray which seeks to answer some of weddings’ trickiest questions reveals that almost two-thirds (63%) of Brits think it was acceptable to say no to being a member of the wedding party based on the financial burden and additional responsibilities it poses. 

Only a third of Brits (30%) believe the couple getting married should cover every cost for the wedding party, and on the contrary, over half (54%) said they shouldn’t pay at all. So with the average cost of attending pre-wedding events and the big day itself as a bridal party member reported to cost a whopping £1,459, the financial burden could be huge.¹

Whether it is the additional costs that come with being a member of the bridal party or just the additional responsibility and commitment that comes with being a bridesmaid or maid of honour- you have every right to say no to being in the wedding party.

However, how do you go about saying no without potentially destroying a friendship? Jess Martin, a wedding planning expert at Ginger Ray shares 3 top tips for turning down an invitation to be a maid-of-honour or a bridesmaid.

Have confidence in your decision
“It’s totally acceptable to decline an invitation to play a part in someone’s big day, and not just for financial or time-related reasons. Once you have made the choice to say no, tell the bride as soon as possible so alternative arrangements can be made. The way you go about it is what really matters, and if someone loves you enough to have invited you to be in their wedding, then they will completely understand the reasons why you can’t accept.”

Be open
“You need to lead with honesty, and make sure you communicate in a way that’s totally clear and leaves no room for misinterpretation - regardless of how they have sent the invitation in the first place. I’d say this conversation needs to be either face to face, or over the phone, to limit the lack of nuance that comes with text-based communication.”

Express your gratitude
“Make sure you thank them for the opportunity, and that knowing they want you involved in their wedding is something you really appreciate, and then just explain that you’re unable to accept their kind offer, and give them your reasons. They love you, they will understand.”

But as the bride, how can you graciously accept your friend declining your invite to be in the wedding party? Jess shares her thoughts:
“Of course, it is disappointing if your closest friends turn down an invite to be a bridesmaid or maid of honour, however, you should remember that they probably feel as bad, if not worse than you. This is your time to be a good friend, listen to why they are unable to make the commitment and accept their reasons. Remember, they will still be there at your wedding. 

“Don’t let this set the tone for your wedding, remember you set the energy for the big day. Be grateful that they are there to celebrate you. Allow yourself time to digest your feelings then do your best to move forwards and get excited to marry the love of your life!”

To find out how to answer more difficult questions you might encounter when wedding planning, head to Ginger Ray.

bride and hens in swim suits drinking out of pouches

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