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Advice
How to Break Up With a Bridesmaid
Breakups suck. But they don't always have to end in tears and an unspoken agreement to never speak again. Here are some tips on how to breakup with a bridesmaid and hopefully keep the relationship intact.
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Words by Karina Prebble
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Breaking up with someone is never particularly nice. In fact, in terms of ick-factor, it probably ranks as number one. But the reality is that people and circumstances change all the time and breakups are an inevitable part of being human.

The good news however, is that it doesn't have to signal the end of a friendship (anyone remember that scene from Bridesmaids? Well, that's what we're trying to avoid here).

If you’ve found yourself in a position where you feel that one of your bridesmaids is no longer a suitable fit for the role and what it signified in your life, then it might be appropriate to call things off. But before you make any big decisions, let's first take a step back in order to understand the best way forward.

Think back to the early days

Think back to the beginning of your friendship. What was it that made you want to be around them? Was it their sense of humour, their openness or a shared interest in a particular activity or pastime? Have the things that once made them such a valued friend suddenly shifted or have your expectations changed since you got engaged? 

Try and identify if you’re asking something of them that was never really in their repertoire. For example, have they always been disorganised or is their behaviour completely out of character?

Assess the situation

Before doing anything crazy, take a moment to assess the situation objectively. What are the reasons behind your desire to ask your bridesmaid to step down? Is it a personality clash, a breach of trust, or perhaps a change in circumstances that makes their involvement difficult? Understanding the root cause will help you approach the conversation with empathy and clarity.

Have a heart-to-heart 

Once you’ve identified your reasons, it’s time to have an honest and open conversation with your bridesmaid - in person. 

Written words can be read with a "tone" that was never intended, and often the air can be cleared over a friendly wine. Your bridesmaid may not realise that you're feeling unsupported and may have stuff going on in her own life that you're not aware of. So clear, honest, compassionate communication is key.

At the end of the day, the wedding period is just one stage of life and you want to ensure it's not something that affects your relationships long term, so it's worth mustering up the courage to talk things through. 

Choose a private and comfortable setting where you can speak candidly without interruptions. Start by expressing your gratitude for their friendship and support, emphasising the importance of their role in your life. Then, gently broach the topic, being careful to use “I” statements to avoid sounding accusatory.

For example:

  • “I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, and I wanted to talk to you about something that’s been on my mind.”
  • “I value our friendship so much, and it’s important to me that we can talk about anything openly.”
  • “I’ve come to realise that the dynamics of the bridal party have shifted, and I want to discuss how we can move forward together.”

Be honest but kind

When discussing your reasons for wanting to breakup, honesty is key. However, it’s essential to deliver your message with kindness and compassion. Avoid placing blame or pointing fingers, and instead focus on expressing your feelings and concerns in a non-confrontational manner.

For example:

  • “I’ve noticed that we seem to have different visions for the wedding, and I’m worried it might cause tension between us.”
  • “I’ve noticed that our friendship dynamic has changed and if you feel comfortable, I think it would be best for both of us if you came to the wedding as a guest instead, or were involved in another capacity that feels right for you." 

Listen and validate

After sharing your thoughts, give your bridesmaid the opportunity to respond. Listen attentively to their perspective and validate their feelings, even if you don’t necessarily agree with them. Remember, this conversation is about finding a resolution that works for both parties, so be open to compromise and alternative solutions.

For example:

  • “I understand this might come as a surprise, and I want to hear how you’re feeling about it.”
  • “Your perspective is important to me, and I’m committed to working through this in a way that respects both of our needs.”
  • “I appreciate your honesty, and I’m here to listen and support you through this process.”

Offer alternatives

If your bridesmaid is receptive to the conversation but hesitant to step down entirely, consider offering alternative roles or responsibilities that they might feel more comfortable with. Whether it’s taking on a less demanding role in the wedding party or contributing in other ways to the wedding festivities, finding a compromise can help maintain the friendship while alleviating any potential tension.

For example:

  • “I understand if being a bridesmaid feels overwhelming right now, but I would still love for you to be a part of the wedding in a different capacity. Perhaps you could give a reading during the ceremony or help with some of the DIY projects?”
  • “If being a bridesmaid doesn’t feel like the right fit at the moment, I completely understand. Would you be open to attending as a guest instead, so we can still celebrate together without the added pressure?”
  • “I want you to feel comfortable and happy on our special day, so let’s brainstorm together and come up with a solution that works for both of us.”

Follow up with reassurance

After the conversation, be sure to follow up with your bridesmaid to reaffirm your friendship and reassure them of your support. Let them know that your decision was not made lightly and that you value their presence in your life, regardless of their role in the wedding. A heartfelt gesture, such as a handwritten note or a thoughtful gift, can go a long way in showing your appreciation and strengthening your bond. 

For example:

  • “I just wanted to reach out and thank you again for our conversation the other day. Your understanding and support mean a lot.”
  • “I know this wasn’t an easy conversation to have, but I want you to know how much I value our friendship and your presence in my life. Thank you for being so understanding and supportive.”

 
For more advice on how to breakup with a bridesmaid, join our Wedchat by Wedshed Facebook page. This scenario is unfortunately not uncommon and it can be helpful to hear from other brides-to-be how they handled things. Here are some comments from real Wedchat brides:

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