[dropcap]The [/dropcap]invitation arrives in the mail. You’re invited…to celebrate…the union of Johnny Jackass and Tina Still Owes You $50 from that vacation in Cabo. You’re filled with dread. Maybe it’s from your roommate in college. Maybe it’s from a party friend, someone you like to hit the clubs with but rarely call when you can’t contain your tears. Maybe it’s from your best friend. The truth is, it doesn’t matter who it’s from, if it fills you with dread you should decline. Busy, sorry, all the best.
This isn’t the hard decision or complex dilemma that people make it out to be. If you’re not thrilled for someone, beaming to the brim with joy, and excited to be present for one of the most important moments of their life, then you shouldn’t be going to it. And, if we’re being honest, they wouldn’t want you to go anyway.
I know we’ve all heard the moaning, the complaining, the detestation many people seem to have for weddings but that’s because these people keep going to them when they shouldn’t.
If a bride-to-be asks you to be the bridesmaid or maid-of-honour and you’re not thrilled, just say no. It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to politely decline. Feel free to be self-deprecating if that helps, I can’t possibly, too busy, wouldn’t want to drop the ball on duties, not good at planning parties, etc.
What is not okay to do, though so many do it, is to say yes sure, why not and then spend the next year shit talking your friend only to use the bridesmaids dress as a sled come winter, or burn it in some insane bitchy ritual. Also not okay is accepting the role and then weeks before a wedding bailing out. [note: I did this once, while I still gave months of advance notice, we had already had the dresses ordered. So I did what any decent person would do, I paid for the dress anyway and later sold it on ebay].
But it’s rude to decline. No, it’s not
But my friend will hate me. Sure, there might be some awkwardness but if you explain it like a grownup, the awkwardness will pass and the friendship will be salvageable (if you want it to be) and if you want the friendship to end, it does so kindly, mildly, on good terms.
But it’s mean to say no. Totally incorrect. What’s mean is acting like a huge asshole for a year while your friend tries to plan their wedding, faking your way through the ceremony, getting shitfaced at their expense, and then months later when your friend finally finds out what a cow you’ve been behind her back – she’ll have your face forever attached to all her wedding photos, a lifetime reminder of her bad decision making and your noodle of a spine. Now that’s mean.
People often get confused about what “being nice” is really all about and I think many weddings have been ruined (or at least friendships have) because of it. Now, I’m not saying you have to blurt out I’M NOT HAPPY YOU’RE GETTING MARRIED BECAUSE I’M JEALOUS AND YOU’RE DEFINITELY GOING TO GET DIVORCED when you’re invited to be in or attend the ceremony. If you’re not super close, count yourself lucky because your response can be via email, phone, or mail (by whatever method you were invited). If you are close though, you’ll probably have to come up with a good reason. It’s up to you whether you want to truth it or white lie your way out of the situation (just don’t make it into a bigger deal). Whichever way you decide to go, if you want the friendship to remain in tact, say so, at the end of the conversation, make it clear that you’re happy for that but simply can’t fulfill the duty they want. Make it clear that you care for them. The person will either act like a grown up and all will be good or they’ll act like an asshole and then feel free to send them to me, I’ll set them straight.
Finally, be honest with yourself, if you’re not really friends with a person, this may be the perfect opportunity to go your separate ways (BEFORE THE WEDDING THOUGH!).
How do you say no to being a bridesmaid? Just say no.
How do you decline a wedding invitation? Just say no.
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