The Sweet Christian Bride

Letting a Bridesmaid Go: Part I

by admin on September 14, 2011 in Bridal Party with No Comments


It is one of the strangest things to think that a friend close enough to be a maid of honor or bridesmaid would need to be demoted from duty before your wedding.  Tragic, really.  But it happens, which makes it worth talking about.  In my circle of acquaintances alone, I know of two brides who have grieved this loss during their wedding planning.

Why would this ever happen? What do you do?  How can you prevent this? 

I’m no expert in psychology, but in the two cases I know of, both were a result of co-depedency.  Two friends—best friends—who spend so much time with each other, who are on the same wave length, who are in the thick of life’s adventure together, can miss the reality that one of both of them find their worth and purpose in their friendship with the other. 

If this is the case, then when the bride begins detaching from the best friend and attaching to her fiancé, the friend often can’t cope and will begin to recoil or lash out in response.  Call it jealousy, call it abandonment, call it a loss of identity, call it whatever you will.  It is such a deep wound on one or both ends that it seems irreparable and often times is dismissed as such.

This is just one scenario, but there are as many more as there are broken people. 

Your bridesmaid might be authentically happy for you and wishes she could be present and celebratory throughout your wedding season but can’t because she is dealing with major stress or tragedy in her own life.  She might be acting distant, distraught, or even disrespectful because she is so overwhelmed by fear, pain, or grief in her life apart from you. 

Your wedding might reopen a wound that has never healed.  It might be another drain on resources that she already feels depleted in.  Or it might simply be hours in her day that she doesn’t have because of the unexpected demands that have already claimed her time. 

For her sake especially, she might need to be released from your wedding party.  Not because she is angry at you or is being a bad friend, but because she needs permission from you to tend to the emergency in her own life and honestly cannot fulfill the vows of a bridesmaid that she had hoped to.

Probably the most difficult scenario of a broken-off bridesmaid is when the bride is the culprit.  I applaud the bridesmaid who is close enough to a bride to lovingly hold her accountable in bridezilla acts rather than just putting up with it.  Whether the bridesmaid chooses to abdicate or the bride asks her to take her opinions elsewhere, if the bride doesn’t not want to hear truth or acknowledge it, what outcome is left but a rift between friends. 

This is the scenario that is easiest to salvage in the sense that the bride is a direct influence on the situation.  It is the hardest, however, because no bride (no person, for that matter) enjoys criticism, especially in a season that is “all about her” and that should be so joyous.

Again, these three scenarios are not comprehensive of all reasons why a bride might have to let a bridesmaid go, but they represent three of the most common.

I hope they never happen to you, but if they do, how do you have the tough conversation with your dear friend?  Stay tuned for Part II to find out.

By Lindsay

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