Being asked by the bride to walk alongside her on the most important day of her life is pretty special. It's also nervewracking to give all of the power over to a woman who could make you walk down the aisle in a flourescent yellow mermaid skirt. Nonetheless, the initial ball is in your court.
But what if you really, really need to decline the offer? There could be a number of reasons for doing so. All of them need to be articulated in a cleverly thought out way to reduce the pain on the bride's face when you tell her.
You've got the kind of 24/7 job that requires you to take spontaneous trips...
Firstly, congratulations. You're earning a living and forging ahead towards the great Australian dream. Unfortunately high-paying stressful jobs tend to take up a lot of your time, and cull your social life dramatically. Being involved in the wedding party is a bigger commitment than you might think. You'll need to be around to help the bride be fitted for an entire outfit (probably multiple times) and participate in a few rehearsals as well. Not to mention you need to be AT the wedding. So if you're not sure where you're going to be tomorrow let alone in a few months time, you're better off saying arriverdeci to that silken gown.
... Or you're experiencing borderline poverty.
Weddings are naturally very expensive. You may not be taking the next step towards a lifelong commitment, but you'll be helping to fund it. Wishing wells, chipping in for your own dress, shoes, and gift giving all make the experience a serious hit to the back pocket. Explain the bride that while you're thankful for the opportunity, you'd hate to be stressed down the track because of a lack of funds.
You're not very close to the bride.
Unsurprisingly many bridezillas choose bridesmaids they barely know just because they don't want the wedding party to look too small in photographs. If you feel like you're just a spot-filler, you have every right to say no. Besides, it'll be worse at the reception when the bride's family ask how you two know each other... and you mention the fact you hadn't seen her in five years.
The bride is having a child-free wedding and you've got kids.
Child-free weddings are all the rage right now. Mainly because it means the couple-to-be have less mouths to feed and don't have to worry about pesky little fingers eating the cake before its time. But if you don't want to leave the kids with a babysitter or your parents, fear not, just decline the offer and take care of them yourself. Brides understand that the commitment of having children is a non-negotiable role you can't palm off to just anyone.
You won't know anyone else at the wedding.
Sure, you and the bride go way back, but she's moved on and made new friends... none of which you know. If you're not the social type and would rather not surround yourself with new people, maybe offer to spend time with the bride after the wedding. That way you can catch up with the person you really want to see - and you'll have her full attention.
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