Etiquette Dilemma- Unasking an attendant

It’s unfortunate that weddings so often bring out the worst in people — and not just the bride and groom, but sometimes their friends and families, too. Hopefully when you selected your wedding party, you included good friends. I don’t just mean friends that you are close with, but friends who will be supportive throughout your wedding and marriage process.   

But what happens when one of your friends surprises you and starts using your wedding to create drama? Six months ago, you were best buddies, and so this person is part of your wedding party, but now you dread every moment that you have to spend with this “friend.” Can you kick him or her out of the wedding party?

First you need honestly evaluate the situation. For instance, maybe you’re upset with a bridesmaid because she doesn’t want to come dress shopping with you or do wedding planning things together. This is a complaint a lot of brides have about their bridesmaids, but is this really something worth fighting about?

Maybe you two just have different interpretations of what it means to be a bridesmaid. She thinks it means she wears the dress you pick out and stands at the altar with you, but you think it means all that plus dedicating every weekend for a year to planning your wedding. If you really feel this way, you’re being a bridezilla and you need to knock it off. But maybe the problem is somewhere in the middle, and it’s just a misunderstanding. Perhaps she agreed to be your bridesmaid because she’s a friend and wants to be supportive, but just doesn’t enjoy all that wedding stuff. Don’t force it on her. Accept that she’s not going to be a big help in the planning because it’s just not her thing.

But what if there truly is real drama? It’s not a misunderstanding — she’s being catty and unreasonable. Now what? Once you’ve examined and ruled out the possibility that you’re driving your friends to this type of behavior by being unreasonable yourself, now you have a legitimate reason to remove an attendant from the party. But how?

It is considered bad form to “unask” someone, but if they’re really making your life miserable, you shouldn’t put up with that. If you’ve grown to hate her over the course of the wedding planning, the feeling is probably mutual, and she’ll be relieved to step out of the wedding. Just sit down and have an honest, but not accusatory, talk with her. Be gentle and kind, even if she is not. Take the high road as much as possible. Say something like “I can tell you really aren’t happy, and it’s making me unhappy, so I’d like you to step down from the wedding party. I hope you’ll still attend the wedding as a guest.” 
She’s probably already spent some money to be your bridesmaid, so give her that money back. Don’t just offer to repay her — that puts her in the awkward position of billing you. Just give her a check, and tell her to please let you know if you’ve miscalculated. This is only fair. Even if she’s been a total pain, she’s spent money to do a job you’re now firing her from, so you must reimburse her.

If you do decide to “fire” an attendant, know that you are likely ending your friendship. If you really don’t want to risk that, then you’ll need to turn the other cheek and just plan around the problem, remembering to keep your expectations low for this person.

Have you ever wanted to ask an attendant to step down? How did you handle it?

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