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9 Ways to Decline a Bridal Party Invitation

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Turning down a wedding invitation is hard enough. Sure, it’s easy if it’s an acquaintance or the child of an old work colleague.

However, those invitations are usually sent as an announcement and to encourage people to send gifts. Sometimes, they almost expect you to decline when you RSVP.

Declining invitations becomes trickier the better you know a person. If it’s a close friend or family member, declining an invitation can lead to hurt feelings.

People need to know how to decline politely to avoid burning bridges despite their other obligations.

Female hands with pink invitation and pink flower on white background

What if you’re invited to be part of someone’s bridal party, and you either can’t make it or don’t want to?

These invitations are hard to refuse because the person wants you to play a significant role in their wedding.

Learning how to decline a bridal party invitation with grace will help ease the pain of telling someone no.

Here are nine ways to decline a bridal party invitation when you simply can’t be there.

Two friends talking and  enjoying coffee together in a coffee shop.

Decline in Person

If someone invites you to be part of their bridal party and you run into them regularly, give them the courtesy of declining in person.

It might be an awkward conversation, but at least it lets them know you care and aren’t brushing it off.

Whether you can’t make it or you don’t feel comfortable being in the party, let them know how happy you are that they’re getting married and why you simply cannot be there.

Hopefully, they’ll understand, and it won’t cause irreparable damage to the relationship.

Friends having conversation hugging at a restaurant

Be Kind

Don’t bring up any grudges or past issues that are the reasons why you don’t want to be a bridesmaid. That will only start an argument and build more resentment between the two of you.

Instead, be the bigger person and spare your friend the stress of drama before their wedding.

Be direct but concise when you tell them your decision. You don’t owe them an explanation but make it as kind as possible if you do explain.

Portrait of woman receiving card and bouquet of flowers

Send Flowers

Suppose you can’t decline in person. Smooth things over with a nice bouquet of flowers.

When someone asks you to be part of their bridal party, it’s more than just a standard invite. This type of invitation deserves more than a short response.

Flowers let the person know you care about them and wish them well.

It eases the blow of turning down their invitation.

Flowers are perfect because some gifts will come off as you are trying to assuage your guilt over not being there for them. Choose light colors to fit the wedding theme and wish them all the best.

Tell Them as Early as Possible

Regardless of your relationship with the bride, do them the favor of telling them early that you won’t be in their bridal party.

Don’t wait until it’s close to their wedding date and all of the accompanying celebrations.

It’s easy to feel anxious about declining and put it off, but you’re only making it worse for both of you. So get it out of the way and give them time so they can find someone to replace you.

Best friends talking and hugging each other

Let Them Know Why

You don’t owe them a reason why you can’t be in their bridal party, but sometimes explaining why will be a big help.

What if you’re expecting and they don’t know it? You could also be under the gun at work and face a very stressful deadline.

Perhaps being in a bridal party is just too much for you to handle at the moment. Even if you’re close friends or relatives with the bride, the timing or circumstances may be wrong.

Tell them why, and hope that they understand. If the relationship is reciprocal, they won’t hold it against you after the wedding.

Ask How You Can Help in Other Ways

Being a bridesmaid is tough for introverts who don’t love the limelight.

A bridesmaid role comes with a lot of obligations.

You’ll meet a ton of people, stand on stage, toast in public, and host parties you’d rather not be at. All of that can be very overwhelming and trigger considerable anxiety and stress.

Let whoever invited you know how much it will stress you out, and politely decline.

Ask them if there is any other way that you can contribute to the success of their wedding in the background instead.

Best female friends having talking and breakfast at home

Don’t Make Excuses

Don’t take the risk of lying or hiding your reason for declining. For example, if someone is asking you to be in their bridal party, you two probably know each other well.

Your friend or relative may be able to sniff out a lie when you’re telling one.

Being caught in a lie is way worse than telling the truth or not giving a reason. It’s not worth the risk if you want the relationship to last after the wedding.

Best Wish Card with Gift Box Background

Send a Nice Gift

Buying a personal gift is an excellent way to communicate love to the bride after you have declined their invitation.

However, don’t go overboard with your gift. It may come off as paying to absolve your guilt.

Send them to the spa for a day or buy them a luxury bathrobe. Get them something they love to let them know that you care about them and wish them well.

two friends hugging each other

Thank Them for the Invitation

Don’t act like you’re above the invitation or that you don’t know why someone invited you to be part of their bridal party.

Not everyone has a handful of close-knit friends. The invitation may seem like it came out of the blue to you, but to the bride, you might be one of their best friends!

Always thank them for thinking of you and tell them that you appreciate them thinking of you. Let them know, however, that you can’t be there.

Explain why if you want; otherwise, move on and hug them as you go. There may be some hurt feelings at first, but time will ease the pain, and you should be good as friends going forward.