To be a bridesmaid or not to be a bridesmaid...That is the question.

My cousin recently sent me a text asking the below question:

*Tara and *Nicky have been asked to be in a wedding but neither of them want to be another wedding right now. They want you to tell them how to break the news to the bride-to-be. Thanks!

So because of Triple B, I’ve become the unofficial go-to person in the crew for all things wedding related. Funny. But then I realized this question (and my answer) would become a great post.

Before I respond, let’s get one important point out the way. Both Tara and Nicky are happily married women and have been hitched for over five years so this isn’t a case of single women “hating” on their engaged friends. Now, back to the question at hand, I think the answer is pretty simple: Both ladies should simply tell the bride that they have to decline her request. They should also genuinely thank the bride for the ask but let them know that because of work, school, family, money, time [pick one or three] they cannot accept such a commitment. They can let said bride(s) know that they will try to assist with the bridal shower planning or perhaps act as a hostess of some sort on the big day — if they truly can.

I would think most brides would appreciate such honesty and knowing this information as early as possible so they can either solicit another potential bridesmaid or just move forward with one or two less attendants. They might be a little bummed at first but they probably have a lot of other ish to worry about at this time in their life. I also think that as long as they feel supported and loved during the exciting but often stressful wedding planning hoopla, one less bridesmaid isn’t going to cause them to slit their wrist. I strongly suggest that the conversation occur face-to-face or at the very least via telephone. This isn’t the type of news to break in a text message or on Facebook. Put your big girl panties on and be sincere in your explanation.

Now I’ll admit there might be friction if said bride did make a significant sacrifice to be in your wedding, attend your child’s first birthday party or your graduation. True friendship shouldn’t be about tit for tat but let’s be honest here. And if you claim that you cannot afford to be a bridesmaid but the next month take a luxe vacation to Hawaii…you’ll probably receive a dirty look or two. Be woman enough to take it or be woman enough to make the sacrifice to wear the taffeta dress and uncomfortable shoes for a few hours while your girl says “I Do” during what is likely to be one of the most important days of her life.

Whatever your ultimate decision is in this type of situation, be firm, honest (sometimes the truth can sting) and as timely as possible. And remember that true friendship can weather — and has weathered — much bigger storms.

What would you do if you were in Tara and Nicky’s shoes? Sound off in the comments!

* – Names have been changed to protect the not-so innocent.