Generally speaking, getting asked to be a bridesmaid (or a groomsman) is a very good thing. It means someone in your life feels close enough to you to have you be part of their big day.
But… there are some exceptions to that rule. Financial problems, health issues, scheduling conflicts (I once had two weddings in one weekend!), or, you know, being asked by someone you’ve never even met before.
The AskReddit stories that follow don’t all fall into the above ‘acceptable’ reason column, but most still make a great deal of sense once you read them.
1. Not a good idea
“I turned down an opportunity to be in a wedding party on the summit of Longs Peak in Colorado. Start hiking at 3 am so we could be off the summit before the afternoon lightening storms killed us. Sounds great! (actually sounds awful, let’s be real.)
All of us were in sh!t shape, bride especially. WTF were they thinking? I heard later that it was absolutely miserable. I guess it turned out so badly that multiple people dropped out of the hike. We didn’t get the full story for months. Lots of minor injuries and they didn’t make it to the summit until noon.
No one could tell her it was a stupid idea.
This was long before social media. I shudder to think what she could have come up with in the age of social media. They would been dropping on to the summit with parachutes.
Yes, they divorced in a few years.
I have no idea why a chubby bride thought her chubby friends would all enjoy hiking up a 14K foot mountain for a sunrise wedding.”
2. No thanks
“Yes….I declined because I saw the groom to be picking up the bride by her neck. We were young, we were out clubbing, I don’t know why these two were even trying to get married, this was back in say, 1998. Anyway, groom-to-be picks up bride by the neck, I call cops, they come arrest him, she bails him out same night. It was about 3 or 4 months later that they were getting married and she asked me to be the maid of honor! No can do I told her, I told her the truth. And she was okay with it.
They were over within a year. I just remember she was crying and so embarrassed that she had just gotten all these gifts for the wedding, and that all those people who came to her wedding would find out that it was all for nothing. As far as I know she moved back in with her parents for a while, she was quite young.”
3. Short notice
“Bride asked me to be a bridesmaid on a Wednesday. Wedding was on a Saturday. Across the country. She claimed she had ‘asked my Dad to tell me’ (I don’t even live with him anymore) and spent years without talking to me after I declined.
Not a big loss.”
4. Sister story
“My sister asked me to be her Maid of Honor and I declined. She was like “What the heck, why?!” I told her “You’re just asking me to be nice and because you think it’s the right thing to do. But I’m not your best friend. Jocelyn is your best friend, and she should be your maid of honor.” My sister cried and said what a good sister i was. So i guess i demoted myself to bridesmaid.”
5. Excited for her
“She asked, and thus ended up being one of the first people I told I was pregnant. I couldn’t even go to the wedding—I lived 500 miles away and on the wedding day I was 8 months pregnant on no-travel orders. Baby was born 2 weeks later.
Bride was excited, not angry.
Over a decade later I am still sad I missed that wedding though—so many of our friends and families have not all been together since.”
6. She got mad
“I was a broke college student that had my own bills to pay on a student worker part time wage. She expected me to buy my own dress, and the one she picked out was $400 and refused to change to a cheaper one. I literally made $400 per month so there was no way I could afford it. She got mad and has not talked to me since, which does not bother me because she was being extremely selfish.”
7. A proposition
“I’ve said no at least three times because I absolutely hate being a bridesmaid. But each time I’ve offered to play violin for the ceremony instead. All three times I was taken up on the offer.
Saved me the expense of being a bridesmaid, saved the bride $ on music for the ceremony (I always played these weddings for free), and I still got to be an important part of the event. Win, win, win.”
“I told her I wasn’t even going to be able to attend the wedding because of health issues. She had selected an out-of-state rural location that was not accessible for my wheelchair. I wouldn’t have been able to afford the trip to begin with anyway. She got upset and said I was just being cruel.
I guess she talked to someone else or had time to calm down and called me the next day apologizing for accusing me if trying to ruin her special day. I mean I had been dealing with the same health issues long before she got engaged or even started dating the man she was about to marry. Also, asking someone in a wheelchair to attend a wedding in the forest off a hiking trail with no easy access isn’t well thought out is it?”
9. Very weird
“Had a girl I had never met or heard of before call and ask me to be her bridesmaid.
She was a friend of a friend whom I had helped out years before by being a bridesmaid and doing all her flowers and such because that friend wasn’t very well off. Apparently this girl thought I was some sort of volunteer paratrooper bridesmaid florist? It was very weird.
I told her that I couldn’t because:
A) I didn’t know her
B) I was going to have a three week old baby at the time if my due date was correct and didn’t want to drive 8 hours with a newborn.
She seemed ok with this and hung up, only to call again a few minutes later to ask if I was refusing because he was so much older than her and I was being judgmental and I said no, because I literally knew none of this because I do not know you. I have never heard of either you or your fiance before. Which is – again- the major reason I would not be your bridesmaid…
I wished her every happiness and hung up.”
10. A long story
“My sister had a destination wedding in the beginning of August of this year. I have three sisters, and the one getting married is the youngest one. All of the sisters would be bridesmaids (plus like 5 of her best friends). Problem was, I got pregnant and my baby was due in the middle of June. Fortunately, she was also pregnant and due in March, and she totally understood.
The timing was so borderline. If he was born on his due date, he would only be 7 weeks old by the wedding. They recommend waiting until two weeks after the 6 weeks vaccinations to fly, but they could do the vaccinations as early as 4 weeks. If he was early, we might be able to make it. If he was late, maybe not. This was also my first child, so I had NO clue what to expect. Maybe it would be chaos and traveling was a horrible idea. I just had no way of knowing.
As it turned out, I had an induction 5 weeks early due to a medical emergency. I missed all of the wedding planning stuff due to being sick and then having a newborn. But baby was healthy, really easygoing, and it was looking like I was going to be able to go. Not only that, but my husband wanted to take two weeks of his parental leave so that we could take a family vacation just the three of us. We were going to island hop for two weeks, visit one of his friends, etc. We were so excited. I told my husband that I would book our travel and accommodations for Oahu first (where my sister was getting married) and the rest of the trip was up to him. I was down for whatever. I bought my bridesmaid dress and booked our travel. Everything was coming up Millhouse.
Then my husband passed away suddenly two and a half weeks before the wedding. Obviously I was a total f*cking wreck. But literally all of my family was going to Hawaii for the wedding. My in-laws live across the country from me. Nobody wanted me to be left alone so they insisted baby and I still come to Hawaii. One of my sisters helped me cancel my husband’s flight, move mine so that I wouldn’t have to travel alone, cancel my accommodations and crash in their room with the baby.
Now, I thought it was obvious I wasn’t going to be in the wedding anymore. I thought I didn’t have to have that conversation. It was already always up in the air whether I would be able to attend the wedding at all, let alone be a bridesmaid. I thought it would be clear that a wedding would be really f*cking hard for me as it is. I didn’t want to ruin all the videos and pictures with my thousand yard stare, running mascara, and bags under my eyes.
Well, it just never occurred to my baby sister that I wasn’t still one of her 8 bridesmaids. God love her, she is amazing and thoughtful and the most loving and sweet person I know. But she just had a lot going on and she probably hadn’t thought about it.
The day of the rehearsal, I put the baby in a stroller and hoofed it from the resort. We walked around Waikiki and I tried to not be desperately miserable behind sunglasses. I took pictures of my son with the Duke Kahanamoku statue, bought and ate a rapidly melting pineapple soft serve cone, and window shopped. My parents called me and told me to come back to the hotel so we could “go shopping” so I sighed and went back. When I got there, they were like, OK we’re going to the rehearsal. I said, uh you guys are, I’m not. They said, “[your sister] wants you there.”
I thought it was weird, but I went. And I sat in the back with the baby while everyone chatted and got directed around. Then the wedding coordinator kept making references to where I’ll be standing and sitting, etc. All the bridesmaids and groomsmen and my sister and brother in law were standing fanned out up front, when the wedding coordinator started talking about where in the order I will be standing during the wedding (mind you, at this point I’m sitting in the third row with my baby).
So I said flatly, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m not a bridesmaid.” And my sister, standing where the bride stands in front of everyone says, “yes you are.”
And I said, “I thought you knew I wasn’t going to be. I didn’t have time to get my dress hemmed. I didn’t even bring my dress.”
I don’t remember what happened after that except for they reset to do the whole march again and I picked up my baby and walked away to sob behind some bushes. Once I got all my sh!t together I went back and watched the rest of the rehearsal. Afterwards I immediately went back to the room, where one of my sister’s friends was working on handwritten name cards.
That friend was the first people who had donated to a GoFundMe after my husband died, so as soon as I parked my stroller in the room I started crying and thanking her. She gave me a big hug and I told her about how I had a mega meltdown during the rehearsal, and she held me and told me it was OK, that it’s understandable. My sister walked into the room while I was crying and she gave me a big hug. I told her that I was sorry, I messed up her rehearsal, and I should have told her I wasn’t going to be her bridesmaid. She said it was OK, she wasn’t mad.
SO yeah. That’s how that went. The wedding was hard for me, but I was happy for my sister. She still included me as much as I was willing to be included. She still had my makeup and hair done, and I was in her video a little and in family photos. During the reception my sister and BIL gave a speech, and she gave a shout out to my husband and I ugly cried. Anyway, I’m still glad that I went. I love my sister, she was there for me when I had my baby and she was there for me when my husband died. I wish I could have been there for her during her wedding, but I did the best that I could. Super glad I wasn’t a bridesmaid, though.”
“My half sister asked me to be her bridesmaid at her extravagant, not small wedding. All good, until I was told she wasn’t inviting my dad, because he ‘wasn’t her family’ despite financially supporting her for 15 years while her dad refused to pay any parental contribution.
I wanted nothing to do with the wedding after that. I attended, and went to bed very swiftly after I had a free meal.
To this day, my sister is still very standoffish and rude to my dad. It’s caused no end of drama in our house, but I love my dad to pieces and I will always stick up for him and all the amazing things he’s helped us achieve and experience even as adults. He’s a very wonderful man.”
12. Not on speaking terms
“My ex husband’s sister had asked me to be her bridesmaid. I declined because it was shortly after his affair and there was a lot of bad blood between his family and me. It was really heartbreaking to do; we had been best friends for years prior. Unfortunately, we no longer speak.”
13. You’re disinvited
“A friend of a friend asked me to be a groomsman at his wedding. I thought it was odd because we only ever saw one another when we were hanging out with our mutual friend. I don’t even remember if I ever met his fiance.
At the time my wife was pregnant and due to give birth right around the time of the wedding and also I had just gotten a job again after being unemployed and was trying to catch back up on finances so paying for a tux wasn’t an exciting prospect. I declined and told him I didn’t want to leave them in a lurch if my wife ended up going into labor because it was such an important day for them. I thanked him for inviting me and told him I would attend the wedding but this way at least they weren’t depending on me.
He understood and was fine with it but called me a couple days later, clearly embarrassed and told me his fiance was furious and had disinvited me from the wedding.
They ended up getting divorced a few years later.”
14. You don’t know me
“My then-boyfriend’s brother’s fiance asked me to be her maid of honor. It was a shotgun wedding due to her pregnancy but it was also about 6 weeks away. I barely knew her and thought it was really weird. I told her she should choose someone she’s known longer and has a deeper connection with or perhaps a family member. I also pointed out that if my bf and I broke up, she would probably hate having me in their wedding photos. That’s got a weird reaction from everyone involved.”
15. A true bridezilla
“I had a friend from high school ask me to be her maid of honor. I said yes, but I was worried about the money. I bought the dress, started planning her shower and she was already hounding me about her bachelorette party, even though she was four months away from getting married. Bridal shower went well in my opinion, until the bride kept making side comments about how there weren’t enough games, or prizes. (I was recently unemployed and didn’t have money, but my parents were helping.) I had planned four games, and I thought that was fair. She also said the food wasn’t good enough either, and spent the entire time talking to her other friends and ignoring me.
The next day she messages me saying we need to meet and plan her bachelorette party. She wanted all the bridesmaids to come over and have dinner. Well, night of the dinner I was really sick. I have a lot of health concerns and she was aware of them, but still got mad at me. Keep in mind I had been planning and trying to accommodate her requests for the bachelorette party while also making it feasible. She wanted an over night weekend get away in a air B&B and it would have been like $300 per person or something like that. I tried to convince her it wasn’t feasible and wanted to plan something else. I found something else to do, but hadn’t told her about it yet.
She messaged me later that night saying how disappointed she was that I wasn’t being a good maid of honor, and that she shouldn’t have to plan her own bachelorette party, and she basically yelled at me and said that I was a terrible friend because I did not do what she wanted exactly. Our entire friendship she always made it about herself, and I had distanced myself from her recently, and so I was surprised she asked me to be her MOH. After that message I was like fine, I’m done. And I quit her wedding.
We are no longer friends, and When we met in person to discuss it she blew up at me for not being there for her, that I was ruining her special day, and that she wasn’t getting what she wanted. I knew I had done nothing wrong and she was being a bridezilla. Their wedding recently happened and I could care less. She was a toxic person and I don’t need that negativity. Sure I feel bad about it, but I also know I needed to stand up for myself as our entire friendship she always walked over me.”