Post # 1
One of my friends is getting married and asked me to be an “honorary bridesmaid.” She already has two bridesmaid (to match the two groomsman, according to her), and we are friends though not very close, so I wouldn’t expect for her to ask me to be a bridesmaid. At the same time I’m not comfortable with the idea of being an “honorary bridesmaid” either because it sounds like it’s basically a sub-bridesmaid. Unless it’s referring to someone who would have been a bridesmaid but couldn’t make it to the wedding, the concept seems odd to me.
I would be happy to participate in her bach party, shower, or even do a reading if she asked, but I’m not down with the title she’s offering.
What’s the most tactful way for me to decline?
Post # 2
myth : what even is that? Anyhow, if you don’t have to buy a dress or anything I would leave it alone. If however you have to do or buy anything you can decline and say you’re saving money or something. Same goes for speech, you’re anxious in front crowds.
This is odd, how did she phrase it?
Post # 3
Where I grew up you’d be an “attendant” which means you hang and get ready with the bride, go to rehearsal dinner, wear a boutteniere etc. Maybe pass out programs or something. Lady equivalent of usher I actually like that better than a Bridesmaid or Best Man because you do everything fun but don’t buy a dress! She probably just felt bad about only having two bridesmaids. But if you’re not really close at all that doesn’t make sense…
…so I’d just say “you are so sweet but don’t worry about me I’m happy to come as a guest!”
Post # 4
What she’s really saying is that she needs a matchy matchy set of human props. If there were a third groomsman you might have made the cut, but since there wasn’t, you didn’t. She might also mean she wants you to participate in pre-wedding events, get your hair done with the rest of them, or do a reading.
If you are happy to just participate, I would roll my eyes but would not necessarily start trouble. The title means nothing, so turning it down is meaningless, too. If there is anything she asks you to do, evaluate it based on how you feel. She might just plan to honor you in some way, but is less than gracious in her approach.
Post # 5
myth : maybe she doesn’t want to use the word “moh”? Or maybe pp was right and it’s a special attendant? I’d ask her to specify what she’s asking of you.
Post # 6
A honorary bridesmaid is stupid….and it basically means you didn’t make the cut but she still wants you to wear a dress or their colors. Usually you aren’t even standing up there, it’s basically a title and usually because the groom might only have 3 people but she has 4…so instead of just having uneven numbers someone gets the cut.
I know a bride who did the whole “honorary” thing, and had her 7 bridesmaids all wear one dress….while her other 10 (yes 10) “honorary” bridesmaids wore another dress. They didn’t *do* anything…they sat in the pews with the rest of the guests. I think she did do some photos with them. Basically it boiled down to her having a billion friends and sorority sisters and she knew she coulnd’t reasonably have 17 bridesmaids.
Post # 7
Honorary bridesmaid = errand runner, free labor for various bridal DIY projects, expected to contribute financially to shower, bachelorette, but not valued enough to stand up as part of the wedding party.
It’s a “honor” I would decline.
Post # 8
Thanks for the thoughts! Interesting to hear the different perspectives on this.
I personally plan to decline but would love some suggestions of how I can word it so that I don’t hurt her feelings.
Post # 9
Did she explain what it means at all? I’d maybe ask for clarification..
The way MrsBuesleBee : explains it sounds kind of nice. You get to be with the bridal party on the wedding day, but don’t have to stand in front of everyone and shell out on dress. but the way misslucy : describes it sounds terrible.. you get all the ‘duties’ of being a bridesmaid, but none of the recognition… and both sound equally likely to be true.
I think it’s silly when people focus so much on equalling the numbers because it makes it seem like you care more about symetrical photos than your actual relationship with the people you asked to stand with you..
Post # 10
Since it’s a completely made-up thing, the only way to know what she means is ask her. Most of the times I’ve heard of this honorary nonsense, it meant wearing a specific color to match the others and potentially being her errand b*tch the day of. Blech.
If you’re not interested no matter what, just say something like “Thank you so much for thinking of me, but I really am just looking forward to attending as a guest and being with my FI/spouse.”
Post # 11
“I’m touched that you asked me to be an honorary bridesmaid. I’d love to come to the events and I’d be happy to do something in the ceremony but I don’t think a title is necessary 🙂 I’m happy doing those things as a friend”.
Post # 12
This might get me a few dings, but hopefully it will add an additional perspective. I have 6 bridesmaids and 2 girls who are part of our house party with our ushers. Having a house party is very common among our friends and family, so it seemed like a normal thing. After hearing from other brides on here, however, I realize the concept seems odd and even rude to some. My bridesmaids are my closest friends and my Future Sister-In-Law. They’re the people I talk to the most. One of my house party girls is my younger cousin who I’m very close to. She lives halfway across the country and is just wrapping up her first year of college. I did not want to add the stress of buying a dress or anything else to her, but I wanted her to be included because she’s very special to me. The other is a friend who I talk to less often than the other girls but who has always been incredibly encouraging, especially regarding my relationship. She doesn’t know any of the bridesmaids, as I know her from a former job rather than school. I didn’t quite see her as being a bridesmaid, but it didn’t feel right not having her included at all. I hope neither of them feel that they are “less” than the bridesmaids, because that is not the intention. They were not required to buy a particular dress, they do not have any duties (and certainly won’t be doing any “bitch work”), and they will be included in all pre-wedding festivities.
ETA: They will walk down the aisle during the processional and carry a single flower and sit in the front pews.
I do honestly see why this is a turn turn off for many people. Like I said, this is the norm from what I’ve experienced in the weddings I’ve attended or been a part of, and there was never a negative connotation associated, so I thought it was something everyone did. I hate to think there’s no gray area–that’s it’s either bridesmaid or nothing at all. I might have rethought things had I not asked them before, but I still see them as friends/family that we’re so greatful to have support us on our wedding day, and I will do everything I can to make sure they feel loved and valued and just as much a part of everything as the bridal party.
OP, I totally get where you’re coming from. I hope your friend was approaching from a place of inclusion and not with the intention of having you be her errand girl, but I understand why you’d feel uncomfortable with the role.
Post # 13
You could say “I’m so flattered/honored that you’d like me to be a part of your big day. I’m feeling a little overstretched with <insert comittments: work, my choir, etc.> and I’m not sure I can commit to being an honorary bridemaid. But I’m so excited to attend as a guest and take part in the upcoming events!”
Post # 14
myth : that’s just weird.. my Fiance has 3 on his side and I have 4. I didnt ask 3 to be BMs and the 4th one to be an honorary Bridesmaid or Best Man.. like what is that?
I have 1 flower girl (best man’s daughter) she is 3 y.o, she will walk down the isle in front of me and throw petals (hopefully) .. one of my BMs has a 9 month old daughter, she is an “honorary”flowers girl meaning that I bought her a cute dress that matched the Flower Girl (not identical) and she will be in some pics looking cute with her poofy tulle dress. That’s all.
What an Honorrary Bridesmaid or Best Man does I have no idea.
Post # 15
“Thank you so much for thinking of me . I wont be able to be an honorary bridesmaid but I’d be happy to help with x and Y. (Be specific on exactly what you can help with or she will have you doing crafts and set up everyday for the next year….which is why she made you an honorary (lol) bridesmaid anyway)
You seem like a very sweet person so don’t let her take advantage of you.