How to politely ask for a date change or decline being in a wedding?

posted 2 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 46
253 posts
Helper bee

You don’t ask. Your kid is 1, they won’t remember if you didn’t celebrate their b-day on the actual date. Be prepared if you cancel being Maid/Matron of Honor for consequences though.

Post # 47
9754 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

I wouldn’t ask her to change I would just say “Aw, that’s my anniversary and my kids birthday so I won’t be able to make it.” My kids birthday 100% trumps anything else going in (including anniversaries).

Maybe me and my BFF are weird but she knows my anniversary (all three!) and my daughters birthday. Are you sure your bestie doesn’t know it’s on that date?

Post # 48
1028 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: February 2020

I too am in the camp that I absolutely would skip a wedding if it coincided with my child’s first birthday. That’s a big moment for you! You shouldn’t feel guilty about wanting to be with your baby on that day. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion of course, but I’m quite shocked at the number of people who think it’s no big deal.

As other bees have said, you can’t ask her to change the date, but you can simply decline with apologies. Hopefully she’ll be understanding and maybe will want to change the date anyway.

Post # 49
236 posts
Helper bee

No you cannot ask her to change her date.  And to be honest, if she is your best friend, she probably realizes the the date is your anniversary as well (I’m assuming she was at your wedding), and I can only assume booked the date prior to the birth of your child? So there is no way she would have known that one.  But she probably does realize that now and since she has made no moves to change the date, won’t, and honestly she probably doesn’t care (not to be rude, but her wedding day, to her, trumps your kids first birthday- as it rightfully should).  Please understand, when dates are chosen, they are often based on the availability of the venue, and the deposit has been made to secure the date.  Additionally, other vendors may have been already booked as well.  So moving a date isn’t as easy as just picking another, but potentially losing the dream venue, desired vendors, and thousands in non-refundable deposits.

Post # 50
522 posts
Busy bee

View original reply
MrsBeck :  That’s what I was thinking. If a bride is having you in their wedding party, then surely that means they really want you to attend. So why wouldn’t they send a quick text asking “hey, we’re thinking of this date, would that work for you?” If anyone in my bridal party said they couldn’t make that date you bet I’d change it in a heartbeat! 

Presumably, if this person is your best friend, why can’t you just talk to her about it? I can understand feeling guilty about not being with your child on her actual birthday (even if she won’t remember), and it could really be a case of the bride not realizing. Better to let her know ASAP in case she can change the date. 

Post # 51
201 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2019 - UK

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katebluestone :  
View original reply
sollyb :  Its a balancing act I guess. I would be worried that by saying upfront that I cant come because of childs birthday you are kind of giving the bride an ultimatum. Change the date or I’m not coming. But it does not sound like the OP is 100% certain she will not go on the day, just that she really rather not. So by just mentioning the conflict of dates you can let the bride chose herself to change the date to help you out without it feeling like you gave her no choice. 

The bride might change the date, or she might come with a solution the OP did not think of, or the bride might do nothing and keep it as it is. Then if the OP decided she really rather be with her child she can go to the bride and tell her she’s sorry but three days away from her child on the child’s birthday is just too difficult for her and she hopes she understands. At least the bride knew of the conflict and is somewhat prepared for the possibility. 

Post # 52
1974 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2009

In short, there is no polite way to ask.  Between my husband’s side of the family and mine, we have 22 nieces and nephews (with a few few bff kids that we consider to be family thrown in).  There is virtually no way, if we were trying to select a wedding date, to avoid all milestone birthdays & anniversaries in our family.  There are way too many moving parts involved.

I understand you are her best friend, and this is not meant to sound harsh, but you are not the only important person in her life.  She is marrying into a family and his side needs to be considered as well.  How big is her family?  Her social circle?  Unless they are wanting to elope and have you there as their witness, I really don’t see how you are in the position to ask for a change of date.  

Post # 53
3923 posts
Honey bee

I did not do a super elaborate over the top birthday for my son’s 1st birthday, but you bet your ass I remember all of it and it was an important/special day to me. I wouldn’t ask for a date change, but I would say that you feel terrible, but cannot make that weekend because it would mean being away from your daughter on her first birthday. We aren’t talking about just missing part of the day, it’s the whole weekend and that’s shitty.

Post # 54
3664 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2017 - City, State

I don’t think OP should be getting quite as much grief as she’s been given. We tell people on this site all the time that if they don’t want the role to not accept it. I don’t think it’s fair to say her reason isn’t “good” enough. That sort of talk is what makes people afraid to just decline when they’re asked, because they’re afraid their reason won’t be accepted. It’s enough to just not want to participate, and a friend should feel okay being honest about that.

OP, if you’ve changed your mind, tell your friend ASAP. If you still want to be in it, see what other options you have for celebrating your child’s birthday. I tend to agree that your child won’t remember anything about this birthday or when it took place and that you could celebrate a different day, but you’re allowed to want to celebrate it on the day. 

Post # 55
12339 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

My sons birthday is on a Friday and I’m having the party and celebrating the Saturday before.  Ugh, I feel like a terrible mother now…. how will he ever forgive me for not celebrating on his birthday!

Personally, I think it’s a shitty reason to decline being in a wedding.  But it’s entirely up to you to decline for whatever reason you feel fit.  It’s also entirely up to your friend to understand and accept your reason… or possibly think that you don’t value her friendship and think you’re a crappy friend for it.

Post # 56
649 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: London, UK

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LilliV :  I also could say that to my best friends, I just wouldn’t because I don’t see any issue with sharing my wedding anniversary with any of them or having a birthday party (especially a first birthday party) on a date either side of the actual birthday. “Get your own date” just wouldn’t cross my mind, there aren’t actually that many Saturdays in the year, and I bet most every one of my friends/family has something on one of those dates. My cousin messaged me recently and asked how I would feel if their wedding was on the same date as ours (different year obviously) and I said I would be completely thrilled.

Post # 57
3923 posts
Honey bee

View original reply
pinkshoes :  But will you be with your son on his actual birthday? And will you see him that weekend? OP said the wedding is six hours away and she won’t be able to see her daughter or celebrate that weekend. You guys are being so nasty.

Post # 58
6369 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2016

I feel like everyone is being really really harsh towards the OP. 

OP says this wedding is a year out. Her daughter’s birthday is also a year out. That means she literally probably just gave birth. So…hormones. She’s probably going through a lot right now and here is her supposed best friend making these wedding plans without even consulting her VIPs? Don’t we always tell brides on here to consult their VIPs before setting things in stone? 

And y’all are making it sound like OP is just upset she isn’t getting to throw her daughter an elaborate birthday party or something. No. She is going to MISS spending the entire weekend with her daughter. She’s going to be 6 hours away for 3 days when her daughter turns 1 year old. Maybe I’m a softy but to me that’s a big deal. Best friend or not but I would not be willing to sacrifice that. I didn’t leave my son for more than 24 hours until he was 16 months old. And even then it was only for 3 days and lemme tell you…I was a wreck! I know other parents are different and to some it’s not a big deal at all, but for others it is. Everyone has different boundaries. But to learn, as a very very new mom, that you’re going to have to be without your baby on their birthday. Oof! 

That said, no OP, you cannot ask your friend to change the date. But you can decline attending the wedding. If this woman is truly your best friend I would be honest about why too. Not to guilt trip her but so that she knows that this was a tough decision but you have to do what you feel is best for you and your family. 

Post # 59
528 posts
Busy bee

View original reply
LilliV :  how’s about you get your own date?

Do you own certain dates?

Post # 60
293 posts
Helper bee

Y’all, I’m never the nay-sayer of the general bee consensous, but… come on.

OP, you surely (as PPs have said) cannot ask someone to change their date. Super super rude. However, I am a huge proponent of checking in with your VIPs or trying your best work work around any obligations you know they’re going to have. A lot of us have advocated for the “VIP check-in” and I think it’s a great thing to double check with immediate family and members of the bridal party. Date definitely book up fast and sometimes couples are racing against the clock, and that may be the case with this couple, but we don’t know that.

I’m not a mom, so I can’t speak to that aspect, but as a best friend, I know when my nearest and dearest’ birthdays are, when their anniversaries are, etc. and I’m already trying to nail down an ideal time period for my wedding that doesn’t fall directly on any of those dates. If at all possible, I’ll also double check with people right before booking. I don’t think we should fault OP for feeling a bit torn now, as a new mom or a very-pregnant mom-to-be, about both these important dates falling really close… plus her best friend’s wedding.

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