(Closed) What gives…my Bridesmaid ditched my reception early

posted 8 years ago in Bridesmaids
Post # 32
130 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

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@September29:  +1

I’m sorry but I really do have to disagree with the PPs.  I think you have every right to be upset with your BMs.  I honestly feel like things should have gone down differently and I’m really sorry you had to go through this on what should’ve been a very happy day for you. 

Maybe everyone’s understanding on what is expected from a Bridesmaid or Best Man is different but I was always under the impression that when they agree to be part of the Bridal Party, they agreed to help you the entire day with whatever you needed to have done.  I know this has always been the case for me and even when I’m not a Bridesmaid or Best Man and it’s someone’s wedding who I’m closed to, I do what I can to help the day go as smoothly as possible.  I was just recently in a 2-day wedding (back-to-back days…3 days if you include the rehearsal/rehearsal dinner…AND that’s me having to drive 8 hours to the wedding location the morning of the rehearsal) and despite being INCREDIBLY exhausted and knowing I would have another 8 hour drive back home the day after, I stayed to help clean up and transport gifts, help figure out rides for those who were intoxicated, collect everything that needed to be returned, made sure the bride and groom had everything they needed, etc.  Because you’re supposed to help the couple as much as possible because you LOVE them.  I didn’t see it as a chore and I was downright angry with the other Bridal Party members that just up and left without even telling anyone.  I can’t even imagine how the bride must’ve felt. 

Oh, and to address your Bridesmaid or Best Man that left to get her bag from your dad’s room.  I know if I were in her position, especially knowing the hotel was so close, I would’ve gone to the room, made sure the bag was there, moved it to wherever it needed to be, and would’ve come right back.  I feel like best friends should WANT to be there for you on the most special day of your life and I’m really sorry that your friends hurt you the way they did =  Like other PPs have suggested, I assume it must be that they were upset about the Bachelorette party incident.  But if they were really true friends, I feel like they should’ve put that aside for such a special occassion.   Just my two cents…

Post # 33
964 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

Let me tell you.  Weddings are draining on everyone involved.  At my sister’s wedding I was in bed by midnight and up at 7am.  We helped all day.  After the bouquet toss, I couldn’t stay awake.  I was mentally and physically tired.  My other sisters and I left to get our stuff out of the hotel room, the reception was held at the same location and we ended up just sitting in there and relaxing for about an hour.  When we got back, the reception was over.  One of my sisters rode home with me and before we even made it half way home she was knocked out and this wasall before 10.

My wedding was on a Sunday and I was up from 6 am on Saturday.  I couldn’t sleep.  After we were introduced at the reception, dinner was served.  Before we ate we walked around table to table thanking everyone for coming.  Dinner was still being served and I went and changed dresses.  By that time, my sister was already asleep in the car.  She didn’t even see me in my second dress.   After the bouquet toss, my other Bridesmaid or Best Man which were my other sisters and 2 best friends left.  They were tired as well.   We had an after party and none of them came.  They were all just drained.  I guess because it was my wedding my adrenaline was going.  We partied til 2 in the morning.  So I was up for over 36 hours and I was going strong. 

Only 1 of my 8 Bridesmaid or Best Man was dancing.  The others feet were hurting or just don’t dance at all and thats cool.   The most important thing to me was that they were my Bridesmaid or Best Man.  Don’t let the fact that they left early ruin your friendship. 

Post # 34
2496 posts
Buzzing bee

I disagree with most of the PPs in that I don’t think your expectations of them on your wedding day were out of line. As a former Bridesmaid or Best Man, I understood that the day was not about me. I literally threw up from stomach flu the day before my friend’s wedding during the rehearsal and had to miss the rehearsal dinner, but I made it through the entire wedding day without complaining and stayed up until she made it to her hotel suite after the reception was over. If I could do that, so could your BMs.

That being said, I do disagree with your treatment of them during your bachelorette party. You sounded rather ungrateful, and I could see why they were upset with you. As a bride, you deserve special treatment on your big day. However, that comes hand in hand with showing appreciation for your girls (not just by buying most of their stuff for your wedding). Treat your girls with respect, and surely they will show you the same.

Post # 35
9066 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

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@ms_protea:  Honestly, and I really do not intend for this to come across as mean, but you say that this was out of character for both of them – perhaps it is something you did?

This was my first thought too as I read this. Maybe you p*ssed them off, maybe you asked too much from them or didn’t listen to their concerns.

The only way you will ever know is if you talk to your friends- not about the wedding but about the change in your friendship.

Post # 36
9950 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

I’ve read it all… your lengthy post, the replies and your various updates.

From where I sit, I would say that your Expectations were out of sync… perhaps even too great.

It looks to me like you have a lot of things you are unhappy about in regards to your Maid/Matron of Honor & BMs and not a lot you are happy about.

To be honest… this “tone” may have been conveyed by you them… and they just “grew tired” of what you expected

I personally have NEVER heard of Bridesmaids being expected…

  • To know how to fix the veil or bustle the dress… maybe give you a hand… but not necessarily be responsible for it. In my experience, this is something either the Hair person handles (in the case of the veil)… OR the MOB when you are getting dressed
  • Maid/Matron of Honor / Bridesmaids running the Day Of Schedule… this is something that the Bride is responsible for.  If you found yourself behind the 8-Ball in regards to getting dressed, picture schedule etc… this really is something YOU should have been ontop of.  Did the Maid/Matron of Honor have an outline of the Day’s Timetable, and did you make it clear to her beforehand that you expected her to be in charge of holding everyone to it ?
  • Formal Photos… I’ll give you this one.  Certainly the girls should have been there on time, and helping you with your dress doesn’t sound unreasonable.  Although I’ve also been to Wedding where the Photographer had an Assistant that handled such things… or the Bride’s Day Of Coordinator
  • Other than the Best Man acting as a possible MC for the Evening… I’ve never heard of the Bridal Party being considered Co-Hosts of the Wedding Reception.  This role most certainly is one that falls on the Bride & Groom, and whichever set of Parents are hosting the Weddings (Bride’s OR BOTH Sets).
  • Not quite sure what “other duties” you expected your girls to perform at the Reception… typically in my experience, after Dinner & the Speaches… every Wedding I’ve ever been to the Bridal Party is on their own… to enjoy the freedom of being a Guest
  • And as such… they can come and go as they please.  YES it would be nice if they stay to the end of the evening… BUT that isn’t always necessary or in some cases even possible (have known Maid/Matron of Honor who were also Mothers with small children that needed to go to bed / be seen to back at the hotel etc)
  • And as far as seeing you and your Hubby off … sure that would be nice.  But in a time when it is now fashionable for Newlyweds to stay until the end of the Party (vs the tradition where the couple leaves for their Honeymoon from the Reception… and the Guests party on), not everyone chooses to stay on into the late hours.
  • And lastly… I have NEVER heard of the custom of the Bridal Party ensuring that the Bride & Groom got to their room comfortably.  WTF ??  You guys are married adults now… you can most certainly check in to a hotel room on your own !!

The whole “missing bag” story… seems a BIG issue for you… and I am sure in some way it was a BIG issue for its owner.  I know that I’d be more than a little freaked out if I didn’t know where my things were… and YES if that meant talking to the FOB to track it down, I certainly would do so.

As for not coming back to the Reception… there could be a number of reasons… including being exhausted.  BUT just as well she may have just had enough of the whole day.  Period.

My best advice.  Let this lie.  Unless you plan to sincerely apologize to these women, I wouldn’t be the one to reach out to them.  IF is all is forgiven, and they’ve chalked it up to just Wedding Stresses, you’ll hear from them soon enough.  IF tho there is a greater problem in the relationship you all have… you’ll know by their actions / lack of actions as well.

I’m sorry it all went down this way for you…

BUT as I said, I think you had some very unrealistic expectations on what were the duties of a Maid/Matron of Honor / Bridesmaid… and I’m not sure where you garnered such info.  BUT it certainly isn’t the norm.


Post # 37
385 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

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@NewBride20:  You first mentioned she and “her hubby” went to go get the bag from the hotel. Then you said it was suggested they were jealous because they are both single… So Im confused now. Is the Bridesmaid or Best Man single or married? Did I misunderstand maybe?

Post # 38
733 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I read the entire post and many comments.

I just have to say play devils advocate here for a moment for your bridesmaids. (sorry!!!)

I was maid of honour in a wedding for my best childhood friend recently. She lives across the country from me. I love her dearly. I ended up having to plan and buy all fo the shower/bachelorette supplies, invites, everything because the other bridesmaids sucked. I flew out and arrived for the rehearsal Friday night and arrived just as it was starting after a 7 hour flight. I stayed at her place overnight and we began wedding festivities in the morning and honestly by the time the reception came (nerves for my speech had been on my mind all day too) I was EXHAUSTED. I felt ill from tired/stress/long day and I didn’t even want to drink. I put on a happy face and helped her cut cake and do my necessary duties but I left at 10:45pm. I still feel guilty about it because the party went until 2, but I just couldn’t stay any longer.

If I had not had this experience, I can tell you right now that I would be pissed if my bridesmaids did this to me. But now, having been a bridesmaid who worked her butt off for the bride I can tell you that sometimes you really are just super exhausted and need to head out early. I now know that if my girls want to leave, then I can truly respect that.

Post # 39
76 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

i’m sorry your feelings were hurt. it seems like their roles were already done. they had done the pre-wedding activities, and been there for the ceremony. they even spent time at the reception. but this role of bridesmaid is not a job. they don’t have to stay until the end and clock out.

and why do you expect and assume your bridesmaids know how to deal with your veil? its YOUR veil. that is your responsibility. your bridesmaids moving slow is sucky! i feel for you for that. but u cant expect Maid/Matron of Honor to act like this is a job and do your work. you are the one who should direct people. in cases like this i would say you probably would’ve done better having a wedding planner, a paid professional. i mean it be great if your BMs can do it all but they didn’t. i’m not trying to be mean as i can tell you are emotional right now. i just want to give you my honest feedback..

focus on the positives of the wedding. remember how you were disappointed at ur bachelorette party with some people not showing up? well that’s focusing on the negative when you should’ve just let it go n had fun. don’t dwell on the negatives. just focus on the positives. think about all those people who did stay until the end. focus on your wedding being the happiest day of your life and let go of the things that did not go your way. 

Post # 40
2178 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

Seems to me that there is more to this story (maybe a Falling out over the bachelorette? Sucks that it didn’t go how you wanted but if they tried then they cant really force people to come that weren’t interested)

if these girls are usually the life of the party but instead were leaving early/hanging at the tables that is out of character 


i do think that it is reasonable to expect your best girls to party with you at your wedding but there are many reasons why it might not work out that way (sick, tired, just not into dancing) and its ok to be sad about it but I don’t think that starting a war with them is going to help. 


As for the missing bag…. I would be going a little crazy if my wallet/purse were missing… That is kind of a big deal – credit cards, Ids, cash etc are all important to me and most people so freaking out about that seems reasonable imo


Post # 41
1434 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2019 - City, State


If you are still reading, it’s not all your fault. You made some mistakes, but so did they. I am one of those friends who completely devote herseslf to the bride when I’m the Bridesmaid or Best Man, so I never, ever would have left my bride hanging like that, and a couple of them even got mad at me for OVER helping. (They had hostesses sitting on their assses not helping, so I stepped in, but the Bride wanted me somewhere else at the time.)

I figured out things for my brides and was behind the scenes making things work that my brides never even thought about, like who was going to check them into their hotel and get their bags from the bar, because no one had any kind of plan for that.

I think you gotta tell the BM’s what’s expected of them and then see if they want to accept the task. I think it was unfair of them to get mad at you about how much particiapation they had but you should have been clear about it beforehand. 

I do not think they were right to leave the wedding reception like that. I think that the Bridesmaid or Best Man who went to check on her bag SHOULD have returned. She just didn’t want to. I think something about what happened while you were getting ready just pissed them both off. That excuse that the date was tired…I don’t buy that.

Anyways, I think it’s wrong to make people stay when they went to go, though. 

But I think the BM’s need to apologize as much as you do to them. 

Post # 42
3569 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2013

I also think this doesn’t have to do with the acutal wedding but bad lingering feelings.

I think your bridesmaid could have been more discreet and nicer in asking about her bags. I also think you should have been more vocal in asking for help. But it sounds like things were chaotic and not running on time, I been in a lot of weddings in about two of them I think the brides mother helped her while the rest of us rushed around trying to get dressed and ready to leave on time.

I also want to ad getting mad about your veil and putting such an important responsbility on your maid of honor really isn’t fair. I been in six weddings and maid of honor twice and I’ve only done it once, it was a simple one and the bride had her hair down.By your own admission yours is big and probably difficult to secure so I think it was your responsebility to practice or have someone from the salon come over to put on for you.

I also think it isn’t fair to expect the wedding party to stick around for the whole reception. I love to dance until the last song, but I tend to find when I’m in the weddng party I tend to leave a little earlier then normal, because typically I been going all day and I’m tired. I think after dinner and a few dances it’s perfectly acceptable for them to leave.

I also think you should grateful that your Maid of Honor not only stay when clearly she was ready to leave but that she helped. You forced her to be there, then are upset that she sitting down with her date, when she already told you they were tired. Seems like she was a good friend to you. You don’t get to dictate her feelings or be upset at the fact that she didn’t react in the way you wanted.

Post # 43
255 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@NewBride20: Im an early leaver… especially if there have been a few glasses of wine. the alt to my leaving would be to sit there with a face like thunder… when its time to go… its time to go. You both had different expectations. I think that BM’s in the US have a much bigger job than here in the UK, but I understand, they are your best friends and you want them there…. i can appreciate that dissapointment, I expect one of my bridesmaids to go crazy at 9pm and be asleep under a table by 10 (she will be 6) my other bridesmaids will be 13 and 34, I mut confess my adult bridesmaid is playing the church entrance music as well, im actually worried im asking her to do too much. I see both sides, they also had a long day and without the adrenalin and excitment of it being THEIR wedding day, but you want your best friends there till the end. Now for me on MY wedding day, they’ll find me asleep behind the DJ box by 10.45pm and its going on till 2pm! … Can I leave before my husband does?

Post # 44
2780 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@NewBride20:  I feel like you were already upset at your girls, it’s not your MOH’s responsibility to know how to put in your veil. Veils are normally attached at the hair salon. It’s also not the bridal party’s responsibility to know when you need to have certain things done by. I never once noticed you mentioning that you would like their help getting in your dress, or finishing getting ready. 

They may have assumed that since you weren’t asking, you didn’t need their help or weren’t ready for it yet. As for the BMs leaving early, they were there for the important parts, they are not required to stay there until you decide to leave. They were there for all of their duties and responsibilities, it was a long day for all of you, I’m sure they were understandably exhausted.

I think you learned a lesson here, that you have to actually ask for help with things, no one is just going to assume you need their help until you ask for it. Not everyone is aware of what each and every bride expects from their BMs. Every bride has different needs.

As for the Bridesmaid or Best Man asking your dad for the keys to get her bags, they were her bags and it took 2 seconds for your father to fish the keys out and hand them to her. That 2 seconds would not have ruined your father’s entire evening.  You say she decided not to stay overnight as originally planned, how long of a drive did she have for deciding that? Staying until the end and waiting around until everyone else was ready to leave just to get her belongings and make the trek home is a hugely unreasonable expectation. She didn’t request your parents leave and take her to get her belongings, she requested the keys and then left the keys for them at the front desk. 

Overall your expectations were too high for your BMS, that’s not their fault. They are not hostages meant to serve your every whim, they are there to support you in any way they can, and to witness and support your marriage. The tradition of a bridal party stems from anceint times when people believed that a bride would be the target of evil spirits. The bridal party was in place to throw off the evil spirits and prevent them from knowing who the bride is. 

Post # 45
853 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

I’m sorry but it sounds as though you had expectations that you did not communicate to your Bridesmaid or Best Man and MoH.  You cannot expect them to anticipate or guess what you want or how you want them to behave.  That is unreasonable, and that is not a friend.

If all you wanted was their support and presence (as you mentioned in your initial post) then why are now upset that they did not do all the various things you listed?  Keeping everyone on schedule, putting in your veil, and entertaining guests do not fit into “all I expected and wanted was their support and presence throughout the day of my wedding.”

It sounds as though from your post that you expected your MoH and your Bridesmaid or Best Man to perform tasks that you did not ask them to do and then were upset when they didn’t know to do them.  It sounds a lot as though you expected them to act as a Day of Coordinator.  If things were running behind schedule, why did you expect your MoH to take over?  Did she have a scheduled timeline in her hand and had been told you wanted her help keeping things on time or did you assume that because she has a organized or domineering personality that she would rise to the occasion without being told?  And just because your MoH has been in other weddings does not gift her with knowledge of putting a hairpiece in.

It sounds as though this was a result of either poor planning or poor communication, both of which originate from the bride and groom.  I am a little surprised that you were upset Bridesmaid or Best Man for telling you she couldn’t find her bag because it was at the reception, but then you were upset when we went off to resolve the situation without telling you.  As PP mentioned, if my personal items were missing that would be the only thing I was thinking about during the reception.

If I were either of these women and was treated this way by a bride, without a very sincere apology I would start making plans to distance myself from this ‘friend.’  My suggestion?  Based on reading your account of things, you need to apologize profusely to these girls for how you treated them.  You treated them very poorly beginning with your reaction to the bachelorette party (you complain about the party during the party to the only attendees of the party?) all the way through the reception.  You should apologize that you took advantage of their friendship and had unspoken expectations of them and even though it was your wedding how you treated them wasn’t fair to them (and I hope not reflective of your relationship with them).

Post # 46
1314 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Once again, I feel like some PP have unreasonably slash-tongued the bride. I honestly would think that as fellow brides there would be more sympathy. Many of us know exactly how this feels. A wedding is such an emotional investment, and it hurts when expectations aren’t met. I truly feel like we need to let up on brides for two things. One, venting (not telling the offenders) but simply VENTING on the Bee about not even receiving a well wishes card from most guests. Two, legitimate complaints about BM’s.We need to be more consoling and less admonishing and belittling when it comes to these two subjects.

OP, I am a person that believes that a Bridesmaid or Best Man has more duties than to show up and look pretty on the day of. Not because they are brideslaves, but because they are your friends who love you. Why shouldn’t they want to shut the party down? I have never left a wedding that I was involved in before the bride. If I have to chug a freaking red bull, I am shutting that party down! And, I am going to see if the bride needs any assistance with packing up, cleaning up, etc. after the party. To me that is not too much to ask. That is a common courtesy for people who are supposed to be your BF’s. This is the most important day in your life, not a 27th birthday party!

However, putting on your veil, holding your dress and hunting down the lost bag. Those were on you. I asked my Maid/Matron of Honor “Can you put on my veil?” and “Can you pick up my train?” Closed mouths don’t get fed, you have to ask for things you want. But it is beyond me why you would have to ask them to stay at your wedding.

Bottom line is, you have to ask yourself if your friendships are worth saving. Because the truth is, despite all the advice and opinions you get on the bee, only your BM’s can tell you the real source of the issues. Ask them. Not us. That is truly the only way you will receive true clarity. I hope that these are friendships are able to be saved. However, you do need to be willing to admit what you may have done wrong, and what you would have done differently. Begin your dialogue with that, and hopefully they will follow your example 🙂

Good Luck, and Congrats!!!


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