Post # 1
This is my first post on Wedding Bee, but I have been reading several forums in my planning process, and could use some feedback. I recently got engaged and just sent out invitations to my bridal party.
In my initial ponderings of who should be in my bridal party, I had several people in the mix, but narrowed it down to 8 people to keep it an even number (plus I just thought 10 sounded like too many). I sent out my invitations last week, and today my bridesmaids received their invitations and have been giving me their responses to being bridesmaids. One of my girls told me that she isn’t sure if she can commit, because she is not sure of what her plans for the next year will be, and she’s considering moving out of the country. I am not upset about it at all, but now I am left with two dilemmas.
1. How long should I give this bridesmaid to give me a final answer on whether or not she will be in my wedding?
2. Since I had to narrow down my numbers to fit what my fiancè and I want (even and equal numbers), is it rude to ask someone who had been on my initial list of people, if this girl says no? My wedding is still almost a year out, so nothing has been done or planned yet that a bridesmaid would miss out on.
In my initial research on this topic, it seemed like the unanimous opinion that it is the worst thing ever to ask someone to be a bridesmaid if someone backs out, but I wonder if it might be okay, because it is so early on in the planning process, and I had people I had considered asking anyway.
Post # 2
I wouldn’t think any harm would come of asking another person to be a Bridesmaid or Best Man, because as you said, it’s not publicly known who has been chosen, so it wouldn’t look like replacing. But I say this with the caveat that I think whatever you do you should remain open to this current girl you asked to tell you, “Hey, stuff panned out right and I can be a Bridesmaid or Best Man now and would love to.” Within reason – not up until two weeks before the wedding obviously, but maybe a good “cutoff”/ final decision point would be shortly before BM’s need to order dresses. If it were me and I asked a friend to be a Bridesmaid or Best Man and her general life situation was up in the air, I would consider that to be an open spot for her, in the event she should decide she could fill the role after all. Because if I asked her to be a Bridesmaid or Best Man, that’s someone I would want standing next to me on that day if at all possible. 🙂
Post # 3
I think it really depends on the deadline you give your BMs to give their final answer. I feel like they shouldn’T need too much time to decide a “yes or no”. I say 2-3weeks should be good. This gives them plenty of notice, so they can make sure that their schedule is clear during the time of your wedding.
I also must have equal numbers, but I think it would upset me if I found out I was only asked to be a Bridesmaid or Best Man to fill in the space. Not sure exactly how she would find this out, but it’s a possibility. I would make sure you get all your definite yes or no’s and then proceed forward to ask other BMs if you really want to have even and equal numbers. If they aren’t in the same friend circle, then the “back up” BMs might have no idea and it will all work out.
Post # 4
I never understand why it’s such a terrible thing to be a replacement bridesmaid. I’d gladly fill in to help a friend.
In any case, that’s not relevant here because there’s no need for the replacement girl to ever find out she was a replacement. It’s very common to not ask all the bridesmaids at the same time.
Post # 5
I don’t think that a backup bridesmaid would have too much of an idea that they were a backup, except for the fact that it would be a little harder for me to have a personalized bridesmaid card for them, since I bought something in a matching set off of etsy for the girls I did ask. I had a girl that I bumped out of my initial list because my sister-in-law wanted to be in the wedding after all (I initially thought she didn’t because she will be having her 3rd baby in 3 years), so I don’t think of another person as being a backup…even thought they technically would be :/
I like the idea of keeping that spot open for the girl if she were to change her mind–I just really want even numbers too. My fiance could have asked 15 people without a sweat, so I know he could ask someone–even one of my brothers to take a spot if I really wanted it to be equal.
There is just so much room for hurt feelings already–I don’t want to unknowingly add to it!
Post # 6
I didn’t think it was such a terrible thing either, and then I started doing some look into etiquette, because I have been called out on a few other etiquette issues–such as not wanting to give everyone a plus one–and I saw that many people had a major issue with it, due to hurt feelings.
Post # 7
getting off topic, but “give everyone a +1” is certainly not the etiquette everywhere.
Post # 8
I wouldn’t worry about equal male/female bridal party. Getting hung up on that sort of stuff will drive you mad in the year ahead. Anyone could be sick, have an emergency or have to drop out at any time and make it uneven. Pick your bridal party for who you and your husband want to stand with you and what your budget permits.
Based on that – what’s the first timeline for BMs to have something bought/set/done? I’d have that as the deadline for determining who’s in and who’s out. It sounds like the Bridesmaid or Best Man in question is declining though.
Post # 9
I was an attempted bridesmaid who recently said “no.” It happens sometimes, even in the best of circumstances. Be gracious, try to see it from their side, and move on. As long as you’re not doing a big Facebook announcement, no one will ever know if you swap in one of your B-list bridesmaids after the first one refuses.
Also, let go of the idea that the bride and groom need identically-sized bridal parties. I’d say this is becoming less and less the norm, to the point where I don’t think I’ve been to a wedding since I was a kid where this was the case.
Post # 10
I would give her a few weeks, but I’m assuming she is telling you no now. I think in this case you could ask another girl on your list. She wouldn’t have to know that she wasn’t your first pick even. It is very early in the process.
Post # 11
My normal objection to asking a friend to be a replacement Bridesmaid or Best Man is that it usually happens very close to the wedding after it has been known to everyone who the original BMs are. Then the replacement Bridesmaid or Best Man would easily figure out that she wasn’t the first choice and I think that’s rude.
BUT…in your situation I think it’d be okay because your wedding is still almost a year away and as you said she’d never even know that she was a second choice. I’d give the other girl a couple of weeks to decide though. In the meantime, don’t send out any group Bridesmaid or Best Man emails or texts or anything until your BMs are finalized.
Post # 12
If you are so caught up on even number of maids to men, why not ask your Fiance to ask only 7 groomsmen? If your friend is able to be a maid later on, it will likely be easier to add a last minute 8th groomsmen than a bridesmaid. Not to be sexist/ generalize but in my experience most dudes wouldn’t notice at what point they were asked to be a groomsman, or put as much stake in the politics. Most of my male friends who have been groomsmen have not been asked with cute matching boxes (what if your other maids Instagram or Facebook these??), and don’t have as much to plan (maybe a bachelor party? But usually just the best man plans that).
Post # 13
That is one concern–my bridesmaids have started posting pictures of their cute bridesmaid invitations. It is very early on, and I don’t want to make anyone feel bad, but I also think some people might be happy to a part of things, regardless of when I asked them.
I could deal with unequal groomsmen, but I am doing a color gradient with my bridesmaid dresses, and I was hoping to have 2 girls in each dress. I know it sounds silly, but I also really want my pictures to be balanced with equal girls on either side of me. I think I wouldn’t have felt bad about being asked to be a bridesmaid unless either the bride was honest about the situation, or if it was still far out in planning and I hadn’t missed anything yet.
Post # 14
I would be careful about hastily replacing any members of the wedding party. Ask her to let you know by a certain date, but give her a reasonable amount of time to sort things out. But I don’t think there is anything wrong with it as long as it’s done with plenty of time left.
My Fiance had several groomsmen back out early on (his brother was unexpectedly deployed overseas, one friend has exams for grad school the day after our wedding, and another one said he couldn’t afford it). He ended up replacing all of them with other friends because he has a lot of close guy friends from high school and there was still 8+ months until the wedding. Then, the one who initially said he couldn’t afford it changed his mind only a few months before the wedding and wanted to be a groomsmen. At this point, all of the groomsmen had their outfits and everything was finalized, so FI’s friend will just be attending as a guest now.
Post # 15
- Wedding: September 2015 - Hotel Ballroom
It’s early enough on that you could ask another person and it wouldn’t be awkward.
Side note: I had odd numbers on my wedding day (3 Bridesmaid or Best Man, 4 GM) and it was fine. We were originally going to have five and five. I asked two girls to step down because of their DRAMA (long story) and we asked one groomsman to step down because he stole from us (even longer story). I personally didn’t have any other girls to ask, so we left it as it was.