You Weren't Chosen for the Bridal Party; What Next?

Weddings are typically a breeding ground for drama. Although a lot of the stress can come from planning, it’s not always the happy couple who gets caught up in the chaos. With all the roles involved in both the ceremony and the reception, it’s easy for feelings to get hurt or friends to feel left out. Here are a few tips on how to brush off the bruises and still enjoy the special day.

The Family Defense

Some couples have more siblings than spots in the bridal party! If your friend opts for a family-only support system on the big day, don’t sweat it. Weddings are all about merging families, and if the bride or groom has enough siblings to fill out the bridal party, it only makes sense that those roles are divvied up among those siblings.

Not only is it convenient for the happy couple to hand off those titles to their family members, but in some cases it may just be easier. Some brides might not feel comfortable assigning some of the more menial tasks to their friends, but have no trouble sending their little sister to pick up the invitations an hour away.

Don’t forget about the influence that other family members can have on the decision-making process. The groom may have penciled you in as the original best man, but after a stern talk from his old-fashioned grandmother about tradition, he may have made the safer, Grandma-approved choice to fill his party with his brothers.

No one knows the guest list as well as the bride and groom. If the bride has a particularly sensitive sister, it’s possible that she chose her as the maid of honor merely to avoid a blow-out. A true friend would understand and support such a choice. If this is the case you have been dealt, the bride clearly trusts that you’ll understand her situation–and you should be sure to show your friend the support she deserves in making such a difficult decision.

How to Deal

If your best friend has filled out her bridal party with her family members, an explanation is almost unnecessary. She’s got enough on her plate without worrying about minor upsets if the reason is obvious. Chances are she will explain herself when she’s figured out the best way to do so.

For those who thought they were a shoe-in for the top honor in the wedding only to be blindsided by a different choice, a delicate approach is pertinent. While it’s true that the last thing a bride or groom needs is a stressful conversation, there’s no harm in asking about the final decision–as long as you time it right.

Bring the issue up over a cup of coffee or a stroll in the park; not while she is crying because her dress doesn’t fit just right or he is pulling his hair out because he can’t find the perfect ring. Don’t be surprised if your friend is taken aback by your question–planning a wedding is an all-consuming task that demands full attention. Your busy friend may not realize that you’ve been hurt, and once you raise the issue, hopefully you’ll get the explanation you deserve.

Showing your friend that you’re OK with the decision is important. Plan a special day together, just the two of you. Make it known how much your friendship means to you and that you still want to be involved in the wedding even if it’s not “official.” There is plenty to do when planning a wedding and rarely enough helping hands, no matter how big the bridal party.

If you’re not satisfied with the end result, you have two choices: stiff your friend on the big day and spend the night sulking at home, or put a smile on and try to enjoy the night. If you were invited to the wedding, it’s because your friend wants you there. Take a deep breath and do what you can to have a good time.

The Bright Side

If you’re still crushed that you weren’t included in the wedding party, consider the shiny silver linings that come along with being “just another guest.” While it’s an honor to be included in such an intimate event, it can also be very costly. Most bridesmaids and groomsmen are expected to pay for their own formal wear, and many have to foot much of the bill for the bachelor/ette party as well. Being a member of the bridal party doesn’t excuse you from purchasing a wedding gift, either!

Along with all the money you’ll save, you’re sure to gain a few nights of sound sleep, too. You won’t have to deal with the calls at 1 AM when the bride decides to change her entire theme, or listen to your buddy stress about the best way to get his new father-in-law on his side. You may hear some of the problems, but you’ll be grateful when you realize that you don’t have to come up with the solutions.

Being a member of the wedding party can be a special experience, but attending as a guest gives you more freedom to enjoy the event. So kick off your shoes, have a drink, and enjoy a worry-free night. And don’t forget about the best perk–choosing your own outfit!