Skip to main content

Can You Fire a Bridesmaid? Everything You Need to Know

When all other options have been exhausted, sometimes doing a Lord Alan Sugar on your bridesmaid is the only option.

Bridesmaids facing the bride in her wedding dress
Unsplash / Vanessa

Bridesmaids facing the bride in her wedding dress
Unsplash / Vanessa

After the highs of those sweet bridesmaid proposals, sometimes come some serious bridesmaid problems which may push you to the point of asking yourself, is it okay to fire a bridesmaid?

Friendships can be tricky at the best of times, and throwing the added job of planning a wedding into the mix can make things that little bit more challenging. 

You might have known who you want as your bridesmaids since primary school, or picked up new friends along the way that you can’t imagine not by your side on your big day. But – as much as you love someone – friendships can change over time, people don’t step up to their responsibilities or they can purposefully act out.

With emotions running high, impulse can tell you to ditch that bridesmaid straight away. But before you make any rash decisions and go all Alan Sugar on your bridesmaid, we have some advice for you that will address any bridesmaid problems you may have.

How to Fire a Bridesmaid & Deal With Bridesmaid Problems

Before you fire your bridesmaid, it's important to at least try and find ways to de-escalate a bad bridesmaid situation and salvage your friendship. We have ways to help you solve bridesmaid problems but, if worst comes to worst, we've also included our advice on how to fire a bridesmaid with minimal awkwardness.

The last thing you want is to look back at your wedding photos and bitterly wish your pal was never in them – or worse, wish that they still were.

Is It Okay To Fire a Bridesmaid?

Two bridesmaids helping a bride when her veil becomes a problem
Unsplash / Pouria Seirafi

The short answer is yes, it is okay to fire a bridesmaid if having that person as part of your wedding party is having a negative effect on your mental health or on your wedding plans. It’s your wedding day and for the sake of your mental health and future friendship, sometimes that means your friend can’t be part of your big day.

It’s up to you where you draw the line and make the decision to fire your bridesmaid. If your bridesmaid continuously demonstrates some of the below behaviours, it might be worth asking yourself if they are doing more harm than good during your wedding planning.

These are some of the most common reasons people decide to fire their bridesmaid:

  • They ruin your enjoyment of the process
  • They are upsetting or fighting with other members of the bridal party
  • They show little to no interest
  • They complain about everything
  • They don't reply to any forms of communication
  • They continually let you down at the last-minute
  • They mock or dismisses your opinions
  • You worry about how they'll act at the wedding
  • They've taken control and made the day about them
  • They pressured or bullied you into giving them the role
  • You gave them the role out of obligation

READ MORE: How to Handle a Bad Bridesmaid

How to Deal With Bridesmaid Problems

Bridesmaids on a bed in matching bridesmaid dressing gowns with the bride in the middle
Unsplash / Jonathan Borba

Although all of these situations are far from ideal, firing a bridesmaid doesn't mean cutting them out of the wedding altogether, nor does it mean there's no coming back from them. 

Just because your bridesmaid is causing problems, doesn’t mean they deserves to be fired straightaway. There’s plenty of ways you can de-escalate the problems and get her back on the good bridesmaid path.

1. Make Sure Your Bridesmaid Expectations are Clear, and Reasonable!

If it’s their first time being a bridesmaid, they simply might not be aware of what’s expected. It’s obvious to you that your bridesmaids should be at every event and offer to help label envelopes, but until they knows this, they may just be living happily in blissful ignorance.

If they should know better, in a kind way, state what’s expected and they might then step up to the plate. Remind your bridesmaid how much the wedding means to you and how important it is to you that they're there. Say the planning is stressful and time-consuming and you’re relying on your bridesmaids a lot, so you wanted to double check they are happy to commit to the time/money/planning involved. Get their perspective on how they see the situation.

You can always send an email round all your bridesmaids with a link to our bridesmaid duties article with a (non-passive-aggressive) note saying you just discovered this and thought it might be helpful.

Remember your bridesmaids have their own life and commitments. If you asked them to be your ‘maid knowing they were about to move house, have a baby or go travelling then you cannot hold it against them if they struggle with time and money commitments. Perhaps you need to scale back what you expect of them and tell your bridesmaid how grateful you are for whatever time they can give you?

READ MORE: 29 Bridesmaid Gifts for Every Budget

2. Try To Understand What The Issue Is

Don’t call your bad bridesmaid out in front of the other bridesmaids. Instead ask to meet for coffee or lunch and get to the root cause of the problems.

If they genuinely don't have enough time due to a stressful job childcare commitments etc, you need to know this. Likewise, you also need to know whether or not your happiness is making a hard break-up for them even tougher and that's why they're lashing out. If they hates every dress you suggest, is it because they're really struggling with body confidence at the moment? Has your new BFF made them feel left out and they're acting in jealousy? Do they see their overbearing actions as good old-fashioned enthusiasm?

None of these excuse bad bridesmaid behaviour, but having a conversation like this can help to diffuse the situation as opposed to firing them. Ultimately, they are your friend first, bridesmaid second, so be patient and listen.

3. Spend More Time As Friends

It can be easy to let the wedding consume every spare moment and get annoyed at everyone who seems to be throwing a spanner in your plans. Plan a girls night out where mentioning the wedding is banned and remind yourself of all those reasons you love them and why you wanted them as a bridesmaid in the first place. No expectations, no demands: just a good night out chatting like old times.

If you’re no longer close enough to this friend to contemplate spending an evening one-on-one together, then they shouldn’t be a bridesmaid in the first place.

READ MORE: 25 of the Best Bridesmaid Photo Ideas

4. Get Your Other Bridesmaids Involved

Not to turn on them, of course, but one of the other bridesmaids may be able to have a gentle word. Someone sitting this bridesmaid down and explaining that the day should be about the you and your happiness will undoubtedly come across better from the maid of honour or another bridesmaid as opposed to you laying down the law that it’s all about you. Your other bridesmaids can also help pick up the slack if they genuinely don't have time to plan the hen do.

It's really important that, if you decide to ask your other pals to get involved on your behalf, that the other bridesmaid doesn't feel like they are being ganged up on or singled out. There's nothing worse than feeling like everyone else in the group is talking about you. Acting out or not, no one should feel like that so be sure to tread lightly.

5. Leave The Decision With Them

When you’ve exhausted all these options to get you back on track, you’ll both be able to tell if this bridesmaid can feasibly continue in the role.

If they want to try stepping up to their bridesmaid responsibilities, fantastic! But if they decide they can’t fully commit and want to bow out, mutually agree this is the best outcome.

The truth is that they might have been acting out to try and get out the role and not known how to tell you. Say you understand that their life is busy too, but ensure you reiterate that you’d still like them to come as a guest. You’ll both come out friends.

READ MORE: How to Turn Down Being a Bridesmaid

How to Fire a Bridesmaid

Bridesmaids in green mix and match bridesmaid dresses linking arms with the bride
Unsplash / Taylor Gray

Okay, so speaking to them hasn’t helped. You’ve given them the benefit of the doubt and they've either messed up again or just clearly aren't interested in being part of your day. 

If your bridesmaid was no help when it came to planning the hen do, wasn't interested in the bridesmaid dress shopping trip and keeps pestering you about giving them a plus-one for their new Tinder date, it may be time to give them the boot.

But the question still remains, how do you fire a bridesmaid? This is a truly horrible situation on both sides for anyone to find themselves in so you want to make sure you handle it with care. No matter what has happened and despite how harsh it is what you're about to do, you were good friends once upon a time and it's important to try and maintain that. 

Here's our tips for firing your bridesmaid. Best of luck and just remember to keep it kind!

1. Prepare For The Worst

Before you start, ask yourself if you are really prepared to lose a friendship over this – and what effect it could have on your larger friendship group. Talk it through with someone who isn’t involved in the situation and if you can’t see any other way of proceeding then ask to meet up.

This really should be done face to face. As hard as the concept of that is, you owe your friend the chance to talk about this in person. Choose a public space where it’s unlikely to turn into a heated argument and you can both make a quick exit if either of you feel uncomfortable. It also avoids putting pressure on either of you to host the other one.

READ MORE: Stunning Bridesmaid Hairstyles Your Girls Will Love

2. Be Respectful

No matter whether it's coming from a partner, friend, employee or a stranger, rejection hurts! Because of this, it's really important to be both gentle and respectful. Even if they want to start turning it into a argument, remain dignified. If the bridesmaid does get angry or aggressive, remember that this is probably because they feel a bit embarrassed or hurt - give them some grace.

It's also really important that you keep things calm because once the dust has settled, you don’t want to have said something you can’t take back.

3. Be Clear With Your Reasons

Explain to them that you’ve thought long and hard about this but you feel you need more support than they are able to give at the moment. Have examples of times you felt let down so they can understand how you came to the decision.

As important as it is to be clear about the reasoning, you don't need to go in too hard and turn this into a battering session. The fact that they are being fired from the role is tricky enough without having 500 reasons piled onto them as well. 

A bit of humility will also go a long way on this one. Accept your own flaws too. A bit of self-deprecation and self-awareness will go a long way in making them feel like they aren't the only one who could have done things a bit better. 

READ MORE: Top 10 Wedding Worries for Brides

Here’s some examples of what to say:

  • This has been a really hard decision for me, because you are hugely important to me and I asked you to be my bridesmaid because I wanted you by my side at my wedding. You’ll always be important to me but I feel I need a bit more support during this process than you’re able to give. [Add examples] I want us both to be able to celebrate at my wedding and that feels easier if you’re a guest instead of a bridesmaid.
  • I know your life is really busy with [examples] at the moment and I fully support that. I think you need to focus on that right now and this isn’t the right time for you to be my bridesmaid. I love you and would still love for you to come as a guest instead to my wedding.
  • I understand if you’re upset or angry with my decision; I want you to know I’ve thought long and hard and it hasn’t been easy. I value you so much as a friend but I think we were both on different pages from the start about what this role would involve. I acknowledge that I didn’t make it clear the level of commitment involved and I think you’ve had other things higher up your priority list these past few months. [Add examples] You mean the world to me, but I think our friendship will suffer if we keep going with different expectations. I would like you to be at my wedding as a guest, rather than a bridesmaid.

4. Let Them Have Their Say

You don’t know why they've been acting like this so give them a chance to say their piece. They may be angry; they may be grateful that the pressure of being a bridesmaid is off their plate; they may just be confused or even want to apologise as they weren't aware of their behaviour. Don’t make accusations, just listen.

READ MORE: 15 Things You Should Never Say to a Bridesmaid

5. Know What Outcome You Want

Be firm and unwavering in what you want to say and the outcome. If you followed our steps to trying to solve bridesmaid problems and they haven't worked, it's clear that this bridesmaid has had more than their fair share of second changes. As difficult as it may be, don't let them pressure you into giving them another change if that's not what you want.

6. Offer Another Role

If you’d still like them to be part of your big day, suggest an alternative role they could take that involves less commitment. Giving them a reading to do during the ceremony will still make them feel like they are an important part of the day without having to commit to so many bridesmaid tasks. 

READ MORE: 11 Ways to Manage Wedding Planning Stress

7. End on a Positive Note

If it feels appropriate, let them know you’d still like them to attend the wedding as a guest. Say you still value them as a friend and would like to see them for a coffee outside of wedding planning.

After firing them, you’ll need to tell all the other bridesmaids. Don’t turn this into a source of gossip; just say it wasn’t working for either of you.

If you’re still at the early stages of picking your bridesmaids, read our complete guide to how and who to pick for your wedding squad.