When someone asks to be in your wedding that you didn’t intend to ask

Photo by  Zoriana Stakhniv  on  Unsplash

Have you chosen your bridesmaids yet?  Do you know who you want to ask?  Or have you had someone hint that they would like to be in your wedding but you hadn’t planned on asking them?

When I was a wedding planner, I had a bride ask for my opinion: the bride’s cousin (a cousin she’s grown up with) wants to be in her wedding but the bride didn’t want her as a bridesmaid. What should she do?!

This can be a tricky situation.  There are many relationships you have to navigate and I can tell you not everyone will be pleased with the outcome. Because she’s your cousin there’s the family aspect that can make any situation a little dicey. If you say no, your cousin may get hurt, your aunt, mom, and maybe even your grandma may get mad. This of course, being the worst case scenario, but this doesn’t mean you have to bite the bullet and agree to let your cousin be a bridesmaid.  Oh no, this is just the opposite of that, remember this is your wedding day.  Here are some tips to consider when someone asks to be in your wedding that you didn’t intend to ask:

Tip #1: Remember, it’s your wedding day.  This can be difficult to remember, especially if your parents or relatives are helping pay for things, which may allow them to think they have a say in the decision making.  Just remember, this is your day.  Your memories.  And when you look back on this day, you want to look back on it fondly and not think “why is my cousin in my wedding party.”

Tip #2: Get the opinion of the matriarchs in your family.  If your mom and grandma says it’s okay, you don’t have to have your cousin in your wedding, then know you’ll have their support and you can  decline your cousin’s request.  Just make sure you get their opinion before your say anything to your cousin.  

Tip #3: Deliver your answer with kindness.  You’ve decided not to let your cousin be in your wedding, but it doesn’t mean you have to be rude in your delivery.  Being kind and empathetic can go a long way in getting your cousin to understand her participation isn’t necessary, but thank you for offering.

Tip #4: Let your cousin know you already have your bridal party picked out. She may understand her participation isn't necessary if she were to know you have an even number of bridesmaids and groomsmen and everyone has already agreed to be in your wedding.  No one wants to be the odd one out walking down the aisle without a partner. 

Tip #5: Offer your cousin another role. There's plenty of roles that can be designated to willing family members such as a reader for your ceremony, escorting your grandparent down the aisle, or singing a song during the reception.  She can even be the person in charge of the sign-in table, gift table, or dessert table.  By giving your cousin other opportunities to be involved, you can help take away the disappointment of not being a part of your bridal party.

Tip #6: Grin and bear it.  Embrace the situation.  You may not want your cousin in your wedding, but not having her be a bridesmaid may be more stress than it’s worth.   Just make sure you won't become resentful of her participation and if anything, assign some of your bridesmaids to keep her away from you or take her in hand if she isn’t as supportive as you’d like.  You never know, she could end up being the most supportive person in your wedding party.

Bonus Tip: Don't make the decision right away.  Tell your cousin you need to talk to your fiance and take the time to think of a plan on how you want to handle the situation.  The last thing you want to do is say "no" right away without thinking through the repercussions of turning your cousin down.  

What do you think of the tips listed above?  Were any of them helpful?  Have you chosen who will be in your bridal party?  Share with us below!