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Social Graces: How to fire a bridesmaid

By Hannah Herrera Greenspan, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Home and Consumer News

Q: How do you fire a bridesmaid?

A: If you have found yourself in a predicament with someone in your bridal party posse, chances are she is feeling it too.

First, step back and clearly identify the issue. Sometimes this situation can be fixed by simply realigning your expectations. You may also want to consider hiring a wedding planner or coordinator to take the heat off your family/friends.

If your situation has reached a boiling point, set plans to meet alone, in person, just the two of you. Decide in advance of that meeting if you want to retain or remove the bridesmaid from the bridal party.

During the meeting, outline the reasons for your disappointment, and prepare to present this in a way that won't be offensive. If you ultimately want the bridesmaid to step down, prepare dialogue that clearly expresses that. This honest conversation can save your relationship.

If you want the bridesmaid to remain on your squad, be clear about what you need from her, and ask if she can meet these expectations. You can also offer her a reduced role (personal attendant, reader, greeter, etc.), so she is still involved but with less responsibility.

Whatever your decision, remember not to get emotional. The bridal party role is meant to be fun, and if it's not working, offer the bridesmaid an "out."

- Susan Cordogan, owner and founder of Big City Bride


A: We understand things happen as you are planning your wedding, and sometimes when selecting your bridesmaids, a "bump in the road" comes up, and you realize that someone just isn't going to be a great fit.

If you do need to dismiss a bridesmaid, please do it in person, never, ever by text or email. This is already a very sensitive situation, and you need to be able to have a conversation face-to-face to explain your perspective. Ask your bridesmaid to meet you at a coffee shop, so you can easily part ways afterward if necessary.

Make sure you give her specific reasons why you are "letting her go" - maybe you had a disagreement or she isn't putting in the time needed to be a bridesmaid, or she didn't understand the cost involved. You need to be very clear and kind, and take some of the blame if you didn't explain expectations up front.

Make sure you listen to what she has to say and be calm. Things may get heated, so make sure you stay as calm and collected as possible. Going into this, you need to understand the consequences: She may never talk to you again, and you need to be prepared for this. Hopefully you can both come to an understanding.

- Renny Pedersen, owner and creative director of Bliss Weddings & Events

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