My best friend no longer wants to be a bridesmaid

Me and my best friend have know each other for ages, she was the first one I told when I got engaged and as any best friend would be she was over the moon. I asked her to be a bridesmaid over a year ago and she was more excited than me. Since then she has got a new partner and had her second child. She has always suffered from depression and anxiety which comes and goes. She hasn't been quite herself recently and was planning to meet up but then text at last minute to cancel. She then text to say that she can't be bridesmaid as Her depression and anxiety is bad again and she doesn't know whether she will even come to the wedding. The wedding is 8 months away so I explained that I will still get the dress and see how she feels but she was positive she was not going to be a bridesmaid and could not come to the hen do.

Part of me feels concerned but the other half betrayed as I have not given her any jobs to do other than be there to mop my tears and be proud. I'm worried I won't enjoy my day as I will feel like something is missing if she isn't there. 

I know it is very selfish of me but I can't help but feel that she should try to put her issues to the side for the one day in my life that I will need her the most. And what makes matters worse is that her first child is a flower girl. 

I don't know what to do, think or feel. 


  • I think your friend has actually been very brave in being honest with you. Depression is a serious illness and it is probably taking all her mental strength to still come to the wedding; her telling you now that she won't come to the Hen Do or be a bridesmaid is her attempt at giving you as much notice as possible. Your approach of 'she should put her issues aside for one day' is quite an ignorant stance on depression. Would you tell someone with ashtma to learn to breathe correctly for your day? Or perhaps someone with diabetes to put aside their sugar issues to eat dessert? It is a serious illness and if you are as close as you described, she will be torturing herself about letting you down, but genuinely feel she has no choice. 

    I would accept it and focus on being a supportive friend to her. Not meaning to be harsh, but her health is more important than if she is a bridesmaid or not.

  • MrsTwizbeMrsTwizbe Posts: 3,352 New bride

    I'm with Mrs M on this one. One of my best friends recently had a break down. She was due to be bridesmaid for an old school friend. The friend backed off any talk of weddings and didn't mention bridesmaid stuff etc, but she did still get her a dress just in case. In the end my friend responded well to her treatment and was well enough to be a bridesmaid on the day.

    Your friend has done the right thing but warning you now that she does not think she can be a bridesmaid - get her the outfit and let her know that she is welcome to change her mind if she starts to feel better, then just support her through this part of her illness. If she has had this for a while she will have support and treatment that may mean she is well enough by your wedding to take her place by your side.


  • I have been supporting her and not showing her how I feel about it as I'm sure she is also devastated. I'm just struggling with the thought of not having her there for me. I can plan the rest of the day to be perfect but that's one thing that is not under my control and there is no simple answer, it's a wait and see. Wish I could predict the future. 

  • Hi Rosie

    I had a similar scenario this year with my wedding but I think you are luckier than me - my bridesmaid it turned out had depression and pretty much went off grid and didn't want to tell me what was happening until a week before when she decided to drop out because she had got herself in such a state about it that she had even double booked herself on the day.

    I could have been awful to her as she had missed everything in the lead up to the wedding but I decided to remain as understanding as I could even though I felt really upset and wished she had dropped out earlier so that she could have been a worry free guest.  I said to her a week before the wedding that if she just wanted to be a guest then that was totally fine, but did make her aware of the impact she was having in not giving me enough notice.  In the end I was really suprised when she actually appeared on the day with a dress and took part in full and had a great time.  

    My bridesmaids all wore their own dresses so I didn't have to worry about that but I did feel really hurt that she hadn't communicated with me properly for months.  I guess what I had to accept was that even though it was such an important part of my life - she just couldn't be there for me because of her own mental health issues and unfortunatley I have heard very little from her since the wedding.  From what I've heard it seems that my wedding has brought up some difficult things for her - and as she has had a difficult time she is distancing herself because things have gone well for me this year.  I've done everything I can to support her and it hurts a lot that she is now ignoring me but I hope one day she feels more stable and gets in touch.

    I think your friend has been very honest with you and is trying to manage your expectations of what she can do - she must be feeling very self conscious too so could be worried about being looked at.  Depression is a horrible illness, she probably just wants to stay under her duvet but if I were you I would say to her that it would mean the world to her if she would be a bridesmaid, but you may need to take some of the usual bridesmaid responsibilities away from her so she feels less pressured.  If you have other bridesmaids perhaps give them a heads up and all have a plan A & B. 

    My super old best friend didn't select me as a bridesmaid for religious reasons but to be honest just a photo of us together on her wedding day has been a lovely thing to keep, so if you have to keep her role low key, sit her as near to you as you can and get that photo of you together early on in the day just in case she feels poorly and has to go home early. 

    I hope, like my friend, your wedding day is a 'good day' for her but the thing I learned in wedding planning was that everyone has their own ideas and anxieties about your day, and you just have to focus on the fact that you are marrying the love of your life and no matter who doesn't show up or who lets you down, that will still happen and thats what this is all about.

  • Thank you summer you have been so helpful. I have not given her any responsibilities as I was worried this may happen. She has since told me that even if she can't come to the wedding itself she will come to help me get ready. We could get a nice picture then so she is not missing from the album. I know she is worried that in years to come when my wedding pictures are scattered around my house that she will feel although she has missed out so a picture before the wedding might help. 

  • So glad I helped! I really hope you have the most amazing wedding day & get to spend even 10 minutes of it with your best friend for that photo. I think when you have the wedding ahead of you, you forget that there will be other events you can share with your loved ones like wedding anniversaries, christenings/baby namings, birthdays... and that is another opportunity to give them an important role if they want it. I had a lot of family missing at my wedding but they were mentioned in the ceremony/speeches so it still felt like they were included x 

Sign In or Register to comment.