Helping Your Bridesmaid Through Her Breakup

Four tips on how to assist your gal pal through the end of her relationship while planning your wedding.

Breakups are not a fun experience for anyone – especially a future bridesmaid. Find out how to navigate this tricky situation.

Photo: Jimmy Bui Photography

Breakups: not a fun experience for anyone. Most of us have been there at least once in our lives and can appreciate the pain that they cause. However, here you are in a healthy relationship, engaged to be married, and deep within the planning stages of your wedding. You have your partner, your family, and your closest friends by your side. You’ve asked your main ladies to stand up with you on your special day and all seems well until one of your bridesmaids alerts you that she and her partner have broken up. No matter the circumstances of the end of their relationship, it’s likely going to take somewhat of a toll on her – especially in the face of your rapidly approaching nuptials.

Here are a few tips to help you help her through the process when your wedding is on the horizon.

Listen. Be her friend above all else. If she wants to talk it out and be emotional, present your ears and your shoulder. If she communicates that she simply wants to put the whole thing out of her mind, don’t push the subject. Hear what she needs, and give that to her within reason. Obviously, you can’t be at her place 24/7 for a week straight, but letting her know that you’re there for her will be important in the beginning stages of her ordeal.

Determine her ex’s attendance status in the wedding. Every situation is different, but in most cases, if her ex was invited to the wedding because of their relationship with your bridesmaid, they will understand that they’re no longer invited to your nuptials. Depending on how close your big day is, you could ask your friend if she’d like to bring along someone else. Once you know her feelings, do the logistical work separately as not to upset her. If her ex is a good friend of yours or your partner, your bridesmaid might have to face some harsher realities about their presence at the wedding. This is definitely a case-by-case basis, so confer with your beloved on how you should go about handling it. An additional note: if you're planning on doing a bouquet toss during your reception, ask her beforehand if she'd like to be involved or not.

Understand her disinterest, sadness, or even anger. If the bridal shower, bachelorette party, and dress appointments are still in the future, come to terms with the fact that she may seem distant – perhaps she won’t attend at all. Some bridesmaids might feel they have to drop out of your wedding party, and it’s important to respect their decision. Try not to take any brief lashing out too personally, though know what your own limitations are: she cannot use her breakup to belittle you or your relationship, and don’t be afraid to speak up if her words or behavior cross the line. The key is to give more leeway than usual, in accordance to the loss and heartbreak she’s going through. It helps to draw from personal experience and remembering how much your friend means to you.

Involve her. Don’t shy away from asking her opinion on a few wedding things here and there, but mainly – involve her in your life! Maintain any customs you have, like viewing parties for your favorite shows, attending happy hour at a local bar once a month, or planning your annual girls’ trip. She has the option to decline any of these invites, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be extended. Most of the time, the best way to get over this kind of pain is to go about your routine and surround yourself with caring friends and family. 

Find out what to do if you can't make your friend's wedding, see how to make the mother of the groom feel included, and determine if you should invite estranged relatives to your nuptials.