Etiquette Q&A: "Can I 'Fire' My Bridesmaids?"

Join us every Friday for our Q&A column, where editor-in-chief Diane Forden answers one reader's biggest etiquette question.

bridal partyQ: I am so upset. My wedding is only four months away, and my matron of honor and my bridesmaid are being uncooperative about scheduling dress fittings, even though I've asked them several times. They are not showing any interest in my wedding and I find myself wishing I could ask other friends to be my attendants instead. What should I do? 

A: Unfortunately, your dilemma is much more common than you may realize. Brides are often faced with difficult attendants who show little or no interest in assisting with the wedding planning or, as in your case, are uncooperative with the dress selection and fittings (even after the bride has taken color, style and budget into consideration). And, just like you, many brides soon regret having asked them to be a part of the wedding party.

But this doesn't mean that you should allow your attendants to make you miserable. After all, you have asked those closest to you to share in your happiness, not to negate it. Besides, with all of the details involved in planning a wedding, you certainly do not need added stress. Perhaps these women regret having agreed to be in your wedding and are looking to get out of it.

You can ask them to step down — provided you are tactful. Simply state the following: "I am sorry that you cannot seem to find the time to attend a dress fitting. Although I will miss having you in the wedding party, I understand if you want to back out. Is that what you have in mind?"

If they are truly unhappy about being in your wedding party, then you have given them a gracious "out." (And definitely ask your other friends to take their places.) If not, they will realize that their behavior is unacceptable and shape up. Either way, you are bound to be better off and can look forward to less stress and happier attendants.

—Diane Forden