How to Remove Someone from Your Wedding Party

We asked some wedding pros how to navigate the process of removing someone from your wedding party with grace and empathy.

Photo: Ashlee Nicole Photography

Deciding to remove someone from your wedding party is a difficult decision that no couple anticipates making when planning their special day. Personal conflicts and extenuating circumstances might come into play, leaving you with no other choice. 

"The most important tip in removing someone from your wedding party is honesty. You never want to have this conversation with someone and bend the truth in any way. If they hear why they are no longer in your wedding party from someone else, this may cause larger damage to your relationship, even leading to its termination. Being direct and honest may seem uncomfortable and cause anxiety, but it is the only way to ensure that your friendship remains intact." —Colton Simmons, Colton Simmons Photography

"If the relationship is still valued and their presence at the wedding is desired, suggesting an alternative role shows continued appreciation and inclusivity. It softens the blow and communicates that, despite the change, their participation is still meaningful. Handling this situation with grace can preserve the relationship, ensuring that the wedding adjustments are made with care and respect. You can always offer a smaller role, such as an usher, or offer for them to get ready with you." —Megan Breukelman, Megan & Kenneth

"Sometimes, jealousy rears its ugly head when it comes to the wedding party. If one of your bridesmaids or groomsmen has become toxic or is sabotaging the wedding or planning process, it's time to say goodbye. It will not only make the day more enjoyable for you, but also for the entire party. You don't want to look back on your wedding and remember how horrible he/she/they were on the wedding day. Also, the wedding party is supposed to be comprised of your nearest and dearest, not a toxic friend. Launch them, and don't look back!" —Nora Sheils, Rock Paper Coin / Bridal Bliss

"The most important is the approach. You need to make sure that you are clear but kind when delivering a message such as this. In-person is best, but a phone call will also suffice. You should never deliver messages like this through text — context and tone can get lost." —Alexis Alcala, Jaded Events

"Choosing a personal and private setting for this conversation underscores its seriousness and respects the individual's feelings. A face-to-face meeting or a video call, if distance is an issue, allows for a heartfelt exchange. It's about creating a space where emotions can be expressed and understood, aiming for a respectful resolution." —Megan Breukelman, Megan & Kenneth

"A reason some couples un-ask a member of the wedding party comes down to finances. It may be a struggle for him/her/them to pay for the outfit, the beauty, the pre-parties, etc. Instead, include the person in all of the festivities, invite them to join you in getting ready, and add a photo with them to your shot list. They will still feel included but won't be stressed about their finances." —Nora Sheils, Rock Paper Coin / Bridal Bliss

"Ensure that the person you are removing understands what the outcome is. Do you still want to be friends after this? Are they still invited to the wedding? Make sure that you are crystal clear in your delivery so that there is nothing left to chance." —Alexis Alcala, Jaded Events

"While it's never an easy conversation, it's always best to come to a decision sooner rather than later. Weddings can be expensive to attend, let alone be included in, so I highly recommend removing a wedding party member before too much is invested — planned travel, attire, or other expenses. Waiting until the last minute will only exacerbate the situation, and you may not be able to salvage your friendship as easily if that’s the main goal." —Kevin Dennis, Fantasy Sound Event Services

Sometimes, removing someone from your wedding party is the healthiest choice for everyone, even if you might cringe at the thought of having the conversation. Make sure you give each other grace and do so respectfully, and prioritize your and your partner’s happiness above all else!

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.