If you’re in your twenties or thirties, there is a good chance you’ve recently been asked to be in a wedding. For the most part, the moment you hear that coveted, “Will you be my bridesmaid/groomsman?” question is an exciting one, but let’s be honest, there are some weddings you just don’t want to be in or some you simply cannot afford. We’ve done some digging, consulted fellow pros, and have pulled from our own experience to give you the best ways to say no to being in a bridal party (and when you really can’t pass it up).

When You Are on a Tight Budget

If you’re at the age where you’re being asked to be part of a wedding party, chances are you, too, are going through exciting changes – marriage, baby, home buying. The average bridesmaid will spend ~$1,000 on wedding related expenses (think: dress, shoes, make up, hair…not to mention the money you have to put out for the bachelorette party and bridal shower). If you’re busy saving for a down payment on a house or you’ve just added twins to the mix, $1,000 doesn’t come very easily. If you find yourself in this situation, we think it’s okay to opt out of the bridal party. That being said, there are a few stipulations. Be up front with the bride or groom – don’t wait until a few months before the wedding to decide you really can’t afford this gig. Even if you’ve agreed in a moment of excitement, tell them as soon as you come to terms with reality that you can’t afford it. Don’t then go to Hawaii – unless your reasoning for opting out of the wedding party is that you’ve been saving for this trip that’s been planned for months/years/decades, don’t add insult to injury by telling the bride or groom you’re on a budget and then miraculously finding enough money to go on a lavish trip. C’mon people.

When You and The Bride/Groom Aren’t That Close

Remember the movie The Wedding Ringer? Josh Gad plays a groom who, two weeks shy of his wedding to Kaylee Cuoco, has resorted to calling up old high school “buddies” to be in his wedding party (of course, he’s unsuccessful…enter Kevin Hart and his business where brides/grooms can pay for a bridal party). Unfortunately, there are some brides and grooms out there who either don’t have enough close friends to make up a wedding party (to whom we say – who needs a bridal party?!) or those who feel like even those they once sat next to in middle school English class should stand by them on their big day. If you’re on the receiving end of a bridal party invitation and you have to be reminded of how you know the bride or groom, chances are you aren’t that close and saying no is a-okay. Of course, do so respectfully, but clearly. You don’t want to leave the question of whether or not you’re in the wedding party up in the air. A firm, but kind, “I’ll have to pass” is completely called for.

When It’s Your Sister/Brother-in Law

Okay, here’s a situation where you really can’t say no. We’re well aware that not all in-laws are…well…our favorites, but if you’re hoping to keep things amicable, you’d better say yes. While you may not be best friends with your sister in-law or maybe your brother in-law is just not your cup of tea, blatantly excusing yourself from their wedding party (or not inviting them to be in yours, for that matter), is likely to cause a riff that you just don’t need when you’re combining two families.