Recently, my friend “Bonnie” and I were having a conversation about a mutual friend who is getting married. The friend asked Bonnie to be in her bridal party, and Bonnie – who hates our friend’s fiance and doesn’t approve of them getting married – struggled for a way to turn down the invite without looking like a jerk. Here are some ways to navigate a similar social situation:

Plead poverty.

Ultimately, if you don’t want to lose your friend over this but you still don’t want to have to wear a lilac satin gown and stand there while she marries someone you hate, you have to come up with an excuse that isn’t about your feelings. Since being a bridesmaid (usually) means paying for everything from a dress to part of the shower costs, making it about your wallet – and not about her – is a reasonable way to get out of attendant duties.

If you can, claim geographic barriers.

If you and your friend don’t live near each other, you can also say that the expense/time of travel means you won’t be able to participate in her wedding. Since being a bridesmaid means much more than just attending the wedding – you’ll be expected to show up at her shower, her bachelorette party, and the like – living far away is a legitimate reason for not being a bridesmaid.

Claim you have a family event going on the same weekend.

It sucks to have to choose between multiple events you’d like to attend, but if you can’t get out of the wedding you can claim that it’s your sister’s kid’s christening and you’ve already committed to going. Even if your friend is bummed, she’ll probably understand if you have a family commitment. However, in order to cover your tracks you’ll need to make sure you lay low that weekend – you don’t want her to see Facebook pics of you out clubbing when you were supposedly at your grandma’s 90th birthday party. Keep in mind that being unable to attend the wedding still means you might get roped into attending other wedding-related events that take place on other days.

Be honest.

This is the hardest but most direct option. If you’re considering this one, think about your reasons for not liking your friend’s choice in life partner. If your reason for hating him is “he has weird hair” or “I hate his friends,” you can be less involved in the wedding but suck up your dislike of Groom. However, if the reason you dislike him has to do with something like him abusing your friend or being unfaithful to her, this is a good opportunity to take a moral stand. The hard part, though? You might lose your friend for good. Proceed with caution.