It's all fun and games until you realize how much work actually goes into being a maid of honor. It's a huge, well, honor to be asked, and of course, you want to say yes. But, if logistically speaking, your bank account can't handle all the expenses that go into being someone's maid of honor (the bachelorette party! All the wedding party expenses!), or you just don't have time in your schedule to fulfill the many duties that come with the coveted title, can you say no to being a maid of honor?
Luckily, you most definitely can, especially if you feel like you can't give your friend (or cousin, or sister, or anyone who asks) the dedication they deserve from their maid of honor in the months leading up to their wedding. "Being the maid of honor for a wedding is a big honor," April Masini, relationship and etiquette expert, tells Elite Daily. "It's also a big responsibility, and it's expensive. So, if someone asks you to be a maid of honor, and you feel a wave of hives coming on simply from the stress of being asked because you anticipate all that goes with the honor, it's a good idea for you to say no." There are countless reasons why you may feel the need to turn down the bride's offer, and time and money are just two of them.
It's important to remember that your reason for not wanting to be a maid of honor is enough. You shouldn't feel pressured to do something you just don't want to do, period. But if you still want to be involved in the wedding planning, let them know, Masini suggests. You can offer to be a bridesmaid instead, if you think that's something you can do. You can offer to help in other ways when you do have the time, the money, or you're just feeling up to it, without the stress of feeling like it's a requirement. Make sure they know how sorry you are. They're "probably feeling a little stung by your saying no to their offer," Masini explains. "Send some nice flowers or a basket of muffins and a note saying that you're sorry you couldn't be their maid of honor, but that you're so excited for the wedding and can't wait for their big day."
When it comes to breaking the bad news to the bride, the most important thing to remember is to be honest and give them a real reason. Try to avoid beating around the bush or making something up. "Don’t be ashamed if it's money or relationship problems," Masini previously told Elite Daily. "This is the time to put ego aside because you will be dealing a blow to your friend. Tell her that you can't afford it, or that this isn't a good time in your relationship to be taking on this kind of responsibility. Tell her that your work or your family obligations are too hefty at this time for you to accept her offer." Remind them you want the very best for them because that's what they deserve, and you just can't be that for them right now.
"Saying no to her offer to be a [maid of honor] may hit her harder than you think," Masini pointed out. "So, prepare yourself for your best etiquette, and be strong but kind when you say no."