Q: I was asked to be the maid of honor for a woman I’ve known since nursery school. She lives across the country and we only see each other once a year; the past few times we’ve seen each other, our connection has definitely felt strained. I just saw her for the bachelorette party, and the entire experience was awful. I felt she was judgmental, she wasn’t pleasant, and she pretty much iced me out from her other friends. Even one of her friends took me aside and asked how I could stand being treated so badly.
I realized I’ve outgrown this friendship and I do not want to continue it. But I also don’t want to cause drama or stress. Ideally, I want to tell her that I do not want to be her MOH. I don’t want to say it to cause a fight or apology; it’s just very clear that we aren’t friends. I have no intention of continuing the friendship beyond the wedding, even if I do go through with it.
So, what do I do? The wedding is less than two months away at this point. In my mind, the friendship is unsalvageable, but I know that we will barely see each other at the wedding, we will be buffered by other guests, and I won’t be dramatic or cause any issues if I do go through with it. But I hate the idea of being in her wedding pictures and memories when I have no intention of being part of her life.
Thoughts? What Would Amy March Do?
Breaking Up With The Bride
A: Girl. On no planet does there exist a way to drop out of being someone’s MOH two months before her wedding and not cause drama and stress. That action is custom tailored to cause maximal drama. There is no way to just casually fade out of being her MOH. Taking this action will put you, your feelings, and your drama front and center just two months before her wedding. I give this idea a resounding HELL NOPE.
I do get it, though. People often choose an old friend to be in their bridal party. Sometimes that person is a lifelong BFF, but pretty frequently it is a nice gesture of nostalgia toward a relationship that used to be important. And most of the time that works out perfectly well, but sometimes the forced intimacy of being in the bridal party just brings all those differences front and center.
And the wedding pictures are a red herring. First of all, it’s super common to have people in your photos who are no longer in your life. They are, after all, literal snapshots in time. Second of all, how many people actually print and display photos with their bridesmaids? All I’m saying is that I never see those on the wall when I visit friends. Third of all, you still really, really can’t do this, but nice try with the photos excuse.
Here’s when you can drop out of being MOH without being a drama llama:
1. Right when you are asked. Either a “no” to the initial ask or an “on further reflection” within weeks of the ask. Will it be upsetting for her to realize she thinks of you as her closest friend and you, perhaps, do not? Sure. Are you responsible for that emotion? Nope. Totally fine to say no to the “honor” because you aren’t that close, hate weddings, don’t want to buy a dress, can’t afford it, whatever you want. Just say no, express regret, and make a polite excuse along the lines of, “Oh that is so sweet of you to think of me and of course I can’t wait to celebrate, but I have so much going on right now I couldn’t possibly do the MOH role justice.”
2. When there is an unforeseen circumstance that makes you unable to attend. You got pregnant and her venue is infested with Zika. You lost your job and don’t have enough money for rent and her wedding. You or your close family member is having a health crisis. Basically, if the thing that comes up is something objectively much worse than her wedding, and it’s obvious you really would rather be at the wedding but you just can’t, you’re okay to drop out (the earlier the better, of course).
3. She crosses the line. Did she hit on your husband? Cheat on her fiancé in front of you? Assault you at the bachelorette party? Demand expensive things and yell at you when you mentioned a budget? (Please write in to me with these stories.) I can hear you thinking “but Amy! She iced me out at the bachelorette!” and to that I raise an eyebrow. It’s not that I don’t fully believe you, but I think the level of heinousness from her must increase in proportion to the closeness to the wedding. That might have sufficed nine months ago, but if invitations have been sent I’m going to need to see blood.
I know I’m usually team live your truth, speak your feelings, but there is a time when you have to put on the dress, slap on a smile, and suck it up because you gave your word. Unfortunately, this is that time. Hopefully there’s an open bar!