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Can I Back Out of Maid of Honor at a Destination Wedding?

Yes, but...

Q:  Dear Jareesa,

I recently got married in the fall, and I have a friend that got engaged a few months after me. She is having a destination wedding and asked me to be the maid of honor. At the time, we were in public, and I accepted because I feel I was caught up in the moment—I live in a different state now and hadn’t seen her since my wedding. I am now regretting this decision, and I feel I should have asked her for some time to think about it or just said no. My husband and I both turn 30 this year and have our first anniversary coming up. Prior to her setting her wedding date, we expressed that we wanted to be able to celebrate these events mostly because we know this will probably be our last vacation before settling and having a child. She still went ahead with her plans, which is totally ok because it’s her day.

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Recently, she has done a few things that have made me feel like she’s being a little unrealistic and inconsiderate of people’s time and money. When I told her I wouldn’t be attending her possible destination bachelorette party, she asked if I had filed my taxes yet. I felt kind of insulted and like she expects me to use tax refund money for her wedding. I don’t want to ruin our friendship, but I just feel slightly disrespected and almost as if I should remove myself and proceed with my original plan to celebrate with my husband. Opinions and advice, please!

—Anonymous

A: Dear anonymous,

So, there’s a few things happening here: you agreed to be in a friend’s destination wedding without taking time to think about the commitment involved; you and your husband have your own plans for your birthday and anniversary celebrations; the bride is making a lot of assumptions and expectations of her bridal party (who tells someone to use their tax refund on a bachelorette trip?). These are all separate issues that, combined, are making you want to pull away completely, which is fair.

Tax refund request aside, I don’t think your friend is being absolutely terrible. She wants to celebrate her wedding with those closest to her, which includes you. And I hope you recognize that for people, asking someone to be their MOH is a great honor. While in the moment or not, you did agree to be her MOH and to the duties included in that. You also mentioned that you want to preserve the relationship, and that means following through on your commitment to serve as her MOH and attend her destination wedding.

Given what you’ve shared about the bride’s plans for her bachelorette trip, it’s probably worth having a discussion about that portion sooner than later, and also maybe one with the other bridesmaids to see how they feel about it as well. Maybe what the bride really wants is for her tribe of people to show up for her and celebrate her, but that doesn’t mean an expensive, elaborate trip somewhere before the destination wedding. Hopefully with some conversation, you can help plan and participate in a bachelorette experience that your friend will enjoy.

If you truly don’t want to participate any longer, you can bow out, but just know that’s the nuclear, relationship-destroying option. It’s quite possible that you will be sacrificing your relationship with the bride, and potentially your relationships with mutual friends as well. I know you want to travel with your husband, but is it worth it to completely throw away a relationship with your friend? You mentioned that you and your husband want to travel now because this will be your last vacation before “settling and having a baby.” While that does happen sometimes, you can totally make travel work after having a baby! You can take your baby with you or figure out another childcare option if you don’t want to drag along all the baby gear. I get it, getting married and having kids can sometimes feel like the “freedom” is gone, but it’s only gone if you allow it to be. If you want to travel, go for it!

If this friendship is important to you, honor your commitment and relationship with your friend.

—Jareesa Tucker McClure

Got a question for Jareesa? Send it to nope [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com

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